Categorie archief: Kylo Ren

Happily ever after (HEA) was more important in Star Wars than in Marriage Story


At 1 minute 45 we see the darkside prince falling in love with Rey from Jakku *romantic music known as The Force Theme playing*

The-Rise-Of-Skywalker-Promo-Ben-Solo-Death

“Many women feel like they have wasted their time buying into a franchise that ultimately never cared about fulfilling its own promises about happy endings, telling a complete story, or even offering hope and compassion to the characters that needed it the most.”

from
Star Wars: Why Reylo Outrage Inspired #ReleaseTheJJCut

I just got back from seeing Marriage Story, and it left me a bit sore.
I had assumed that because people were so enthusiastic about this movie, the couple played by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson would ultimately get back together after their divorce process gets from bad to worse.
I had gone to the movies because I longed to see Adam Driver on the big screen, and had vowed not to see The Rise of Skywalker anymore.
The Rise of Skywalker, TROS, was 2019.
This was the new year and it was not invited.
So instead of breaking my resolution for a TROS-free decade, I went to see Wedding Story, also with Adam Driver. I have skipped The Report because that was too serious and heavy for me, but Marriage Story was doable.
Like I said, all the positive feedback for this movie had convinced me there was much to like, and probably included a happy end.
After all, it was called Marriage Story.
Making it painfully obvious that I had learned very little from Rise of Skywalker, which should have been called The Rise of Palpetine.
But hey! That does not sell!
Neither does a movie called Divorce Story.
So I went to the movies, chose Marriage Story, and I was disappointed.
In Dutch we have an expression that allows you to say something is “a dragon of a movie”.
It was as if I was watching a Woody Allen movie, and I’d rather not.
I read people thought the director of Marriage Story created movies that looked a lot like Woody Allen’s, because they revolve around relationships and New York. But I think them and me differ on whether that’s a good thing or a dragon of a movie.
So either way, Marriage Story was (for me) almost unbearable to watch. There was no reason for these people to get a divorce other than that they both brought so many unspoken expectations into that marriage, it was simply doomed to fail unless they were going to talk about it.
Which apparently they could not without getting very angry with each other.
Neither one of the parties was taking any responsibility for not setting any boundaries and goals of their own during their marriage and had just plunged into the deep end hoping for the best.
Which turned out to become a very nasty and very expensive divorce ten years later.
And then there are moments when they could have seen how easy it was to love each other, and that it is all a big misunderstanding and yet they don’t see anything!
As the viewer you can see the potential is still there, yet apparently they experience it as a cathartic cry and still go through with the divorce.
It made no sense.
So on my way home I started pondering if I needed to write about this movie Marriage Story.
And if so, what was I going to write?
Ultimately I decided I was going write about it in conjunction with The Rise of Skywalker.
Both movies had ended on a bad note, in particular for the character Adam Driver had played.
But Marriage Story had received raving reviews.
Whereas The Rise of Skywalker had mixed reviews from critics and Rotten Tomatoes shut down the pole to prevent its audience review would go down. It’s had the same audience score for two weeks.
So I started thinking about this critically acclaimed Woody Allen-like divorce drama, which was loved by the audience and not by me; Versus the critically not acclaimed Rise of Skywalker movie, which was also not loved by the audience nor by me.
Although many disgruntled fans still wanted to make the point TROS was “Way better than The Last Jedi!”
To understand what that means, we must go down and search Star Wars at its roots.
Take a meta perspective on the origins of the latest trilogy, in order to reveal why for people like me, The Rise of Skywalker was not just a bad movie in particular in comparison to The Last Jedi;
But also why people like me are invested in Star Wars in a way that does not even begin to compare with seeing a one-off Woody Allen like movie.
To understand why a movie like Marriage Story will never get my heart, nor any other heart like mine, pumped with excitement or broken from grief, we need to go back to 2015.
To a movie called The Force Awakens, which was the first part of the new trilogy also known as “The Sequel trilogy”. And we need to establish that this movie, nor its successor The Last Jedi was an accident, but that they belonged to a story that was set out by Disney for this trilogy.
A story that was abandoned.
As was the group of new fans that had embraced it as their own:
The group of people, known as Reylos.

The Story of the Reylos

For over 2,5 weeks I have been glued to my Twitter timeline, reading everything about the heavily disappointing Star Wars 9 The Rise of Skywalker. My addiction ultimately paid off in giving me The Ultimate Article on Everything Wrong with The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars: Why Reylo Outrage Inspired #ReleaseTheJJCut

