Patterns Versus Change

Life is full of patterns. Your daily routine is just that: a routine. A pattern. You wake up, make breakfast, get dressed, go to work, eat lunch, go to the gym, go home, make dinner, go to bed. Rinse, repeat. There are things you add in from time to time. You go to the theater or the symphony, you go out for lunch, you have friends over for dinner. Aside from these variations, we live patterns and routine.

It’s the moment we glimpse ourselves outside of that, when we see that these patterns no longer serve us that we crave change. Most of the time without realizing it. We complain about patterns. However, we bitch about change.

I was in a job that I knew wasn’t right for me. It started out as a temp job, and turned into a permanent position. For the longest time I told myself that it was a dreamy job because there were so many things that a person should want in a job. I won’t go into them here. I also was in a relationship that I thought was good for me. And in my down time, I was performing in local theaters—not getting cast a lot, but I was performing some. However, I was unhappy.

Life decided it was time for change. I lost my job, my relationship ended, and I got incredibly sick during a show and almost had to quit because of stress. It took me at least eight months to recover, and I still find myself, years later, talking about the situation with disdain.  I am not a failure, but I failed at a moment in my life facilitating all kinds of change. Even though that moment of my life brings me painful and frustrating memories, it was the best thing to ever have happened to me. The man in my life was creating a lot of tension and was no longer good for me. The same with the job. Although it took me a little while to recover and regain my footing, I found myself on unemployment, going back to school to get a Masters Degree in Psychology, and making plans to move to New York City to pursue my dream to be an actress on Broadway.


I am not a failure, but I failed at a moment in my life facilitating all kinds of change.


Looking back at all the things that happened between then and now, reevaluating the change that occurred, I can see that it was many little differences, alterations, and thoughts that formed plans and feelings that made the change come about. I knew change was in the works, but didn’t want to admit it. I started making choices in my daily work that ended up effecting me in the long run. The same thing was probably happening in my relationship. I was living in a pattern that I thought was good for me, however I found a few things that made me take a deeper look at that job and myself. My opinions changed, or refocused, and every day, a little change was happening. My pattern was no longer an exact replica. It changed a tiny bit each day. Was this change inevitable, was it already in the works? Or did I finally open up my eyes and see what I really wanted, and once comparing it to what I had, I realized they weren’t the same thing? No matter what, no matter how I analyze it, I know it was a bit of both.

When I was a kid, I had one of those flip books. (This goes together, trust me. I didn’t just flip to another topic.) You know the kind. The ones that have a similar picture on each page, but if you held the spine in one hand and let your opposite hand’s thumb control the speed of page release—the quicker the better—it would look like it does in the movies. The characters on the pages come to live. Mine was a Cinderella book. She dances with the prince. Now, being an analytical child—for better or for worse—I would look at each and every picture after flipping through a few times to see if I could spot the differences. Upon close inspection they could be seen, but they were minimal. They had to be, otherwise when flipping through, fanning the pages to see them animated and “moving” you would notice a huge jump or a jerk. This being the change, the shift. Life is like that too. It’s not a picture. It doesn’t stand still. Every day there is a miniscule change. This change creates movement through your life.

Life changes a little bit every day. It moves toward something different. It must. You learn something every day, or if not you experience things that change you. You grow older, wiser. Unless you live in a vacuum or a cave, which neither is possible if you’re reading this blog, you are going to change. We often don’t notice change until a lot of it has taken place. Often as soon as we notice it, we notice how we don’t like what is going on around us and we see our patterns and we get frustrated. The frustration comes from both realizing we are stuck in a pattern, and that we no longer want to be stuck. Often times the patterns we have help us keep in our daily routine because it felt safe or easy. When the moment comes and change is happening, we cling to the pattern with such tenacity because we are afraid we are making the wrong choice, the scary choice, the painful choice even if the change is needed and/or inevitable. All change is good. It might not feel the best as you’re going through it, and its terrifying because you don’t know where you’ll end up on the other side, or if it will be as comfortable. But the point of change is to get you out of the comfortable. To make you better. To make you stronger. To make you live a greater life.


Life changes a little bit every day.


