Improvised Life » principles / rules for living http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 01:40:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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

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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/ 2 Why Walking Helps Us Think + Create http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/09/walking-helps-us-think-create/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/09/walking-helps-us-think-create/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:32:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45240

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...]]>
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Reorganization as Soul Cleanse http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/workspace-reorganization-soul-cleanse/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/workspace-reorganization-soul-cleanse/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 08:54:33 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45132

A 48-hour disappearance into the depths of my studio was finally interrupted late yesterday by a well-meaning friend. He peered in to find me on hands and knees wiping out the lowest shelves with damp paper towels.

“Jeez. Still at it?”

I swiveled and growled like a rabid dog, sweat pouring down, hair plastered, eyes raccooned by melted mascara. “I can’t stop now. This is important. This is soulwork” He faded without a word.

Panting, disheveled, covered in cobwebs, I sat back on my heels. WTF? Why did this reorganization seem like a matter of life and death? Taking a swig of ice water, I collapsed on the floor. Presently, it came to me why it was––and is––such a big deal. (more…)

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Inspiring Signs Written on a Random Wall http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/03/wall-messages-first-post-back/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/03/wall-messages-first-post-back/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 08:40:50 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45052

Ellen Silverman

Photographer Ellen Silverman has a particularly fine eye for inspriational adhoc street signs. We love this wall she sent recently, whose messages resonate deeply with where we are right NOW. They are at once like stripped-down haiku, meditations and essential reminders… (more…)

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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