A PRAYER TO SEE + BE SEEN

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“An exploration of mental illness as an invitation to radical self-discovery instead of a disease with no cure.” it means the world to me to be able to share this documentary film, CRAZYWISE, that has helped me so much on my own mental health journey– and to do two events, starting tomorrow, world mental health day– with the wholehearted support of art house astoria and astoria presbyterian church– based expressly around creative reframing for mental health & mental illness, the ways we can take our journeys back into our own hands. please join us & RSVP on eventbrite: tinyurl.com/creativereframingnyc. i’m grateful for my life and for the opportunity to speak on these literally life-changing and life-saving topics, with humans whose work and being i truly admire.

A PRAYER TO SEE & BE SEEN:
Creative Reframing for Mental Health & Wellbeing
a 2-part event featuring CRAZYWISE screening, discussion & experiential resource-sharing

World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. During this week, we gather together in an effort to SEE & BE SEEN– to build community, share resources, and dive into alternative methods of exploring mental health and mental illness– recontextualizing it as an invitation to radical self-discovery instead of a disease with no cure.

Thursday, October 10 – 6:30-8:30pm
CRAZYWISE – documentary screening

We will screen the 2017 documentary CRAZYWISE, with time for opening/closing exercises and post-film reflections.

SHORT SYNOPSIS:
Crazy… or wise? The traditional wisdom of indigenous cultures often contradicts modern views about a mental health crisis. Is it a ‘calling’ to grow or just a ‘broken brain’? The documentary CRAZYWISE explores what can be learned from people around the world who have turned their psychological crisis into a positive transformative experience.

WATCH TRAILER / FULL SYNOPSIS: https://crazywisefilm.com/

Saturday, October 12 – 5-7pm
Experiential resource sharing with presentations/activities & discussion

Building on the theme established by CRAZYWISE– what are our options and resources for creatively reframing mental illness and founding a progressive new relationship with our inner selves? We explore and experience with several members of the community sharing their approaches, including healing practices and traditions, floatation therapy, mindfulness, storytelling and “living your legend,” with time for group discussion and activities.

FEATURING:
Satya Celeste of SacredWaters
Rebecca Gitana Torres of Healing Through The Home
Alex Tatis of Refined Inner Being LLC
Sydney Projekthandmade of innerNest
Representatives from Mindful Astoria
Audrey Dimola, ‘THE BOOK OF LEGEND’
Aldo Cano Trevino of Mental Health First Aid

FREE EVENTS – ALL ARE WELCOME
LIMITED SEATING AVAILABLE, PLEASE RSVP
http://tinyurl.com/creativereframingnyc

!!! SPREAD THE WORD + SHARE !!!
Hosted & curated by Audrey Dimola
Part of World Mental Health Day 2019 at Art House Astoria Conservatory For Music and Art, in partnership with Astoria Presbyterian Church

THE BOOK OF LEGEND 9.5.19

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YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN SOMETHING.

as i’ve learned through the journey, especially over these past 4 years, that belief is tied to the greater cosmos– but it ultimately has to come from YOU. you define your mythos. you define what role you play on the quest. if you choose to be the hero or not, and what that hero is like.

i have been deep underground and in the clouds, hosting for hundreds in my park-wonderland, and curled in corners of darkness more profound than i could’ve ever fathomed. i have felt the pure anger, rage, and sorrow. the ecstatic joy, boundless creation, and revelation. i have lived with greater courage, with more violently sharpened highs and lows of feeling, fantasized sometimes endlessly about leaping a bridge, died a thousand times and unlocked doorways and gateways i never thought existed. i didn’t have to be Here right now, but I AM– i chose To Be.

this BOOK is what i have to show for it. this BOOK is the crystallization of the legend that kept me alive.

my fourth book, THE BOOK OF LEGEND, is released today.

september 5 2019– my hero, freddie mercury’s birthday– while i am on my first overseas trip to my father’s birthplace in southern italy, to stand with the legend i have created, and Heal The Lineage. to stand proudly and proclaim– i am here to DO IT DIFFERENTLY. i am here to break the cycles and the patterns. i am here to dismantle what has shackled us– and create Anew.