 

I needed my job and lifestyle change to happen. I couldn’t make the choice for myself, so I willed it to someone else. Even though I was hurt badly, probably because I didn’t and couldn’t make the choice myself, I rebounded. And you know what? I’m incredibly happy. Change needs to happen. Not all of it is drastic. Sometimes little change is good. It keeps you on your toes.

Change will happen. There is no stopping it. Well, ok, you could go move into that cave, or live in a remote location, but that is really not a likely option. Just let change happen. Take deep breaths. Think of change as a new roller coaster that you’ve never ridden before: it might be scary at first, but just put on your seat belt and enjoy the ride (this advice coming from a girl who used to hate roller coasters). At the end, you’ll be done with it and come out a different person for it. Just keep your eyes open, breathe, and know that there is some good in every outcome. You will be a different person, a better person, for having gone through the experience.

–Clare

 

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First Kisses or The Search for Perfect Moments

Yesterday, one of my dearest clients excitedly told me about running into a friend she’s known for 50 years. The reason it was so exciting was the guy was her first kiss. As a total romantic at heart I live for these stories. Hers went like this: she was thirteen and playing spin the bottle. It landed on this man (well boy at the time), and they went into the closet and counted until 10 so it would seem they were in the closet longer. After counting, they kissed. So cute!

It’s not the most romantic story in the world—or at least it isn’t how Hollywood or fictional authors would paint it. Was it the boy she wanted the bottle to land on? Nope. But, is it ever?

Her story sent me on a trip down memory lane. My first kiss was unexpected and not at all whom I wanted it to be from. Laughing at the memory, I decided to share with you, as it is not only a testament to me, but also a story about striving for perfection. I was at a track tournament and was hanging out in the team tent after I had just finished my events. I am flirt by nature and was chatting up the guys. I was being myself—which by the way we believe is a LiveClareLesley trait you should always live by. I jokingly was reaching across this guy on my team to coyishly reach for something. Our faces so close, millimeters from each other. He, being a hormonal young man, jumped at the opportunity I didn’t realize I was offering him. He leaned forward to broach that nominal gap I had just created and kissed me. Smack on the lips. Of course, it lasted barely a second but it felt like time had stood still. My brain was working a mile a second. I pulled back, smiled, and ran out of the tent. Ironically, I realize now that at a track tournament, I ran away from my first kiss.
Later, on the bus my thoughts were going in so many different directions, my head was spinning. My 15-year-old brain was trying to take this all in. The scene I had been a part of was NOT how I envisioned my first kiss. It certainly wasn’t how Julia Roberts was kissed in Pretty Woman on the balcony. Wasn’t after a first date on my porch. It was in a tent with others around. From a boy I liked, but wasn’t completely attracted to him, and wasn’t desirous to date him.
When we arrived back at school, I got off the bus and saw the hottest most popular senior at school. He, true to stereotype, was just leaving detention. He saw me too and we struck up a conversation. My heart started to race a bit: a true hot bad boy and we were talking!! This was who I actually wanted to be my first kiss!
Determined to rewrite history (it was the same day, and Bad Boy and Track Runner have the same name) I grabbed his hand, took him behind the science building and I kissed him. Yes, it was great! Yes, it lasted longer than a second. Yes, as am adult I’m aware I kissed two boys in one day and that probably wasn’t a good road to begin my romantic/sexual behaviors. However, I wanted to take back what I thought was mine! My first kiss shouldn’t it be mine to decide to give out?
At the time, it was a big deal to me.   Now, literally double my years later I realize it was just a moment; an experience and not something to be so worked up about. One that I hadn’t really thought about until my client told me her story.

There are many times in life, and many goals we set out to accomplish, that I think we build up to be this amazing, PERFECT moment. One thing, or one moment, that will determine all others. However, you are only in charge of you. Or, at least you should be so, check on that today. Things, life, kisses… don’t always happen the way you dream or plan. In the moment, they are incredibly important. At the time I thought the most important thing was that kiss. I can’t even remember how I did at the track tournament—and I’m a personal trainer, I should care more about the fitness aspect of that day!! But, 16 years later, those kisses, those boys, that LACK OF A MOMENT OF PERFECTION didn’t determine the route I’m on today. I did! I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I love it and I’m going to live it.
So, when was a moment you wanted perfection but felt it didn’t go as you planned? Looking back, was it the big deal you thought?

