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 invocation / the invitation

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and i heard Her voice,
echoing through his voice,
echoing through my own voice.

who is the Hero of this story?

“let it be You.”

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All Nature Will Be Renewed By Fire

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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 the 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.

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#liveyourlegend

//

THE MOST RECENT:

my original alchemical theatre work, PROVENANCE in its entirety

EVENTS coming up (including the new ‘neighborhood mixtape’ & ‘widening circle’)

the journey in real-time on IG including all the blood, guts & mythos

my latest book WILDLIGHT, released 3.20.18

actively creating & seeking new multidisciplinary theatrical opportunities & ways to play…

//

will you–

come

with

me?

XO

a.

shedding light, trusting darkness

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‘and what do you wield, warrior?’
‘the sword i pulled from my own heart.’
‘but you do not wish to carry this weapon, 
onward, for your journey?’
‘i only wish to carry a prayer. 
to see and be seen.’

hello out there my beauties,

i wanted to let you know that the most honest thing i have written on the internet has just been published by an amazing site called REBELLE SOCIETY- it’s called “how my experience with mental illness helped me trust my darkness.”

A wise and wild coyote once told me, “It is in happiness that you will find the seeds of sadness. And it is in sadness that you will find the seeds of light.”

When I was a kid, I couldn’t bear to be in complete darkness. Even as a teenager, there was always a light somewhere: a nightlight in the kitchen, light in a window next door, streetlight outside. My journey has been to find that light in myself, instead of always seeking it outwardly.

I didn’t know what true freedom was like until I lived through this story. I had a conception of freedom and a lot of daring cliff-jumps, but the darkness remained a sign and a trigger.

Throughout my whole life, this specter of the idea of darkness chased and chased me. Or maybe it never actually moved — just stood, luminous and unending — and I kept running. I have messages written all over my body, to remind myself of the truth — about the dark, about myself.

I have always been a personality of extremes. This is my gift, in my new legend: to be able to viscerally feel, process, move through ecstatic heights and drastic lows, with not much in between.

The “not much in between” though was my own conception. The instinct to keep running, searching for higher ground, safer territory, more abundant provisions, without realizing perhaps I could, with time, just stay here. Grow these seeds of my own planting. Take some time, gaze into the night, into the earth, into the darkness, into the silence, into myself, and not only see and receive what is there, but to trust it.

This is not just a story about struggling with mental illness. It is a story about what every man, woman and spirit is here to grapple with: personal freedom and personal truth, and how they are inextricably intertwined.

YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THE ESSAY [RIGHT HERE] …

it’s powerful and unnerving and surreal to be able to have clarity on this journey- and to be able to share it in this way, in a way that undercuts the usual disempowering narratives about mental illness and provides an entry point into radical recontextualization and reclamation of your own legend.

thanks to my fierce and wonder-full friend shafina, on 11/16 i will be telling an off-book, organic version of this story at my first storytelling show, HOW TO BUILD A FIRE, at open source gallery one week from today. the theme is RESILIENCE [more info]

some more events coming up: [here]
and my latest book of poetry & prose, WILDLIGHT, is still on sale [here] !

i’m open to your thoughts, words, wishes- let me know if you have ideas for collabs- i’m all ears for projects you dream up and opportunities to speak the legend…

from wanting creature to
proclaimer of the word //

with biggest big love,

XO

a.

“and of course i am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger.”
“we can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. for we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. the fact that we are here and i speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. and there are so many silences to be broken.” -AUDRE LORDE.

*tattoo image at the top is one of my latest, from karen glass tattoo XO

WILDLIGHT LIVES.

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HOW TO BUY:

WILDLIGHT is available for purchase directly from the author via PayPal, for $18.00.

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Please note you do not need to have a PayPal account- simply choose “Pay with Debit or Credit Card” to check out as a Guest.

If you would like to use another payment method- feel free! You can send $18 via Venmo to audrey.dimola@gmail.com, or contact me for other options.

///

the fact that this book exists means that there is triumph of the holy wild spirit over heartache, darkness, ruin, illness and dis-ease, lack of self-worth, addiction, depression, sorrow, death.

i cannot describe how proud i am of this piece of my heart, blood, and bones.

3 years, 258 pages.

i proudly present my third book of poetry and prose, WILDLIGHT.

available for you. NOW.

///

WILDLIGHT: POETRY & PROSE FROM INSIDE THE FIRE

MARCH 20, 2018 – SPRING EQUINOX

[MORE INFO ABOUT THE BOOK]

three years of blood, sweat, fire, heart, and LIVING have gone into this collection, plunging into the wildernesses of love, spirituality, addiction, sex, shamanism, mental health struggles, self-love, and rebirth.

///

“to all those
who reclaim their
spirits from darkness-
who resolve to protect
the body as an altar,
and keep the fire safe-
know there is an energy of
resilience that unites us all.
we may have to fight everyday-
but we never fight alone.

this is a book about reclamation.

about staying close to the fire. trusting in your wildlight.

it is a book about struggles with honesty, with identity. about all-consuming loves- passion, destruction, regeneration. about leaving and returning. about lack of self-love and self-worth. about mental illness and addictions. about the indomitable power of the human spirit. about reasons to live. about what happens when you break away from the life you thought you wanted- to walk into the wild. to be taught in ways only the universe can truly teach you- with blood, with sweat. with grief, and wonder. with fire. with heart.

it is a book about trying and trying and trying again…”

crack the spine of this book and the author will know it. this is an alchemical document- rubbed with earth, singed with flame. found curled inside the inmost core of an animal, fanged and feathered. each word a bone picked from an endless desert, blessed with tears and triumph from the road. “WILDLIGHT” was written from 2015 to 2017 by a shamanic poet and journeywoman who is most often likened to wildfire or supernova- this third collection of poetry and prose an act of sacred invocation that will keep howling at you even when its pages are closed.

