May 2017, originally posted on Facebook
I heard a baby cry.
I was halfway in my second class, and suddenly I knew why I felt so horrible. And why a student said I looked “different”.
And why I thought I would be sick.
Because I heard a baby cry.
It was about fifteen minutes in my first class and I heard the cries and for some reason I imagined the baby being abandoned in a parked car. But because I was in my class, and had no reason to believe this was true, I ignored it. Pushed it aside.
Until much later when I started wondering why I felt this poorly, when all I remembered was a successful class without any incidents.
It even had a nice social ending, where everyone seemed to know each other, and lingered around to chat.
That’s when I remembered.
Fifteen minutes into the first class.
I heard a baby cry.
I don’t do chakras. Not anymore anyway. I studied them extensively in ancient times. Before I basically dismissed them as a yoga teacher fad.
I don’t know if I actually thought they didn’t have value.
It wasn’t relevant. They were used by the vegan, raw food, mantra singing legit yoga community which was plenty of reason for me to never come near them again.
And besides who would want to hear about them anyway right?
I had a modern studio.
Chakras were 2009
Except when talking to my students about what they would like as a summer program, a couple of things were brought in. One was chakras.
As sort of a preview, I decided on a half hour Travel Through the Chakras relaxation. Improvised. On the spot.
They may be a fad, but that stuff works.
Probably since ancient times.
I m purging my mailbox and Facebook subscriptions, unsubscribing from tons of newsletters, as well as all my Facebook Tribes. Those are free (no fee) exclusive groups, usually for women only. They’re from coaches mostly, but you they exist for all sorts of service providers.
A group is a safe place where people can ask and answer questions.
Safe, because each individual member has to be cleared by the moderator before entering the group.
Having that said, this is also a bit of my problem…. I feel groups provide a false sense of safety. You never know if a profile is genuine, and I suppose it’s especially the ones who use the groups for grooming, that will not participate in regular conversation, but will probably directly message to other group members.
Next to that, I m unsure if Facebook offers the option to hide your group members from preying eyes in the first place. I know it doesn’t on regular pages, only on personal profiles.
My page White Tigress (men do have to send a message before entering) on how to create a solitary sexual lifestyle, provides an excellent topic for a closed circle.
But I feel I m extremely cautious about this.
First of all, there already are a couple of White Tigress groups.
So why bother with another one.
Secondly, I just generally don’t like groups. And after today’s purge I m positive I ll never join one again.
I find them distracting, and can’t imagine being a good moderator or inspirator in that kind of environment.
So I had already made my peace with:
not gonna happen.
I do get private messages (for both LSHarteveld as well as White Tigress) from people who don’t want to respond in public, and I think that’s a good thing.
Because the pages are public, people are AWARE their information is public, and will not accept invitations from strangers suggesting some sort of false intimacy, because you’re supposedly in the same group.
And last but not least:
I think the White Tigress, with its provocative sexual message is much better served with openness and clarity. If we go into hiding, we suggest there’s something to hide.
If we seek safety and support with each other, it suggests we don’t feel safe and supported by ourselves, when we go out and do our White Tigress THING.
Which means dating and meeting men because it energizes us.
In China a White Tigress was trained by an experienced Tigress, and had no choice but to hide her sexuality and intentions for the outside world. But in the West this is not true. It is mostly self-study and experience, and I think most singles would like the idea of being- or having- a role model, about how to live an authentic, solitary, sexual life.
We don’t have to hide, and there are so many women who would be inspired if those a bit further on the path were open about how they did it, and how much they enjoy it.
And it is a path for lifelong singles after all!
I think we should keep every woman, and every Tigress, in her own strength and autonomy. And let her develop and move forward at her own pace. Maybe that’s a little slower than if you have group support, but it is a SOLITARY path.
Everyone agrees on that.
So why would you start that off, by relying on any other person than yourself?
Did I miss anything? Thoughts?
Maybe it’s because I don’t drink that I have this fascination for the darkness of my inner world.
These final hours of the day.
