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

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.

for all of us.

howwecope

After a sold-out debut at Queens Council on the Arts in February 2017, Audrey Dimola’s “HOW WE CREATE & HOW WE COPE: intersections of art & mental health/mental illness” arrives in its next generation at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center’s ROUGH DRAFT FESTIVAL 2018. #awarenessisempathy ///

Join us for another angle of ROUGH DRAFT- vibrantly pieced together from a group of artists and performers viscerally experiencing their personal realities of mental health. Hosted and curated by Queens native and poet/curator Audrey Dimola, “HOW WE CREATE & HOW WE COPE” is an open and honest evening of multidisciplinary performance and presentations about the too-often stigmatized topic of mental illness, particularly in connection to creativity as an outlet, outcome, or survival mechanism.

Throughout our cultural history, many of the legendary artists we know today, from painter Vincent Van Gogh to writer Virginia Woolf, grappled in this way- yet it becomes a passing line in their bio, a tragic footnote- and their brilliant work remains. In the present day, a rapidly increasing number of individuals of all ages are struggling in similar fashion, frequently in silence and shame, due to overwhelming fears regarding judgment, job security and social status, and access to help.

How much of how we suffer makes us who we are and results in the art we create? How much of these feelings are the natural experience of the artist, and when is it time to seek help? What do those forms of help look like?

A variety of local featured artists will present their stories, poetry, dance, and more, in addition to a sharing of resources and experiences on these topics. All are welcome- this is a safe space. ///

FEATURING:
Olena Marukhnyak
Deborah Emin
Bryan Bruner
Nick Neon
Steven T. Licardi
Richie Alexandro
Keys Will
Dina Gregory
Danny Matos
Bri Onishea
Jonathan Cherlin
Lynne DeSilva-Johnson
Lauren Hale Biniaris
Buttered Roll
Sam Combs
Rachel Brown
Audrey Dimola

SPECIAL GUEST:
Roll up early, as of 4:30pm Steve Vazquez of Queenscapes will be on hand taking portraits of ALL attendees and participants for a special version of his #CapturedInQueens series designed to help build awareness and attention to art & mental illness <3 !!!

Q&A WILL FOLLOW THE PERFORMANCE
5-8pm in the LITTLE THEATRE
FREE event, please bring a friend who feels or needs this ///

RSVP @ http://siteline.vendini.com/site/lpac.nyc/how-we-create-and-how-we-cope-intersections-of-arts–mental-health-mental-illness

Rough Draft Festival is a one of a kind series curated by LPAC’s Associate Director Handan Ozbilgin. As a window into the creative process, The Rough Draft Festival is a celebration of artists/organizations and their work under development. RD features a wide array of artists whose work is at various levels of development all striving towards a finished product. Each year we push the boundaries of theater presenting pieces that give a voice to meaningful works. #IAMARoughDraft

CHECK THE REST OF ROUGH DRAFT FESTIVAL’s performances & offerings MARCH 26 to APRIL 21 http://siteline.vendini.com/site/lpac.nyc/rough-draft

CHECK THE STORIES OF HOW WE CREATE & HOW WE COPE on Facebook & Instagram