Rest IS good for you

Last week I royally screwed up at work. I missed a very important detail, that could have been extremely costly. Luckily, a co-worker caught my mistake before it left our office. I beat myself up about it. And I got a talking to by my boss.  I’m a detail person. I PRIDE myself in details!   However, I’ve been running in all cylinders for weeks, and I didn’t take the time to rest, got sick, still tried to function at my normal speed, and screwed up big time.

Whether you’re a yogi that observes savasna at the end of your practice, if its a Friday and your counting the minutes until the weekend starts, or if you’re from Europe where everything shuts down for lunch and a siesta—you know that rest is a good thing. Rest is something we should accomplish daily, but is the one thing that we push aside in our lives most. We don’t really pay attention to rest until we really need it—which is a travesty.


Currently, I’m typing this, cozied up on my sofa, Netflix streaming in the background, tissues to my right, hot tea to my left. I waited too long to rest and my body decided to shut down and make me rest. On average, I work a 50-hour week, with all of my jobs and rehearsals or performances; I’ve got a lot going on. I carry a lot of responsibility on these tall shoulders. I feel, sometimes that if I slow down to take care of myself, that everything will fall apart and I’ll have such a large mess to clean up. So, it’s best to keep chugging along. However, that isn’t the case. More often than not, “things” will keep going. I, however, will not.

It’s a funny thing, because about a week before I get sick, I get a feeling I should slow down. A very strong sense comes over me—sometimes I take heed, this time I ignored it. Instead of making sure I went to bed early, or making sure that I didn’t take on extra things, or just letting my mind go and actually resting, I scheduled extra things, and did the opposite of everything my body told me to do. Instead of taking it easy, I doubled my activities. Oof.

You can do so much more harm to yourself when you don’t rest. I’m not talking about sleep—which is also needed, but lack of rest is an epidemic in the world. People gain weight, and create more stress in their lives with the lack of rest. True you won’t get as much done immediately, but in the long run, you will save time.

Think of it this way—because I didn’t rest, and fell sick, I then had to take double the amount of time to get healthy again, that I would have if I just rested.

Mastin Kipp—founder of The Daily Love, and seemingly a man I should be friends with, because we have such similar views and insight on life—wrote an article a few weeks ago about making yourself the most important person in your life. And you can do this by simply saying “No”. When I read this article, this knowledge was refreshed in my mind. I know that I should take better care of myself. I should say “no” more often. But I don’t want to let anyone down, because I have the reputation of being dependable and resourceful. In his article about self care he talks about this same feeling, and how he put himself in the hospital because he couldn’t say no. He also goes on to say, a “no” to someone or something else is a “yes” to you.


When I read that, I had to take a deep breath. It hit my heart so deeply. (I also have to confess it took me three different tries to read this article all the way through—because instead of taking a moment for myself to read it, I did work, or helped someone else.) Ugggh! I thought to myself—I hate that he is right! I have to learn to say “yes” to myself, my health, and my resting time more regularly.

This is going to be a hard process (Mastin agrees). But I have to commit to myself, to take better care of myself by saying, no. I wrote an article a while ago about being sorry–which I say that you shouldn’t apologize, but instead think before you act, or reform your behavior, because it is too easy to commit the “crime” and then just ask forgiveness.  Taking care of yourself, and saying no, and RESTING follow a similar thought… you can’t just continue to go at full throttle, and hope that your body will forgive you.  Mine never does.  She gets pissed off at me and shuts down.  Life seems to be three times harder when I’m not well, because I’m going at half speed, or less.  It is truly agony to be sick, not just because I’m not healthy.

The silly thing is there are simple ways to rest, or shut down, if we would only take them.  I have started with the few simple habits to get me started:

1) Obviously, I am to try to get 8ish hours of sleep a night.  I make sure to think about when I need to get up and make myself aim for bed 9ish hours before, so that way when I finally get to bed, I get enough sleep.

2) I put my electronics to sleep.  I put my cell phone on “do not disturb” mode.  I turn off my computer in the hour before I go to bed.  There have been studies that say that electronics over stimulate, so by shutting them down, you allow your brain to slow down.

3) I follow Mastin’s advice and say “no.”  I need to not commit myself to everything simply because it is the right thing to do.

4) I make sure I observe rest time for myself.  I take moments on weekends, or moments of the day when I’m not working, and actually focus on myself.  Like today:  I decided to stay home and rest and clean.  And a friend asked me to go to dinner… I committed to myself first, so I’m going to honor that.  Its just as important as honoring a friend.

5) I will remember to breathe.  Deep breaths are cleansing and relieving.  They relax and open everything up.

These are the beginnings.  I’d love to hear what you do to relax.  Share below or email us!!  Remember, it is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone.

