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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Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Settling Back in Saint-Jean-de-Védas

Although I didn't arrange the transportation until a week out, I knew while in Venice and Munich that I'd soon be headed back to Montpellier. And despite this prior knowledge, it still felt a bit surreal to arrive at Gare St. Roch and step out into the sunny, familiar streets—like I'd hacked time and jumped back to a prior chapter in life.

A fifteen-minute car ride later and we were back in Saint-Jean-de-Védas at the Rius residence, where I felt right at home.

French Eats

Damien's mom made paella on my second or third day—what luck!

That first weekend she also made beignets à la citrouille—her mom's recipe—with chocolat chaud:

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Moment Catching in Montpellier

After an early morning train from Strasbourg, I arrived in Montpellier on Thursday, March 30, where Damien picked me up and took me to his parents' house in a nearby suburb. On Friday afternoon I took the tram into Montpellier to sketch at Parc du Peyrou for the weekend's Moment Catchers challenge.

It was a special sketching session for me because it's here where I painted my very first on-location watercolor last September, dabbing at colors and not knowing what I was doing. Below are my watercolors and the painting:

Watercolors: September 2016

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