Life as improvisation

Life as improvisation

Until recently, I would have said, I knew little of improvisation, a theatre training technique used to train actors, entertain and encourage creative thinking. After doing a little research I realised I knew more than I thought!

The UK and US comedy show, Whose Line is it Anyway illustrates how improvisation works. Simply, you take a prompt and on the fly, solo or in a group you improvise sketches, stories or single lines to build on the original idea. Comedy can play a big role.

I realise the writing I do works on a similar basis. I get an idea and say yes to it, then more ideas of what to say tumble one upon the other. It has been like this for so long that I have never really wondered about the magic of that.

What struck me anew, is how Life as improvisation is the most natural thing in the world.

A beautiful way to see this is in the joy of re-discovering life’s earlier pleasures. Things from childhood or young adulthood, left along the wayside until one day, an impulse to return and pick them up again, occurs, out of nowhere. There is a sweetness in that return, for we bring a new understanding to the much loved activity.

A softness descends at the memory of hours lost in wonder filled play, indoors or out; solo or in the company of friends, real or imagined. The senses quicken in anticipation of re-experiencing that magic. The form may differ but the delight is familiar.

A wonderful example of this is showing up in my life. Moths caught my attention recently. A thread (that little quickening) pulled on me and I see clearly now, I said yes to the nudge, with no idea why I was drawn nor what might come of following the trail.

So far, like a lover besotted with the beloved, I have come alive and lost myself in research, a visit to a museum, conversations with entomologists and curators, sketching, story ideas, photographs, gathering data and musing with inspiration and wonder at these extraordinary creatures. The fantastic names, tickle my love of language: Cavorting emperor, Viper’s Bugloss, Splendid Brocade, Tawny Shears.

Ideas and delight have fizzed and bubbled as I enter into a hidden world as if by special invitation 

Moths are short lived creatures. Sometimes just a week or two. Likewise this fascination may be short lived but intense. Yet already the treasure is great. With no constraints, no need to define the purpose or point of the trail, I can simply enjoy being on it.

So many strands of my life are coming alive in this exploration: organic farming, poetry, story, pattern, sensory perception, conversation, art, science, nature. And all this before venturing out to look for moths at night. There’s a delicious freedom: Life as improvisation.

Rather like baking, there are simple raw ingredients like shape, form, colour, function which have the potential to combine in our imagination into extraordinary wonder filled flights of fancy, learning, action and creating something new, imbued with the wonder we feel.

Part of the magic lies in the openness and delight in letting our imagination guide and shape our experience whether it is den building, watching bugs, climbing trees, building homes or cities from random household items, playing tag, making up songs or stories, painting, sticking, gluing or dressing up. It is striking how little our imagination needs. In fact often fewer props lead to greater imaginative leaps. As children, this comes naturally. As adults we can forget.

But when we remember, there is mystery in that magic and recognition too

Recognition of something deep within us, that wants only to embrace life whole-heartedly, delight in aliveness for its own sake. Those early joys are intimate, bespoke signposts to that deeper sense: our True Nature. We know it when we touch it. It is impersonal, vast, immediate, ordinary and deeply alive.

To return to those pleasures with deeper understanding of the power of that dimension to nourish and inspire us, is like trailing your fingers in cool water on a hot summer day. Delicious, energising and something to revel in. T.S. Eliot puts it beautifully in this extract:-

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.

—T.S. Eliot, from “Little Gidding,” Four Quartets (Gardners Books; Main edition, April 30, 2001) Originally published 1943.”

Life as improvisation, now there’s a thought! Saying YES, AND to Life. Agreeing with your heartfelt impulses and allowing your imagination to expand on them. To be in conversation and co-operation with the dynamic magic of Life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections.

P.S. This piece has been inspired by many things including beginning Rob Hopkins, From What is to What If – unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want. Highly recommend. He is one of the founders of the Transition Town movement, now worldwide. I love how good ideas spread!


If you’re drawn to discovering more magic and mystery, I would love to work with you.

You can find out more here and be aware, my fees are a guide not set in stone. If you have a little thread pulling you towards being in consultation with me, follow it and together we’ll let our imaginations loose and create something extraordinary. Email me and let’s start a conversation.