Clare

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Are you in a Trough of Sorrow?

I am past the initial stages of work and development. I have enjoyed the excitement of the launch. Now that those happy feelings have left and I am sitting in the work. Doing the work and not always hitting the goals and deadlines that I have set up for myself. I am past the beginning. I am in the “Trough of Sorrow.”

The “Trough of Sorrow” was coined by YCombinator partner Paul Graham. Don’t worry, I only recently heard of it on this new PodCast called StartUP.  YCombinator is basically where tech companies go through a very accelerated growth process and then present their businesses to investors. The Trough is where many people find themselves after the excitement of launching their business. It’s not an immediate Trough one falls in. It typically happens after you have launched,  and you’re running–you may even have investors–but you’re not hitting your monetary goals you thought you would by now. You’re not reaping the fruits of your labor…yet….if ever…

I launched something recently. I am stoked about it! The road to getting there was lots of planning. But of course there was the excitement for the planning for what was to come. What could come. Then it launched. Lots of excitement around that. Still around that. Then…the thoughts of should I change this? Or, that doesn’t work over here if we change this over here. Why are we not getting clicks on this? People seem to be really interested in this part of the concept but that’s not the original goal. Do we change goals? Switch gears? Hold out and see if the wind changes? What to do? What to do? Oh my goodness what to do!?!?

Have you ever started something, put yourself out there in your work and then realized there’s still more to do. You’re up, you’re slightly running. Then there are the boomerang tasks. You know, those tasks that you thought you could cross of the list only to have them “boomerang” right back with something else to do so that you can cross it off the list!  There are updates, the tweaks the changes, the ideas that sounded great then in reality….

It can be daunting. You can start second guessing yourself.  Wondering if it would just be easier to quit all together.  Maybe it would be easier or better to just give up. But before you do that, or I do that we have to ask ourselves a few things first.  While we are here in this Trough-of-our-own-Goal-seeking’s making What do we do? How do we climb out? Here are some questions that if you ask yourself might help you find your way up and out of the trough and onto the road less traveled (the one where many Entreprenuers don’t always go).

Ask yourself:

1) What’s not working?

2) What do we need more of? Time? Money? Information? Help?

3) If we had more of ____ what would we, could we do with that?

4) Be ok with changing your timeline.

5) In life bad things happen.  Even though there is the bad times, good things can still happen. If things are not going the way you thought, its ok!

Those who start tech company’s might disagree that I am in the Trough, that they too have found or may still be in. Mainly, because I am not a tech start up; I am a Creative Entrepreneur. But, I think anyone can go through their own Trough time.

Also, being in this Trough and doing research about it I am here to share that this Trough is a positive sign. We can (and probably should) all go through this trough. It’s about what we learn about ourselves and our projects while we are there.  If you are a Entreprenuer, dreamer, doer;  know that being in the Trough is a sign that you have made it past the first stages. You are in a spot not many dreams or start up’s make it to. What will happen in the end? Who knows!  Only time will tell. Only you can decide how long you’ll last in the trough.

I am happy to share that while hearing others stories, on their journies, I felt better. I didn’t feel so alone. While I am on my own path. My own journey. My own baby company is in a stage that is past the beginning. We are on our way towards where we will be. What we will become.  (If you’re interested in checking it out click here.)

If you are in your trough, you are not alone. Become comfortable in the Trough and see what will come from it. Share your stories with us!

LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Age—does it really matter?

I found a grey hair!!! Most of you probably read that as an exclamation full of dread… but, I actually proclaimed it happily! My mother says it’s a blonde hair, but I’m kinda hoping it’s a grey one… why? So many reasons. I’m a character actress who is waiting to come into my age so I can actually play the roles I’m right for (and want to play… I am itching to play Mrs. Lovett, and Marmee, and King Lear).

Age matters to me, because growing older has mostly been good to me. (If you’re not a regular to our blog, it was my, and the blog’s, Birthday last week.) I’m older and wiser than I have ever been, but with age and wisdom comes knowledge that I have still farther to go. Its like climbing a mountain—when you start you just want to get to the top, but the farther up you get, you start to understand the world around you better and get these AMAZING views of the world.   I know as I age, I only have gotten better. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to any part of my life. I’m quite happy where I am and excited to look forward.

