Monday, June 12, 2017

[Trains on Main] The Natural Thing to Do

If you're curious to see the behind-the-scenes process of how this art project was made (including the scribbles on paper that started it all), check out this post first.

If you're ready to see the final piece, carry on!

"The Natural Thing to Do"

Here is my finished train, titled "The Natural Thing to Do," accompanied by a walkthrough of the meaning it holds for me.

I chose the themes of humanity, connection, and unplugging because they've been on my mind most frequently this year, and seemed a worthy conversation for our Waunakee community.

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[Trains on Main] Application and Creation Process

While in Madrid in April, I happened to see an article from the Waunakee Tribune which announced the deadline for their Trains on Main public art project had been extended to April 30. As I read more about the project and application requirements, I knew I had to apply. This was a perfect leap for me—doing something before you feel ready. I had just a pinch of impostor feelings, but knew fully that I was enough for this challenge and excitedly applied. (The bullet under "Artist Eligibility" which read "Previous public art experience is not necessary; all who are interested are encouraged to apply" very much played a role in giving myself the all-clear.)

Here's what artist would have to work with—a steel train made by our local Endres Manufacturing Company:

Artists would be given a $200 grant for the project and were completely free to choose materials, style, theme—no limits there.

Application Process

Applicants had to write a proposal for their train, explaining what they would do and why, and how they would weatherproof it. Which meant that in order to apply, I had to have some sort of idea as to how I'd transform this train into a piece of art. (Hello creativity challenge! This is why I've been building that muscle all year...)

Since I'd been thinking more and more about human connection, unplugging, and humanity (the fact that we're all imperfect) the past three months—especially with all of my travel sketching and the memorable moments with locals that resulted from making art in public—I decided to propose something exploring those themes.

I pulled out what has since become my "brainstorming"/catch-all notebook, and sketched two different sides to a train.

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Resolutions Checkpoint 2017: May

Resolutions Checkpoint 2017 - Rebe With a Clause

Welcome, June! Time to look back on the action items I gave myself for the month of May, and check in on what progress has been made:

May Progress

1. Leaps
  • (+) Act on Get Shit Rolling! brainstorm — Meg and I did come up with an idea that excites me (creating a community), so I've been letting it simmer this month as I search for a name (oh naming things!). I've been jotting down ideas of creations/projects/events for this community as they pop into my mind.

    The plus I'm giving myself comes because I've arranged to speak at my local library in July about my experiences walking the Camino de Santiago. During my coaching call, I'd said a good next step would be to give some sort of workshop or speak somewhere locally. Now it's all set to happen!
  • (-) 5-in-5 Connection Challenge — Didn't ask anyone this month. I even went into Madison early the night that Kim Dinan spoke at Barnes and Noble, and walked through the mall for this purpose... but didn't approach anyone. As tends to happen, it has fallen in priority, so I won't be including it this month.

2. Stretch/Pilates
  • (+/-) Morning meditation + pilates — I'm not at a week straight yet, but I have started working on this one. The final week of May, I started doing some pilates and stretching, and have four checks this week so far.

    I will add that one of the reasons I began stretching this past week was because I'm on a 40-day meditation streak! That feels more automatic now that I've been home over a month, so I felt I could begin to integrate another daily habit.
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Sunday, May 7, 2017

How to Make a Personal Compass

After a year focusing on my values and tracking them through monthly resolution checkpoints, last fall I sat down and made a personal compass to guide this "personal sabbatical" period of my life.

If you're interested in making one too, go ahead and create! There's no right or wrong way. If you could use a little structure to get started, here's a printable zine (PDF) I just made, which you can fold into a cute mini-book.

(Here's a clear video which demonstrates the simple folding/cutting needed to form the booklet). Enjoy!
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Friday, May 5, 2017

Plane Tales

A few months ago, I luckily stumbled upon Eva Liparova's Plane Tales, a project in which she invited fellow passengers to write in a notebook and pass it around during her 9-hour flight. Brilliant!

I knew that when I headed back to the states after these spring travels, I'd have to try it. While in Montpellier I bought a cheap notebook, and prepared the intro and instructions while in Madrid. I basically copied Eva's intro and instructions word for word, but chose a different theme and starter question.

Plane Tales - Rebecca Thering

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Resolutions Checkpoint 2017: March & April

2017 Resolutions Checkpoint - March April

If you recall, I didn't set any focus items for March, but here's a bit of what's gone down during the past two months:

March/April Progress

1. Leap
  • (+) Podcast — Agreed to be a guest on a podcast next month.
  • (+) Trains on Main — As you know from my newsletter, I submitted a proposal to take part in my town's public art project this summer, and it was accepted! That means I'll be spending the month of May transforming a metal train cut-out statue thingy into a piece of public art. Hello, leap!
  • (+) Plane Tales — On my long-haul flight from Europe to the United States, I passed around a Plane Tales book. The idea was not my own, it came from Eva Liparova. I'll be sharing it shortly on the blog.

2. Stretch/yoga/pilates
  • ( -) Off and on, haven't established regular routine yet.

3. Unplug/be outside

I had logged 97h 12m of computer time in February. Here's what March and April looked like on RescueTime: 

In the right column above, TextEdit is a basic Word program where I typed up some blog posts and emails during my wi-fi-less weeks in March. Time on Blogger and Medium (left column) were spent writing (hence the blue "positive" color, so I'm glad to see that).

(I switched to the browser Opera in early April, thus everything was logged as "Opera," which I only realized upon writing this post. I just found this handy article "How to Use RescueTime with Opera" and got everything set up, so next month's results should be more specific.)

  • (+) Read >30 min. daily — I read four books in my first week back home!

May Focus

Here are actions I can take in May towards my resolutions:

1. Leaps
  • Act on Get Shit Rolling! brainstorm — I'll be working with Meg Kissack next week to brainstorm ideas for how I can use my skills and life experience to leave a bigger mark on the world. I'll challenge myself to leap and act on an idea that arises during the session.
  • 5-in-5 Connection Challenge — Goal: Five challenges, ten rejections.

2. Stretch/Pilates
  • Morning meditation + pilates — A week straight of meditation + pilates first thing in the morning. By pairing the pilates with meditation, something I'm already doing right away in the morning, it should be easier to develop this habit.

3. Unplug/be outside
  • Plant vegetable garden in back yard
  • Fix brakes on bike!
  • Track biking / walking in bullet journal
  • Less than 90 hours online time this month
What about you? How was your April? What's one thing you'd like to do this coming month that'll move you closer to where you want to be?

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