Whether I come home from teaching or from a date in the city, like I do now, they are heavy, sedated, unconscious. The opposite of what I experience during the day. Devoid of beauty, lightness, energy. I always question whether they’re malignant. If I was the devil I would wait for people here.
They say most people die in the final hours of the night. Right before the sun rises. It’s then, when despair is felt most. If you would ask people who work nights they would tell you:
Yes. The hospital seems inauspicious, between four and six.
Yes. I am most tired in the final hours of my shift.
No. You don’t get used to this.
But those hours? Most of us experience a blissful sleep.
But here, the final hours of the day, most adults are still awake. Not all.
I realize now I have always suspected people who go to bed at ten, to run away from the heaviness of these final hours. That they can’t handle it.
Or that they are blinded by the holy grail of a productive morning. There are whole books written about that, did you know that?
“How to become an early riser”
“The Miracle Morning”
Although I could see their value, I never made a serious effort to read, let alone implement, these books.
I realize now, I have never been interested in adding more productive fresh hours to my day.
I long for the stillness, the inertness, of the night. When my thoughts are black, and my willpower is weak.
Yes, if I was the devil, I would wait for people here.
Ever since I moved out from my parents, I have never lived in particularly good neighborhoods. At best, I was lucky with the neighbors. And some years I wasn’t.
Today there is a party with a tent, a karaoke bar, noise disturbance. Has been going on for hours and it’s almost 1 AM. But I ve had worse. Much worse.
For years I had a ground floor apartment, a vulnerable position for a woman living alone. At New Years Eve a tent appeared just a few doors down from me. A night followed that bore closest resemblance to Devil’s Night from the movie the Crow.
With motor gangs, drugs, criminals. vandalism and illegal fireworks that made the windows shake. It went on till about six in the morning, and it included ringing my doorbell.
They did it two New Years Eves before they were stopped, before the tent caught fire, or before anyone was massacred.
At least, as far as I know.
I now live high above street level, in a secured building. The tent is one whole street from my house, and my bedroom is on the other side where I’ll probably won’t hear a thing.
After twenty-five years of turmoil, I can spend the latter years of my life in peace.
I started making daily yoga videos. It is an easy way to commit myself to a daily yoga routine with public accountability. I won’t go in depth why I had fallen off the wagon of doing yoga one hour a day, but I had. With my priority being writing at the moment (and teaching yoga- but that’s accountable already) I didn’t have the energy to invent my home practice yet again.
So I invented the daily half hour video.
There were more reasons, but this was the main one.
Because the main motivation was to let this half hour of semi-private yoga practice nourish myself – a necessity, especially when you’re behind your desk doing cognitive shit the rest of the day- I promised myself I didn’t have to post the video if I wasn’t comfortable with the result.
Which is why last weekend, I skipped a day.
I had been wearing a regular bra, instead of a sports bra. When I did my forward folds towards the camera, you could see my cleavage.
Even though I have long made my peace in my regular classes with the occasional cleavage – and with shirts that curl up and reveal my waist, pants that stick to my butt, the list is endless – coming to terms with it on a YouTube channel is a whole different ballgame.
I still feel there are MEN looking and they are NOT doing yoga. And somehow, somewhere, I started making that MY PROBLEM.
In my regular classes, I can accept that we’re working with our bodies. I m not teaching in deliberately revealing clothes, but I think it’s idiotic to fuss too much about it either.
Yoga still carries this Indian slash Victorian women shaming, where it’s okay for men to do yoga in loincloths, but women are not allowed to have bear shoulders.
From that perspective it’s almost a sacred duty, as a female yoga teacher, to set a good example that although there is no reason to dress as if you’re going out, you should never have to be ashamed of your curves showing, your legging being see-through or whatever.
Just give it a shot of looking decent and you’re good to go.
It took me over ten years of teaching before I came to terms with that. So perhaps it was no surprise that on day two or three of my daily yoga experiment, I decided to not post it, and redo the session the next day. With the right bra, and not facing the camera directly when bending over.
I just saw the result of what I ll post tomorrow. The camera is placed in front of a mirror. Which means you can see the camera in the mirror. I am also standing there, sideways, so you can see my butt twice – the real one and the reflection. Making it look like I have a really big butt. Eight Sun Salutations long.
