It’s All Improvisation

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been reading An Improvised Life: A Memoir by the actor Alan Arkin. Tonight I read the book's final passage and loved it so much I had to share it here: "In the final analysis, it's all improvisation. We're all tap dancing on a rubber raft. We like to think otherwise, so we plan our lives, we plot, we figure, we find careers that will guarantee us an early retirement, we look for relationships that are permanent, we fill out forms, we do scientific experiments, we write rules -- all in an attempt to solidify, concretize, and control this universe of ours that refuses to be pigeon-holed....

The Soul of an Improviser

Riding the F train into Manhattan earlier today, I had an epiphany. Or maybe the epiphany struck as I was walking through the East Village to meet a friend. I can't say for sure. But somewhere, between Brooklyn and East 12th Street, the realization washed over me, the way obvious things suddenly appear above the surface: I have the soul of an improviser.

Beginnings

This week I'm in Maine with my family, and I took a yoga class at the local Y. I didn't know what to expect, but I assumed it wouldn't be a very advanced class. I was right. The teacher, a middle-aged woman with a refreshingly curvy body (refreshing because let's face it, it can be disheartening to take classes from women who look like Cameron Diaz), led us through 30 minutes of gentle stretching, followed by about 20 minutes of sun salutations and standing poses, and then 10 minutes of relaxation. In my classes back in New York, there's no stretching, and anything like a warm-up is done in about 120 seconds. It was so refreshing to be gentle with myself, to relax, and let my challenge be the persistent challenge of letting go of stress, versus straining my muscles to hold a pose. In other words, it felt great to be a beginner...