Living Legend – In Practice

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My New Year’s tattoo at the end of 2017 heading into 2018 is an alchemical talisman that bears the words: LIVE YOUR LEGEND. These words are inked in my skin, forever. I’m pretty damn serious about it ;) Later on in 2018, its counterpart would emerge, blessed with the truth-telling Linden Flower of my Grandfather Tree, on my opposite forearm: A PRAYER TO SEE AND BE SEEN. Yeah, I’m pretty serious about that, too. :)

Through my own…

** Personal journeying into liminal spaces, over- and under-worlds, meetings with guides and multi-dimensional selves, explorations of my own lineage as well as deep psychic and emotional realms
** Extensive reading, researching, seeking, learning, internal cartography, and observation– including spirited influence from the writings of Joseph Campbell (originator of the Hero’s Journey) and Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With The Wolves)
** My choices to recontextualize and remythologize my own neurodivergence (“mental illness”) from psychotic break to spiritual truth-telling/awakening, and walk forward in kin-centric (animal, spirit, and human interrelation) healing and radical mental health advocacy– beyond the bounds of disempowering narratives we are traditionally presented
** Embodied experiences like yoga, dance/movement, meditation, somatic work, sensory deprivation floating, and participation in multicultural ceremonies, workshops, and retreats
** My work with Dzieci, the international experimental theatre ensemble dedicated to a search for the “sacred” through the medium of theatre, whose techniques are garnered from theatre masters such as Jerzy Grotowski and Peter Brook, ritual forms derived from Native American and Eastern spiritual disciplines, and an ethic based in Humanistic Psychology
** Divinatory methods of communing and receiving including channeling, drumming, sacred songs, automatic writing, animal and plant allies, tarot and oracle work
** And of course my own lifelong artistic and healing practices as a writer, poet, performer, actor/singer, storyteller, community organizer, ritualist, sacred space-holder, mythopoetic scholar, and psychopomp–

I have been led to expand upon and offer to the world the interdisciplinary creative practices that essentially saved and changed my life: LIVING LEGEND.

WHAT IS LEGEND, FIRST OF ALL?

In my canon of meaning it is the internal landscape inside you and all of the adventures therein— guides, elders, wisdom, signs, symbols, metaphor, meaning. Everything that makes up your Personal Mythology– unique to you, your own Highest Truths– but also linked inherently to the Collective Truth, the Collective Mythology, The Whole– and the Living Eternal Wisdom that is Present in the Earth, in Our Bodies, and in Our Stories.

Practicing Living Legend involves giving yourself permission to be an explorer again— in the way you were when you were a child. To lovingly put the thinking brain on the back-burner and RECEIVE your own truths, impulses, instincts. My initial formal offering in this realm– distinct from, but certainly grown out of, my over-decade-long experience in creative work and community space-holding– is THE WAY OUT IS IN: Exercises in creative intuition for ALL, in which YOU are invited to: Remember how effortless it is to journey into your mythic imagination and the eternal/internal wisdom accessible to you at all moments, simply with willingness to receive and be present…

These exercises are varying and evolving, and space is held for you to move around inside, interact with, and be inspired by, stories of Your Own. My initial explorations have been in groups, 1-on-1’s, and integrated into existing events– virtually during the time of Spring 2020 Pandemic. We inquisitively, light-heartedly, supportively, and openly engage with: archetypes, the mythic imagination, personification, visualization, passive receiving in presence, internal journeying, and question asking/answering– with {much much} room to go deeper if one is so inspired. In visualizing, receiving, meditating, writing, sharing, and exploring, the aim is to return the participant(s) to their OWN internal worlds, truths, advice, wisdom, meanings. All it takes is willingness to receive and be present– no thinking, no “hard work” involved, at all.

And These are just The Beginnings.

These emergent practices are based on my own personal experiences in embodied Legend beginning in Fall 2016, growing out of the frightening and yet extraordinarily fecund mental health landscape I had found myself in starting the Summer before. Legend is the reason I am still alive on earth, and although the spiritual groundwork had been set long before, my direct invitation into this Way of Being was actually through my most beloved practice, since I was a child: writing and storytelling.

In some of my lowest and darkest moments, I was empty enough to receive– and did receive– alchemical stories beginning with Two Wolves, a light wolf and a dark wolf– that emerged unexpectedly, and unsolicited, from my own soul and psyche. The stories and their guides continued announcing themselves, both through my writing and through my experiencing them in “reality,” and would eventually come to be crystallized in my Fall 2019 literary offering {and my 4th book}, “THE BOOK OF LEGEND.”

I pushed to release the book at {my usual} break-neck pace so that I could take it with me on my first ever trip abroad for my 33rd birthday, to stand with it in the town where my father was born in Southern Italy. Unbelievably, I lived this prayer and this dream, but upon returning to the States my own personal life circumstances converged and forced implosion. I cancelled my book launch, and after carrying that feeling of in-completion for a little over half a year, I spoke a clear prayer to the Universe after invitation to it, during my first time at a women’s dance event on Zoom– How can I bring THE BOOK OF LEGEND forward? My lesson, as always: It Helps To Be Clear. In subsequent days, in the space of Pandemic, the call to these exercises, and what will become these active offerings of private practice with the public, emerged— because I recognize that it’s not about my physical book or even just the stories inside Me.

Each of us has a BOOK OF LEGEND inside us. I feel called to dedicate my efforts to helping you remember how to read it, write it, co-create it, and Explore.

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[Contact Me audrey.dimola@gmail.com if you’d like to chat more on this evolution!]

ON A BROADER NOTE

“There is a place for professional intervention, such as psychotherapy, for some, and psychoactive drugs that help avert acute crises. However, the idea that these interventions are somehow superior to lifestyle changes, relationships, or non-technical approaches like yoga is an idea that is solely based on ideology and vested interests in maintaining professional standing and power. It is not based on science, and, in fact, may actually defy it. People are different, and difference from the dominating norm is not necessarily evidence of inferiority and disease. Further, trauma, oppression, and adversity are a part of life, whether we wish to acknowledge or appreciate it or not. And, long-term healing happens through changes in the environment; changes that have been common sense for centuries prior to the advent of industrialization. Relationships matter. Relaxation matters. Nutrition matters. Hope and purpose matter. Nature matters. Love matters.”

— Noel Hunter, Psy.D., from “Trauma & Madness in Mental Health Services”

There are so. many. alternatives. to the traditional biomedical/biopsychiatric model for healing from “mental illness,” trauma, and chronic stress. I’m always more than willing to discuss and offer my own perspectives and experiences, some of which are listed below:

– Yoga
– Meditation/Mindfulness
– Ceremony, ritual, and earth-based practices
– Dance and movement
– Somatic therapy/somatic work
– Sensory deprivation floating
– Breathwork
– Working with myth and archetype
– Visualization/journeying
– Sound healing
– Plant medicine
– Spending time in nature and in the outdoors
– Health and nutrition (literally, what you eat!)
– Community (retreats, group support, sharing circles)
– Non-verbal creative modalities like music, art, collage…
– Incredible peer supported alternatives to the mainstream featuring events, community, Facebook groups, resources, and trainings such as the Institute for the Development of Human Arts (IDHA) and The Icarus Project

You have choices. You have options. You have rights. Remember that.