–LL

Regain Control of Your Life: Make a List!

How many times have you felt out of control because you had so many things to do and accomplish that you just mentally shut down? Or how often did you have to make a choice on something that was a major decision that you just couldn’t?

Help yourself out. Sort through all the issues in a simple and effective way: Make a list. I know this sounds simple, and you’re automatically mentally retreating, but just give me another paragraph and hear me out. The act of writing things out, listing them, if you will, helps not only to organize your thoughts but gets the ideas out of your brain and onto a visual surface so you can better understand what you’re dealing with. Once out of your brain, the thoughts aren’t bouncing around, mixed in with all the other things you’ve got going on, and lessens the thinking pressure. Ok, it may sound a little mumbo-jumbo, and a lot old fashioned, but I dare you to give it a try.

I understand that in this day and age, there are so many technological advances that the feeling of the need to write things out sort of goes to the wayside. Writing things out seems like a silly, unrequired thing. However, the feeling of getting the thoughts out of your head and having a semblance of organization immediately starts to quell your unease. Making a list of them will also give you a place to start, and allow you to grasp what is ahead of you.

I am, and probably always will be, a huge advocate for writing. Looking back it is always something I have done. Whenever I have an idea, I write it down—I can’t you how many scraps of paper with random thoughts are floating around my apartment. When I go through a break up, I write out my feelings in a journal—I write and write and write to get it all out of me and move on with my day. When I’m feeling the need to be creative or solve a problem or issue I write. Letting the words out of my body and putting them down in a physical format is a release for me. As and adult, I’ve found that the act of writing gets me out of my head, and the jumble of thoughts bouncing around like a ball of string unwinding and making a mess, and instead gets them out to a place where I can see them, organize them, and control them.

This last one is the main thought. Once your ideas, thoughts, needs, tasks are out of your head, you can control them. Once on paper, they’re only words that will lead you to being accomplished or achieve the goal you need to reach.

To this day, I make lists constantly. I cannot leave town, even overnight, without making a list of what to pack. Like I said before, I make all kinds of shopping lists. I’ve ended two relationships and made decisions with six jobs with a positive/negative “big decision” list. The three lists that I analyzed were actual ones from my life—I did one for a big thing like moving, a medium thing like managing my time and chores for a weekend, and a small but daunting task of cleaning up and organizing my frustrating kitchen. If you look at my phone note pad app, I have lists for books to read, websites to look up, topics to write for this book, songs to sing in auditions, recipes to try, job ideas/websites/connections, and yes, I even have a list of shoes I liked at the local branch of the big chain discount shoe store to spend money on if and when I have extra. My name is Clare Solly and I love, and believe whole-heartedly, in the self-returning power of lists.

For more on this topic and “how to” tips, stay tuned to this blog, and for our book, due out this winter.

–Clare

Transitions

Recently, I was taking a Pilates class and the instructor emphasized how important the transitions are.  I know Pilates, Transitions…sounds like I’m trying to get you to exercise, but let me explain.  In Pilates, there are several key principles; one of them is “Flow.” Each exercise should shift from one to the next so that the person doing them never actually stops moving.  Often, we throw away the importance of that movement from one exercise to the next: the transitions. When practicing Pilates, instead of lifting both feet at the same time keeping our abdominals on, we can also slide our feet into position or do one at a time. Why? It’s easier. We subconsciously want a break. We just didn’t know we wanted a break from the movement.  Whatever the reason may be for ditching the transition or keeping the principle of flow in mind the out come is the same. We didn’t utilize the transitions from point A to point B to the fullest. For their intended purpose.

Ok, why am I talking to you about Pilates transitions? Simple! In life we go through transitions all the time. There are times between the moments, events and/or goals that we miss. Skip or even complain about. These times we have names for: lulls, ruts, bad days, retrogrades, etc. You with me yet?

As the one year mark has finally arrived, the day that I became single, I thought back to all the transitions I have been through this past year. The transitions I am still going through. Guess what…even though at the time I endured what I had to, I am so thankful for each one of them. Even the ones that made me cry.  In fact, today I am declaring that all life transitions be welcomed and celebrated as much as the peaks in our lives.