Poem: Hovering

Poem: Hovering


~ remain poised uncertainly in one place or between two states ~




Over and
Over again


© Juliet Fay 2018




Three Principles Facilitator, writer & speaker on wellbeing, creativity and enterprise

Helping individuals, groups and teams find more resilience, ease and joy in life and work. Find out more

Freelance Facilitator for Llanelli Mind. Accredited Wellbeing Mentor Coach for Wellbeing Coach Certification training for Wisdom & Wellbeing Consultancy, London, UK

“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.”

Sydney Banks

Leave go

Leave go

For there, just out of sight, is a space where we don’t need to hold things so tightly. Where there is nowhere to fall but into grace.

Where stories of self and others flutter like Autumn leaves, falling, falling to gently decompose as winter turns to Spring and emerge, transformed.

New shoots from the cold hard earth.

And in this ebb and flow of birth and death, of joy and sorrow, we hear another drum beat.

The deep longing expressing itself in sighs and belly laughs.

The longing to turn away from poring over the flotsam and jetsam on the shores of our awareness.

To wade out beyond our depth and dive into the ocean, down, down to the unexplored territory far below the pull of neap and spring tides.

And as we fall into that deep rest, life rises up, greets us and washes us back upon the shore.

To once again sigh and laugh

Rise and fall

Leave go and let this making and unmaking of Life unfold.


I’m Juliet Fay, based in West Wales, UK, a writer, Marketing Geek and Three Principles Facilitator. Join my list for updates and this free e-booklet, ‘Plagued with doubt? A simple way throughTo learn more about the Three Principles, as articulated by Sydney Banks, ask to join Love Your Life Again (moods & how to survive them), a free Facebook group I host. This is an extension of the work I do at a local mental health charity facilitating conversations with members, staff and volunteers.

How an innocent misunderstanding leads to unnecessary mental distress

How an innocent misunderstanding leads to unnecessary mental distress

Do you believe everything you think?


Most of us don’t.

We don’t believe when it has rained for 6 days solid that the sun will never come out again (though that thought crosses our mind).

We don’t believe life is unremittingly bad though it can look like that when we are in a low mood.

What if you don’t have to believe anything you think? What if it is all made up? Simply thought energy passing through us?

Hang on a minute, I hear you say.

Well if you can disregard some thoughts and not others, what makes the difference? How do you choose which ones you pay attention to, which ones you give weight to?

Scientific evidence, facts, validation from others?

You only have to scratch a little deeper to find it’s entirely random. The difference comes simply from what state of mind we are in.

In a high state of mind (or expanded consciousness) the thoughts we believe and therefore our experience of the world, is entirely different to the thoughts we believe to be true and therefore our experience of the world in a low state of mind. In a high state of mind we experience love, joy, wisdom, well-being, lightheartedness and peace. In a low state we experience fear, lack, scarcity and distress.

What does this tell us?

It is our state of mind that creates our experience.

The innocent misunderstanding is that circumstances, our genes, our wiring, our past, our hormones or anything other than the thinking in each moment that we believe to be true, creates our experience. That misunderstanding is the biggest cause of mental distress because we take our thoughts at face value. We believe they tell us something about ourselves, other people or our world.

But that’s not how it works.

Our state of mind ebbs and flows and therefore so does our experience of ourselves, others and our world.

The thing that is constant is our innate, essential, well-being. We may lose sight of it but we all have, at our core, innate wisdom, well-being, creativity and resilience.

Our shifting moods tell us ever-changing stories about ourselves, the world and other people.

These are made up. Insubstantial. Illusory. Only they don’t look that way. They look real.

It is expanded consciousness that shifts our experience.

How do you get expanded consciousness?

It happens naturally when we get quiet and still and tune in to something bigger than ourselves. To the universal energy we call life or spirit or Mind (as expressed by Sydney Banks).

The good news is, as our consciousness expands our feeling states continue to fluctuate, ebb and flow but they do so from a different base line.

The even better news is that there is nothing to do other than settle down. There’s nothing to get, achieve, tick off or even aspire to. There is only doing and being.

There aren’t even any states of mind that are inherently negative. We only judge them to be so. We can experience distress from a place of expanded consciousness and experience it as the dreamer watches what is unfolding in the dream. Engaged but not attached to any particular outcome.

