How to Listen to Life Lessons

I’m of a very strong belief that life not only deals out lessons, but it deals out the same lesson until it is learned.  Sometimes these aren’t revealed as lessons or repeat until we get the smack down at the end where we’ve found out we’ve failed. Again. For the umpteenth time. Well, I shouldn’t say failed because no one is giving out letter grades for living life… I should say returned a result that was less than positive and definitely NOT the one I was hoping for.

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Of all of the life lessons, it seems as if its the romance lessons that are continually repeated for me. I’m often attracted to the good looking, who flirt with me and seem interested, but for some reason, lack the desire to seek me out. So, I become the pursuer. Which, generally I hate. I’m a strong, confident woman, yes. But I don’t need to be strong, and generally am strong when it’s called for, but given the chance, I’d happily take the shotgun/ride along seat. That is not to say that I’m not willing to go 50/50 or that I want flowers and doors opened for me. I’m just saying that when it comes to the pursuit, it seems with these guys I keep finding, its up to me to make moves. Which drives me crazy from both the action and analyzation standpoints.

I’m currently in a situation where I am so very attracted to a gentleman who is my age, my height, is incredibly handsome but doesn’t always know it, and most importantly makes me laugh. We tend to ebb and flow into each other’s lives. And as of late we flow.  I’d like to tell you that my sensible head was winning for a bit–convincing my heart that he just likes the attempt—not even the chase, but just the attempt. Because I’m either REALLY obtuse or he never makes a move. So once again, I find myself in a position of adoration and in a holding pattern. I could reach out. I could ask him out–we are in the feminist age and women have equal rights. I could even hide behind text or social media. I’m sure you’re saying: just go for it Clare. I’ll tell you why I don’t. I feel that I’m worth being pursued. I’ve done my share of pursuit in other situations/relationships AND with this exact one. A lot. A little. A hint. A big message (yeah… I wrote it in the sand. The guy I liked at the time saw. Did nothing.) Often I wake myself up with thoughts and mull them over while trying to get back to sleep. I kept thinking that I just need to cut it off; be in charge; get up and walk away.  But, to learn a lesson you must be in a situation.  (And yes, I’ve already tried the walking away lesson with this exact guy. I’m back here again.)

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As I said, I am continually thrown this similar relationship situation and lesson. Apparently, I’m not learning my lesson because it is a repetitious one. It truly is driving me crazy because I don’t know if I should be more or less active in it’s progression each time. Every new rotation, I question my actions (or lack of actions) more and more. Like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day, I seem to be getting it wrong, and am forced to relive it until I’ve figured it all out. I disprove the saying #yolo (you only live once), because I live this situation over and over and over.

Life lessons and their annoying repetition are frustrating. Especially when you have no control over what is in store, or how fast something is to be taking. Here at LiveClareLesley we are frequently reminding you to go out and do things. Better yourself. Occupy yourself. Make friends. Celebrate friends. Learn new things. While you’re doing this, the thing you’re focusing on will sort itself out. Not one to shirk my own advice—well, actually Lesley won’t let me shirk my own advice. So. I’ve started going out once a week and make it my job to meet new people. Whether this is the lesson I’m to learn, who knows. That will sort itself out eventually. Or maybe, I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will be Groundhog Day. Again. The important thing is to know that “this time I need to get it right” is NOT the right mindset. Instead when you find yourself in a similar situation over and over, take a deep breath and buckle that seat belt and get ready to learn. Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances. My favorite scene in Groundhog Day is toward the end when Bill Murray has the perfect timing and is everywhere to save everyone and be everything for everybody… and it still doesn’t end up well. With these life lessons that are being repeated, even if it is with different people, keep trying things. Sometimes patience is the answer, but I’ve found that taking action is a much better route.


Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances.