THE POET IS UNAFRAID TO BECOME FULL WILDERNESS.

///

NYC PERFORMANCE & RELEASE PARTY:

March 24, 2018 3-5pm at Q.E.D.: A Place to Show & Tell in Astoria [Facebook]

more upcoming SHOWS

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READ SELECT PIECES FROM “WILDLIGHT”:
+ lazarus was a house on fire (WOMAN)
+ reliquary: the body
+ blue sky
+ peter (i want to be real)
+ studies in reaching
+ somewhere else
+ two wolves

THE JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM: #wildlightbyajd

VIDEO FROM THE DAY I RELEASED THE BOOK:

XO with ecstatic love and FIREFIREFIRE,

a.

i speak

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i speak for the addicted
i speak for the mentally ill
i speak for those who need the woods to survive
i speak for the little girl who forgets she is a wildwoman
i speak for the lost boys and lost girls
i speak for those writing poems into a voice recorder while they ride their bike
i speak for those who won’t smile because they feel guilty
i speak for those who take responsibility for everything
i speak for the savage heart and the sacred life, the sacred breath
i speak for the roots who are constantly doing their work even though you can’t see them
i speak for the trees who are constantly purifying even if you don’t thank them
i speak for the fire on my altar who had to burn things to show them to me
i speak for the birds
i speak for nature who just states facts
i speak for all those who ride their bikes without holding onto the handlebars because it makes them remember there was a time when they knew how to be free
i speak for remembering to be free
i speak for the initiation, for the woman who was initiated, for the initiated woman
i speak for all those who are ashamed of what they’ve been through
i speak for all those who are afraid to be crazy
i speak for all those who take responsibility for themselves, who remember it is we and only we who can write our own legend
i speak for the cracking open and the sewing up with golden thread, healed
i speak for the alchemists
i speak for the wild ones
i speak for the fools
i speak for the messengers
i am the messenger
i speak for the cards in the tarot deck
i speak for the constellations
i speak for free will
i speak for the sins of the father and of the mother and how those sins are not ours
i speak for trying to take care of everyone else and never taking care of yourself
i speak for long bike rides in the cold because you know it will bring you closer to the tribe
i speak for the tribe
i speak of the tribe
i speak with the tribe
i stand by the tribe
i speak for going slower instead of faster

i speak for writing a poem on your bike and almost crashing into construction
i speak for reconstruction
i speak for reconfiguration
i speak for readjusting- to go forth, healed
i speak for the stolen generation
i speak for our shared history
i speak for the mother goddess
i speak for the divine feminine with the divine feminine as the divine feminine
i speak for finding a way back home
i speak for light, for legacy, for justice for myself
i speak for feathers on the ground
i speak for shamanism
i speak for poets
i speak for healing
i speak for trauma
i speak for forgiveness
i speak for recognition
i speak for sight
i speak for self worth- not because, or when, or if
i speak not of conditions
i speak of pain
i speak of grieving
i speak for grieving
i speak for duration
i speak for patience
i speak for balancing your elements, child
not just fire, not just wind- but earth. but water
i speak for power, strategy, and protection- of identifying your body through your body, your own body, your self
i speak for the metaphysical orgasm
i speak for the body but only because i listened when she talks i listen when she talks i listen when she talks and i hear her- now
i speak for my beautiful brain and its shadows- and its light
i speak for the altar in my heart- sacred blood that keeps it pumping
i speak for the scars
i speak for my river and my mountain and my rebirth and my reclamation
i speak for my goddess, my scientist, my wise woman, my self
i speak for all the children who think they don’t have a voice
i speak for all the children forced to keep their family’s secrets
i speak for all the adults forced to keep their family’s secrets
i speak for all the adults forced to keep their own secrets, in shame
i speak for the anesthetization of the body
i speak for the shaking
i speak for the wakening up
i speak for the howling out windows
i speak for the graffiti on the roof
i speak for the flapping of wings
i speak for the falling on your knees, praying into the earth
i speak for the cycle of life/death/life
i speak for the codependent
i speak for those that just want to be happy
i speak for those that just want to be loved
i speak for all those who think they’re not good enough for any of it
i speak for the man perched on the triboro bridge that night
i speak for my self, wailing in the night when you went missing
i speak for the sadness, for the depressed, the anxious, the manic, the bipolar, the suicidal urge- and the will that keeps us here
i speak for the hunger in my body, the restlessness in my soul that reminds me constantly there is a deeper nourishment that i must tap into- a nourishment beyond accolades, sustenance, sex, adoration
it is wild and it is free and it is whole and it comes out of me when i sing, when i let my rattle move, when i give my body to dancing, when i give my body-
safety
beauty
tribe
protection
Love with a capital L
i speak as the fierce prayer that is my life
i speak as the warrior
i speak as the gentleness
i speak as the transfiguration
i speak as the roots and the bearing fruit
i speak for the dead and for the living, and the dead who are alive, and the alive who are dead
i speak for the words on walls
i speak for the crown in the heart
i speak for the silence
i speak for the blue sky
i speak for the infinite abundance
i speak with the breath that creates the living word
i speak now and for every other day i am granted to be here
i speak for the plants that crack through the sidewalk
i speak the medicine
i am the medicine
i am the heart on fire flying eagle spirit
i am the fact that even as this prayer poem ends, it will reverberate-
create your echoes- brothers, sisters
create your echoes everywhere you walk-
find harmony
wildness
and acceptance
and bravery
and goodness
and truth
AHO.
– transcribed exactly as recorded into my phone while riding my bike, astoria to bed stuy, 11.12.17

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‘i liked what you said about rewriting your legacy.’
‘you got to. because if you don’t, someone else will.’

XO

a.