Overview, Who is Erik?
I've been a DIY entrepreneur for 30 years. I've been a cook, a schoolteacher, and a wooden fence builder. Most of my practical experience is related to marketing and e-commerce.
I grew up in a town of 100 people in Minnesota farm country, but have since traveled extensively as a 'digital nomad.'
I like to explore ideas, learn about the world, create cool new things, and help friends to monetize their projects.
I enjoy organizing events that help to foster the development and nourishment of communities.
I studied history, politics, leadership, management, educational theory, law and economics in college and graduate school while working on political campaigns focused on the issues of income inequality, free and fair elections, and lifting up marginalized groups.
Student-Centered Teaching, Handcrafted Furniture
After college, I rebooted a distance learning program for at-risk high school students. My program offered flexible curriculum that students could complete at their own pace.
My work was successful enough to create net positive revenue for the school district, and helped students to catch up on credits so that they could graduate on time.
My primary work of the past 20 years has been helping a traditional Amish community in Minnesota to sell their beautiful handmade customized furniture online, providing their community with over $15 million in revenue based on a handshake agreement.
Self Healing PTSD
Life was challenging growing up, my home was chaotic and unstable.
School was worse, I was frequently bullied and mocked by other students. Not fun. So I spent most of my time in isolation.
During my senior year of college, I was diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivities. I saw a series of doctors and specialists over the course of 10 years to understand and cure my ever increasing sensitivities to chemicals, allergens and food.
My sensitivities increased substantially after the stress of losing my teaching job due to disability discrimination.
After a decade of painful tests and a steep decline in health, the doctor's conclusion was that there was no cure and my sensitivities were high enough that I probably wouldn't live much longer.
I didn't accept this as an answer, and I spent 15 years testing various methods to heal myself.
It was a trial and error approach with a lot of rabbit holes. When I found something that worked, I leaned into it. Then I’d hit diminishing returns, and move onto the next modality. My goal was “I want to be healthy, happy and free” and I made that my catechism.
The key for me was accepting that I had to heal myself, that no one else could do it for me.
I tested and practiced a variety of nontraditional healing methods ranging from 10,000+ hours of intense self-administered amygdala reprogramming, Paleo fitness and nutrition, biofeedback training, trauma release practices, meditation and energy healing therapies, and integrating all of the above into effective self-healing modalities.
When I found these techniques to be ineffective at healing my deep emotional and mental trauma, I dove into the spiritual side of things in an attempt to complete my healing and recovery. I didn't want to be an emotional zombie-in-a-semi-haze for the rest of my life, so I kept the self-healing process going.
Each forward step helped me to reclaim more of my life and health, but it was a very difficult road that can be fairly described as tortuous.
In total, I was in some form of emotional and mental fog for over two decades.
4 years of that time were spent in near-complete monastic isolation in the northern Wisconsin forest.
When I was at my sickest, I nearly died several times. The only thing that carried me through was a determination to heal, to improve, to tell the doctors to fuck the fuck off with their fucking drug pushing which would only poison me further, and to reclaim my freedom.
My healing process has helped me to understand myself much better, both my limitations and capabilities. Since I’ve been in a state of shock in some form for most of my life, this period of reflection has proven to be very beneficial for me.
I’ve learned that operating in a healthy, harmonious, and low-chaos space is essential for me to thrive and reach peak efficiency. I’ve learned to lean into this, because life is a lot more fun when you’re in harmonious creative flow.
David Abrams said it best:
"I discovered the real value of my hypersensitive nervous system ... only when I ventured beyond the confines of civilization. The feelings that played through ... seemed less confined or bottled up and more a part of the general circulation between cedar trees, humans, woodpeckers, mountains, lizards, between cloudburts and streams studded with trout.
My porous nature seemed much less of a problem here. That permeability had always meant that I was too easily affected by other person -- by other nervous systems shaped so much like my own.
Yet such porosity was just right, I now realized, for engaging nervous systems very different from my own. It was just right for entering into felt relation with other, non-human forms of sentience."
-- Quote from Becoming Animal, An Earthly Cosmology, by David Abram
I remain sensitive to a variety of things, my sensitivities are still occasionally life threatening.
I have little to no trust in modern medicine, my process of self healing involves isolation meditation, neuro-linguistic programming centered on the amygdala, and detox-specific vitamins.
My Western medicine trained doctors told me I'd be dead by now several times over, so I'd consider that a win.
Paleo Health and Fitness
I really enjoy this work and the way it helps to transform people's health and lives, but it's become increasingly challenging in the age of business lockdowns and rapidly shifting content restrictions.
Ancestral wellness, paleo fitness and other self-healing modalities have been heavilty punished by algorithms in the past few years.