In one year I have: moved (4 guest homes and one apartment), furnished a whole apartment (I moved clothes, an antique trunk and my grandma’s china), the studio I taught my clients out of closed (had to find a new home for them), I totaled my car (leaving the Ex’s home thank you universe for making sure I was well aware I needed to stay away from the valley) adopted a dog and sadly, buried her, published a book, won Best of Los Angeles Magazine Pilates Instructor, transferred studio manager locations, won a half marathon and walked in one (never have walked in a race in my life), went to Colorado five times, New York twice, traveled to Florida, Vancouver and San Francisco alone. Of course I did so much more in this past year. I hit goals, I can now do unassisted pull ups. I was selected by my company to teach my workshops in Colorado, San Diego and Los Angeles. I have dated winners, whiners and men who were not for me. I have made friendships I never would have, gone to restaurants that never could have been and enjoyed trials and errors that often make me smile and their ridiculousness. Its been a lot.

Here I sit after all of the good and the bad, happy as a clam, stronger than I ever knew was possible and while I feel like I am constantly in transition these days. I know now that this part of the journey is just as important as the place I will arrive. Which of course makes me wonder—do I ever want to arrive? What does that mean and then where shall I go after I have arrived? But let’s save that rabbit hole for another posting.

Today, I challenge you to enjoy your transitions. Yes, even the ones that make you cry. When you find yourself saying you are in a rut, having a bad day or feeling stagnant observe it. What should you be learning from it? How far have you come from where you were? Instead of jumping from peak to peak, enjoy the hike in between. Take in the views.  When you are feeling like crying, that its been a seven year transition and you’re just wondering WHEN it’ll be over. Lay on the ground, open your palms and get as heavy as you can with mother earth. Literally, get grounded. Eat warm soups, drink hot tea and fill full. Then take a look at your world from a different perspective. What’s rocking and what’s rolling? What makes you smile and what makes you frown?

Without these challenges, how would we know how strong we are? How far we have come? How much can we can handle and bounce back? Thank the Universe for these transitions, I do. I would have no idea what I could survive with out them. Sure, it would have been nice to not total my car and lose my dog.  But, I also negotiated my own car lease and had more friends reach out to comfort me than I probably get to see in a year!

If we take the moment to enjoy the transitions we may just see how lucky we are and how blessed we are to be the high times. I have decided to OWN being in transition.  Recently, when a male suitor was over trying to make dinner in my small kitchen, he mentioned that I didn’t have much in the way of cookware (a strainer, more than one bowl, knives) I am still living without. I declared: I am a Work in Progress, don’t be jealous!

It’s been one heck of a year. I must enjoy, welcome, take in the different transitions the Universe has in store for me. They are gifts. I will continually be transitioning, as will you. Just remember a transition doesn’t last forever and its only the movement from one position to the next.

LL

What is “Live ClareLesley”?

First of all, how do you say it?

“ClareLesley” is intended to sound like “carelessly” (Get it?) It IS a clever conglomeration of our names, however it’s also the way that we think life should be lived.

 

You mean I should live carelessly?

In a way. Both Clare and Lesley are equal parts smart and fun, and both continually strive to find a balance between working hard and living well. Both have made many life choices that created strain and stress, and have not only lived through those undesirable days, months, years; but have learned how to live better, because of those moments. “Living ClareLesley” is meant to remind you to live each day with equal parts enlightenment and entertainment and to deal with the difficult times with grace and laughter.

 

How do I “Live ClareLesley?”

Such a great question—one that we’re continuing to explore and answer. And revisit. And revise. Breathing is the start; when you come up against any problem always breathe deeply. Understand that although there are bigger things happening in the world, the magnitude of life changing events in your world are important, but everything can be handled. Finding balance between the serious and the laughing moments of life are vital. To Live ClareLesley you need to jump in to the situations that are the hard ones, breathe through them, and come out on the other end. Life is for the living, so go out there and thrive, do, be. Don’t wallow in your mistakes, learn from them and move on. Most importantly: love and forgive. Both of these actions should be as much for and toward yourself it directed to others. In this fast paced, social media driven, smart phone connected, selfie world, take a moment to look around and live and laugh and treat yourself well; that is how to Live ClareLesley.