Waking Up in Portland

Winter really kicks my ass sometimes. But it’s March 1st and I am laying in bed listening to rain on my roof and small birds chirp and shuffle in their shrubs. These birds have reliably chirped each morning for the past 3 weeks and serve as a reminder that life is out there. The ice storm covered Portland and melted. We made it. The birds still chirp. The first buds pop open.

So here is to new beginnings. I’m working at the Children’s Relief Nursery in St. John’s doing art with kids and I truly love it. I’m spending a lot of quiet time with friends, at North Portland Yoga and reading in my room. Here are some titles I’d like to share with you that helped me through this winter:

The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck

The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

All of these titles are wildly sincere and encouraging. I’ve read the Wild Iris about 5 times and will undoubtedly read it 5 more. It gives me new eyes each spring as I watch the Oregon flora unfold.

Despite my tendency toward hibernation this winter, I’ve slowly began working with a new medium for my tooth sculptures. The sculptures are more resilient and I am gladly accepting orders for jewelry. You can find a few necklaces at Bridge & Burn or directly contact me for custom orders at edhallenterprises@gmail.com. I’d love to collaborate and see one of them around your or a loved one’s neck.

For now I am looking forward to Spring and the burst of energy it delivers. I am also greatly looking forward to getting back to the trails. I hope to see you on one or two or three of them. More updates, sculptures and illustrations here soon.

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Disco Molar Necklaces for Bridge & Burn

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Custom Disco Molar Necklace & Winter Light

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My Witchy Casa

My Love 2 You,

E.D.

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Remembering the Night

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Heaven was originally precisely that: the starry sky, dating back to the earliest Egyptian texts, which include magic spells that enable the soul to be sewn in the body of the great mother, Nut, literally “night,” like the seed of a plant, which is also a jewel and a star. The Greek Elysian fields derive from the same celestial topography: the Egyptian “Field of Rushes,” the eastern stars at dawn where the soul goes to be purified. That there is another, mirror world, a world of light, and that this world is simply the sky—and a step further, the breath of the sky, the weather, the very air—is a formative belief of great antiquity that has continued to the present day with the godhead becoming brightness itself
—Susan Brind Morrow, Wolves and Honey

 

So this is embarrassing…

I’ve procrastinated this post because basically, I feel like a jerk. I’ve made QUITE a show of my travel plans to the point of creating a blog to document them and now I have to own up: I’m not going to Spain.

Let me tell you a story. 3 months ago I walked in to a anarcho-hippie coffee shop in SE Portland to meet my psychic. I don’t usually frequent crusty coffee shops nor Southeast PDX nor psychics but I was in desperate need of some guidance. I call Raven my psychic because, amidst her piles of cotton candy hair, blue eyeliner, rainbow crystals and runes; I recognize a nurturing and staggeringly thorough empath and at that moment in my life, I frantically sought insight.

2 weeks earlier my existing concepts about life and how it works had crumbled. Stephen A. Person, a close friend, was killed in a drunk driving collision. Life felt surreal. Slumped in a vinyl hospital chair under fluorescent lights all I could do was blink and wait and as I floated through the next week of memorial service, preschool shifts, and teary gatherings with friends I felt an underlying urgency in my gut that screamed RUN. I felt the immediacy of my youth and as I looked around at my friends’ ghosted faces I was scared. I stopped drinking, committed to yoga and accepted a position to teach in Spain as soon as it was offered.

Spain acted as a mechanism to transition out of a life that had stagnated.  I was also aching to get out of my business but it was so difficult to walk away from all of the painstaking time and passion I had invested in to Backtalk. I felt like I was abandoning a child but I had to accept that the business had developed in to something  that I ethically no longer wanted to be a part of. One day last Spring I walked in to the store and the playlist was exactly adapted from Urban Outfitters playlist. This seems trite but it was an a-ha moment for me. I realized Backtalk had largely deviated from the original business plan I had written and what it was becoming was in opposition to what I wanted it to be. I never wanted to be the next Urban Outfitters, I sincerely wanted to do something altogether different and innovative that contributed positive vibes to the Portland design scene, not mass-produced trends.

Stephen’s death put all of this all in to a tail spin. I freaked out.

And I went to see my psychic. She told me, as every intuitive has told me before, that I would travel wide and far. She told me that I felt voiceless and trapped. She told me that the village in Spain could use my help and that a return to education was the best possible decision for me and that I should leave my business for the sake of my head and heart. I drank my iced chai, blinked and made my decision. I was going to Spain as quickly as possible.

Raven’s statements were all accurate but I took them perhaps too literally. Spain seemed like the most accessible mechanism for transitioning out of Backtalk and away from the palpable grief surrounding Stephen’s death. I greedily took the opportunity to escape.

Costa Rica was out of my control but I have chosen to not go to Spain. The acquisition of a job there allowed me to find freedom here: I purged belongings, sold Backtalk, travelled the West Coast and felt a powerful surge of happiness in San Francisco.

But I realized in my travels that now is not the moment to move to a tiny village, isolated from my family, friends and identity. However, the process of preparing for this life change was fruitful. I will always be infinitely grateful for the kindness and guidance of Maury, my former Ubriqueno yoga teacher, whose friendship and wisdom over the past few months has been monumentally important to me. This would not have blossomed without my tentative Spain plans.

There are, of course, a multitude of other factors in my decision that are too personal to share on the world wide web. Maybe I can tell you over a tall glass of whiskey.

