01 December 2017

.the hero's journey.


On this day 6 years ago I got a plane bright and early in the morning vibrating with excitement and paralyzed with fear - I was headed to Malawi for 9 months with the Peace Corps as a Response Volunteer. 

Today I was walking on my favorite trail, it winds thru the trees and curves around tiny lakes - it's my favorite place to think. I was listening to this podcast and this with Oprah and Liz Gilbert, discussing the Hero's Journey and how people who have been conditioned as women have been told this isn't their journey, the hero's journey and from this understanding we (women) don't always know or take agency of our lives or the direction of our journey. We wait for it to come to us. So many women have followed their role models - their Mothers, Aunts, Grandmas who grew up and got married and had babies and built a home. That is the journey. We follow this journey because the women we love lived this journey and they are strong and wise and beautiful - but this isn't everyone's journey. 

I thought about my journey. I didn't follow my Nana's journey - I didn't follow my Mom's journey. I find myself on the other side of Oprah and Liz's experience. I was given the love + support to live a journey that is very far from my Nana + Mom. They encouraged me to go + learn + seek + find in ways they never had the freedom too. I'm so grateful for that. But I wonder if I am, even on the other side facing the same dilemma - while living a free journey I have felt lost without role models to show me how to live this journey - how to embrace and receive the freedom.

Whether we are following the women of our family or traveling new pathways we have to check into our own authenticity. What do we really want our journey to be? AND are you able to see ourselves as deserving enough to have it? 

The  podcast goes on to tell a story of one of  Liz's close friends who on her 40th birthday made a ceremony for herself to release the bride, to release the expectation she held that in order to be the person she wanted and have the life she wanted she had to get married, so she released it. It's a powerful story. I started thinking about what I would release. 

What have I been carrying around with me? 

Immediately the words dropped into my head - I have to release the pressure + idea of a perfect life. I don't know how to navigate this journey of freedom + exploration. I wasn't given role models. It's been the most beautiful journey so far and I am so grateful for every moment of it - high/low good/bad fulfilling/draining lonely/connected quiet/loud BUT it is what is needs to be. It doesn't have to be perfect (right) - there is no perfect (right) town - there is no perfect (right) job - there is no perfect (right) choice. Allow myself to take agency of a freedom that the women in my life haven't had. Stay curious to new ways instead of holding onto fear without a clear role model of the unknown. Don't listen to fear - perfect is just fear dressed up in a nice outfit as Liz says! 

I'm so curious about how + why people make choices! I'm thinking now it's been a way for me to try to gather data on how humans navigate this journey whether be it with role models that didn't live the journeys they feel called to or living a journey that has no role model. I want to hear + collect these stories. The stories of the Hero's Journey.

I wonder if you've thought about your journey? 
I wonder what you would release? 

10 November 2017

.the beaches of massachusetts.


Growing up in the arid sagebrush foothills it feel pretty magical to be able to drive 10 mins to the ocean. I love sandy beaches of Massachusetts. Cape Cod has yellow corse sand and here on Cape Ann it's such a fine white almost powder sand. 

07 November 2017

.above the clouds.


I've been asking a lot of questions lately without answers. I've felt big things moving and shifting inside of me. Sometimes impermanence feels so invigorating and in other moments, overwhelming. I'm trying to renew myself in a familiar space - acknowledgeing all the changes that have occurred inside of me within the past year. I flew west to Washington, just a month after leaving the west and it felt like home looking out the plane window, the mountains + colors - the vastness. I felt a loneliness looking out the window and then realized the gratitude I held for the connecting moment of the sky meeting the clouds, that moment + perspective always feels like I was living inside of a Georgia O'Keeffe painting. I felt gratitude for my expanding heart when I looked out to see the mountain lake of my childhood, Lake Chelan. So grateful to see things from so many sides - to feel home - to feel my heart fill up when I look down from above the clouds.

I was listening to a podcast by Tara Brach this week and she said "Life should be experienced like a curious mystery not a problem to solve" I hope I hold onto that and let go of the need for answers.

25 September 2017

.finger lakes + boston.






I fell in love with the Finger Lakes! My plan was to stay one night which turned into two and continued into three. The Finger Lakes are located in Upstate New York, the landscape is soft rolling farmland with beautiful barns with many farms having their own little veggie stand on the road, paid on the honor system. The Finger Lakes region is a central part of the Iroquois homeland. The Iroquois tribes include the Seneca and Cayuga nations, which two of the lakes are names after, the lakes I visited. I'd visited Ithaca once before but it was winter. This time I was able to explore several gorge trails that just captivated me - the rocks, the colors, the flowing water and the way the light traveling through the trees and reflected and danced on the water. It was succession of moments of awe hiking the trails. There were several places this journey I felt my heart expanding and Ithaca was one of them.