This article pleads for release of the original/ real ending, by JJ Abrams. And although the title does not fully cover it, the article sums up everything wrong with Star Wars 9, in particular from a Reylo perspective.
I will explain in a minute why that is defendable as the most relevant perspective.
But let me first explain what “Reylo” means.
It stands for the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren. Their love story roots in the myth of Death and the Maiden, in the Phantom of the Opera and it is almost a direct clone of Disney’s other favorite (Star Wars is owned by Disney), Belle and the Beast.
The Beast, Death or the Phantom was Kylo Ren, played by the tallest actor of his generation Adam Driver, who has made it big with numerous highly acclaimed movies.
Adam Driver played Kylo Ren, Disney’s dark prince, who would be united with his equal in the light, the girl Rey from Jakku.
Together Rey and Kylo would bring balance to The Force:
The darkside warrior with the light inside of him and the lightside warrior Rey with the dark inside of her. Like the black yin and light yang, both having one dot of the other inside of them.
Oh!
Now that I am unapologetically making Kylo Ren “Yin”, which is also the female element, I am reminded of an interesting perspective which was offered on Twitter directly, so I don’t have an article (yet?), about how the tall handsome warrior Kylo Ren is actually portrayed as very feminine.
Not only does he posses the long flowy Disney prince hair;
He also uses his voice, his eyes, his mystery to seduce her. At one point he’s shirtless when he talks to her, throwing Rey off as she stammers if he perhaps has a cowl to cover himself up.
For me it were indeed these feminine aspects that made Kylo irresistible.
So Reylos, or Reylo shippers are the people who “ship” (from relationship) the pairing of Rey and Kylo. A pairing which – and this is important in the light of where things went – was setup and supported by Disney themselves.
As much as more traditional Star Wars fans may argue otherwise, episode 7 The Force Awakens  (2015) and in particular episode 8 The Last Jedi (2017) were setting up a story that was more sexual, sensual, spiritual and more mythical, than any of the previous Star Wars movies had ever been.
If the third trilogy was rooted in anything from the past, it was much more in the Prequels; A series of movies George Lucas himself made at the beginning of this century. And at the time, the prequels were heavily criticized by the fans of the originals.
Fans of the originals did not like the prequel trilogy.
And now both fans of the originals and fans of the prequels, didn’t like the theme of the sequels.
But here is how it differs and where the recent criticism turned into the downfall of the entire sequel trilogy:
Because in the case of the prequels, the criticism never got to influence the story.
George Lucas knew the bigger story and he stuck with it.
But what happened in the sequels is that episode 7 was different, fresh, but not too different. And was still ambiguous with regard to the love theme. It was this ambiguity that ensured the older fanbase liked it, and drew in the first of the new fanbase.
The Reylo shippers.
But then came 8, The Last Jedi.
The romantic story was dialed up and all hell broke loose. Criticism was usually not directly aimed at the romance, nor at the socially conscious themes 8 had included.
Instead it was projected at what was “done to” Luke Skywalker (he was a bitter man regretting the choices he had made, instead of a Jedi superhero), and on how many or more how few lightsaber fights 8 had.
But the point that should have been made then, is that those complaints were entirely irrelevant to the bigger story which was being told. The story that after hiding in episode 7, was finally becoming more explicit and more visible.
And if George Lucas had done this trilogy, just like he had done the prequels, he would have held the course. He would not have changed the story, because of nitpicking on choices that didn’t have anything to do with the bigger narrative.
But as the old Star Wars fans were angry because they saw Star Wars canon, and the characters as they saw them, being compromised in 8, Disney grew uncomfortable with the path they had chosen.
There are people pointing out that Disney has creative freedom, and that it’s okay for these three movies of the final trilogy to have an entirely different tone;
There are even those wondering if Reylos have a right to ask or expect a Happily Ever After.
Yes, we do.
Not because that is what “we” want to see, but because that is what has been fed to us.
THAT is the story Disney set up, that is the entire thing this sequel trilogy is based on. Or was based on, until they first got cold feet after the backlash from the Last Jedi.
And then weeks before the premiere they got cold all the way up to the waistline, because they changed the entire ending.
The ending of The Rise of Skywalker does not contain any original material of Adam Driver “acting” his death. They used material, in all likeliness from his Happily Ever After, and edited it using every dirty trick in the book, until it looked like he had died
And Rey – who had been hailed during the entire movie as being half of “A dyad in the Force! A power like life itself! Unseen for generations!” was copied from her Pasaana shots, and pasted into Tatooine.
Alone.
And voila!
Disney’s half of the Dyad, also known as Belle, is now redubbed to Wonder Woman in space, and doesn’t need anybody anymore. There was no footage of her mourning the dead side of her dyad, her other half, and the man with whom she had been having heated Force conversations with for over a year;
Instead they let her commemorate his uncle, Luke Skywalker with whom she had a difficult relationship with; And his mother Leia.
Just like Adam Driver didn’t do any acting for his ending, this footage too was most likely entirely fabricated and the actress who played Rey never got a chance to act as someone who had just lost her soulmate.
They just copy pasted her into the desert.
Rey in the final minutes of the film, has been compared to the Stepford Wives: She does not show any emotion only an artificial smile.

bad endings

I feel Star Wars was never for me.
Or, as the article said it: 

“Star Wars has the bitter taste of a franchise that accidentally tapped into women’s interests but had little interest in them as intelligent viewers engaging with the material.”

from
Star Wars: Why Reylo Outrage Inspired #ReleaseTheJJCut

We were lured in with the promise of an epic fairy tale, and then we were kicked out that we should be strong, be alone and eat sand.
That made Star Wars 9, The Rise of Skywalker, so painful for me and all the other Reylos.
Stories are there to transcend our pain and suffering. They provide healing.
I think the main difference for me, and perhaps for other Reylos too, is that I would never bring those kinds of expectations to a real life human being.
Not into a real life relationship between a man and a woman.
Expectations are projections of who will save you and complete you. According to Disney they don’t even belong in fairy tales. Even there the heroine just has to suck it up.
But I think the reason Marriage Story never really got to me, is that even I, a romantic Reylo, know that expectations of your other half completing you,
definitely do not belong in a marriage.

