Improvised Life » signs + reminders If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Fri, 29 May 2015 17:56:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wondrous Spinning Gif + Anne Herbert’s Inimitable Wisdom Thu, 14 May 2015 20:06:16 +0000

We love this beauty of a gif from the great intepid gif-artist DVDP. It reminds us of the very wise words of the mysterious Anne Herbert: (more…)

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A Mime’s Curiously Visionary Design Thu, 07 May 2015 06:17:48 +0000

(Video link here.) Ikeda Yosuke is a mime who incorporates graphic design and typography into his performances. He is not a professional designer, but he practices outside-the-box thinking with everyday objects we take for granted. Here he envisions OPEN’s opposite hidden within: an example of true possibility-thinking.

More of Yosuke’s work here.

via Core 77

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Role Model: Mr. Clean Enough (Roz Chast) Thu, 30 Apr 2015 06:06:41 +0000

Roz Chast/The New Yorker

The great Roz Chast's recent New Yorker cartoon really hits home. Having once been quite a serious neat-o-phile, I've learned over the years that the principle of "enough" can be quite liberating.  It's a variation of a philosophy I first learned from a therapist friend...]]> 1
What if We Stopped? Thu, 23 Apr 2015 06:42:50 +0000

Stefan Sagmeister

Yesterday, we stumbled on Seth Godin’s question “What if you stopped?“, and….

…we did stop for a minute to think about it.

What if we stopped publishing Improvised Life?  (more…)

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Christoff Niemann’s “I Confess” Tue, 21 Apr 2015 06:01:15 +0000

Christoff Niemann

While we were researching recent pieces about the great Christoph Niemann recently, we came across “I Confess”, his visual confession of all the things he is (or thinks he is), and that WE TOTALLY RELATE TO.

It is a great reminder that you can be Out of Style, Out of Touch, Use the Wrong Screws, Steal Books and not able to Draw Cats or Hair and STILL make incredibly illuminating things that really need to be in the world… (more…)

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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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‘Create Dangerously’ (Camus), ‘Every Wall is a Door’ (Emerson) Wed, 18 Mar 2015 07:52:12 +0000


In the final paragraph of Camus’ last published essay, Create Dangerously, we found this radical idea:

One may long, as I do, for a gentler flame, a respite, a pause for musing. But perhaps there is no other peace for the artist than what he finds in the heat of combat. ‘Every wall is a door,’ Emerson correctly said. Let us not look for the door, and the way out, anywhere but in the wall against which we are living. Instead, let us seek the respite where it is—in the very thick of battle. For in my opinion…it IS there…

…As a result, there shines forth fleetingly the ever threatened truth that each and every man, on the foundation of his own sufferings and joys, builds for all.


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John Cage: Saying YES to Unpredictability Tue, 10 Mar 2015 06:52:01 +0000

We opened the John Cage’s enduringly great A Year from Monday and found this extraordinary set of questions*:

How immediately are you going to say Yes to no matter what unpredictability, even when what happens seems to have no relation to what one thought was one’s commitment?

The kind of YES he’s talking about is full committment: (more…)

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Holi: Throw Happiness Around Like Confetti! Mon, 09 Mar 2015 06:09:41 +0000

The Hindu traditional day of festivity known as Holi, celebrated on March 5th, is a religious celebration that has come to signify a lighthearted goodbye to winter and joyous welcome to Spring. Celebrants throw vibrantly colored powders on each other, as though blessings, in a jubilant day of transformation.  Spring is literally in the air! (more…)

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Sylvia Plath Quote and Other Unexpected Doors Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:51:01 +0000

Anahi DeCanio/ArtyZen Studios

Ever since we stumbled on a Pinterest page devoted totally to DOORS, we’ve been mulling possibilities and wondering why we don’t see more imaginative doors around New York City; most are from Europe where age and eccentricity are the norm. That is, until we spotted the wondrous trompe l’oeil door in Brooklyn (above) and this garage door in Queens scrawled with a powerful quote from Sylvia Plath: (more…)

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O is for ‘Onward’ and Moving Through Fear Tue, 24 Feb 2015 08:28:06 +0000

Oliver Jeffers

At Brain Pickings today, we stumbled on this wonderful illustration from Oliver Jeffers’ charming kid’s book, Once Upon an Alphabet. It’s a sign we’d like to print out and hang on our wall, a quiet, potent reminder.

ONWARD! is the word we find helps most in times of fear, anxiety or overwhelm — a new project or an exhausting one, an idea we’re trying out, NOT knowing where we’re going. (more…)

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A Valentine from Jenny Holzer (and Improvised Life) Fri, 13 Feb 2015 22:46:22 +0000

Jenny Holzer

Artist Jenny Holzer‘s sign is a wondrously-expansive view of living Valentine’s Day…daily.

We’d love to have this bench in our Laboratory…a fine reminder… (more…)

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HOW You See Is What You Get Thu, 05 Feb 2015 08:46:11 +0000

At But Does it Float, we were struck by this the title of a photography exhibition (not by the photographs). “How you see is what you get” is one of Improvised Life’s essential principles. NOT in the magical thinking way, that we will get everything we want if we just think a certain way.

But in the sense that being aware of the lens through which we are seeing can powerfully determine our experience. And that awareness is a practice; (more…)

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