Alexa Wilding

Hudson NY

Photography by Valeda Beach Stull

Featuring Alexa Wilding

Where are you from and where do you currently reside?
I was born and raised mostly in New York City, downtown in the Village and Soho. My heart still beats for a city that is no longer, but I’ve found slices of it here at home in Hudson, NY.

Please describe who you are and what you do?
I’m a writer, a singer-songwriter and a mother to West and Lou, my eight year-old identical twin boys. For over a decade, I was a musician, spinning around in shiny dresses, putting out records, performing and touring. But that all changed when I became a mother to two babies at once. Then my son, Lou was first diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric brain cancer at one. He was in remission for four years, during which I went back to graduate school for an MFA in writing. I needed a new medium to express all the things that had happened, no melody could really do it. Lou’s cancer came back in 2019 – he’s currently stable, but I’m still wrapping my head around the mystery of it all.

What are you working on, interested in at the moment?
I’m working on my first book, basically about all of the above. How to understand a life that takes turns you never could have imagined? But that’s every life, isn’t it? I’m also working on new music. It’s been healing and freeing making music from this new place, far from the girl in the shiny dresses, singing from a whole new consciousness.

When do you feel most whole?  
Lying in bed flanked by my boys, reading, talking about our dreams. We’ve been through a lot together so we’re particularly close. It’s such an honor shepherding them along on their paths. “I’ll do anything for you,” I remind them. It’s wild to really, truly mean something from the bottom of your big broken heart.

How do you find your center when you've spiraled out?
I need a lot of space, a lot of alone time. This has been totally at odds with twin motherhood, living at hospitals, then home with my kids throughout this pandemic. But somehow it’s made me good at asking for what I need, and usually, I just need someone else to be in charge for a while. My husband, Ian often reads the signs before I do and just gets everyone out of the house so I can be quiet and fill myself back up.

Is there an interest or desire you’ve been circling around but have yet to explore?
For the last two years, I’ve been studying shamanism and cultivating a drumming and journeying practice. This took me by total surprise. With all the bananas stuff that’s happened to me, I was convinced I was going to become a Buddhist! But, here I am with my drum. I am by no means calling myself a shaman. I would though like to help others learn the simple, centuries old tool of drumming as meditation, drumming as a way into the worlds within worlds within ourselves.

Which of Nature’s cycles – the moon, seasons, harvest – do you feel most aligned with and why?
The moon. I love the ritualistic element of the new and full moons, intentions and release. How generous that we can always try again! The moon, like the Sun, is something we can count on.

What does sustainability mean to you in your work and life?
Keeping our lives as simple as possible. Besides the obvious things (trying to live less wastefully, lessen our impact), I’m very interested in the concept of reciprocity, literally and shall we say energetically? If I give to this plant, tend to it, love it, it blooms for me. It’s a relationship. I explain to my kids that we’re in relationship with everything, like our blooming Christmas cactus, the woodchuck who eats all the lettuce, just all of it.

What is the role of Spirit and the unseen realms in your life and work?
A huge role. I come from a long line of mystics and psychics, so I’ve gone between the worlds my whole life. I’ve felt different helpers at different times. I just know they’re there. It’s all quite bonkers and joyful. And when a bad egg shows up? “Not interested!” I say, as my Baba taught me.

What is your favorite circular form or symbol and why?
Probably the infinity symbol, two circles entwined. It makes me think of my boys, forever enmeshed, a mystery between them. It also makes me think how we’re all connected. Somewhere, years ago, now, or fast forward, someone was/is/will be feeling the exact feeling as you. We are never alone. 

What are you reading right now?
I finally had to stop reading everything I could on shamanism and return to Earth. I just re-read Joy Harjo’s Crazy Brave, which is basically a book on shamanism, her memoir is so out of this world. I’m reading Deborah Levy’s “working autobiographies,” the new Rachel Cusk novel, and pages from my own work in progress.

A quote or a mantra for hard times?
I don’t know if I made this up or read it somewhere, but: “Right now is the safest place to be.” What happened may have felt terrible, what might happen feels worse. But right now, this second, you’re here, and it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Alexa is 5.7” tall and wears the Albizia Coat CLASSIC in medium