Improvised Life » health + wellness If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 22:00:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Practice: Forgive Yourself and Keep Trying Thu, 11 Sep 2014 08:51:43 +0000

Just about everyone we know is pretty ruthless when it comes to judging THEMSELVES. And those judgments can derail projects and the creative process in general, stopping us from pushing through to doing what we need to.

We loves this simple practice from wise old Seth Godin. (more…)

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The Wakeup Message of Little Accidents Wed, 10 Sep 2014 08:53:21 +0000

maria robledo

During many years as a professional cook, I burned and cut myself numerous times. Over time, I came to view these small injuries as a sort of early warning system with a clear message:

Slow Down, Take Care and Be Mindful that you are a bit “off”.

LISTEN to yourself to hear what’s really going on.

Invariably, when I checked in with myself, I’d realize that I’d had a sleepless night, or was worrying about something. There was always a reason I was preoccupied and not on my game.

SMALL accidents —dropping a treasured dish, spilling things, tripping, small cuts — to me are (more...)]]> 7 Why Walking Helps Us Think + Create Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:32:38 +0000

Richard Tuvey

In this week's New Yorker, Ferris Jabr describes research that shows why walking goes beyond being a great physical exercise, but a catalyst for creative thinking as well. We go for a walk daily in the park we look out on. Every time, we discover something new AND find our mind shifting, ideas sparking, problems beginning to yield. Nature reminds us of possibilities...]]> 1
To Be Able To Say Yes, You Need to Be Able To Say No Tue, 05 Aug 2014 23:00:14 +0000

Dominic Wilcox

We’ve come to love the word YES, and post it often as a reminder to embrace the opportunities that come along, and go with them.

But we realize that there is a very important other side to YES, and that is being able to say NO. (more…)

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A Song for a Summer Weekend Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:34:04 +0000

(Video link here.) We know a number of people taking “stay-cations”, enjoying the city as though they were visiting it anew, filling themselves up with wonderful art, food, happenings,  and not dealing with traveling for one reason for another. We’re going to do the same in a week or so, just so we can WANDER, without a schedule for a while, which is the best way we know of recharging.

We think 500 pound Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to be just the perfect 3-minute escape for those in need of a instant vacation. It’s the perfect music for summer hanging out (in a hammock perhaps).  (more…)

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Help Us Find Out If $18 really IS a Lucky Number Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:00:26 +0000

When we launched our new Friends with Benefits subscription programs, a number of people asked if we chose $18 as amount for a yearly subscription because 18 is a lucky number. “No, we didn’t.”  we said, Tell us more!”. (more…)

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How to Think in Haiku (and a Haiku about Grasses) Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:41:12 +0000

Sally Schneider

At the very end of May, we planted grasses in the planter on the Laboratory’s patio. Since then, they’ve grown like wild fire, along with the Morning Glory vine we plunked into their soil to further screen us from our neighbors. We love watching the grasses move in the breeze; they seem to constantly change and catch the light in new ways.  The other day, we read a haiku by Issa that revealed a quality that we hadn’t been conscious of:  (more…)

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When Normal Equals Perfect Thu, 17 Jul 2014 08:51:13 +0000

Maria Robledo

Most Improvised Life readers know that Sally has been occupied lately with the serious illness of a close friend – namely, myself. Now recuperating, we’ve realized something about perfection: in the case of us human beings, it does not mean being super-human or doing everything exactly right. It simply means being normal. When you’ve been visited by the Death Eaters, nothing is more perfect than a cup of tea.

This revelation was amplified in an e-mail correspondence with our friend Tom Ashcraft of Heliotown, a remarkable artist/science researcher who has been featured numerous times on Improvised Life. (more…)

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‘To Come Home to Yourself’, John O’Donohue’s Blessing Mon, 07 Jul 2014 08:17:40 +0000

We learned of Irish poet John O’Donohue when reader Mary Kelly sent us his powerful words in response to our post about Human Error Messages. She wrote:

John O’Donohue, who wrote Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom and who celebrated our wildness and crazy strength, often has words that dissolve hardness inside me – I read this yesterday and it made me feel soft and new . . .

The blessing/poem/prayer is called To Come Home to Yourself.  A reminder we can use daily.



Thank you Mary Kelly and for your own very descriptive word: “celebrate our wildness and crazy strength” (more...)]]> 1 A Surprising Message from the “Still Small Voice Within” Tue, 01 Jul 2014 08:28:22 +0000

National Museum, Bangkok

One of the benefits of meditation is that it quiets the mind, allowing us to hear “the still small voice within”.  Recently, our friend Chris Eldredge reported a surprising message that came through at the end of his morning meditation



He said the vibe was simple, nonjudgmental, clear…




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Emergency Medicine: Love, in It’s Many Forms, Heals Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:18:19 +0000

This past week, after we accompanied a dear friend through a dire emergency in the hospital,  we witnessed the many ways that friends and strangers “lent a hand” with what seemed like an overwhelming amount to handle. Neighbors put groceries in our fridge, friends brought dinner to the hospital, some, like Maria Robledo, sent us images that shifted our, and our friend’s, view in an instant. (more…)

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Ordinary Joy. The Joy of Ordinary and…Linden Tea. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 08:05:34 +0000

Courtesy of Steidl/ Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

On Friday morning, we were blasted out of our normal routine by a call from a friend in dire straits. With that, we abruptly entered another world: of Emergency Room and hospital…different air, vibration, requirements altogether as life and death co-existed (as they always do) but now we felt them clearly.  Priorities reordered instantly: many things had to be set aside in order to help, keep vigil, suss doctors, make food, comfort…we hoped that all else would take care of itself, or others would take care of it…

We posted sporadically and still notices of new subscriptions kept appearing from strangers who seemed to be saying, It’s all fine. Take some time. We’re there!

In the midst of it, going to or coming home from the hospital, we were aware of the scent of linden in the air. (more…)

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A Reminder to Always Look UP Tue, 24 Jun 2014 14:52:18 +0000

Ellen Silverman

In the midst of our recent hospital siege, we received a number of very cool emails from friends and readers. This one from Ellen Silverman:

So often we forget to look up, especially in a congested public space. This afternoon as we were saying goodbye to Luca in terminal 4 at JFK, Josh happened to look up as we were watching Luca walk to the gate and was met with the glorious site of this Calder mobile. A reminder to always look up!  



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Emergency Services – We’ll Be Back Soon (+ an Improv Phone Table) Mon, 23 Jun 2014 08:56:58 +0000

Sally Schneider

A couple of days ago, a dear friend called early in the morning having difficulty breathing and asking us to meet him at the imaging center the doctor advised. The results of the CT-scan had us accompanying our friend to the Emergency Room where we spent nine hours navigating his serious distress with a cellphone that could not send or receive due to all the machinary around, and mixed messsages from the attending staff who, we found out later, had ignored the doctor’s very specific instructions.

Luckily, it all worked out in the end: our friend is stable but still need lots of care and watching over…which we are going to continue to give him…everyday until he is released.

So we’re going to take a short time off — or post sporadically — while we continue to improvise in the hospital on behalf of our friend. Here’s a phone table we made by (more…)

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