Back to Portland

I journeyed the entire 12-hour stretch home yesterday and carried so much in my mind and in my heart along the way. I have a lot to say but prefer to remain silent in Portland for a bit longer. So here are a few photos from the past week accompanied by a word or phrase. 

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Sunset at Sibley

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Drake Bay Oysters at Point Reyes

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Backyard Palm Tree

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Beautiful Grace Kim

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One of the many free box gems from Liz’s estate

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Meg among posters

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Me and my sweet, sweet lady. Thanks for the good times.

xo, E

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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. 

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. 

Plans Change.

Occasionally, I suffer from a condition I call the Invincibility Complex. I read too much John Krakauer, drink too much coffee, start attending real estate showings,  apply to law school, decide to become a yoga instructor, convert to raw veganism,   accept 2 new jewelry orders,  plan a trip to Costa Rica, accept a job in Spain.  I refuse to slow down. Then something monumental and completely outside of my control occurs and I’m quickly snapped back to the present. This is simultaneously scary and humbling. It reminds me that the plans I have so frantically constructed for my life are vastly different from how life actually works out.  And I have to let go.

Such is the case this week with my plans for Costa Rica. 2 days ago I had every intention of spending August immersed in tropical rainforest and scaling mountains. Then I called Brian and the grief was audible in his voice. He’d lost a loved one. They had to close the hostel and were coming back to the US before I even arrived in Central America. Across thousands of miles and a shaky Skype connection I felt deeply for him and my plans suddenly did not seem so grand.

For a fleeting moment, I tried to be stubborn. I’ll arrive in San Jose, find a hostel, and figure it out from there, I thought. I looked up beach hostels and yoga retreats but with 2 days until departure and poco dinero in my pocket I realized: I could push as hard as I wanted against the circumstances but this simply was not the right time.

The trip was sparked by a desire to check out a friend’s project. With that off the table, arriving untethered and without contacts in San Jose seemed less Jack Kerouac and more, well, foolish.

So with a heavy heart, I picked up the phone and transferred my flight to a voucher. The airline representatives were very kind and as I sorted the cancellation details out, my heavy heart began to lift along with the burden of trying to figure everything out on my own.

In the end, I am not going to Costa Rica. However, just as the universe erects obstacles, it also clears them away. I’ve spent most of the past month winding up my life in Portland and while August will not be spent how I had initially hoped, I now have the freedom to visit friends, family and landmarks along the West Coast as a final goodbye before Spain.

After talking with Brian and the loss of my own friend this summer, this seems like a really good idea.

I will climb in my Datsun and take a leisurely 3.5 week journey to Yosemite, stopping at Breitenbush, Bend, Crater Lake, the Redwood Forest and San Francisco, camping in my pickup and staying with friends along the way.

Here’s my mantra, taken from a Gary Snyder’s Kisiabaton: 

“Beat-up datsun idling in the road
shreds of fog
almost-vertical hillsides drop away
huge stumps fading into mist
soft warm rain”

I’m going to try to keep it simple. If I’ve learned anything this week it’s that my prescriptive plans are always subject to change. I’ve been brutally reminded to slow down, wayyyyy down and that as much as I try to make the universe conform to MY time, it does not work that way. Honestly, I think that humans’ power does not lie in our ability to control, but instead with our resiliency, our ability to let go and remain vulnerable in the face of change.

This will be in my thoughts, along with Brian and the beautiful friends I look forward to seeing as I drive through the rolling West Coast landscape.

More updates to come.

In Ever Loving Spirit,

E.D.

Redwood Forest

Redwood Forest