<3LSH
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

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#thankyourianjohnson | A Reylo Fairy Tale on The Rise of Skywalker

Christmas Eve, 2019
introduction to the story

Four hours ago, I sat down in order to write a compassionate review of The Rise of Skywalker.Something that would uplift the hearts of everyone who had been disappointed in any way shape or form, by the final episode of the saga.
And this included the people who had worked on it for all those years, and director JJ Abrams.
I was convinced that if I could look at JJ Abrams with the same compassion I had given the villain of the trilogy, the darkside warrior Kylo Ren, I would be able to connect with the part of JJ Abrams that had done the best he could.
And who was probably haunted by his own inner demons.
Just like Kylo Ren had been a victim of mental abuse since before birth, when a dark Lord invaded his mind and crushed his soul.
Kylo Ren never had a chance of staying on the right path.
And I was sure that in that light, the controversial choices of JJ Abrams too, could be explained by his deepest darkest fears getting the better of him.
Things that frightened him to the bone but that had been so terribly close, that he had been unable to separate them from his very own being. 
Much less do anything about them.
897c4a72b6bdf959768dca2ee5ab890cAnd yet the intention to develop a more compassionate view of the man who had once given us the beautiful Star Wars 7 – including a bridal carry scene halfway through the movie and a bell in the first scene with Rey; both promises of a fairy tale-
did not bring out the wave of inspiration and healing I was hoping for.
On day six after seeing The Rise of Skywalker I was no way near forgiving him, for taking away our happy end.
For turning this into Romeo and Juliet, instead of Belle and the Beast.
But since I had announced on Twitter that I would be writing a compassionate review of The Rise of Starwalker, I felt the obligation to at least mention, that it was still on my mind, but that I could not find the right way to go about it.
So that’s what I tweeted.
And one tweet turned into two.
Two into four.
And by now they had numbers followed by slash/ and the word “thread”.
I knew I was on to something and that I had no idea how long this thread was going to be, or which story I was going to tell.
And this illustrates how I feel about writing and art;
In my opinion all you can do is let the story come out. It must reveal itself.
I m sure writing a film script is in many ways different to blogging or tweeting, but having said that, I do believe that if I had been convinced, that for The Rise of Skywalker, JJ Abrams had been following his own inner-voice?
I would have wholeheartedly accepted it.
Even if The Rise of Skywalker had been about all of them turning to the dark side, and submerging the entire galaxy into darkness for eons to come;
If that’s how JJ Abrams, director and screenplay writer, had seen this movie with great clarity?
Then so it shall be done.
The entire problem was: We never got that impression.
As far as I could see, something already went very wrong when the first director for this episode Colin Trevorrow was fired or resigned, based on creative differences.
This was before The Last Jedi was released, so it didn’t have anything to do with Disney responding to disappointing box office results or anything.
Colin Trevorrow must have experienced a limitation that didn’t allow him to make the film he wanted to make, but the film Disney wanted to make. His resignation should have been a red flag for JJ saying yes.
What exactly had he said yes to?
In the Twitter thread I m sharing below, I ve let this conflict play out with the character of Palpetine, because Trevorrow has always claimed his script did not include a return of the emperor.
The Emperor, came with JJ.
If I read the thread below, I can see I have not totally succeeded in my setup to write a non-salty review, that is compassionate to everyone involved. Technically, it is not even a review.
And I must say I am very sorry for that.

But I let the story out, as it wanted to come out.
And in the end?
That is really all any artist, any creator, any writer, and any filmmaker, can ever do.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.

~Lauren

A Reylo Fairy Tale on The Rise of Skywalker 

Rose

Rose

[ click the link to tweet ]

I really wanted to write a compassionate piece on The Rise of Skywalker,
but my thoughts are all over the place.
I think about toxic masculinity a lot.
I can’t write until I ve found my inner Rose
*/

I m a sequel-fan.
I really never “felt” Star Wars, until right before The Last Jedi: I checked its spoiler reviews and encountered Reylo!
Suddenly the strange feeling I had felt after TFA made sense.
I rushed to the theater and never came back. Until now that is.
*/

I believe JJ did put the option of a love story into The Force Awakens. But he didn’t push it.
The strongest evidence is the care put into making Kylo a Disney prince!
But JJ’s TFA left too much room for interpretation, which caused conflict between fans.
2/thread

So the two years after The Force Awakened a war was fought, between early Reylos and fans of the originals and the prequels.
The Reylos were outnumbered.
No one believed their story that Rey from Jakku would fall for the darkside warrior Kylo Ren.
3/thread

In December 2017 The Last Jedi was released. Critics praised this character driven Star Wars movie, and the Reylos were over the moon!
Rey and Kylo Ren were going bring balance and save the universe by their union of the dark and light.
Until something happened..
4/thread

Fans of the prequels and the originals were furious.
Although once at war with each other, back in 1999 when the first prequel came out, they had now joined forces and they lashed out at the The Last Jedi, with anything that remotely looked like canon.
5/thread

They hit so hard Disney suffered financially, or at least they thought they had.
Or would. Or would in the future. Who knows what they thought.
As a response Disney ghosted Rian Johnson: the same director whose film they had praised and had offered extra work.
6/thread

The Last Jedi haters also took their anger out on Reylos.
But by now they were with many.
The Force Awakens had been the spark but The Last Jedi set fire to the Reylo flame.
For two long years, Reylo fires burned bright on all social media.
7/thread

After The Force Awakened Reylos had been a minority.
But after the Last Jedi the groups were equal in size
And the Reylos used a weapon the antis did not understand:
The narrative.
Which means they were incredibly strong with the Force And they were winning
8/thread

But behind the scenes, in the final months before the release of the Last Jedi, something had happened that would change the fate of all Reylos.
A new man was appointed to direct final movie, of what Reylos considered “their” trilogy
And it would be their downfall.
9/thread