Thus we can get curious about these feeling states we get to experience with this whole being human thing. With nothing on it, there is no longer the need to chase away so-called ‘bad feelings’ nor try to cling on to so-called ‘good feelings’. Knowing that feelings ebb and flow we can turn away from thinking about how we are feeling and allow instead thoughts and feelings to flow through us. Casting our attention away from stale old ones and towards fresh new inspiration that is always available to us, in each and every moment. This allows us to engage in doing and being with wonder, awe and appreciation.

When you realise you are not what you think, nor does what you think say anything about yourself, the world or other people you can surrender to Universal Mind and to life flowing through you. When life flows through you uninhibited, your experience of this whole being human thing, transforms as more and more appreciation leads to more and more allowing for love, joy and peace to show up in your life and the lives of those around you.

Why isn’t this common knowledge?

You might well ask. For once you realise your experience of life is created by the thinking you believe to be real, your whole relationship to your thinking begins to change. The good news is, this understanding is being shared across the world and more and more of those impacted by seeing the reality of how our human experience gets created are bringing about change directly or indirectly, in their families, communities and work places. Change is coming.

You can find out more by visiting the Solcare Resources page.

Please add your comments below.

© Juliet Fay 2017

Juliet Fay is a writer, poet, Marketing Geek and Three Principles Facilitator based in West Wales sharing The Three Principles as first articulated by Sydney Banks. Contact Juliet via the Solcare website. For articles, occasional poems, book reviews and programme news from Solcare, sign up to the e-mailing list here. To learn more about the Three Principles ask to join Love Your Life Again, a Facebook group hosted by Juliet Fay of Solcare, for individuals, social care workers and social entrepreneurs looking for more ease and flow. 


How a ‘fertile’ mind creates beautiful new ‘shoots’

How a ‘fertile’ mind creates beautiful new ‘shoots’

During my years in organic vegetable farming I saw how a naturally fertile soil can produce naturally healthy crops by harnessing nature’s own systems.

For instance, farmers have known, probably since Egyptian times, that rotating crops and planting legumes like peas, lentils and clovers are good for soil fertility. Fertile soils produce strong new shoots, less likely to be affected by pest and diseases. There is good science to back up this age old practice.

It struck me today that our minds work in a similar way. We often talk of people having a ‘fertile imagination’ if they come up with particularly creative or fantastic ideas.

And what defines a creative idea?

Usually it is something new, fresh, unseen, untested.

Where does it come from?

It can only come from a universal intelligence behind life. Where else could it possible come from? So why do some people find life a journey of discovery and others are prisoners of their thoughts?

It seems to me, the answer lies in the state of the space where thoughts arise.

In our minds.

When this space, our mind, is congested with stale old thoughts, it feels exhausted and clogged up. The stale old thoughts churn up and rather than paying attention to our state of mind, we try and fix those thoughts by changing things in our world, like our job, our partners or our diet.

Much in the same way a conventional farmer might reach for fertilizer, weedkiller or insecticide to try and buck up sad looking plants. In both cases it doesn’t fix the underlying issue.

The stirred up mind like the depleted soil, is not in good heart.

On the other hand when we allow our mind to do what it naturally wants to do, which is to settle down and get quiet and still, in my experience, love and appreciation naturally arise, if we allow those feelings to come.

How do you get your mind to settle down?

As soon as it occurs to you to let your mind settle, it will. In my groups I take a water bottle with sand in the bottom, shake it up and we all watch the sand slowly sink to the bottom. It takes a few seconds. It’s not the bottle of sand making us settle down; it’s just a reminder how quickly the mind can and will settle if we let it.

Like organic farmers, who understand that feeding the soil, produces new, healthy crops. So too, if we understand how settling down, nurtures the mind, nurtures the space where thoughts arise, allows it to fill with love and appreciation, then we too can experience fresh, beautiful new ‘shoots’ of ideas and a ‘healthier’ experience of our world.

And who wouldn’t want that?

© Juliet Fay 2017

Juliet Fay is a writer, poet, Marketing Geek and Three Principles Facilitator based in West Wales sharing The Three Principles as first articulated by Sydney Banks. Contact Juliet via the Solcare website. For articles, occasional poems, book reviews and programme news from Solcare, sign up to the e-mailing list hereTo learn more about the Three Principles ask to join Love Your Life Again, a Facebook group hosted by Juliet Fay of Solcare, for individuals, social care workers and social entrepreneurs looking for more ease and flow.