For Episode 160 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with Gala Narezo.
Gala is a mother, artist, educator, and consultant whose work focuses on weaving awareness and reflection into all aspects of life. As a meditator for over 20 years, she believes that time spent reflecting on and integrating our experience helps us understand our context, know who we are, and manifest our purpose. Her work celebrates mindful change-making through the arts and has focused on youth advocacy, plastic bag legislation, immigration, and women’s rights. She has taught students of all ages in various venues, including the Art Center College of Design, Pratt Institute, The Hotchkiss School, The Shambhala Center, MNDFL, and many more.
The conversation starts with Gala sharing how she came to meditation, after experiencing mental health challenges as a teen. They speak at length about how creativity can serve as a vessel for mindfulness and how to bring creativity into different aspects of our lives. Sharon discusses the ways many folks feel inherently non-creative due to conditioning and how to overcome those barriers to find greater self-expression. Gala speaks about her perspective as a mother and how to integrate mindfulness practice into parenting, especially during the pandemic. Lastly, the conversation moves toward social action, Gala’s long history as an activist, and tips for those looking to become more involved in social change. Closing the conversation, Gala leads a guided pranayama breathing meditation.
Learn more about Gala’s work at galanarezo.net
Mental Health & Meditation, Art & Creativity
Welcoming artist, educator, and meditation instructor, Gala Narezo, to the Metta Hour podcast, Sharon invites her to share her meditative beginnings, outlining her unique, change-making journey on the spiritual path. Exploring how mental health became her entryway into meditation, Gala relays how we can use techniques like mindfulness practice, art, and creativity to relieve suffering and depression which has surfaced so poignantly during this pandemic period.
“Creativity, I think of as a process, a way of being in the world, of being open and attentive to possibility that is right in front of you, and using our imagination… The pandemic has brought up reasons for us to feel blocked, sad, stagnant. So bringing a little bit of imagination and possibility into daily life, and mixing things up, can be a very helpful way to connect with some more joy.” – Gala Narezo
Explore the intersection of creativity and meditation with iconic actress, Jamie Lee Curtis, on Ep. 2 of Creativity, Spirituality, & Making a Buck
Singing & Stories, Creativity & Freedom (13:23)
Telling a tale of her close friend and fellow dharma teacher, Joseph Goldstein, and his relationship to singing, Sharon illuminates the inhibiting power of the mental imprints left behind due to believing the stories others tell about us. Prompted by this, Gala recalls a story of sharing a song in an Indigenous Mexican Sweat Lodge. Nervous about singing in front of others, she was wisely reminded: this is not an object or a performance; this is an offering.
“As soon as we bring two new ideas together in our mind we can create a new idea, a new possibility, and have fun. It could just be putting oranges in your tomato sauce one night—doing something you wouldn’t think of doing. That act of being open to something that you don’t know: it’s creative and freeing.” – Gala Narezo
Learn through the stories, neurosis, humor, and mindful love of Joseph Goldstein’s relationship with Ram Dass, on Ep. 373 of Mindrolling
Mindfulness & Motherhood (34:52)
Inviting her to share about her experience as a mother, as well as her family-centered teachings, Sharon welcomes Gala to speak to the powerful, brimming intersection of navigating mindfulness and motherhood.
“Mindful parenting is about modeling behavior that is healthy; not the behavior that you think is the ‘right way to be,’ or the ‘right thing to do,’ but if I’m spinning out or not feeling grounded, my kid can see that I have a way to find my center again.” – Gala Narezo