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Meet Ashley Wilkerson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Wilkerson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ashley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a theatrically-trained actress, poet, vibe specialist, and trauma-informed meditation teacher. I have facilitated healing services for Californians For Safety and Justice, Revolve Impact, etc., and have worked extensively with crime survivors, veterans, incarcerated youth, and grieving mothers. I’ve been invited to speak at 72 and Sunny, Survivors Speak, Black Women For Wellness, etc.  I am the creator of BROTHER BREATHE, a soulful, mindfulness meditation experience, for Black boys and men seeking peace. It is inspired my brother John John who was murdered at the age of 28.  I also offer private coaching and have shared the benefits of mindfulness with diverse audiences.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’m originally from Dallas, Texas and came to LA as socially conscious working artist. I was on tour, published a book a poetry,  received grants to write shows, and within the first few months of living in LA, I booked a few commercials, a theater show, and the film Hunter Gatherer (Netflix) without an agent or a manager! In the midst of all of that,  my grandmother died suddenly. We were extremely close and I was her Power of Attorney. Her death greatly impacted me. I went through a major depression and was forced to mourn three deaths at the same time -(my mother, grandmother and brother.)  Up until that point, I grieved primarily on stage. I didn’t intentionally plan on doing so, but one day I realized that I had immersed myself in portraying complex and emotionally deep characters,  so that I didn’t have to deal directly with my pain.

In 2016, I gave myself permission to stop performing. I was in an acting class here and it didn’t feel good to play pretend. I turned down a show and my healing became my number one priority. I sat with myself, looked deeply into my pain,  found a temporary “regular job”, deepened my five-year mindfulness practice, and went back to therapy.  In 2017, I returned to Texas and sat through my brother’s murder trial.  My practice is helping me to transform that pain. Living in LA, away from my family, has given me the opportunity to really stretch and grow.  I’ve had to learn the energy of this city, cultivate new friendships, and like so many others,  my beloved car of ten years was towed and sold last year (shout out to Hollywood Tow.)  However, so many angels have come to my rescue.  Through all of the challenges,  my faith has increased and I know that I am here on divine assignment.  I am so blessed and the work I’m doing is not in vain.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m in a fabulous writing program- Community Literature Initiative (CLI) and just finished my second book called, Reverence. It’s a powerful collection of poems and meditations. I am also revamping my one woman show, Freckle In My Eye, which tells the story of a woman on Death Row.  The prison industrial complex has and is destroying so many lives. I believe, like the great, Paul Robeson,  that artists have a responsibility.

Brother Breathe is blossoming! I especially love holding space in South LA and bringing mindfulness to the people. In the spirit of our dear bother Nipsey Hussle, The Marathon Continues.  I’ve had pop up workshops in the park,  Kaos Network, and The Tree South.

I am also receiving more invitations to speak on mental health, mindfulness, and self care. I am intentional about practicing what I preach!  I’ve gained a few new clients who are artists and I enjoy teaching them how to live more authentically and purposefully.  Your self worth should not be based on your work or how many followers you have on social medial!

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is all relative. It could be going to bed with a clear conscious and waking up inspired. Success is making peace with the past and the present moment. Of course, getting paid to do what you love is success! Exceeding the expectations that were placed on you is success. Using your gifts (even the less glamorous ones)…success. Getting up from a fall…success. Resting when necessary…success.  Practicing forgiveness… success. Allowing someone to love you at your best and your worst…success. Loving yourself even more than that…success.

Pricing:

  • Brother Breathe Workshop- Summer Soul Sessions at the Tree South LA (June 23rd, July 28, August 25th) $20 per person
  • Private coaching, Speaking,  and tailored workshops available. Contact for price details.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.DawnofAshley.com
  • Email: artloveashley@gmail.com
  • Instagram: IG: @dawnofashley_ @brotherbreathe
  • Facebook: DawnofAshley

Image Credit:
Tracy Keza (photo of men sitting meditating) Greg Westhoff (photo in green flowery dress); Vonda Klimaszewski (profile in front of door and tree- MAIN), Khadeem Bow (photo in white tank)

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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