The Art of Improvisational Living

Post by Nikki Starcat Shields.


print by SamNagel on etsy

The Art of Improvisational Living

Hi there. My name is Nikki, and I’m a recovering control freak.

You probably know where I’m coming from. You seem to be the one in charge of things – not only your own inner life, but the day-to-day functioning of your family, the trajectory of your business or workplace, and even the gatherings of your extended family and friends. You run around madly trying to orchestrate life, tiring yourself out, wishing you had more time for your soul’s true callings.

I empathize. Where have we gone wrong? We’re trying to micro-manage life.

It simply doesn’t work.

So often we judge our worth by what we do, the things we make happen, the number of items we check off our grand to-do list (whether it’s written on paper or held in the mind). This is a very stressful way to live.

Yes, we create our own reality. We draw to us, through our attitude and intentions, the people, things, and experiences we need. But we do this on a metaphysical level, not by grasping each moment like we can force it into the perfect shape. Not by rigidly holding to our expectations. Not by marching to the beat of someone else’s notions of what is right for us.

There is a growing part of me that is content to simply be, and knows I’m already worthy, simply by virtue of being here.

Rather than following a script (whether written by ourselves or others) for how life should be, what if we improvised? I’ve been working on letting go, on going with the flow of life. Rather than striving to compose each segment of my experience, I’m improvising.

When a musician chooses to improvise, it helps if she has a basic grounding in her instrument and how to play it. She has practiced, learned existing songs, and is now ready to use her technical skills to express herself creatively.

As a regular reader of Kind Over Matter, chances are you already have the basic skills you need for improvising your life. You have a spiritual practice, whether regular or sporadic, that returns you to your center. You reflect on your own journey, gather wisdom from various sources, and learn more about yourself. You are aware of your heart’s yearnings.

So, how do you live life as an improvisation? It’s mostly about releasing control. Oh yeah, that.Start by asking yourself what you really want. Your deepest desires are your own, arising from your creative spirit. Yet they are flexible, and they all, at the core, are part of a bigger theme for what you wish to feel: joy, love, peace, beauty, creativity, wellness, kindness. If you focus on these intentions, rather than trying to force each minute detail, you are better able to go with the flow.

Ultimately, the way to accomplish your goals and aspirations is to be them, rather than trying to do things.

Being yourself, saying yes to things that feel good, being present to what arises, being open to all the new opportunities that come to you. Making it up as you go along. You’ll still do plenty of things, yet they will be inspired by what feels right in each moment.

Is it scary? Sometimes. Feelings of worry, fear, or dissatisfaction will still arise. Yet when you’re focused on being, you can see how they are your emotional guidance system helping you learn to flow in harmony with your inner source. You can pause and return to your center, where the music emerges.

As I practice more and more, I feel myself sinking into the feeling of being, loving how my life naturally and beautifully unfolds from this state of, well, grace. That is, when I remember to let go and let it flow.

By practicing the art of improvisation, I’m learning that life is a work in progress and that it works best for me when I let it flow. Have a plan, sure, but be flexible. Don’t be attached to particular outcomes. Release self-judgment. When you falter, return again and again to your practice.

Play your life like an instrument, and you’ll be amazed to witness the magnificent music that pours from your inner spirit!

Nikki Starcat Shields is a writer, Mom, blogger, Reiki healer, and licensed priestess. She offers her insights, antics, and reverent joy at Starcat’s Corner. Nikki is the author of “Starcat’s Corner: Essays on Pagan Living.” She shares her calling at her business, Feline Dreamers.

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