Update: since I wrote the above, I’ve gone out now, twice to a bar… with no luck, but I’ve had some fun conversations with people. I also got up the nerve and texted the man of my pursuit and flat out made my intentions clear. He took a day to text back and gave me an unclear answer. After deliberating over it for much longer than I should have, I’ve decided to walk away completely. This man, who I’ve known for almost three years, isn’t really worth even being my friend. Honestly, I don’t know if this is the answer to the life lesson or not. However, I’m standing up for myself. As Lesley told me in a pep talk phone call—once you see what you’re worth and demand that others see it, you’ll get what you really deserve. It might not be the exact lesson I’m supposed to learn, however knowing your own worth and demanding it is always a good lesson to learn and practice. It’s a difficult one to swallow, but it really is worth the work.

–Clare

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Just Keep Swimming 

Dori, in Finding Nemo, has the catchphrase: Just keep swimming. This might be one of my favorite go to’s when things don’t go as planned.  We all make plans, host parties, go on interviews, auditions and recently for me planning my wedding.  You know how it goes. You make a plan, envision how it will go. Then____ happens.  So, you have to go back to the drawing board.  This moment of everything falling apart is where you learn a lot about yourself; you can dig your feet in and stick tightly to your vision, or you open your mind up and see what options come your way.


This moment of everything falling apart is where you learn a lot about yourself.


Losing my wedding venue with an entire wedding planned down to everything was a SHOCK.  Actually, shock is a vast understatement.  But, I had to keep swimming. Each day that passed seemed to fly as my finger and I struggled and hustled to find a new venue for our quickly approaching wedding day.  Sure, we could email possible venues, but during a busy work week we both were not able to do all the footwork that it takes to find a venue, especially not with only a five weeks to go. The situation was more dire and filled with pressure anytime went on people who thought they were asking simple honest question “so, where’s the wedding?” Just made the situation feel more dire. I mean we were 5 weeks out and no venue in sight with a couple hundred people looking to celebrate. Huge pressure kept mounting.

What do I do? I just kept swimming! I smiled. I made a joke about the whole thing. We’ve got a wedding and no where to go–I would respond as chipper as I could muster.  It helped me get though the day.

Now, with a new venue on the books we are back in action. Working out the details and updating original plans. It’s going to be better than originally planned.

Swimming Tips:

1) Take a deep breaths. In fact take many. You’ll need them to keep you calm, strong and heading towards the destination.

2) Stay positive! Smile if you have to even if it’s hard. Smile harder. The simple action will help your mind feel more positive. There is a light and you will reach it. Just smile.

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3) Take in all your surroundings. Swimming is not the same as putting your head in the sand. There’s lots to see and gets ideas from. Movement begets change–so if you get out there and look at all the possibilities, you will see that you’re not stuck.

4) Change it up! If freestyle isn’t working there are other strokes out there. The important thing is to take action. You’ll feel more in control of your situation.

So, I swam for four days. Made fun jokes along the way and was welcomed by so many great ideas from friends and even friends of friends. We have our venue and it’s turning out to be the best thing that could have happened.

Swim on and Smile my dears!

Xx~LL 

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How to Face Your Big Fears

Lesley and I share many viewpoints and we have known each other for so long that sometimes I don’t know from whom the thought originated.  I remember first hearing this idea in college and I spout it often, however, we both pass on this advice, often. Its a very important idea to use in your life, daily. You have nothing to fear in any situation if you first come to terms with the worst possible outcome. Let me put it another way to clarify: if you figure out what the worst thing that can happen if you make a certain decision and become ok with that, you’ll be less fearful of taking that step or making that decision. Lesley and I have cured many an ill of others, or our own with this nugget of wisdom. Yes, it’s along the lines of that famous JFK quip: we have nothing to fear but fear itself. It’s so very true.

