Answering The Call From Your Wild Heart: Interview with Dominque Warfield
| By James Navé |
When Sandi Tomlin-Sutker mentioned she’d chosen Adventure as the theme for August 2016’s WNC Woman, I immediately thought of Dominque Warfield, a citizen of the world who has chosen Asheville as her home. I first met Dominique four years ago during a free-form creativity workshop in Asheville. She came with her Irish drum and a laugh that made you want to fiddle.Not only was Dominique committed to answering the call when the vessel puffs its sails, she was equally willing to dive into the swamp of her psychology and muck around until she found something she could use. When Dominique and I sat down for this interview, we were sixteen hundred miles west of downtown Asheville in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico, twelve miles north of Taos, near the shadow of the Sacred Mountain.
James Navé: How do you define adventure, or as you call it, The Shamanique Experience?
Dominique Warfield: Adventure is the call from your wild heart, that place where your soul meets the road. There’s gusto behind that word: Adventure. When you choose from your heart, you embody adventure.
JN: When did you first hear your call to adventure?
DW: When I hitchhiked to New Orleans and found God. I was in college. My girlfriend Cortney and I were outside a Krispy Kreme on University and 13th Street talking about inspiration. Courtney was telling me about how her heart had changed during her trip to the Fifth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. Her story inspired me. I told her I wanted to go to New Orleans. She said, “Why don’t we hitchhike there and go to the Jazz Festival?”
A Krispy Kreme employee, who was taking a smoke break, overheard us and started to hurry back in. She must have been thinking we wanted to order donuts. We said, “Sister, just finish your cigarette, don’t worry about it.”
When we finally went in to place our order, the woman who had been smoking gifted us a dozen donuts. We considered those donuts a sign from God telling us to hitchhike to New Orleans. Off we went, thumbs on the Interstate, full packs on our backs. Every person who gave us a ride carried Christ consciousness. Fabio, the Mexican food truck driver, had a huge Jesus tattooed on his forearm. A Pentecostal church director carried us 200 miles. She never judged us. Her essence was angelic.
Courtney prophesied a Rasta. Ten minutes later, a woman with dreadlocks from Pensacola rolled down her window and said, “Y’all sisters need a ride to New Orleans?” She took us all the way to the Big Easy. Seven hours after we’d left Florida, her car broke down right in front of the youth hostel. I guess she needed us as much as we needed her. At Jazz Festival, the guitarist of a band called Roots broke me open while playing “The Star Spangled Banner.” I was determined to meet him. Sure enough, a roadie gave us a backstage pass. I knocked on the door of his trailer and said, “Hi, I’m supposed to meet you.” He said, “Come on in.” When we walked through the door he said, “Would you like some Krispy Kreme donuts?”
JN: How does living in Asheville spark your adventures?
DW: I have to pay homage to the land. It’s like the Shire, full of mountain energy for the creative soul. I pay respect to my community, adventurous people who inspire me to step into my heart’s pursuits. Asheville fosters all kinds of adventures, from planning to trek the Himalayas to experiencing a deeper intimacy with someone you love.
JN: What was the most spontaneous adventure you ever had
DW: A friend sent me a text message that said, “Let’s go to a waterfall.” I replied, “Yes, let’s invite people.” I sent another text message to a friend that he posted on social media. Within three hours, forty people had gathered in the Westgate parking lot. We caravanned up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Black Balsam. We gathered in a grassy spot near a waterfall. Then we stretched out in a long line like a cosmic serpent following a shaman’s beat. It was a powerful ritual of community, one I’ll never forget.
JN: How does being a woman inform your sense of adventure?
DW: The more I adventure, the more I realize how important it is for all women to drop into their adventures. Adventure connects you, makes you feel at home, alive. Sing in front of a mirror, unabashedly. Imagine yourself trekking in a jungle, or flying a hot air balloon, or sipping coffee in Paris. Adventure breeds fearlessness. If you feel like you don’t have an adventurous bone in your body, get curious about that dial. Change channels until you find your adventure song. It can be as simple as going to the movies. Your bones will know.
JN: Last question: What prayer would you offer to the adventurers of the world?
DW: I pray you will feel the wind on your face. I pray you will hear your adventures as callings of love, pleasure, and ecstasy. I pray you will release control, let your arms rise in the air around you. I pray you will follow your soul’s longing. I pray you will grow old and wise.
An Asheville native, James Navé he has been the LEAF Poetry Slam Master since the festival began in 1995. He is the Director of the Taos Storytelling Festival and the Director of the Taos Poetry Festival. Navé was interviewed by Jacki Lyden for NPR’s Weekend Edition in 2011 where he told the story of how he confronted his big mento mori (“remember your mortality”) moment the best way he knew how — vowing to write a poem a day for the hundred days following his cancer surgery. He is the host and producer of Twice-5-Miles Radio for Asheville’s WPVM 103.7, going the metaphorical Twice-5-Miles to find stories and create conversations about culture, art, education, business, politics, and literature. Navé holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College Fine Arts.