Improvised Life » principles / rules for living http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:12:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Ultimate Aikido for Everyone http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/15/ultimate-aikido-everyone/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/15/ultimate-aikido-everyone/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 08:12:48 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45954

Not everyone’s a grandparent, or even a parent. But we’ve all been a child once upon a time, and have either been through the wringer or put them through it.

The invitation to a baby shower for a friend expecting her first child—a girl—asked guests to include a note in the RSVP divulging our most sage piece of advice for successful child wrangling. Without hesitation I wrote:

No doubt about it. The two most important words are: (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/15/ultimate-aikido-everyone/feed/ 2
An Engineer’s Strategy for Getting Things Done http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/engineers-strategy-getting-things-done/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/engineers-strategy-getting-things-done/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 08:30:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45868

One of the great gifts of Improvised Life has been correspondence with readers, who are a mightily varied, creative and surprising group of people. Recently, Michigan-based engineer Kevin Neff, responding to the contest/challenge we published a few weeks ago,  has been advising me on how to rig my bed to stop it from transmitting the mysterious vibration that comes through the floor. In addition to the practical solutions — making or buying concrete bed legs of a certain, carefully-calculated weight, and sandwiching them with visco-elastic Sorbothane —he offered an excellent strategy for getting project done. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/engineers-strategy-getting-things-done/feed/ 2
Song for Monday: ‘Throw it Away’ (Abbey Lincoln) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/06/song-monday-throw-away/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/06/song-monday-throw-away/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 07:28:31 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45766

Chris Eldredge recently sent this crazy-beautiful song by Abbey Lincoln (below). "These magic words in a magic book" seem perfect for re-entry to Improvised Life after the challenges of the past few weeks. Lincoln's lyrics could be Improvised Life's anthem and are a fine way to enter a Monday morning.]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/06/song-monday-throw-away/feed/ 5
When Things Fall Apart, They Come Together Again http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/29/things-fall-apart-2/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/29/things-fall-apart-2/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 06:54:47 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45745

Sally Schneider

Last week, my dear friend whose hospital stay strategies we documented a bit in June ended up back in the hospital for a rather scary heart procedure. Test-after-test indicated dire problems that had to be taken care of NOW, ASAP, STAT!!!!

While helping him navigate challenging tests and meetings with the doctor, my 94-year-old mother passed away in her sleep, about a perfect a passing as you could ask for. But a blow nevertheless.

It’s been a week of very wild life, each moment unpredictable. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/29/things-fall-apart-2/feed/ 21
Noticing Gratitude http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/noticing-gratitude/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/noticing-gratitude/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 07:48:08 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45635

Sybille Palmer

A message came in from a reader today that knocked us out. It was forwarded from our friend and frequent contributor Susan Dworski: (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/noticing-gratitude/feed/ 0
Poem for Monday: Ode to the Happy Day http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/holt-happy-sheet-rock-hole-view-shanty-town-pigeon-view/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/holt-happy-sheet-rock-hole-view-shanty-town-pigeon-view/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 08:11:02 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45229

Holton Rower sent us this image, and Neruda’s Ode to the Happy Day jumped into our lap right after it.

Although we’ve had some difficult things to deal with lately — everyone we know has had difficult things to deal with — we love imagining “nothing has happened to anyone“, and then being happy “just because I breathe”, if only for a moment…and then another…and then another… (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/holt-happy-sheet-rock-hole-view-shanty-town-pigeon-view/feed/ 0
Climate Change’s Essential Questions: Why Not? http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/21/climate-changes-essential-questions/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/21/climate-changes-essential-questions/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:00:31 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45621

@sizeofwhales

Due to a family emergency, we couldn’t be at the worldwide People’s Climate March BUT we were there in spirit, checking in throughout the day.  We LOVE these essential Improvised Life-esque questions.

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/21/climate-changes-essential-questions/feed/ 1
Practice: Ask ‘What’s Not Wrong?’ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/17/shantytown-homelssness-perspective/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/17/shantytown-homelssness-perspective/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:16:24 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45304

?

The other day a friend sent us this image of a homeless person lying amidst a drawn virtual room. We have no doubt it was staged by an artist (whoever he/she is) but it still has a feeling of randomness, that life could ironically set things up that way.

There are the symbols of a cozy home, something we all want, and the harsh realities of NOT: a mattress on the street. Imagine!

We make a practice of imagining such a reality as a way of unhooking from our own lack of perspective, the “I don’t have THIS or THAT”, or “I’m not where I think I should be”, or other nullifying judgments.  No matter how tenacious those feelings, “perspective enhancers” like the image above automatically cause us to shift, (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/17/shantytown-homelssness-perspective/feed/ 0
What if Your Life Were a Painting? http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/16/paint/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/16/paint/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:14:08 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45334

?

We —our lives — are really a kind of artist’s canvas.

When we take that view, we ask ourselves:

What are we painting?

Do we paint with kindness, generosity, anger, fear, bravado, hatred, curiosity… (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/16/paint/feed/ 0
Be Alert for Bad Productivity Advice http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/15/alert-bad-productivity-advice/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/15/alert-bad-productivity-advice/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:32:20 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45033

We are big fans of 99U and have found quite a few ideas that foster productivity. Some of their posts definitely do not. They got us thinking about all the “sure-fire advice” from supposed experts that we find on the internet, and how easy it is to think we’re doing things wrong.

Here’s an example:
“By waking up just 30 minutes early and jumping right into the work, we can block our mental editor from hindering the idea-generating process. “

(more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/15/alert-bad-productivity-advice/feed/ 0
Wake Up: Weave Wonder Out of Failure http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/15/beauty-woven-failure/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/15/beauty-woven-failure/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:57:22 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45420

cynthiadavis.com

Recently, it feels like no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to erase the ominous “f” word, spelled out across my interior blackboard in capital letters: F A I L U R E.

My insomniac “fail”  rumination was interrupted at dawn when a photograph flew over my e-transom, jolting me out of my gloom, making me laugh out loud. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/15/beauty-woven-failure/feed/ 1
Practice: Forgive Yourself and Keep Trying http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/11/forgive/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/11/forgive/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 08:51:43 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45288

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…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/11/forgive/feed/ 2
An Improvised Roost to See What’s Around http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/improvised-roost-see-whats-around/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/improvised-roost-see-whats-around/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 20:04:43 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45181

Sometimes we like to climb up on whatever’s around to shift our view and perspective. Do-able just about anywhere.

Image curated by Holton Rower

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/improvised-roost-see-whats-around/feed/ 0
The Wakeup Message of Little Accidents http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/wakeup-message-little-accidents/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/wakeup-message-little-accidents/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 08:53:21 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45293

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...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/wakeup-message-little-accidents/feed/ 7