The Portland Adventure: More Than Lyme's First Event
With the video above
Be sure to play video sneak-peak in HD. Original song “Song For You” written by Maria Lytle. Audio taken during her performance at the Portland Adventure, so do excuse any external noise! That’s just us grabbing tissues and what not…
Now and again, raindrops pull me out of my thoughts and I look up to find them scattered behind the collection of poetry that sits on my windowsill.
A reminder, I think, still looking at the books, that no one is exempt from both good and bad, and that words spoken, heard, and written, have the power to change. To weave in and out of every decision, idea, pursuit, and adventure you've ever taken.
They fall short and help make sense of. They feel pain, joy, and loss. They put both uncertainty and security side by side. They strip you of your confidence while dressing you up in a new sense of self, day after day, year after year.
Words, often the secrets told between you and you, are the permission we need to create our own story, whenever and however we see fit.
This post has been sitting on the tip of every thought and intention since we packed our belongings and left Portland on March 5th, the day after our first ever event ended.
It's a want-to-be novel; a tightly bound experience bursting at the seams!
This is always the hardest part, isn't it? I've never felt immediate comfort from the initial stroke of a pen or *click click* of a keyboard as I sit down to share, but here we are. Here we always are, months later, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
There's a longing for the fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from putting this word here and this one here. From taking myself out of the limitations I feel right now and into the nervous-excitement-and-oh-my-gosh-this-could-all-go-terribly-wrong of the night before, the week before, the month before we all walked into that little space in Portland.
After much back and forth, I've come to the conclusion that "the story" of our Adventure in Portland was never meant to be told by me, but by all of you. Giving it room to be what it needs to be without tying it to any one emotion, voice, or moment.
It's an individual experience just as it is a community gathering.
A one-time-thing just as much as it is a lasting influence.
When I first thought of this piece, I painted it a rosy and easy and happy-go-lucky-light. A feeling of ease and comfort and everything nice. And though it was nice, very nice indeed, those rosy covered thoughts, turned words, and eventually stories, were never meant to be just that, rosy.
Fulfilling, uplifting, humbling, wildly important, and joyful, yes! My gosh yes, but also hard. Hard in a way that we may never be able to make sense of. After all, processing such a thing should, in its natural state, take as long as it needs, both individually and as a community.
But there's certainly no harm in re-living a bit of the magic, now is there? All of which was captured by the incredible, Elli Doran.
So, here's to collective story telling and the way of things, as they are, as they change, and as we, in time, look back on the spilling-over-the-brim moments.
Come on in, hang up your coat, grab a tea from the tea bar, and let's get ready for the activities of the day!
There were what felt like twice as many cushions as there were people, taking up the majority of the space as we took off our shoes and gathered round, continuing conversation as a gentle hum gave way to the chirping of birds and muted car engines; with sun streaming through the windows and spring flowers sending out a promise of good things to come, we cozied into our spots as Jenn facilitated us through a group meditation, followed by a sharing circle, of which we'd say a little bit about ourselves and what brought us here, as well as whatever else came up in doing so.
You could feel the support vibrating across the room as we settled into the weekend ahead.
Stepping into your story...
Therein walks the resistance: How in the world can I possibly express to all of you just how much your effort, unshakeable support, time, and advice, has impacted this community?
I can’t, I think, with a heavy never-ending exhale, and should probably stop trying to do so, because in doing so, I'd most likely take away from the courage that it took for you to step out of your story and into another, and another, and another.
Then there are those that are already there, having prepped and prepared, now writing intricate menu cards, making nap rooms, rearranging, organizing, running emergency errands, and creating and re-creating the space as we moved from one activity to the next.
it's the helping hands; the heavy lifting; the makers of every delicious dish.
It's family, and none of this, for many, many reasons, would be possible without their ideas, energy, and time both before, during, and after.
It wasn't a large space, but with the open floor plan and ceiling-high windows, the environment felt spacious and light as cushions were picked up, couches were moved back to their preferred corners, and tables arranged methodically throughout the room, that was now spilling over with light.
In preparation for the next activity,
Soon, everything was covered in newspaper and old paper bags, and as we all began to find our place amongst the stools, blankets, mugs, and chairs, Marion, activity leader and founder of The Village and Co., would introduce herself, pass out instructions, and dive into the process of molding clay;
Thus began more than lyme's first pottery class.
Perhaps my favorite, not to mention the longest activity we had, was the photo booth, or rather...
the evolution of our Portland adventure.
It happened gradually, as such things have a tendency to do,
Over the way we decided to open up; you, purposefully grabbing a cup of tea and sitting down next to someone you, in most cases, had only just met, and her/him, sharing parts of their story. Parts rarely given the room to be seen, felt, and most importantly, heard without judgement or ridicule.
Just a simple understanding. Understanding that while you go this way, and I go that, we can still work together, support, and uplift during the seemingly impossible, while encouraging as big, exciting steps are made. And if it weren't for Rora's thoughtfully planned out activity, rooted in the act of sharing and modeled after her own incredible work, The Unsent Project, we would not have had the lasting-experience of writing love letters of encouragement to ourselves, and those that stand beside us.