On a quest to bring the final chapter of the the saga back to the fans of the prequels and the originals, the new director forged an allegiance with a mighty foe:
The Emperor
The most powerful misogynist that had ever existed and the arch enemy of the Reylos.
10/thread

For two years the new director worked on his masterpiece:
One film, to rule them all.
One film, to bind them.
And while the world held its breath to the grand final of The Nine, The Emperor said his cooperation required one more thing.
A human sacrifice.
11/thread

The director could smell victory was near.
The fans of the prequels and originals were excited about the upcoming movie and Reylos were looking forward to see their ship sail to its final destination.
The war had stopped
For a brief moment there was peace in the galaxy
12/thread

“What sacrifice, my Lord?” the director asked.
As his mind went over who he could spare from his cast and crew.
The Emperor answered: “Bring me the heart of Kylo Ren.”
The director was shocked.
“But my Lord, it is not mine to give. It belongs to Rey from Jakku.”
13/thread

But the Emperor did not yield.
Months before the movie’s release the director ripped the heart from Kylo Ren’s chest and gave it to the Emperor.
Then he ordered the cast to return to set except for the actor who played Kylo Ren.
His services were no longer needed
14/thread

In the final months the director reshot 30% of all material, and feverishly edited his masterpiece.
But the actors had become quiet. They did what they were obliged to do, but no one talked about the movie or promoted it.
Their faces had become like masks.
15/thread

Rumors grew.
Stories that the director had sacrificed the heart of Kylo Ren reached the Reylos.
And while the fans of the prequels and the sequels uncorked their champagne and toasted to the return of the emperor, the Reylos refused to believe their hero had died.
16/thread

Timezone after timezone, Reylos around the world went to see the premiere of the movie.
And one by one they fell.
Because the rumors were right: In sharp contrast to the happy end, as promised by the promotional material that had been released, Kylo Ren died.
17/thread

The Reylos had been betrayed.
Kylo Ren had been erased from the film, and just like Rey from Jakku – who ended up all alone on a desert planet exactly where she started – the Reylos too, were exactly where they started. But they had learned an important lesson.
18/thread

The Reylos went their separate ways.
Some raised money for
 @AITAF, from the actor who had played Kylo Ren:
Others started
#thankyourianjohnson, the Reylo patron saint
But not one Reylo ever spoke of what they learned.
Because some things are best forgotten.
19/THE END

<3LSH
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

Follow on Facebook or Twitter for upcoming stories on Star Wars
or check this older post (2018):
Star Wars is finally telling women *cross out* everybody to start enjoying The Thing #reylo

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bridal carry in The Force Awakens, also directed by JJ Abrams

897c4a72b6bdf959768dca2ee5ab890c

 

THE THING versus The Things. A crash course prioritizing illustrated with Reylo but relatable to everyone

Kylo Ren asking Rey to come join him and rule the galaxy. No. This is not THE THING.

Kylo Ren asking Rey to come join him and rule the galaxy. No. This is not THE THING.