but what does LIVING YOUR LEGEND mean? for me, it is a mode of creative recontextualization and reframing that allows you to more freely steer the currents of your life. it is an act of resistance against what we are given, diagnosed, warned against, told– and a stand FOR a deep and often treacherous engagement with our unique and personal Truth. this BOOK is comprised of shamanic stories that channeled through me, characters that became guides and spirits on my quest, and personal essays and prayers on what it means to fully live through what joseph campbell called the hero’s journey– to walk with the freedom to form our own narratives and meanings about the feelings and events we experience. to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for what befalls us, what we inherited, what circumstance we find ourselves in– and alchemize it into a web of personal myth and legend that gives us the strength to not only Go On, but to carry our message forward to help others.

this is also my first time standing unequivocally as a STORYTELLER. i could say that this BOOK is fiction, but it’s not. the excerpts i included in my last collection, WILDLIGHT, are continued here– from the light wolf and dark wolf to the dragon in the mystic lagoon to arcturus the bear guardian to the wanting creature turned saint of the sword to the meeting of the ego inside the legend– and the great green lion…

* * *

“i invite you
into the world i inhabit.

a world of Legend, of danger, of beauty. of nature and guiding spirits announcing themselves to you at every moment– the understanding of a living poetry that requires only an open heart to receive, to hear.

we are all shamanically inclined, we are all messengers. we
are all standing at the Dark Door waiting to guide ourselves
back to ourSelves.

as the days grow shorter and the light lower, you may fear but
do not despair.

walk into the Night.
walk into the Night fearless in your fearfulness.
heartbroke in your wholeness.
trusting in your distrust.

let your eyes adjust to the Darkness.

create a tether to your Legend so you can find your way back– you will cling hard to it at first, look constantly over your shoulder for the last shards of light from whence you came.. but the further you walk the less you will need the tether.

you will realize it is woven inside you, in your heart, in your Choosing of your every step.

and you won’t even dream of going back.
you will greet the Endless in proceeding through the Dark Door.

because in the everything you will see Nothing.
and in the nothing you will see Everything.

all will be as it was, at the origin. before god lit a match.

and the Legend was given breath, to Begin.”

* * *

“there is a potentiality for this legendary existence– in everyone. and it is not fairy stories or flights of fancy– for me it was the difference between remaining on earth or ending my life. it is VITAL– this kind of– energetic, imaginative creation in tandem with the flow of reality, a merged, enlivened, actual legendary life.

it requires being the different one. it requires being the madman. it requires shocking and alarming people, often the people you love. it requires being questioned. being challenged. willingly choosing the uncharted whether it means death or freedom because they are often the same thing. it requires caring less about your reputation or social standing– and more about the Truth.

there is a Way to live– that is not just for new-age practitioners, or the spiritually enlightened, or those who believe in ghosts or study the texts or understand scientific or psychoanalytic jargon.

it is a Lifestyle of Truth of the Spirit– of the ordinary man as extraordinary Legend, as meaning-making scribe at the right hand of whatever force you believe is writing the never-ending story– or isn’t.”

* * *

“I AM HERE TO ASK YOU, AS MANY OTHERS HAVE ASKED THEIR PEERS AT MANY PAST MOMENTS IN TIME– TO CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY THAT THERE IS ANOTHER WAY. we have lost the value of the individual’s dive into his own psyche– to meet, accept, contend, or commune with whatever wondrous or treacherous existences he finds there. it is not just medication or the media, it is our culture as a whole– burying centuries of our own mythos that could serve as backbone to embolden us through our struggles, buried under constant thrumming noise. what if we accepted the necessary danger in a quest for the inmost self? what if we applied this to radical self-exploration, especially in the context of mental health and mental illness? what truths could be discovered on a brave journey to exalt and reclaim the most wonder-full and worthy hero there is… YOURSELF?”