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Think about something you fear or something that is frustrating you right now not allowing you to move forward. Why are you fearful, or stagnant, or both?  Are you frustrated at work because you don’t want to ask for a raise but feel that you’re work is worth more money?  What is the worst-case scenario if you ask for more money: they say no and fire you instead. Let’s sort through this one. No company is going to fire you without due cause, and asking for what you are worth is not “due cause.” However, if you do get fired only because you asked for more money, it’s a terrible company and you don’t want to work for them anyway. These thoughts of getting fired for simply asking what you’re worth, are somewhat irrational and really extreme. So, back up a notch. Are you afraid of stating what you’re worth, or think that even though you think your work is worth more compensation, the powers that be might not think it so? That’s RIDICULOUS. Even more ridiculous is keeping yourself in a cage where you’re trapped and unhappy because you’re not adapting or meeting your needs.  Lesley is the cliff-diving type, as in she blindly leaps into opportunities. I’m more of a bungee jumper, as in I find a bounce back plan and research all of the safety options and review the best possible solutions fifteen times and try them out in less high risk situations before I make a big leap. Neither is right, wrong, nor the only answer for any situation. Both types observe risk before jumping.


Blindly leap, or research first.  Either way: just go for it!


I am an actress. (I have to say this multiple times a day to myself, because for the longest time, I thought that I wasn’t any good, and I didn’t deserve to be performing in shows and working with incredibly talented people.) I thought that New York City was just a dream for the longest time. Even though I was terrified about moving here, I had been telling people for years that I was moving here. In 2009, a good friend of mine and I made an agreement to move here together and be each other’s support system and built in cheerleader for the big move. I was terrified. Although I had moved several times in my life, and had made large cross country moves, I was chasing a dream. A big shiny dream that many people fail miserably at. After I finished my 2009 conversation with my friend Jen, I weighed the possibilities. What would happen if I moved here and failed? What did failure actually mean? I figured out that failure would mean moving here, never performing again, and not working in the arts, and after a few years, running back home to California and finding another desk job and apartment to live out my days. Ok… I could handle that. There was no death involved. There might be humiliation, which would not be fun to deal with, but I could handle humiliation—especially since, it would come after I had admirably chased down my dream and made a go at it. If I was only being held back by the possibility of humiliation, then why was I waiting? Yes, there was the possibility I would be a starving actress, but that part didn’t seem to bother me, it was the failing and coming home. That is when I decided that taking the unknown leap towards my fear was far better than staying where I was and continually hoping for my dreams to be fulfilled. (At the time, I lived down the street from Disneyland, so it could have happened that a magical fairy could escape and make my dreams come true.)

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September 8, 2010, I flew from San Diego to NYC, and stepped off the plane. I had no clue what was in store. When I made it, finally, to my apartment, my new roommate Jen was out for the day with her parents. I laid down on my bed and cried for many different reasons. Mostly from the terror that I had made the wrong decision. The next day I laughed with my mom about that moment, walking into my apartment and laying down on a naked bed and bawling about chasing my dream. The funny thing is, that first moment, that terror and tearstained moment, is one of the three lowest moments in my five years here (the other two being the realization I needed to move out of my mouse infested—but perfect—first apartment, and losing a friend to cancer.)

I figured out what the worst possible outcome of my situation would be: humiliation and failure. I came to terms with it: I figured that moving to a city where my dreams could possibly come true and making the attempt to make them become a reality was a fair trade off for the downside. Realizing that if I didn’t take the chance at my dreams, I understood that I would be even more unhappy and unfulfilled in my life, which would actually be worse than the possibility of failure and the humiliation. So I did it. Here I am. Almost four years later, and happy. Am I on Broadway? Nope, not yet. Am I performing, yes absolutely. I’m thriving. And I’m not moving back to California unless I get a major contract there. I miss the palm trees, but I’m so very happy I made the leap.


I understood that I would be even more unhappy and unfulfilled in my life, which would actually be worse than the possibility of failure and the humiliation.


What are you waiting for? What is something you’re wanting to do? What is the biggest fear in your way? Come to terms with it, as in acknowledge it and admit to yourself that it could never be as bad as not trying. Go for it. Forget about “you only live once.” You only die once, and its getting closer every day. As my mother always says: if you’re not hurting anyone or yourself, and it makes you happy: do it.