Just how this post came about illustrates the difference between THE THING and The Things. I have a to-do list for today, but instead of taking care of that I m here. Behind my computer at six thirty P.M. with a glass of wine. Pushing back my schedule, on which I m already seriously behind, for at least another sixty minutes.
Because writing, more often than not, simply hijacks the day. Or in this case the evening. Which is why I always repress the urge to do it (write for pleasure).
And today I was successful.
I had my pink desk time in the morning (playing with my notebooks and listening to inspirational videos for hours) but I also did my most important and “worldly”, task:
to redo and catch up with the online part of my program for the yoga studio.
I had intended to do that for weeks, but since I had a mental break down and was happy to even be able to teach, I had put it off. So today I made it a priority to get this (reboot the online program) done.
Congratulations Miss Harteveld.
Except with the returning of my strengths, something else returned too. Which is the need to write. For the past couple of weeks I have made a meager one-Facebook-post-a-week. But that too, is now changing. Repressing the urge to write will become more difficult by the day.
It will turn into a force to be reckoned with.
Which is exactly what it used to be before The Acute Depression.
I basically lost my will to live after Max died. That’s what it felt like anyway. I’m not going to diagnose myself but I had conversations where I reassured people that I wasn’t going to kill myself. The fact that I even felt compelled to say that, and that it was met with a sigh of relief, indicates I was far from my usual passionate self.
So I’m very glad that’s over, but those weeks did have one unexpected benefit.
I didn’t have my day hijacked by writing.
And when I did feel like writing, I had plenty of time, because I had lowered my expectation to zero as far as my other obligations or self-care regiment went. All the time in the world.
Yesterday I composed a post of the few diary entries I did make, that dark month.
You can read it here:
The Hero’s Journey episode 5 The Will to Live, Teach or Make Money
To live up to the title of this current how-to post, THE THING versus The Things. A crash course prioritizing illustrated with Reylo but relatable to everyone, I m now going to break it down and illustrate what your THING is, versus what Your Things are.
And I ll throw in some “Reylo” which, for those who don’t know what that is, are the Star Wars fans in favor of Rey and Kylo Ren getting a relationship.
First: “The Things”
“The Things” can be recognized by being urgent, pressing, accumulating, status-giving. They’re important by any, if not all, worldly standards. In my little example here, “The Things” was taking care of the content for the online program.
Do note that when you’re feeling totally crap, f.e. depressed, and are not able to do The Things, and that this will cause you to feel guilty. Even when you would have a permission slip from your doctor that you’re mentally ill, and should ab-so-lute-ly NOT bother yourself with The Things?
You’re STILL going to feel guilty for not doing The Things.
That’s because they’re The Things. That’s what they do. That’s how you can recognize them. Feel guilty for not doing them? Immediately put them on pile number two.
Labeled “The Things”.
In the case of Reylo, the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren, when he asks her to join him on a worldly level, to reign the galaxy? The scene where he reaches out his black gloved hand?
That is Kylo offering her The Things. He’s offering her success by worldly standards. Rey would become an empress or queen or whatever Kylo and her would redub leadership of the First Order. She would become a mother, most likely to the heir of Kylo’s throne.
She would be Somebody. When first she was literally Nobody.
That’s another aspect of “The Things”; they’re outcome focused. They are aimed at attaining or acquiring a certain result.
There is this high profile meme, that a lot of people use on a day-to-day basis:
“What would you do if you could not fail?”
And it’s supposed to inspire people to go for their dreams. When in reality? There is a much more powerful meme, exactly opposite to that;
“What would you do if everything you did would fail?” (by worldly standards)
If nothing would make you money. If you would not be able to hold on to any job, not make any endeavor a success. No relationship, no project. Nothing you would do would give you anything sustainable nor validation from the outside world.
THEN what would you do?
Because that?
That’s THE THING!
In my case it is writing. In my low of being depressed I wondered where my rock bottom was for bouncing back, making money, taking care of myself. I assessed it was at paying my dental bill, getting dental care. If I would have to live not being able to do that, I would get myself back on my feet.
But now that I m passionate again, and feel alive, I know it’s also writing. I would always want to write. Preferably on a computer, but in a notebook if I have to.
Even if I would have to rise early to go to that normal job, to pay for those dentist bills, I would still get up and write at 5 A.M., to nourish myself on a soul level, to feel alive.
And with Reylo, the relationship between Rey and Kylo?
For them being together without achieving any results, is THE THING. With Kylo taking the risk of losing his position within the First Order, and Rey possibly having to break ties with the resistance.
In episode 8 General Leia Organa, Kylo’s mother, was head of the resistance. So chances of Rey being declared persona non-grata based on her relationship with Kylo were slim.
But in 9? Who knows.
Finn and Poe, the male runners up within the rebellion, may not be so forgiving when she hooks up with what they perceive as the number one nemesis of the free people.
Within the Reylo community there is consensus that when Rey and Kylo’s hand touch in a Force vision (Kylo’s not “really” there) the energy of this hand reaching scene is entirely different from the “Join me” (to rule the galaxy)  scene. The most notable difference is that Kylo takes his glove off for this.
Text continues below the video.

In this scene they touch for reasons that are THE THING.
Connection.
Curiosity.
Destiny.
Desire.
Kylo Ren answering Rey’s invitation to touch hands is not bringing either one of them status, it was not on their to do list, and they do not touch out of obligatory guilt.
If they had not done it, if Rey had not taken the chance to reach out, or if Kylo had not bothered to return the invitation, they would not have felt guilty.
It would have felt far worse:
As if they had deprived themselves of something.
As if they had missed their calling, because they had rejected or ignored someone who had moved them to the bone. Missed out on the one who could very well be the most important person in their lives.
Because that’s the biggest difference between on one side “The Things” – the urgent, accumulating tasks and the worldly rewards attached to them. And on the other had THE THING; the spontaneous, eruptive calling of the heart and your soul wanting to do something.
The Things are rewarding by worldly standards.
But THE THING is what will give you the sensation of being alive, of having your foundations shaken, emotions violently flaring up. If you have anything, or anyone, you can’t say no to? Even if it resulted in absolutely nothing aside from the experience itself?
That’s THE THING.
Those are THE THINGS. You can have multiple passions, fascinations, more things that make your heart beat faster.
And after three hours and three glasses of wine, I can assure you that each of those passions is worth burning your entire to-do list for.

<3LSH
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

You can follow all my posts on Facebook and Twitter.

PS…

I m still not sure about this. And I have not spoken about this for a very long time. But I have a private mailing list, where I write about what is REALLY going on. Stuff I’ll probably never be able to share publicly. Ever since Max died, I stopped writing them.
But now that I feel better I will pick it up soon, so make sure you’re subscribed.
Sign up for this private mailing list HERE and make sure you get it. 

The Hero’s Journey episode 4 Prepare my ship!

Christmas 2017 I started my Hero’s Journey; a year long challenge of doing one or two hours of yoga a day. You can follow this project for 365 days on this page and I ll post all lessons learned along the way on my Facebook and Twitter.

This is a photo from the original Star Wars The Force Awakens. If you look closely you can see there are hearts in Kylo Ren's eyes (when looking at Rey)

This is a photo from the original Star Wars The Force Awakens. If you look closely you can see there are hearts in Kylo Ren’s eyes (when looking at Rey)

