Improvised Life » signs + reminders http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Tiny Powerful Practice: Notice What You Notice http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/11/tiny-powerful-practice-notice-notice/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/11/tiny-powerful-practice-notice-notice/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 09:00:28 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46139

hedviggen.tumblr.com

Note to Self:

Starting NOW, practice noticing what I notice.

 

What am I tuned into? 

Through what filter am I viewing things?

What’s of real interest, gives true pleasure? (more…)

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Gary Snyder’s Buddhist Grace http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/06/gary-snyders-buddhist-grace/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/06/gary-snyders-buddhist-grace/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 09:22:13 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46564

We’ve come upon this passage about saying grace before a meal many times while flipping through The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry, and Translations and each time have thought, We need to do that, to at least think it if not say it aloud. Snyder’s view is just right. It may be especially resonant now that we are receiving food every week from Essex Farm in northern New York. We are cooking and eating with the seasons and are astounded weekly by that abundance that we are lucky to have. In hearing of what goes on on the farm, we feel like we somehow are part of it, aware of the weekly harvesting of vegetables, gathering of eggs, careful, mindful slaughtering of animals.

In The Practice of the Wild, Snyder puts eating in a much bigger context that we find deeply connecting and comforting. His grace is about taking a moment to think about our food and to express gratitude for the hugely creative force behind it, which we are part of: (more…)

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Never Give Up! http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/04/never-give/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/04/never-give/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 22:39:03 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45201

Bibi Jordan'

I saw this old dhow (wooden boat) in the harbor at Lamu in 1988 and took a quick shot of the transom.

It was a lousy photo and I always regretted not getting a better shot.

Then I found this one of the very same boat in Bibi Jordan’s book, Swahili Chic: The Feng Shui of Africa. This is a scan of her photo.

Words to live by.

Susan Dworski

 

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Marie Kondo’s Philosophy of Decluttering http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/30/marie-kondo-philosopher-declutterer/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/30/marie-kondo-philosopher-declutterer/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:55:03 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46396

Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has taken Japan and Europe by storm. And it seems, it is in the US as well. What sets Ms. Kondo off from other decluterring experts is her underlying philosophy that dictates the work of “tidying”.

An article in the New York Times outlined Kondo’s two basic, somewhat radical/spiritual, tenets:

Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service and… (more…)

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Scared? Great. Do It! http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/29/scared-great/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/29/scared-great/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 08:53:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46160

Reading Holton Rower’s “Run Toward Your Fear” sign recently, I recalled a remark that Tom Robbins made to me years ago when I was fretting about whether to sign up to design a big, new project with a tight deadline that required a great many skills I did not have—skills I would have to learn on the job. A very scary prospect.

What if I dropped the ball and left the client hanging, (more…)

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Seth Godin: Make Two Lists, then Choose http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/21/seth-godin-make-two-lists-choose/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/21/seth-godin-make-two-lists-choose/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:12:29 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46079

We were struck by Seth Godin’s recent post about the two lists we seem to carry with us at all times, which become apparent during a crisis or moment of doubt: one is the positives, the other, the negatives we perceive in our lives. His point: we have a choice in which we choose and the choice we make determines how we will proceed: (more…)

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Josef Albers Postage Stamp http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/17/josef-albers-postage-stamp/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/17/josef-albers-postage-stamp/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:44:29 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46020

Wary Meyers

We’re crazy for this Josef Albers postage stamp, circa 1980. Great visuals, inspiring message.

Hmmm. Wonder if the postal service would be interested in making our inspiring SIGNS and REMINDERS into stamps…sending them around the world… (more…)

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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…)

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Wise Words from May Sarton http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/08/wise-words-may-sarton/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/08/wise-words-may-sarton/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 08:43:41 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45805

Susan Dworski

Susan Dworski sent us this powerful quote from poet May Sarton after we mentioned how helpful reading Pema Chodrun is during times of upheavel, accompanied by this note:

Pema’s book is a standby at our house. Good call on that one.  It reminded me of a quote from poet May Sarton that has always been an inspiration for me when world’s yin and yang seems to be whirling a little too fast. We’re going to print Susan’s lovely design on our color printer and put it on our wall, an essential reminder.  The “world’s yin and yang” has definitely been whirling FAST.]]>
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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…)

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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…)

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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.

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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

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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…)

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“Triumph” Writ Large in the Street http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/16/triumph-writ-large-street/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/16/triumph-writ-large-street/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:00:20 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45194

Sally Schneider

We find that as we practice LOOKING on our walks around the city, we really do cultivate SEEING. It happens automatically when we slow down a bit. Look UP! we often write, encouraging a shift of perspective. The other day, we unexpectedly looked DOWN, to find, etched in one of those massive steel plates maintenance crews use to cover road work, this powerful sign.

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