Improvised Life » principles / rules for living http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 12 Aug 2014 08:50:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Time to Take a Break…We’ll Be Back in September http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/12/time-take-break/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/12/time-take-break/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 07:25:52 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44935

Ernst Haas

If we had to sum up the past few months with a single image, it would be this one. We’ve been roping a wild horse — life — and trying our best to go with it as we launched our Friends with Benefits subscription service and Improvised Life’s Store, saw a dear friend through a major health crisis, and navigated a recent, unexpected crisis with another. Many challenges to be sure.

We’re deeply tired and need to recharge and regroup. We’ll be back full of beans just after Labor Day as we put into practice an essential principle of an improvised life: (more…)

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Life Lesson from a Simple Kid’s Lanyard http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/life-lesson-simple-kids-lanyard/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/life-lesson-simple-kids-lanyard/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 08:58:12 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44957

Susan Dworski

Recently, I discovered a forgotten neon pink plastic lanyard at the bottom of a basket of cat toys. Made at summer camp two years ago, it was a gift from a small person, presented with a shy smile "I made it, just for you." When I read this poem by poet Billy Collins, I suddenly felt saddened that I had been so cavalier in discounting its importance. Finding it again felt huge––like a redemption.]]>
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To Be Able To Say Yes, You Need to Be Able To Say No http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/able-say-yes-need-able-say/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/able-say-yes-need-able-say/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 23:00:14 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44821

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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The Time is Now…Stefan Sagmeister on Happiness http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/time-now/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/time-now/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 22:43:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44777

Stefan Sagmeister

When uber-designer Stefan Sagmeister was asked “If you were to give advice on happiness—and I acknowledge that this is a tough question—is there one thing you’d suggest?”

Write down 3 things that worked for you each evening, things you might be thankful for. I started an ical calendar that contains this and I just spend 5 minutes each night doing it. This is an exercise from Marty Seligman, the founder of positive psychology. It works.

We notice he didn’t say “Write down three things that made you happy” but rather “Write down 3 things that worked for you“: a bit different. “What worked (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/time-now/feed/ 0 Maira Kalman on Daydreaming, Eccentricity, and Not Knowing What is Going On http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/maira-kalman-daydreaming-eccentricity-knowing-going/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/maira-kalman-daydreaming-eccentricity-knowing-going/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:10:07 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44690

(Vido link HERE.) Portraits in Creativity is a series of short-form videos by renown creative director Gael Towey about the bravery and processes of artists and artisans. Who could better start off the series than the great, wise, observant Maira Kalman?  Kalman’s drawing and writing gets to the essence of not knowing what is going on” and celebrates it. Which is why we love her.

The video is like a walk around New York City with the Kalman. It is rich with illuminating observations (more…)

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May the Mistakes I Make Light the Way http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/may-mistakes-make-light-way/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/may-mistakes-make-light-way/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:02:31 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43920

hedviggen.tumblr.com

We were really struck by this sign we found on Hedviggen. Burning bridges is a pretty intense thing to do, and it made us think hard about that idea, of being able NEVER to go back because of a bridge we’ve burned.

We do believe that in just about any action, there are always possibilities for redemption, (more…)

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Trees and Ideas (Why Not Plant One?) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/15/berkopecs-trees-plant-one/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/15/berkopecs-trees-plant-one/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:50:00 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43246

hedviggen.tumblr.com

About the time we saw this sign at Hedviggen, we stumbled on an image of a tree growing at an extreme angle by Jaci Berkopec, in the School of Visual Arts’ annual student photography portfolio. (more…)

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Motivational Passwords Are Your Daily Digital Mantra http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/14/tinypost-motivational-passwords-daily-digital-mantra/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/14/tinypost-motivational-passwords-daily-digital-mantra/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 08:21:19 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44082

Sally Schneider via Thich Nhat Hanh.

We often think of computer passwords as utilitarian, if we even think of them at all; they’re ugly, unwieldy little burdens that exist only to keep our information safe. Mauricio Estrella decided to shift his thinking and use his passwords as a message to himself that he must think about every day. (more…)

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‘To Come Home to Yourself’, John O’Donohue’s Blessing http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/07/come-home-john-odonohues-blessing/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/07/come-home-john-odonohues-blessing/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 08:17:40 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43764

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...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/07/come-home-john-odonohues-blessing/feed/ 1 Seth Godin: Is it Meaningful? http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/01/seth-godin-paid-content-meaninful/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/01/seth-godin-paid-content-meaninful/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 23:18:59 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43624

Seth Godin recently reposted In Search of Meaningful, an article he wrote six years ago when the New York Times first instituted their paywall. It’s about what kind of digital content is truly valuable and worth paying for.

He asked three questions to self-test the value of the content you/we are producing or are reading: (more…)

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Emergency Medicine: Love, in It’s Many Forms, Heals http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/30/love-many-forms-heals/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/30/love-many-forms-heals/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:18:19 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43577

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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Trees and Plants Breaking Through the Floor…Wabi-Sabi? http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/26/trees-plants-breaking-floor/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/26/trees-plants-breaking-floor/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 17:03:30 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42453

Schaeffer Residence/Joe Fletcher

We found this image in Ranch Houses: Living the California Dream. It’s from Park McDonald’s renovation of the Schaeffer Residence, designed in 1948 by John Lautner, a highly influential architects of the 20th century. We love the trees that appear to be unexpectedly cracking through the deck, a lovely bit of wabi-sabi, that “breaks” the perfect design. Perhaps it’s our recent reading of Leonard Koren’s classic, Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers that makes us view the trees through this lens. This little book has been greatly influencing our thinking. (more…)

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Use the Difficulty (Michael Caine) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/25/use-difficulty-michael-caine/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/25/use-difficulty-michael-caine/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 08:17:53 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43429


(Video link HERE.) I was bogged down today in a creative funk, head-buttingly blocked, wandering in a dark wood, wrestling with a component for a necklace that is carved from clear, rock crystal so that it seemed, well… simply invisible. How do you showcase something invisible?

I recalled something I’d read in an interview long ago with actor Michael Caine: (more…)

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A Reminder to Always Look UP http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/24/reminder-always-look/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/24/reminder-always-look/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 14:52:18 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43483

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!  

 

(more…)

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