PREPARE MY SHIP!!
Restarting, rebooting and COMMITTING this Valentines Day

I will be the first to admit my Hero’s Journey (the resolution to do yoga every day for one to three years straight) has failed.
At least it has if you measure it by;
The number of sessions practiced;
The number of diary entries written;
The number of times I was open about what was really going on, and what made me fall off the wagon. Hard.
I had little cat Max dying a month ago. I was open about that. For a week or two things did seem to settle just fine. It was as if I was living a lighter version of my life, where I could not fail at taking care of my little fur baby. Not that I felt I had failed.
On the contrary.
For over 18 months I was completely dedicated to taking care of him. I never left the house for more than a few hours and if I did leave longer I had a babysit.
I had not failed.
But I was never without fear that I would.
Either because I would accidentally step on him, or lie on him in bed in my sleep. Or fear I would be involved in an accident which would kill me or hospitalize me, leaving him without proper care. I was always scared that regardless of how much I dedicated my life to him, that didn’t mean it couldn’t end in failure.
Or in drama.
Like, maybe I would have to euthanize him on the weekend, with a doctor we didn’t know.
None of that had happened.
He had lived a long life, and I had given it my all.
I missed him, and the first two days when he wasn’t buried yet – yes, I was shaken.
But after Max’ funeral, I could feel the lightness that I didn’t have to worry anymore. That, as far as he was concerned, everything had gone right. Me missing him was not as important as him having the most beautiful life any cat could wish for.
And especially such a forever baby cat, who wanted to play mommy and baby cat all day long. What better cat mom that one who stays home and in whose bed you can sleep.
But then something happened.
I derailed.
And I had no idea how to pick my life back up.
And even on moments when I was less bothered by It, other aspects of my life – things that had ceased to bother me, or so I thought – they all came back.
I realized only too well, it was pointless to either focus, or communicate the events that caused me falling apart. They were merely the trigger. The bigger picture was that I wasn’t stable at all, in the lightness that followed Max’ death. And that if this trigger had not happened, something else would have.
There were countless sleepless nights.
And even more mornings where the first thing I thought was;
“Fuck. There was something really bad. What was it?”
Before I remembered The Thing.
And it made me feel sick, and scared, and awful. And although I STILL wish I could make it all go away, I have now experienced that same self-loathing in other situations as well.
I know it doesn’t have anything to do with The Thing.
The real thing, is me being unbalanced.
Me, having put off dealing with a couple of issues for a very, very long time. I call it deferred maintenance. Things I should have settled, or could have figured out sooner, but didn’t. I just modified my life a bit, worked around it.
The two issues are;
One; accepting myself the way I am and in particular my body – size, imperfections, needs, bodily functions. Everything. This is the problem that causes shame.
Two; accepting insecurity – stop being so needy of control.
This is the problem that causes fear.
A strong example of this that years ago I made my peace with being a mistress. I even realized this exciting, secretive position suited my sexual preferences like a glove. I am no thrill seeker, but I certainly saw this was the only area where excitement was of huge benefit to me.
If not even mandatory.
Yet now? In my unstable phase?
I fear being outed, and I have dreams of being murdered because I am his mistress.
These are the two things I want to learn – to accept myself, especially physically, and to become less fearful.
Learn to ground.
Give up control.
Today it’s Ash Wednesday, the start of six and a half weeks (forty days) of Catholic Fasting, and it’s Valentines Day as well. I have good memories of Ash Wednesday when I tied these forty days of spiritual practice to focusing on my love life.
This year, I want to focus on self-care.
I want to ground more, and step into my power, instead of feeling like a potential victim of anything or anybody. So here are my three daily things, which I will do for forty days;
1. one hour of mindset work
This means reading a book or watching a YouTube until something is sparked and then journal about it. Or just study personal development for an hour, that’s fine too.
2. do yoga for thirty minutes
Free style yoga – no script. This is the type of yoga that symbolizes for me a form of movement where you learn to be in your body, trust yourself, be aware.
You can’t rush through a freestyle practice.
The only way to do it is to be in the moment
3. work on my yoga business for at least 1 hour
I know this does not sound like giving up control, and I m sure it doesn’t seem spiritual either.
But seeing myself as an entrepreneur is definitely something that boosts my personal power. That’s why I included that.

There is one aspect The Hero’s Journey did not fail at all. This is the aspect of worshiping Kylo Ren from Star Wars. This was something I knew was my escape if Max died, my Plan B to catch me if I fall.
To just focus all that love and dedication on a fictional character.
After Max died I bought a Kylo Ren doll that I now take with me when I go on a trip. And today, Valentines Day and Ash Wednesday, I saw Star Wars 8 – The Last Jedi for the 8th time.
It reminded me of all those years ago when I made my love life the focus for 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. That too was more or less coincidentally. I had bought that book, realized it was Ash Wednesday, and tied the two together.
So today I was in the theater watching The Last Jedi, and again, I realized it was Ash Wednesday, and I was watching my idol, or muse Kylo Ren, in the Last Jedi.
And I decided to make Kylo Ren too, the focus of these forty days. I called this post;
“Prepare my ship”
There is a little story to that.
“Shipping” means that you are a fangirl and that you want two characters to get a relationSHIP. In my case I am a fan of Kylo Ren and I ship Kylo Ren with Rey. This is called Reylo.
So I m a Reylo shipper.
This is not stuff I make up – these are all existing expressions.
Anyway, after The Force Awakens, which was Star Wars 7, the first Star Wars movie with Kylo Ren, there were already fans who started shipping him and Rey. I didn’t. I was one of the many, many people, who wrote off Kylo Ren because of all the bad shit he pulled.
Until this movie, Star Wars 8, The Last Jedi.
It’s just so obvious that Rey and Kylo Ren are in love, and that he’ll be redeemed. When I now see The Force Awakens – which is like DAILY because I bought the dvd earlier this year, I can’t unsee.
How did I manage to miss Kylo Ren being totally hunky AND “Reylo” in The Force Awakens?!
I wasn’t alone.
Most Reylo shippers didn’t become Reylo shippers until The Last Jedi. And one of the funniest things is these fans, these “shippers”, totally claiming one sentence, which Kylo Ren growls at his subordinates, refering to a battleship that he needs;
“Prepare my ship!”
And now there are Twitter accounts of Reylo shippers that have bios containing one sentence;
Prepare my ship!
Gifs;
Prepare my ship!
And now forty days of me watching Kylo Ren videos, watching The Force Awakens dvd, and diving deep into the spiritual practice of worshiping Kylo Ren.
Prepare my ship!