Recently I stopped into a jewelry store, and the woman who owns it and I were chatting about age. We first started talking about how my birthday was coming up and I was looking for a present for myself—I buy myself a piece of jewelry every year on my birthday—a tradition since I don’t have a significant other to do it for me. (For more on birthdays, check out our birthday blog! INSERT LINK). I stumbled on this bat necklace, and I loved it… and the price was $36—perfect because that is the age I was about to turn. She, like many, was shocked to hear that I am “that old” because I don’t look it. (Sigh. I don’t want wrinkles, but I would like to look older than my mid/late 20s… those roles are calling me!! But like we tell every child that just can’t wait to be “bigger”… that time will come.) Back to me purchasing a necklace. The proprietor was stunned I was young. She told me to enjoy it because she was, gasp, turning 50 this year. I was truly stunned that she was that old… because she didn’t look it either. She continued telling me not to be worried about being in my 40s because those were even better than 30s… (which must mean my 40s are going to be amazingly awesome).

We continued to chat, she telling me that turning the corner into 50s seemed like doom, as none of the fashion magazines talk about anything above that. I told her it was because women over a certain age don’t need fashion magazines to tell them how to behave, do their makeup, or live. I also told her that any milestone seems like a horror once you are on the cusp of it, but they’re always a breath of fresh air and wisdom on the other side. In other words, you’re at a new point on the mountain, and get to see a new view!

Its always interesting to me that people are concerned with age. I thought it was just women for the longest time, but I know many men who are also so concerned with it. Is it because ages are mile markers on where to be? Listen, we all climb the mountain. We’ll all get to the top when we get there. Why does it matter if we measure our journey versus those who are climbing with us or with those who have gone before us? It doesn’t. Think of any hike, or journey, or even mountain climb you’ve ever taken… you can kind of describe it to someone, but the things you saw and experienced along the way were different than others on that trail. Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more. If you go with a description on how to take the path, and try to see everything that someone else did, or even just look at the things they point out to you, the enjoyment and take away experience won’t be as great. Only you can live through your trials and tribulations. Only you can make your own mistakes. Only you can see what your eyes see.

Growing older is not a curse. Its not a burden. It shouldn’t be a frustration. Maybe you’re not on the same path. Maybe you’re not going as fast and getting as far as you should. I am where I am at 36. I wish I was older so I could have those experiences now… but I also wouldn’t trade it for the things I’m going through now.

At the time of writing this, I was doing Taming of the Shrew. I was playing Gremio (the “old man” suitor). This was a challenging role to play, because I was acting the role as a man. I was also acting the role as “old.” Every role I take on lately, I’m trying to be true to the role and the text, and not make it gimmicky—I’ve done that. I know how to do that. I want to walk on stage and have the audience think that I believe that I’m the person I say I am, and not have to pander or telegraph what I am. This was a fine line to walk, but it was an interesting path. Old people know that they’re old, but they’re also still living. Not all “old” looks the same. You will always feel old, because in this moment, you’re older than you’ve ever been. If you’re interested in more about my acting process, feel free to email or post a comment below and I’ll discuss more in depth… but, the point in talking about my character is: “old” is a perception, a viewpoint, an opinion. I was just as convincing being “old” without a crackly voice and hunched back, and my character was more believable. I was true to myself and my character from the view I have from my mountain looking out. I didn’t look up or down or compare myself and character to “old” people. I just was who I am, being truthful now.

During the rehearsal process of the play, we went out after rehearsals together as a cast. One of the gals in the play was adamant about not revealing her age. We’ve spent several evenings after rehearsal and performances trying to finagle how old she actually is. She will not give it up. (I tip my hat to her.) If she doesn’t want anyone to have preconceptions of her because of a number of years she’s lived, cheers to her. I, on the other hand, don’t give a rats ass about how old people think I am, versus how old I really am. For me its entertainment. In fact, I often forget how old I am, especially if I’m not in a milestone year, because it just doesn’t matter to me. My friend who wont reveal her age is at her point on the mountain, which happens to be the same as mine, just because we both have landed here in this moment. She might be climbing faster than me (aka she might be younger than me) or at the same rate, or slower. WHO CARES. My climb is mine and mine alone. Her’s is her climb. Her journey. Yours is your own.

Forget candles, forget calendars, forget numbers. As I said in Love Your Skin Now: your wrinkles are your memories, experiences, and past—it doesn’t matter how you got them, they are yours. Embrace them. You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.

I’m going to go blow out my candles, have a shot, and continue to climb my mountain. Just remember as you continue to climb to look around and embrace the view instead of judging how far you have to go still, or how behind you are from the rest of the pack.

Clare

If you have a comment, scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Its Our Birthday!!

One year ago TODAY we launched this blog… so Happy Birthday to our blog, and Happy Anniversary to all of you who share our page! To celebrate with all of you, we thought we would take the week off of advice, and instead pass out virtual party hats and give our views on anniversaries, birthdays, and this blog. We asked each other questions, and here is what we came out of that! Enjoy!!

