2016 Goals Plan- LL

I am really excited to share with all of you my 2016 plan. As I mentioned in “How not to make resolutions” I do not make any resolutions for the year. Instead I use the new year to reflect on what I enjoyed about the year before. Then make a clearer map for the year ahead.

I do not cling to goals. If a goal isn’t working, I simply ask it if it wants to work or if it needs a new plan. So, my readers, here is what I am working towards for 2016 and even beyond:

This year I will remind myself that I want a Fierce and Fabulous Life!

Health: Stay Consistent, Stay Positive and put myself first

Sure I want a handstand in yoga…still (I am so much closer). But I don’t want to put some arbitrary date on this said handstand. I will get handstand and so much more if I continue to do my yoga regularly.

It’s easy for me to beat myself up for not being able to do something. I am a perfectionist and a creative. A perfect combo for negative thinking. As I approach a challenge and I hear the neg self talk begin to whisper I smile, I literally say to myself “live fierce and fabulously” and that gives me the strength to squash that self talk that serves no purpose.

Personal: Consolidate and Organize

I happen to have a few things that do the same thing. Bank accounts, sweatshirts, email addresses, and some social channels. It’s time my minimalist living takes over a little bit more of my lifestyle not just my apartment style.

Job Love: Plan, Produce and Grow

I quit my salaried job at the end of last year. It’s the second time in less than a decade that I left the security of a salary to live my dream. I am super excited and of course happily scared. There’s a lot I have to do today to make the rest of the year even exist. I want my website to be full of workshops for instructors and blogs of inspiration. However, I can’t do a years worth of anything in one day. So, I set up a plan for January, February and March. I will take a moment end of march to see what’s working and what’s not. For their to be growth I must produce my product. For their to be product I must plan.

There are my three major themes my loves. Stay tuned for next week to hear what I did towards these goals. Don’t forget we want to hear from you. Share your goals with us!

xx~LL

Am I An “Amy”?

I’m reading Gone Girl, and I’m almost done—don’t worry for those of you who are reading it or have plans to see the movie, I’ll talk about the book some, but nothing that gives away any spoilers. I have to admit the book was really difficult for me to read for the first section. I grew up in a small town in Kansas, and I know where North Carthage is. I have been to North Carthage. My Midwestern town seems grossly similar. I also now live in New York—and although I’m not the heiress and namesake of a popular book series (yet), I was feeling a lot of parallels in my own life. Which I’m sure is a point Gillian Flynn is trying to make—are you like Amy?

This fact is almost as terrifying as some of the twists in the novel. Amy talks about being a “Cool Girl” and makes herself a blend of what men think they want—the thin girl who isn’t afraid to eat, likes to be adventurous, and isn’t upset if a guy goes off and does his own thing instead of premade plans with her. There are a few articles out on the subject like this one, that state their viewpoints on “Cool Girl” status.

In the shower, I was thinking of this—I seem to do a lot of deep thinking in the shower, which is a pain in the ass because by the time I get out, I forget the amazing topics I had just brainstormed.  In the shower I wondered if I should shave my legs, but shrugged it off thinking: I’m not sleeping with anyone at the moment, so…why? After the shower, I was thinking about my last few weeks…I’ve been occupied by a relationship of sorts with a man and it wasn’t as engaging as I would have liked it to have been, so I’m moving on. But before it turned the corner, I was out shopping and planning. I bought new razors, thigh highs, and the pretty kind of panties—the ones that after you wear a couple of times just get all frizzy, so you save them in the back of your drawer for “special occasions” and then in a few years clean out said drawer, and end up throwing them away because they’ve somehow ratted up in the back of the drawer, even though they were never worn—yeah that kind. I have all of these things, and am ready “just in case.” Lesley and I had a conversation about this blog, and she brought up that a common complaint people have when dating is that the other person changes after three months of dating, and it isn’t true. People don’t change, they just relax back into who they really are.

I’m a comfort woman, not that I am lazy, but there are things that I don’t care to do, unless its for show. That being said, there are several things I do for myself regularly like wearing pretty smelling lotion, daily mascara, and blowing out my hair. But the myriad of things that I list to do when I think I’m about to hop into a relationship is a bit mind blowing for me. Partially because the list is seemingly long, but partially because I’m so easily willing to slip into a vaguely different version of myself, a better groomed, slightly more sexy, taller (the heels come out) version of myself. Because, in a way, this is what I think I need to be in order to start a relationship. Again, not major changes, but I don’t show up to a first date like I do to daily things.

I’m not just a heightened version of myself only when dating. We all go into different situations where we are a shinier, better, improved version of ourselves. There is a different me at work, there is a different me with certain friends, there is a different me at a networking party. It just happens. It’s when we play into this persona and create even more heightened versions of ourselves that it becomes an issue.

In Gone Girl, Amy confesses that she hates this person who she has made herself out to be, this perfect version of a wife for Nick. The perfect version of a daughter for her parents who are in a cookie cutter relationship. She hates it so much that she doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t even know what it is that she likes. Because she has created this character, partially out of fun and partially as an experiment, Amy makes herself out to be likeable (to which at one point she asks the reader if “likeable is a compliment”) and therefore makes fake relationships with people by being an amalgam of the things she thinks people want to see.