<3LSH
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

You can follow this project for 365 days on this page and I ll post all lessons learned along the way on my Facebook and Twitter.

Als je in Nijmegen woont kun je nog instromen in mijn yogalessen in alle groepen waar nog plek is.

The Hero’s Journey episode 3 From Heaven

download (7)Christmas 2017 I started my Hero’s Journey; a year long challenge of doing one or two hours of yoga a day.

You can follow this project for 365 days on this page and I ll post all lessons learned along the way on my Facebook and Twitter.

day 10 Wednesday January 3
22.30 Yin yoga while watching a Star Wars dvd The Force Awakens 1H
Too tired, cold and disappointed in myself to write much, but I m afraid I have to let daily writing go. I wanted 2018 to be the year where I made a daily blog post, but I know this is only possible if I get up at 6 every morning.
Basically to win back the two hours a day I lose on yoga.
And although for 24 hours I thought that was a good idea (who needs sleep!) I ve turned totally against it. I m going to give myself as much time a.m. as I need to do my morning routines and get my two hour yoga practice done. And then we’ll see about writing.
I created the two posts below – so that was one to two hours work – and I also wrote an overview blogpost on M Yoga International. This post is notorious for taking up huge amounts of time. Today four hours or something. And I went out for about five hours with my mother.
I can’t stand the ugliness of this log entry. So dry, hopeless. Why does it feel like in order to do yoga for two hours a day, I have to sacrifice writing?

day 11 Thursday January 4

Today was a total fuck-up. I did my writing but wasted about five hours trying to solve something as simple as changing the cartridges on my new printer. It has run six weeks on its default mini cartridges, and I already had non-original cartridges to replace them.
Which apparently it doesn’t accept.
Or it pretends it’s accepting it, and the store thinks I just fucked up the cartridge because I tear of one foil too many, and then I make an extra trip to the city only to find out it’s all still not working.
I thought if I would just push through I would get my printer running.
For Christ sake! I thought I was REPLACING A CARTRIDGE! How difficult can that be? I m considering dumping the printer and getting a new one because Epson seems to be renown for rejecting no brand – cartridges. I ve even gone as far as Googling and actually finding something mysteriously called Epson Status Monitor 3, which supposedly works magic in getting the thing running without the overpriced original cartridges. But now it doesn’t work at all. So I made it worse.
I failed yoga, failed getting my printer running, and wasted five hours of my life and work day.
I basically feel I failed at life.

Friday January 5
Dark Night of the Soul

I m starting to feel like Joan of Arc.
This was the second night in a row where I was prepared for the worst, but ultimately woke up in the light and surprised that the darkness of the night had disappeared.
Wednesday night it started with me waking up sick. I went for the toilet, convinced I was going to throw up. I came very close and went back to sleep with the bucket near my bed convinced I would need it, but instead it passed.
So weird.
I was sure I had gotten food poisoning or the flu and didn’t understand how either one of those could go away. I woke up feeling fine.
Then last night, I already went to bed after three more hours of trying-to-fix-the-printer. I had gone to a bar, was home at 11, and was convinced that with the new cartridge (and new instructions on how to install it) I could make this new printer work. It had been running on its default mini-cartridges for five weeks and now that those were empty it had refused the no-brand cartridges I intended to feed it.
It wasn’t a blatant refusal, where you actually get a clear answer on what is going on, and a hint on what to Google. But I did find out Epsons came with a whole list of disfunctional behavior, and especially if you wanted to use non-Epson cartridges.
And I had basically been dissatisfied with it from day one because of a software flaw in their scanner, which was then denied by their customer service. But in the end I ended up rearranging my entire desktop so that the “scan button” of Epson’s immobile, static scanner window was even clickable and didn’t disappear behind my toolbar.
So I already regretted not buying a new Canon right away.
Anyway, the new cartridge didn’t work, all the hacks I found on Google did nothing except making the problem worse and then ultimately I ended up going to bed at two HIGHLY FRUSTRATED.
Then at night Max fell out of bed when he tried to use the little step I had created for him to get in and out of bed.
He tried to get up but for the next hour he stayed weak in his backlegs- an ailment related to him losing all his muscle mass.
Max is currently medicine-free.
I do give him pain-killer, but I stopped giving antibiotics for his parasite because the cooked chicken was keeping his diarrhea fully under control, and his stomach was quiet.
And he was already losing weight even when on twice a day antibiotics.
So I cancelled them weeks ago.
I went back to sleep at six in the morning, convinced this Friday the fifth of January was the day I would have to let him go.
I slept for three more hours and had two dreams.
Two different stories of me being at the VET, both with the same message: That I wasn’t ready, and it wasn’t nessecary to put Max to sleep.
I woke up and Max was indeed reasonably fine. He was hungry and ate a lot, and was more stable in his backlegs. His stomach was slightly upset though, making funny noises, as it has the last few days.
So I decided to leap and start antibiotics again, which have been effective in making him gain weight. I hope the time off from them has brought back their magic.
Now that I ve been at the point where I thought I had to let Max die, I have little to lose.
God’s speed, little Max.