My very last night of camping was in the Catskill Mountains on a small lake. The mountains were covered with the changing colors of fall, already! I had mixed feelings of savoring the peaceful comfort I had found on the road - the rhythm of setting up my tent everyday and waking up to drink coffee outside, just being outside so much of the day felt like home to me. But I was also feeling ready to reunite with dear ones and start this next adventure back in New England.



This last update took me longer to write than expected. I've been back in the city a week, time seems to fly by in the city. It feels so dense and busy here, I'm readjusting to New England but there's a part of me that now knows I don't want to fully readjust to the life I had here before. I need time to absorb nature and moments of silence to authentically connected to myself - to hear myself. I found a beautiful little place in a small coastal town just a little north of Boston to spend the next few months and I marinate all the places + colors + experiences of this nomadic residency and preparing for jewelry workshops in Somerville and the holiday shows that will quickly come.

Thank you thank you to everyone reading this for your love + support. I hope you have in someway connected with yourself thru this journey. I will continue to share this experience with you all as I process it with time and the jewelry that will slowly evolve from it. 

Much Love,
AEO

17 September 2017

.chicago + the great lakes.


Chicago is a huge city filled with a beautiful a mixture of people and cultures. I always love Chicago and it's working class friendliness! I first went to Chicago three years ago to visit my sister and ended up taking some jewelry classes at the Evanston Art Center. This trip I was able to spend some time with my jewelry mentor, Nancy Sickbert-Wheeler, going to one of her classes at Evanston Art Center, and getting some help on a jewelry project. I also have a childhood friend in Chicago who recently bought a bungalow and is in the middle of redecorating and renovating the entire place by herself. Watching her progress this past year via instagram I was excited to see her work in person! It was beautiful, you can check out her instagram at @mychicagobungalow. It was a creative time for me and a reminder of all the connections that I hold dear.


My next stop was Ohio and Lake Erie, which was such a surprise! I found Ohio to be an amazingly friendly place - probably the friendliest place I've been to on this trip. Everyone waved to say hello, the grocery store clerk was giving me local trails advice and insisted on helping me load my two small bags of groceries in my car! ha! Then while on an evening walk I met a couple and ended up talking to them for 45 minutes about life and shared some camping adventure stories! Lake Erie was also gorgeous despite having some strange lake bugs, it was a beautiful large soft moving body of water. I wish I'd had another night!

Off to Upstate New York!
XX

AEO

12 September 2017

.badlands + the heartland.


Driving into the badlands felt like I was transcending into a different world. I feel this often when I'm lost in nature - a total reset. A wake up to the reality life is so much bigger and more vibrant and more strange and more vast that I make it to be. 

The strange formations that sometimes looked like it could be giants looking down over the vast lands of the South Dakota desert and the layers of subtle colors that changed vibrancy with the light of the day. I arrived late in the afternoon and drove thru the park and then drove back thru again in the morning with the sunrise. It's truly an awe-inspiring place.



The next stop was the heartland - Nebraska + Iowa. Nebraska was forever flat lands of corn fields and soybean crops and tractor traffic on highway 20. I drove thru straight to Omaha. I was surprised to find great free + public art in Omaha. Some my favorite places were the Josyln Art Museum, Kineko and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Iowa seemed to be more lush with soft rolling fields of corn and soybeans. I spent a day in Des Moines to find more great art, my favorite was the Des Moines Art Center. I then headed north to Dubuque where the land continued to slowly roll and interesting rock cliffs lined the highway. I slept on the banks of the Mississippi River. 




09 September 2017

.wyoming.


Wyoming - I've fallen in love with you!! The wild + untamed ways have captivated my heart. I never knew the vibrancy of Wyoming! From the colors of the thermal basins at Yellowstone to the cream, peach and terra cotta layered hillsides of a little town called Tenspeed and the electric red hills further east in Devils Tower. I wanted to stop my car 50 times yesterday to take a picture of the colors of earth and the way the colors of the earth layered with the green and yellow grasses - but the picture only shows so much! This land feels old and still undiscovered, like you might see cowboys perched on top of a Dolomites looking over his bison. 

During my 3 (way too short) days in Wyoming I went to Yellowstone National Park, travelled Buffalo Bill Memorial Highway, slept in a tipi and visited the sacred Devil's Tower. 

Of you haven't experienced Wyoming I can't recommend it enough! The colors + untamed ways + stories are like no other place!!