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12 Questions: Wilbur Neushwander-Frink

This week’s questions have been answered by Wilbur Frink. I met Wilbur through Brian last year when they came to Algoma for the Art of Water. I really look up to them as a couple. They are doing amazing things at their Poor Farm in Minnesota which we hope to visit in the near future. I hope you enjoy her insightful answers as much as I did!

If you have not checked it out yet please visit:

1. What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life?

-The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity- Cynthia Bourgeault

- The Invisible Embrace of Beauty: Rediscovering the True Sources of Compassion, Serenity and Hope- John O’Donohue

- Pedagogy of the Oppressed- Paulo Friere

- Anything poetry by Mary Oliver

2.What are you currently working on?

- I am working on starting a nonprofit called Open Arts Minnesota. This nonprofit will expand upon the theatre work I currently do providing more opportunity for people of all abilities and ages to participate in the arts in our community and region.

- I have also been working with a team to build an inclusive playground in our community. It is a playground for children of all abilities and ages. We completed the fundraising for the playground and will build it this summer!

3. How has failure set you up for later success? What was your favorite failure?

- I did not go into the work I wanted to do after high school. I pursued the dreams my Mom and Dad had for me. I didn’t want to be a nurse but I also did not want to disappoint them. I failed to listen to my heart. I was mostly miserable in nursing school. I worked as a nurse for 30 years. It, in reality did set me up for the success I enjoy now. I loved hearing the stories of the people I cared for as a nurse. I learned so much by living and working in New York City, Madison, WI, Minneapolis and in New Ulm, MN. I landed working as an ally in the disability rights movement through my last job as a nurse. I discovered or rediscovered my love of theatre and writing. I married my love of theatre with my passion for justice and inclusion for people living with disabilities. Nursing did lead me to where I am today.

4. What is your most unusual habit?

- I make the bed every, single day. Even if I am sick, I get up, straighten up the bed and get back in it. I can’t leave for work until the bed is made.

- Also, before every writing project, I clear the air of the space by burning Palo Santo.

5. If you could have any painter, living or dead paint your portrait who would it be and why?

- It would be Brian Frink because he knows me best and he is a wonderful portrait painter.

6. What is the most indispensible item in your studio/workspace/office?

- My candles, alters with rocks, feathers, goddesses, etc. and my laptop.

7. When you feel overwhelmed or uninspired what do you do? What do you do to get out of a funk? What questions do you ask yourself?

- This is what I typically do:

o Make sure I am working on activities that I want to do

o Meditate and read

o Walk outside

o Draw oracle cards for the “Keepers of the Light” series

o Get back to work on what I know I need to do

o Make sure I am getting enough sleep and eating properly

o And, remember what my purpose in life is and realign what I am doing to get back in the groove

o Go see my grandchildren

o Talk to Brian because he will remind me of what my purpose is as well

8.What is the most life-changing thing you have bought for under 100 dollars in the last year?

- My exercise items that I need for the Physical Therapy I am doing for my neck and back. Through PT and using these simple tools, I have reduced the amount and severity of the migraines that I get.

9. Do you collect anything?

- Books, Books and more Books

- Anything Mary Magdalene or Guadalupe

- Rocks, sticks, feathers

- Incense

10. What words of advice would you give to your younger self?

- Listen to your heart or True Self because it will never lead you astray. Remember that Wilbur!

11. In the last five years what new belief, or habit has most improved your life or studio practice?

- I have been in a three-year program through the Christine Center in Willard, WI called, Spiritual Deepening for Global Transformation. It has made a HUGE difference in my life. I have learned about meditation, silence, personal discovery of the True Self, working in circle with others trying to make a difference in the world. It has opened my mind and heart into new avenues of thought and spirituality. It is transformational!

12.   Share an inspiring image. 

“We the People”


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