Improvised Life » wellness If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Fri, 22 May 2015 06:55:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Tree’s Energy of Strength, Beauty and Balance Tue, 19 May 2015 20:47:08 +0000


Need some? Here you go!


via One Big Photo with thanks to Christopher Eldredge?

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5 Funny, Fab, Do-able Exercise Anywhere GIFS Wed, 06 May 2015 06:23:07 +0000

Man Repeller’s recent round-up of popular workout options was peppered with wonderful gifs of exercises you can do anywhere. They take our penchant for improvised plein air exercise to a fab, curiously useful extreme. The memorable images show your really CAN be working out sans gym or special equipment/clothes.  (more…)

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Effective Workouts WAY More Fun Than a Gym Tue, 14 Apr 2015 05:33:16 +0000

These two quick, compelling videos (and recent research) make the case for “functional fitness “workouts that are pleasurable AND integrated into your life, rather than having to take place in the confines of a gym.]]> 0
Reflecting on Difficulty: 5 Questions that Transform Thu, 02 Apr 2015 06:15:20 +0000

At the height of a recent crisis a few months ago, our friend Chris Eldredge send me this note: I’ve been reading Jack Kornfield’s “A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life” and saw this. I thought it might interest you. (more…)

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5+ Happiness Generating Questions Wed, 25 Mar 2015 06:50:00 +0000

As ever, Neil Gaiman nails it. But there’s a question in his wonderful words, one that many people we know have been asking themselves: What Do You Have that Nobody Else Has? What is the particular flavor/quality/aspect/talent/vision unique to you? And even more importantly, what are ways it can thrive in the world?

Ko Im over at Thought Catalog (via 99U) poses additional questions about ones SELF that he says will prompt you to discover patterns that point you toward greater happiness: (more…)

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Oliver Sacks’ Awakening Mon, 23 Feb 2015 08:40:34 +0000

(Video link HERE.) We can’t stop thinking about “My Own Life”, the extraordinary Op-Ed Oliver Sacks wrote in last weeks New York Times upon learning that he has terminal cancer. We’ve read it several times and find his words resonating, as  his “clear focus and perspective”  has become, momentarily,  part of our worldview.

We’ve always been moved by Sacks’ writing on the mysteries of the human brain and spirit, but this just might be his most powerful and transformative piece. He reflects on his place in the scheme of things, and his gratitude for the privelege and adventure of having “been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet.”

We can think of no better reading for a Monday morning. (more…)

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A Happiness Strategy + Agnes Martin Thu, 19 Feb 2015 08:34:53 +0000

Agnes Martin/Hiram Butler Gallery

We know a lot of people who work to be mindful of how precious their life is and savor each moment. And work it is, a practice, because it’s so easy to get caught up in bad moods, what we think is wrong, the stresses of each day. We stumbled on an interesting happiness practice unexpectedly while reading I Bought Andy Warhol.  Richard Polsky describes art dealer Jack Glen as “the most upbeat person I ever met”, and asked him how he stayed so positive. Said Glen: (more…)

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Do You Need Permission to Stop? Tue, 17 Feb 2015 07:54:44 +0000

Ellen Silverman

While I was on my sudden, much-needed hiatus last week, I emailed Susan Dworski, a frequent contributor/now-dear-friend, about the heartening and supportive messages I’d received from readers. She sent the image, below, (titled appropriately “I’m Wired“), with this note:

Maybe it’ll take a village to get you unplugged.

She hit the nail on the head. (more…)

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Taking a Break… to Take a Leap Mon, 09 Feb 2015 07:18:26 +0000

Ernst Haas

Of late, we’ve felt like this: trying to gain control of a wild horse — also known as our life. We’ve learned the hard way when we hit rough patches — of health, or crises of our own or our friends — our best bet is to STOP, and take time to catch up, heal, rest.

So we’re taking a few days off from Improvised Life… (more…)

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Breath Breathing Human Beings (video + Rumi) Wed, 04 Feb 2015 08:16:33 +0000

(Video link HERE.) We are knocked out by this video of the endless kinds of breath we humans experience daily, passively, actively…but mostly, unconsciously. It is a wonderful reminder of this mysterious intake/outtake of oxygen and expression… (more…)

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Insta-Meditation + Anxiety Antidote: The Endless Ocean Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:13:19 +0000

(Video link HERE.) On the East Coast, our attention is on the monster blizzard heading our way and the constant notices of road and transit closings and a general feeling of… DANGER. On the West Coast, Susan Dworski in Venice, California reported “80 degrees with a weird red sky and bed sheets pulled off to wash are shooting blue sparks in the dry, electric air. ‘Earthquake weather’ we California natives call it.”

For a break from whatever vague anxieties or States of Emergencies you may be experiencing, allow us to “beam” you to the deck of a ship to simply sit and watch the ocean, (more…)

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Little by Little, Fill Yourself with Good: Rick Hanson’s TED How-To Mon, 19 Jan 2015 08:09:03 +0000

Rick Hanson

Psychotherapist Chris Eldredge sent us this powerful TED talk of neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson‘s simple technique for transforming our hardwired negative patterning (also known as Negativity Bias). We thought 13+ minutes might be too long for our busy selves, but Hanson’s talk flies by, and we found ourselves with a useful practice we can do anywhere, anytime.

The gist: People more readily TAKE IN negative things that happen to them; incorporating the positive takes a simple 20-second technique. Although the back story is illuminating, you can cut to the chase at 7:12. (Video link HERE.) (more…)

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The Many Powers of “Listening” Thu, 15 Jan 2015 08:14:34 +0000


Chris Eldredge sent us this image of “Écoute”, the massive sandstone sculpture by Henri de Miller in Paris’ jardin des Halles, near the church of Saint-Eustache. In French, Écoute means “listen”. It got us thinking about just how powerful a practice listening is, and how varied its powers are: (more…)

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A Cranky Sardine’s “Improvised Life Moment” Tue, 13 Jan 2015 08:32:25 +0000 Marella Consolini, who has been reading Improvised Life years, sent us this email:
The evidence of the impact that  Improvised Life/you have had on my life is such that there is a new name that I have for certain types of experiences — “An Improvised Life Moment.”


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