–Clare

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BIG NEWS!

Half of Live ClareLesley was married last weekend!!

CONGRATULATIONS LL!!! 

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I’m sure you’ll see many more of the photos from the wedding in the weeks to come!  It’s rare that LL and I are on the same coast, let alone the same room, so we documented it.  My trip last weekend was amazing.  It was fun to meet some of our west coast readers! (And don’t worry, our LL will still have zany stories and advice to tell from the other side of the wedding march!)

–Clare

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What to do When Sh*t Happens 

Last Tuesday while my father was working, he fell. A simple bump into a coworker has landed him sitting at home for at least 3 months. Ruptured a tendon that connects his quadriceps to the bone. Six weeks before walking me down the aisle.
About two weeks ago one of my clients started trying for another baby. She’s in the last year of really being able to carry another. She said her nanny is so amazing. She’s so good with her other kids it’s truly why this next one is even an option. Last week that nanny had to quit due to her own family struggles.
Last night 5 1/2 weeks until the Wedding my venue cancelled. Just like that. We have everything completed for the wedding. Every attendee has rsvp’d. Plane tickets purchased and hotels reserved. There will be 80 people, a bride and a groom, DJ, band, photographer, chef and all the trimmings ready to state vows, say “I Do” and dance the night away. Where will it be? Well, currently your guess is mine!

These stories are not meant to stress you out. I could list a dozen more but I think you’re getting the point. Sh*t just happens. There will be days, weeks even months where it feels like it is just coming in piles. Where it feels like you’re the only one. But the truth is you’re not the only one. Not a single one of us is free of bad Sh*t. If you currently are tackle that to do list, soak up the Rays and breathe in the fresh air. So, that when the next storm comes through you can handle it with grace, a smile and a f’ing good shovel.

When I heard about my latest wrench I went through a slew of emotions. Of course I wanted to get angry. But then what? The anger would waste the energy I needed to to take action. I wanted to cry. But then what? The tears would drop into my computer keyboard and I’d be in a worse state.
All I could do was take deep breaths and reach out to a few friends. Everything except death is pretty fixable. It also usually works out better in the end.


Everything except death is pretty fixable.


Before I tell you what happened here are the tips I used to get through:

  1. Breathe, as best you can focus on the inhales and exhales. How long or short are they? Are the in through your nose? Out through your mouth?  Just breathe. It’s not easy when it feels like your being knocked on your feet every time you stand up.
  2. Lay on the ground. Get grounded. Honestly it really helps take the anxiety away. It’s calming. I’m not saying you won’t cry but by being open and connected (not curled up) to the earth really helps you gain clarity.
  3. Cry if you have to. Do it. I was in shock when my pile appeared. It felt like the earth was ripped from under my feet. But after a good, hard cry I realized that once I got a new venue all would be well. The more you hold it in, the bigger you make the need to let it all go.
  4. Take action. After you’ve realized that the issues at hand are fixable take action. Or if you have to just wait it out then go do something that makes you busy. Takes your mind off it.
  5. Do not let this pile bring back otherwise dealt with piles. Don’t let this pile become the avalanche of all things going wrong. Focus on why you’re feeling the way you feel. Why does it feel like it all connected? Then again, take action. Action to either break up with that problem, bury it or fix it.
  6. Ask for help! We did and were given an idea that literally was key in solving our issue.

In the end we have a new venue. It’s going to be cooler than our original plan. We are back on wedding planning and loving it. Also, my friends car is fixed and the woman has 3 second interviews on nannies. My father is improving ahead of doctors expectations!

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The thing is, you’re never alone in your crap. Your good friends will go through your crap with you. If they don’t…well check out Clare’s post on “breaking up with friends.”

Tell me when you felt the piles were all directed at you and what you did to dig out and up!

Xx~LL

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