As Saturday came to a close,
And our temporary goodbyes were handed out sleepily through yawns and slow moving gestures, we welcomed rest, and plenty of it, knowing it would certainly be needed if we were to properly ready ourselves for tomorrow.
Of which, would be another full day indeed,
Starting with the sweet voice of in-community singer and song-writer, Maria; her carefully woven together lyrics, laced with snippets of her childhood, what it was like to experience chronic illness at such a young age, and how she moved through that, danced their way across the room.
and bringing with it the same kind of supported-comfort we felt the morning before;
In leading with Curiosity
Kate, a photographer, director, and founder of Sanctuary, an organization built around the importance of curiosity and intention in the outdoors, would have us dive into creativity, what that looks like, how we can apply that to our daily lives, and the importance of leading with curiosity, tuning into our senses, and holding ourselves accountable when it comes to doing the things that bring us purpose.
All while sharing her story in an incredibly relatable and honest fashion, one that had us both laughing and crying (the good kind) from one moment to the next.
Through small Acts of kindness
Ina, content creator, community leader, and founder of Ina Dayle, a natural skin and hair care line dedicated to giving back, brought us together to chat about the controversial and often overlooked topic of self care, and what that means to us both individually and on a community level.
After Ina shared a little bit of her story, as a group, we covered everything from hair loss, tools one can use to counteract negative views and damaging self-talk, exciting projects and ways to advocate and get involved, to the power of finding a healing-practice that works with and for you.
to those that are not here, we see you, hear you, and cant wait for the day when you'll be able to join in person,
But for now, know that you're just as much part of the making of this as those that were able to be here; this community is what it is, because of you.
Going into this, I knew that bringing everyone together was not going to be an option, but the last thing I wanted was to have it feel out of reach. Like an experience you'd never get to be part of; I hope to share as much of it as I can now, and down the line, as we work towards our next adventure, both as an online and in-person community.
Which is why this first adventure was (and still is) dedicated to all of you.
Let us not forget about the in-between time that we spent together,
Or more suitably, the little big moments. The unstructured. The periods of time that, in more ways than one, made up the majority of this weekend. You know, where we're all gathered around the table, on the couches, floor, kitchen, and sprawled out in nap room, settling into the kind of conversation that can only be had after our bellies are full and such emotionally-driven activities have come to a close.
Here's where the lasting-conversations took place;
We all showed up for different reasons, reasons we might not have shared, and it was during this time that we were free to find our people, our tribe, and our motivation for being here today.
To all those involved, thank you.
+ Creative and activity leader: Kate Rentz
+ Meditation facilitator and activity leader: Jenn James
+ Content Creator and activity leader : Ina Melendez
+ Ceramicist and activity leader: Marion Raykovitz
+ New media artist and activity leader: Rora Blue
+ Singer and Songwriter: Maria Lytle
FAMILY & BEHIND THE SCENES:
+ My family, for taking such care with the meals (before, during -- including the clean up that followed) and, well, everything else.
+ And, of course, Elli for being the best and most talented photographer there ever was (or will be).
+ The Weller Society, for allowing us to use their beautiful space
SEATING & PROPS:
+ Rented cushions: Karuna Contemplative Living
+ Donated cushions: Kagyu Changchub Chuling
PARTNERSHIP & FUNDRAISER:
+ Global Lyme Alliance: GLA is a lead fundraiser, business, and community for treatment and research around Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
From the tea bar:
+ Teri, from the Tproject, for her carefully crafted loose leaf tea (of which I'm still lucky enough to be sipping on).
From a piece of scratch paper to plate.
Cory, my mom, as well as my dad, grandparents, brother, sister-in-law (more appropriately, sister) worked tirelessly to create a menu that worked for everyone.
Though this felt like a big undertaking for our first event, I am so glad that we decided to prioritize the specifics and details of our meals and snacks.
This is something that we will continue to apply to all future events, so we'll be sure to check in with you beforehand to make sure your dietary restrictions are taken note of and applied to the food that we create and serve!
Questions? Don't hesitate to ask!
To those who helped with the gift bag, you made it a far more beautiful place to be:
+ DRAWINGS: Annie Perkins, Black Haus Art @blackhausartshop
+ PAINTINGS: Melissa Jenkins, @melissamaryjenkinsart
+ ART: Molly Jane, @Molly.jane.e
+ PRINTS: Jacqueline Evertsz, @ladyjackieo
+ JEWELRY: Jamie, James Michelle, @jamesmichelle
+ INTERACTIVE COLORING BOOK: Kat Woods, @hopehealcollective
+ EMPOWERMENT STICKERS: Blur, @blurstreetart
+ MTL MUGS: Marion, The Village & Co., @thevillageandco
+ HANDMADE CALENDULA OIL: Rebecca, @seasonallymeboise
More details & such.
interested in being part of future events?
Get more specifics on our Portland Adventure?
Including run downs of each activity, the speakers and a snippet of their story, who else was involved and why, more thank you's, and other such detailed explanations!
Want to be part of the next adventure?
if so, We'll be looking for activity leaders...
As well as anyone else that might be interested in sharing their craft, practice, food, voice, or what have you, with the community in Denver, CO this coming Spring! Do let us know if you, or anyone you know, would like to find out more. To do so, contact, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time!