Ultimately, Spain did not serve the purpose I had intended but in retrospect, it served a purpose in the evolution of my next steps. A week from today I fly to San Francisco for interviews and hope to transition to the Bay over the next month. I guess I’m still running, just not as far from home and in to the warm arms of dear friends.

I feel somewhat very foolish about my boasting over grand international travels but I have been meditating on this phrase all week: Shit happens. The best that I can do is handle that shit as honestly and graciously as possible.

I’ll end with this, a picture of Stephen from a photo shoot Megan facilitated at our house this past winter. Wherever I go, whether Spain or San Francisco, I will carry his adventuring spirit with me.

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By Matthew Houlemard

I will also try to base life decisions on tarot less and deal with reality a little more effectively.

So here goes, next step, a day at a time.

All My Love Everywhere and Infinitely,

xo, E.D.

What Not to Do

In my pursuit of holistic health I become very excited about sharing positive discoveries made along the way: drink dandelion tea to boost potassium! Try some hip-opening Vinyasa pre-run! Add some cayenne to your water bottle for a happy liver!

However,  I also sometimes often learn important lessons about what NOT to do. While I usually regard my enthusiasm as an ally, it can get me in to some uncomfortable situations. Literally. Perhaps this has more to do with impatience. Either way, I try to view these as opportunities for entries on an ever-growing list of What Not to Dos. I suppose this is in the same vein as my frequent mantra “laugh so you don’t cry”.

I’ve had few lessons of the What Not to Do variety over the past few days. For example: 

Do not take a 10-mile ride on a bike with clip in pedals when you do not have the clip in shoes. It will hurt your feet. Do not attempt to ride aforementioned bike with zero knowledge about how its gears work. This could result in wipeouts due to insane ratio imbalances. Do not ride this bike in an unfamiliar city with no phone or map. Do not ride this bike uphill in the Eastern Oregon desert in the hottest hour of the hottest month of the year. And perhaps this is the most poignant What Not to Do lesson that I learned in this situation: absolutely do not wear denim cutoffs on a sweaty, 10 mile ride. These shorts? 

 

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 Good.

On the other hand; tiny, denim cutoffs will result in hamburger meat for inner thighs. While I have lived in the 3 pairs of workout shorts that I packed, free laundry facilities beckoned me. Next time I’ll just be riding dirty.

How does this relate to my health? Well by the day’s end, I was feeling pretty alienated. My mind was frustrated, my body was sore. I was in a bad place. I decided to drink some tea and take a soak. Sometimes, I put post-steeped peppermint tea bags on my tired lids. I did this but forgot I had also added cayenne pepper to the tea while it steeped. Thus, my next lesson in what not to do: Do not put cayenne soaked tea bags on your eyes. It will burn. And it will turn the flesh around your eyes bright red for the following 3 hours. “Laugh so you don’t cry” I said to my puffy-eyed reflection in the mirror. 

So, perhaps these experiences will save a reader from blistery thighs and eyelids. However, in retrospect these lessons seem like common sense. I guess my lesson here is to personally re-define enthusiasm, make it less stubborn and impulsive and more about sustainably feeling good. Patience. 

One more lesson: Do not become overzealous about inversions in yoga. I fell out of a headstand 3 nights ago and wrecked my neck for a few days. I’d recommend some guidance from a more experienced practitioner. And patience. 

Patience. Laugh so you don’t cry. Patience. 

This is my mantra for the week.

Tomorrow holds a hike and canoe trip with my brother, some sage harvesting and lots of Gentle Hatha. I will save inversions for next week. 

In Restful Spirit, 

E.D. 

On the eve of my departure…

…I am debating whether to bake banana bread or not. Last night I made banana flax bread with molasses but I couldn’t find the cinnamon and it’s bland. Laundry is still in the dryer, my poor retinas are going to shrivel on the sun drenched drive because I’ve lost my sunglasses whilst moving and I still haven’t checked my oil. Al fin, no me importa.

Tomorrow I will head to Breitenbush and put some faith in the strange bliss of the universe working itself out.

What I do have prepared are a sleeping bag, , some primitive cookware, a backpack full of clothes and a hell of a lot of books.

On my birthday eve, I illustrated a recent meditation. It’s what I’ve been projecting for this journey and the coming year’s journey. And the many, many journey after that. So it is what I will leave you with before I go:

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A few more hours of procrastination +  a few minutes of packing and I will be on the road. I think I will skip the banana bread.

Please note however: no internet or cell phone coverage exists at Breitenbush so I will be out of touch for 4 days. I say NO WORRIES, just skinny dips and yoga for days. But if you can’t reach me, that is why.

See you on the flip side.

xo,

E.D.

Ode to My Pickup

Last fall as I awkwardly boarded the bus with 2 heaping bags of vintage, a backpack full of electronics and books and a bag of groceries slung over my arm, I had an epiphany: my lifestyle demanded a vehicle. 

I’ve always respected bag ladies but as I slowly began to become one, I realized I just wasn’t cut from the bag lady cloth. 

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Day 1 of my Datsun love affair.

So I found my magical pickup and while I didn’t know how to navigate a stick shift upon purchase, I quickly learned in the throes of Portland rush hour. I’ve come a long way from stalling mid-intersection on W Burnside or hydroplaning over the Hawthorne Bridge. I’ve camped in the back, stuffed it full of bikes, vintage, people and fishing gear and I have one final journey left. 

I look forward to many long, bumpy day rides and shag-carpeted nights with the ol’ Datsun this month. 

Here’s a basic route map:

 

I love Google Maps.

On monday, I leave for 4 days of yoga, meditation and, hot springs and hikes at Breitenbush. More on that soon. 

<3, 

E.D.