How to Give Thanks in Dark Times (W.S. Merwin)

We know lots of wonderful poems of gratitude but only one that manages to express thanks amidst the very hard things that befall us in life. It is by W.S. Merwin and called simply “Thanks”. We find it remarkable and hard and heartbreaking and heartening, all that complexity of feeling, which echoes so perfectly that which we are living now…

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All of life is so fantastic. It's just, like, you go here and you get some ideas; you go there and get some more. You go to this restaurant and you get this fantastic thing. You go to that restaurant and they got that. It's just fantastic!
David Lynch

Tricia Hersey’s Radical Nap Ministry: “Rest is Resistance”

During a particularly stressful and exhausting time in her life, Tricia Hersey had an epiphany: She started napping where ever she had a few moments. It was transformative and led her to research the idea of rest as a healing mechanism and form of resistance against societal oppression. It would become her ministry, and she The Nap Bishop.

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Swirly Cutouts in Wood Antidote and Amplify “Modern”

For years, I thought this image was of a fireplace mantle and admired it for the swirly cutouts that softened the usual rectangle while maintaining a curious modernity. It’s an image from my file of wooden things quietly embellished with swirls, loops, curls, scallops. They give me ideas for my trove of uncut plywood, as do these from Brancusi, Blossfeldt, Margaret Bourke-White.

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A Streetside Vitrine Dispensing Free Handmade Pottery… and Joy

San Francisco ceramicist Nina Saltman created an inspired riff on the Little Free Libraries that have popped up across the nation. Nina’s Little Pott Shoppe is a tiny outdoor vitrine that offers her handmade cups and bowls for free. It’s a way she can give away “seconds”— work with minor flaws— and bring joy and serendipity to passersby. She never imagined how much her little offerings would affect people.

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Radical Acceptance with Biscuits (Tara Brach, Ed Brown)

When I hear the word “radical” used in the context of personal change —whether a book, a course, a workshop — I generally pass it by. It’s so overused and overblown, I’ve come to mistrust it. But in the past few months, I’d heard a number of smart, curious, level-headed people mention Tara Brach’s book, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha. Among the trove of very wise and helpful ideas, I especially love this passage about saying yes, perfection, self-comparison and….biscuits.

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DIY Kintsugi Repair for Beloved Broken Things

Photographer Ellen Silverman recently sent us photos of her Kintsugi mending project which we SO admire. We’ve had it on our list to try kintsugi, the Japanese way of repairing broken things with the mend celebrated rather than hidden. Ellen repaired two beloved vessels in no time, while amplifying their history and personal meaning, and the ideas of impermanence and imperfection.

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Tree Rooms Hiding in Plain Sight (Wendell Berry)

Designer Russel Wright had the habit of shaping parts of the land around Manitoga, his home and studio in upstate New York, into “rooms”. Rather than making a room, I love the idea of an outdoor room coming into being simply by finding it or naming it, as happened when I stumbled on some ancient Beeches. Their branches arch down to the ground to define the space around them, making quiet leafy rooms. The feeling of hanging out in them is extraordinary. Wendell Berry nailed it.

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Stenciling Ugly Concrete Sidewalks (and Other Things)

I didn’t realize how naturally brutalist concrete sidewalks are — drab gray, strangely crude— until I saw leaves painted on the sidewalk outside a Harlem plant store. The harsh, dreary slabs were transformed and seemed to be casting light and a feeling of whimsy and charm. It made me wonder why sidewalks are rarely embellished, and how to do it…

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Where to Find Help (Including a Great Website Developer)…

Over the years, I’ve hit periods when I couldn’t figure out how to find the help I needed… Not just a good handiman or office assistant, but expertise that is more difficult to find, like a reliable and affordable website programmer to solve problem I know nothing about. I’ve found stellar people for all realms of my business through two sites, including the Venezuelan programmer (and friend) who services Improvised Life…

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Chloe Cooper Jones on Creating a “Neutral Room” in Your Mind, for Pain Management, Focus and Creative Thinking

We found many compelling ideas in this New York Times interview with Chloe Cooper Jones about her new book Easy Beauty and the disconnect between “our real self and the way that self is perceived”. We’ve been trying out the remarkable technique she learned that she found provides unexpected “agency and peace and power”.

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Things to Consider When Eating Blackberries

When we stumbled on this still-life showing the lifecycle of a blackberry we thought “Ohhh! That’s what we should keep in mind as we eat the luscious fruit which is still in season into late September and early October. Its essential message sparked other ideas to accompany a feast of them.

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