* * *

GET THE BOOK and read more excerpts and notes from the journey RIGHT HERE
you can order direct from me for $8.00 via paypal or venmo

i will also be celebrating the BOOK, and world mental health day, with two events in astoria during the week of OCTOBER 7, including a film screening, activities and resources, and honest discussion. A PRAYER TO SEE & BE SEEN: creative reframing for mental health & well-being. this is just the beginning of getting this message out there– if you would like to collaborate, hold an event, or host a workshop/engagement please let. me. know. this is advocacy not just for mental health/mental illness but for a reclamation of our journeys from all that is mired in the laws of the old world, and untrue.

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teach others to See by Seeing.
teach others to Understand by Understanding.
lead others to Walk by Walking.
but walk Beside them and not in Front.
walk With them as i walk With you.
and we shall see these coming days already in fruition,
in every righteous action resolving inaction,
in every fiery force of Love dissolving fear.

aho my friends & loves, i thank you whole-heartedly for Seeing me, for your kindness and encouragement, for your love and creativity, for your connection to and support of my world and my Work.

i hope to see you on the Path–

XXOO

a.

paths in the pathless wilderness: mental health advocacy

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“i write today because i am still alive. i write today from inside, outside, and on the other side of the underworld. i write because, in legend— the hero always returns with the story. and in the hero’s journey, in fact— this is the very purpose. i write today because legend saved my life in a way that nothing else could— not a diagnosis, not modern medicine, not the concern of loved ones or colleagues, not any traditional path that i was prescribed…”

in recent years i have come to realize and internalize that the best way to tell my story– or any story, for that matter– is to speak it plainly.

i marvel at where this website began, over 10 years ago– a place to house my work as a young arts journalist, which in many ways avoided inclusion of what was deeply and actually going on with me— that gradually grew into this space of radical honesty, performance, curation, and experimentation across many genres. it is in this moment that i type here and reflect– a few short weeks to my 33rd birthday– so grateful for the hard-won heartwork and legend i have come to accept as my own.

‘for this i was born, and for this i have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.’ -john 18:37.

after writing and self-publishing my third book, WILDLIGHT, creating my first alchemical theatre work, PROVENANCE, and being increasingly candid in person and on the internet (especially on instagram) of the places my journey was taking me– i have come to This Point. the point at which i encapsulate the stories and philosophies and lessons that have saved my life.

‘IF YOU BRING FORTH THAT WHICH IS WITHIN YOU,
THEN THAT WHICH IS WITHIN YOU
WILL BE YOUR SALVATION.
IF YOU DO NOT BRING FORTH
THAT WHICH IS WITHIN YOU
THEN THAT WHICH IS WITHIN YOU
WILL DESTROY YOU.’ –the gnostic gospels.

i added a MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCACY page to my website this morning– even though this journey is not JUST about mental illness, or meant for those who are suffering with the same– mental illness and mental health are inherently about the journey to reclaim your life and the state of your soul, from all those other destructive and un-true stories that do not belong to you. in the greater, greatest scheme– we are being called to a new realityone we create with our own hearts, our own hands, our own imaginations– free-dreaming and manifesting in tandem with the creator force energy that shaped our world.

i am currently working on a new book and performance/workshop series seeking to explore these spaces in ways i began with PROVENANCE, WILDLIGHT, and my ‘widening circle’ open mic/open share gatherings, but now– further. it is the merging of poetry, prose, story, ritual, improvisation, spirit work, and sacred/safe space facilitation– and it begins. HERE.

‘one thing is certain. the search for this savior calls for a pathfinder. someone who is capable of finding paths in the pathless wilderness, and who will shrink from no danger and hardship. in other words– a HERO.’ –michael ende, ‘the neverending story.’

