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A Practice for Dire Straits

In January, after Improvised Life had been down for several days, I sent out a message to Friends with Benefits members. The message said, in essence: “The site is down, I hope it will be back and that years of writing and images have not been damaged; please send whatever personal magic you employ my way.” Then it seemed, my only option was to wait and practice Improvised Life’s principles…

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Practice Losing Farther, Faster (Elizabeth Bishop)

The other day we came across the shorn trunk of huge tree that had been taken down by the Parks Department. We looked close and tried to count the rings but got lost in the swirls and changes in its three-foot span. It is one of those everyday losses that reminded us of others, and of the Elizabeth Bishop poem “One Art”*, in which the antidote to loss lies hidden.

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Create A Personal Practice To Prepare for Any Challenge

Australian competitive hurdler Michelle Jenneke dances to get ready to run hurdles, a routine that has worked for her for years: she starts with enthusiasm and momentum to launch into extraordinary movement, using the dance’s performance energy to get ready. It’s a superb example of creating a personal routine that uses excitement and imagination to focus and feed yourself for performance, or just about anything you do in life.

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Morning Practice: Reading a Poem…..Again

For some time, our morning practice, before email or anthing digital,  has been to read a poem aloud (sometimes with a friend).  Recently, we decided to try reading the same poem every morning for a week. We discovered that each day, we’d hear it differently and find something new in those same few lines, as…

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How to Neaten Up Stuff via Sachs’ Practice of Knolling

(Video link here.) At Things Organized Neatly, a website about exactly THAT, we found this terrific except from Ten Bullets, artist Tom Sachs‘ essential principles — “his code” — for employees working in his studio. Here he outlines something he called “knolling”, an action we’ve always done but never had a word for. Sachs’ interpretation is…

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