Xoxo

LL and Clare

Clare: What is the most important thing about an anniversary or birthday (to you)?
LL: I feel that bday’s, and anniversaries, are great markers in our lives to reflect about where we have been and picture/plan where we are going. I used to think it was all about the birthDAY. All about the anniversary. That was the day, party, or experience I was waiting for. Now, I realize that the days and years leading up to the parties and anniversaries is where the life worth living is. The most important thing about the birthday and anniversary is seeing how far you have come. A birthday or anniversary is a time o remind and review: What is in your life that you want more of and what isn’t rocking your bliss; What do you need to let go of; Are the people celebrating with you the right ones.

LL: What’s your ideal dream celebration for your birthday?

Clare: I LOVE surprises, but I’m TERRIBLE at getting them, because I see variations in patterns and behavior… so unless the person/people doing the surprises are really slick, I usually figure stuff out (and I HATE IT!! I always feel bad when I figure things out, or I’m really cranky at the people who are trying to throw me a surprise, not knowing that they’re working on something wonderful!  Thank you to everyone who has ever tried to surprise me!!).  I would LOVE to have a surprise dinner all that I love there, lots of yummy (and maybe free food)… and then some silly activity like bowling or mini golf after.  (I like to mix my fancy with silly!)
Clare: What is a suggestion you have for people to make an anniversary or birthday celebration the best?

LL: Have it YOUR WAY. Seriously have the celebration you want to have. It’s why I celebrate my birthday with Choose Your Own Adventure Party.  I got so tired of throwing parties and inviting people getting excited to see all of the RSVP’s, only to have people flake at the last minute. I didn’t want to reserve/pay for a table for 30 to only have 14 show up. I also realized that celebrating and having fun on my birthday was important to me. That I had to control my controllables. I plan my own birthday my way and do what I want to do and where I want to do it. I invite all of my friends, families and co-workers and the only rule is that they don’t rsvp. Then I get to only see who shows up. All the positives of the parties no disappointments. So, just do what you want to do and don’t worry about entertaining your guests. It’s your Freaking day!!

LL: Are their any special anniversaries you celebrate other than your birthday and why?

Clare: I celebrate my NYC anniversary–as it seems many of us do here.  It takes a lot to follow a dream and to stay strong in that dream.  “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” is such a true statement.  I’m actually terrible at anniversaries and remembering other people’s birthdays… so glad technology helps me remember.  I LOVE celebrating any friend’s birthday.  I’m always happy to make cupcakes!

Clare: Do you have a special thing you do on your birthday or anniversary, like a tradition you like to follow?

LL: Hmm… I said above I don’t do RSVPs; I guess that translates to keeping no expectations, so that way everything is a surprise. I also like to think back on the past ones and reminisce on past memories.

Clare: Did I tell you what I do with birthday cards–because it seems a waste to read them and look at them and then toss them?  I stick them into books, cook books, and random nooks in my apartment.  Then, later down the line when its NOT my birthday, I run into the birthday wish again!  Its like hide-and-seek with birthday cards!  And a fun way to revisit those memories.

LL: What birthday or anniversary in your life do you still think about, look back to or remember as something more than just a birthday?

Clare: 7th birthday was when I had to grow up quickly.  30th birthday was when everything seemed to make sense again.  I revisit both of those, often.

Clare: What is the best birthday or anniversary gift you were ever given?

LL: Time. Time with me. I honestly tried to think of my favorite birthday gift. I truly do love all the gifts I have been given. I am someone who puts sentimental value on things. So I do love and cherish and keep gifts because of whom they’re from. I like them as the physical representation of the Time. Joining me on something fun, sharing experiences and making memories. Love those gifts the BEST!

Clare: It’s amazing what we remember and what we don’t, isn’t it?  I remember giving you a purse you LOVED one year… and you got me a pair of earrings, which were stolen from my suitcase this last year–I’m so sad they’re gone.  I think that is part of the reason I make people food for their birthday’s–its always enjoyed and appreciated, and it really doesn’t matter if its remembered!

LL: Speaking of gifts, you have a gift for writing!  What is a favorite blog you’ve written and I’ve written. Why? Did it surprise you?

Clare: Thanks, love!  You’re great at it, too!  Probably, Love Your Skin Now–it felt like a really risky and really, literally, naked piece to write.  I’m used to sharing my thoughts and insecurities through my characters on stage, but never my personal ones.  I’m so excited that I wrote it and it got such a great response.  I cried while writing it.

Clare: Where do you see this blog at our next anniversary?

LL: More blogs each week for our readers and our Book in print!

LL: Thinking forward, is there a birthday or anniversary you’re looking forward to celebrating?

Clare: September 8th this year I hit my 5 years in NYC.  I’m also looking forward to my 40th Birthday (which is only a few years away).  And this birthday…it’s the same day as the birth of our blog!

If you have a comment, scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!