I m wearing low waist pants, and although I deliberately wore girl boxers underneath, it still looks revealing every time I bend over.
Curves. Butt. Crappy camera position.
I almost clicked delete file.
Until I realized that this was the whole point. To grow to a new level of being comfortable with myself. Of course I ll learn from this, and position the camera more carefully tomorrow. But the real self-improvement comes from learning to sit through the discomfort of making mistakes, to give up perfectionism, to deal with the automated response of shame when feeling exposed. That is the real yoga.
I cannot make a video a day with the “old” me. I HAVE TO grow. I have to let go. I have to reinvent myself and become this woman who is more committed to delivering a video every day, than to her own ego of always looking her best, and being in control of what people see of her.
They say perfectionism is fear in high heels.
I have to give up the perfectionism, fear, AND the heels, to make this through.
And I will.
You can follow my daily yoga videos by subscribing to my YouTube channel
On hot days, I feel so overwhelmed by the danger of the high temperature and the sun for children and animals. When I go out I have to close myself off, even more than usual. So that I can limit my worry to the dogs I trip over, and children that are impossible to miss.
Not adults, I can shut myself off there, almost completely.
Just not from beggars, most of them anyway.
I can feel their suffering too.
I wonder why it is I feel them, and not other adults.
Maybe they don’t invest in shielding their pain from the world, because their pain is why we care and give them money.
Maybe if the suffering of animals and children was relieved with a few euros, I wouldn’t shut myself off.
I think there is a fair chance something is wrong with me. And that I have the choice between having a painstaking diagnosis process and treatment, or a short life and early death.
It is on moments like this that I m so happy I decided years ago I was going to do the second. To just let life die out naturally.
I m not going to tell you my symptoms, because I don’t want your opinion, expert or not. I may see a doctor still, to exclude it’s something simple that can be solved with some pills. But otherwise zero fucks given to an accurate diagnosis.
But I’m not totally care-free on this one.
I m working on my eight books, editing the edited versions. Not the most inspiring phase. It’s like finding out you need to strip all the wallpaper and redecorate, after you have painted already. It’s not that it’s not going to be beautiful, or that I can’t see result. But it feels like I m redoing something that was already ready and done ages ago.
My books were written from 2006-2016. Although they have been published online in different stages of being ready – and I will share a link to new updated stories soon – even though they have been shared I won’t rest until they are uploaded, and available in ebook and print, at my publisher as well as through Amazon and the biggest Dutch book vendor as well.
Once that is done, they will stay available for ever. Completely automated.
THEN I can die.
Sometimes I wonder if I have to inform my loved ones that for a brief period of time, they have to reanimate me if I get a stroke. So I can finish what I came here to do.
I WILL finish what I came here to do.
And then, we ll see a doctor about some pills. Maybe.
LIGHT (final daily update)
I think it’s a combination of things. One of them that I quit drinking coffee today. Suddenly my bed seems like a great place to be at 11.30 pm. Instead of behind my computer.
These nocturnal notes had the purpose of releasing my fears before going to bed, but I find myself actively looking for them now. Eager for a topic to write about.
That’s the other way around.
That’s not their real purpose.
Also, I m currently making daily videos for YouTube. AND I m writing daily for my Facebook M Yoga (Dutch)
Although technically they’re business content, i consider them hobby projects. Just like this. I love doing them.
If I would have a regular job, I would get up at five in the morning to make and post that daily yoga video, that’s how much I love it.
You can follow my daily 30 minute yoga routines at my YouTube
I m doing the Madonna series, which means that for one year, all videos are named after Madonna songs.
Tomorrow I m starting on Ray of Light. Which is Madonna’s best album EVER. It’s so new and fresh, it really was a rebirth for her. And it inspires me as well, to start nourishing the good things in life. To look for the light, and be reborn.
And not dwell on nightly thoughts of the devil, unless they haunt you, keeping you awake.
Then, my friend, I will know where to find this sanctuary.
An unexamined life is not worth living
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