AN EXCERPT– from what is forthcoming—

the stories are not just things i choose to write— now i am living them, experiencing them, inside them. it is reality that i define— and that no one defines for me. and the more i feel into it, explore it, believe it, trust it— the more i see the truth of where stories, where meaning itself, emanated from— in the first place. this is the place of legend. this is the hero’s journey, in real time. this is the odyssey, the great quest, the incredible journey— it is in your life, right here, right now.

i do not come to make a map for you, to plot the course for you— you and only you alone can do this. my guides will not be your guides, my legend will not be your legend. but it is my hope in sharing where i have been, what i have been through— that a potentiality for yours will burst open or begin to blossom.

if it is a choice between— having solely the options you are being presented with— and alternatively, the options that you and only you can write, create, and describe— what do you wish for? power stripped or power reclaimed? darkness traversed or darkness feared? a broken mind that needs to be fixed— or a teeming landscape of lesson and legend that you can bravely quest and explore?

this is not for the faint of heart. this is not easy. this is not clean. this is not without struggle. without blood. without nearing the edges of existence, the edges of death.

but in my heart, and in my opinion— if we all heave a last breath anyway, and either way— why not fill your living lungs with the breath of adventure, and leave a story behind along the way?

why not begin a quest to exalt and reclaim and rediscover the most wonder-full and worthy hero there is… yourself?

[read the full piece here]

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much more to come. i feel, i know–

for the pathless wilds

for the unfathomable

and the holy unknown,

XO

a.

the dangers in cartography.

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the terrifying thing about choosing your own context for mental illness is that you often end up hurting/scaring the people closest to you, and hurting/scaring yourself.

it is not like an outwardly manifested affliction in that- no one would say to you, just stop having cancer. get up from your wheelchair. get your vision back. look how much everyone loves you- stop dying.

no one makes you feel like- you are doing it on purpose. you are willing it. you are purposely isolating, not picking up the phone, disappearing, not going to work. no one makes you feel like what is happening to you is wrong. like it’s your responsibility for failing everyone you love, for failing yourself.

what IS the same, though- is how people react upon choosing an alternative path to healing. in a similar way you would in choosing a raw food diet instead of chemotherapy. a visit to a shaman instead of a hospital. time communing with yourself, your spirits and guides, and your rituals- instead of a trained professional. this is the hurt that everyone who chooses a different way feels- that what they are doing is dangerous. that no one trusts them with their own healing. that maybe they should not put so much trust in themselves.

mental illness is particular in this fashion. and once you choose not to follow the paradigm given to you- that you are broken and need to be fixed, that you have a chemical imbalance that endangers your life- the road you proceed to traverse has no map.

and in making the map for yourself, sometimes, like last night, you will find yourself in willing seclusion. hiding like a child, getting as small as you possibly can in the darkness, while three of the most important people in your life stand on your doorstep, on three separate occasions- ringing your bell, scratching your window, calling to you. txting and calling, communicating to each other, in increasing alarm.

sometimes no disappearance is enough disappearance, for the hurt you feel. the hurt that washes over you, primordial and unending. you are told you are loved. you are told you have a place to go. you are told you can have anything you want. threatened, even, by this immediateness, franticness, of affection- you get even smaller. but the space is opened up, somehow- in which to trust.

how do i know which impulses to listen to? sometimes the path leads you away but it is only so you can trust enough to find your own answers. you know the path is true if it leads you back to your community, to the people you love.

despite how much you anger them. hurt them. how much you don’t make rational sense- it is not isolation indefinite. it is isolation to hear the answers- so to heal. so to return.

today i understood why i am creating my next show, PROVENANCE.

to show how this instability is the key in the lock to the power of my origin story. to show what it looks like, in actuality, to choose to create your own map. to hurt yourself, hurt the people you love. to bear the guilt and shame inherent in your affliction. to want to answer, open up, speak, accept an embrace, receive help- but simultaneously be completely unable to.

to dance at the edges of death, creation, eternal life. to find safety in the perceived danger. growth and fecundity in the darkness. so to understand- your holy wild self. so to ascribe sacred meaning to- your finite moments on earth.

i look forward to continuing this journey.
and sharing with you, in three dimensions, what i’ve learned.

XO

a.