One of my favorite quotes is: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” ee Cummings nails humanity on the head with that thought. What is the better choice: to be yourself, or to take on who you think people want to you be? Amy says it’s a game for herself to step into these people, these different stereotypes to be more likeable. Feminism says you should stand up and be different than the stereotypical woman. I say: I like fancy undies and heels when I’m out on a first date—heels for the first impression and to give a glimpse at how intimidating I actually am, and fancy undies so if my first impression of you is a good one, I can know that I have a secret I’d like to share—maybe not tonight… but sometime.


I’m not a feminist. I’m an equalist. I think that if you want to let your freak flag fly, then do. If you don’t, well… don’t. Your choice, just don’t hurt anyone intentionally. I think that its fine to be who you want one moment and try on someone else’s skin the next—just don’t get so deep in a lie  that you hurt someone, or worse hurt or confine yourself. If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave, do.

Plans to see the movie tomorrow with my book club, are urging me to finish reading Gone Girl even though my inner voice keeps comparing me to Amy. I think, even though the comparisons terrify me, I know that I’m not like her. Yes, I do try on different versions of myself, but all of them are rooted somewhere in me—I would wear the fancy undies and heels more often if they were more comfortable. But ultimately its not the true me. And when I do put on these personas it is for me—possibly driven by others—but in the end, for me. I’m going to go finish the book now… maybe you should go check on yourself and see how much of your outward self is for you, and how much is for the world… We’d love to hear your thoughts below! (Oh, and I JUST finished the book… I’m NOT an Amy.  Not even close.)

Clare

Making the Bed and Other Daily Habits That Matter

I’m a Gemini, for better or for worse. I don’t religiously believe in astrology, but there are some irrefutable traits that I have that are totally and completely “Gemini:” I’m fun, out going, happy, creative. But I’m also fickle and I don’t always finish things—I can’t begin to tell you how many projects I have laying around waiting to be finished.

It is really frustrating to me that I don’t finish things. It’s even more frustrating that I seem to not be able to keep healthy habits going. I regularly berate myself for not doing some sort of physical fitness. However, I do have two daily habits: coffee every morning—and an hour of quiet time to myself, when possible; making my bed—every day, without fail. This sounds like something that is just a daily task, without a moral. But its not. I didn’t start making my bed daily until about 8 years ago when I was in my late 20s. I’d love to tell you that there was some lovely dramatic story to this, but there really isn’t. As a kid, my parents encouraged a clean room, but it didn’t always happen, and wasn’t enforced. As a teenager, I just didn’t care if my bed was made or not. In college, I was convinced I could only sleep well if I configured my blankets and pillows in a certain way. This configuration was not to be disturbed, so I NEVER made my bed. After college, I moved into an apartment, got a grown up job while still pursuing my dream on the side. I dated, and had men over. I still didn’t make my bed. It just didn’t matter.

Then one day, it just did. I read something that said if you’re stressed out in your life, you need to organize your living space. To try to channel this, I think I did everything BUT make my bed. I cleaned out my closet, organizing my shoes and putting all items by type, season, and color. I went through my drawers, and organized and refolded everything. I cleaned and organized all surfaces, my desk, my nightstand, the top of my dresser. This overhaul took a few days, and I still didn’t think about making my bed—I think I pulled up the sheets to make a flat surface for organizing, but I didn’t actually make it. Now, in my terms, “making the bed” is straightening sheets and blankets and any flat to be straight and pulled to the edges, sometimes tucked. Pillows are fluffed a bit and sat straightened. Any extraneous blankets are folded neatly at the end of the bed. I have a queen bed. This activity generally takes me no more than five minutes. I rarely do it right when waking up, its usually after I’ve been awake for a bit.

The first week I started to make my bed daily, something interesting started to happen: I was happier. Not from making the bed, but instead from randomly entering my room and seeing that my sleeping space was just waiting for me. And the opposite is very true as well: if I don’t make my bed and I walk back into my room, I’m grumpy and frustrated until I make my bed. Its so bizarre. I’ve also figured out that if I leave things on my bed, taking up its space, I am frustrated when I come back and see the mess on it. I’ve also learned that if I need to remember things, I write myself a note and leave it on my pillow—those things ALWAYS get done. And, if I need to take anything with me for the day, I put it on my bed, I never fail to remember those things.

I wish I had better daily habits. I wish I got up and did yoga, Pilates, stretching, meditation, vocal warm-ups, eating healthily, writing, even brushing my hair, regularly without fail (yeah, sometimes I walk out of the house and haven’t brushed my hair… I’ll confess that. It happens. After having super short hair for over 10 years, I forget to deal with long hair some days. But I digress…) Instead, I have my coffee and bed making. Both make me happy. Both make my day go more smoothly, and thereby make me a better person.

The point I’m trying to make here is that daily habits you have should make you healthier in some way. The gym isn’t a healthy habit, if you find you can’t live without being there for at least three hours daily and aren’t getting paid for it. The coffee intake isn’t the healthiest choice, but the time I spend with those cups (and ultimately myself) is. Taking five minutes to make my bed isn’t a lot of time, but ensures happiness. Yes, I do other things for health and wellness, but nothing else is a daily priority. Truly, I’m ok with it. So, yes, I’m a Gemini. Yes, I’m a creative. Yes, I’m a coffee drinker. Yes, I’m a bed maker. I often bemuse that I don’t have better consistency, but I’m consistent for the things that matter to me; when I need to be consistent with something, I am. What makes you happy, and how can you make it into a habit? Do you have good daily habits? Are they as good for you as you think they are?

-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