Sunday January 7
A New Normal (or lack thereof)

After the dark nights of the soul (written Friday) I ve been trying to find a new normal. A way to function when Max seems to be so much weaker physically. What didn’t work was trying to make him heavier/ holding more weight by re-starting antibiotics.
When my first dark night of the soul was Thursday to Friday, with a weak cat who was otherwise fine. I had a second dark night last night, but with Max having diarrhea and appearing nothing stronger. If anything he appeared to be even weaker. So I stopped the antibiotics. I hope that was the right choice, that I didn’t overlook benefits for his rumbling tummy which seems more or less gone now.
On a more practical plane, I cut all work obligations that were not necessary. All yoga training and business training I intended to follow; all writing I wanted to do. The publishing of my books.
I cancelled or minimized it to the bare minimum.
So here I am, fourth day in a row without yoga and with vivid memories of how terrible yoga felt Wednesday night. How totally pointless it is to do yoga if you feel emotional.
It’s something I ve experienced before.
I knew this.
I just didn’t want to know.
Yoga is like a magnifying glass; it just enhances what’s there. Usually getting on your yoga mat will already make you leave your strongest resistance, fear, sorrow behind. But if you re capable of showing up fully armored, fully damaged, or fully confused? Yoga is gonna get you nowhere.
Which is probably why I feel more or less unapologetic for dropping out of the practice. Even on this 365 day journey.
I do want to go back to living the life of a yogi, and in that sense I m happy to have cancelled all non-nessecary work. But I feel drained, unstable and shaken. And every time I see Max trying to get up, and not being able to, I lose whatever balance I had brought myself to.
And the cycle starts over.
Now Max does meow, he eats, he headbutts. He can still get himself from A to B. Mentally he doesn’t seem much different from a week ago. It’s just the physical aspect that makes me feel terrible. And spread out too thin over work (preparing classes and teaching) which will start tomorrow, taking care of myself, and dealing with whatever it is Max needs.
Today I rearranged all my carpets and used my yoga mats to cover the slippery laminate flooring, so he has more grip. And it’s easier for him to walk. How symbolic that I use my yoga mats to assist him.
This last phase of his life (is it even the last?) is definitely a challenge. Just like the last time, 2015. My other cat had also been sick for a very long time and ultimately I had to euthanize him. I had experienced the same doubt, but ultimately it happened unplanned. He was in pain, and I got to the clinic as fast as I could.
So that was when the moment came the obvious choice.
But Max doesn’t seem to be in pain, and he also has a history of bouncing back from the most severe injuries and the worst diagnosis. He really has nine lives.
And I don’t know if he’s on his ninth yet, and if so, when or how it is supposed to end.

Monday January 8
Today was the first day I felt at peace. Now that I ve given in to the fact that Max is weaker, and that I will be more worried, need way more sleep, and am just in a phase where work needs to be cut back to the bare minimum – I feel way better.
No more agenda.
No more ambition.
Max is priority number one, and taking care of myself with as much sleep as I needed, daylight, rest, leisure, and yes – soon yoga too – priority number two.
And priority number three is my work, but in the net-net sense of the work:
Only my yoga work for my paying students. So this means preparing my classes, teaching them, and I ll start posting my memberships page on Wednesday.
And then that’s it.
Max. Self-care. Teaching.
Amen.

Thursday 11 January
Committed

My commitment to this challenge – A Hero’s Journey, 365 days of yoga – is both much bigger than I anticipated. As well as far less committed.
Less committed because me not doing yoga these days when my cat Max is so sick and fragile, and I worry sick about him – that missing those practices is irrelevant. It is not important at all. More about that later.
But “more” committed because in its most megalomaniac form I m seriously thinking about making this Hero’s Journey three years, instead of one.
And to let the three challenges be inspired by the three Star Wars movies. The current one, the first Hero’s Journey – from Christmas 2017 to Christmas Eve 2018 – was sparked after seeing the latest Star Wars The Last Jedi Friday before Christmas. By now I ve seen it four times, I m totally obsessed with “reylo” – which is the story line of Rey and Kylo Ren being love interests – and I own The Force Awakens dvd which I watch at least once a day.
The third part of the trilogy will not come out before December 2019.
So having evolved in my fanship hood since I started this challenge, doing yoga (which is my personal interpretation of a Jedi training) for one year suddenly seems a bit odd. Two years minimum. But three years makes the most sense.
But my commitment has also grown – in the sense that I know this is the threshold to my new life. I never started this challenge because I expected life would be good if only I could just make myself do yoga.
I started it because I knew I was in the final stages of my old life, and I would need something to hold on to when passing on to the next. My life as a single cat mother, with her main responsibility being her cats, is almost over. I never had the intention of making it to the mat on days when I walk around crying all day. Like I have today. The soothing effect of this challenge is in knowing that when Max dies, the yoga will be there for me.
That there will be an eternity where I can be on the mat without having to interrupt my practice to clean Max’ poo; or to refresh his tender slow cooked chicken when it has become dry and he doesn’t want to eat it.
I don’t have to keep an eye on if he eats enough and come up with tricks and exciting new meals to seduce him to start eating again.
It will just be me, on my mat.
A feeling I haven’t had since 2009.
My boyfriend and me got Max and Willem in 2005. We split up in 2006, but we kept living together. For practical reasons and because we were good room mates. Eventually I moved out – on his request – but we agreed that the cats would stay with him.
It was something we had already decided on, the day we adopted them;
If we would ever split up, they would be his.
But it all went differently, and two months after I left they were dropped off at my place. After one night I could not believe I had lived without them for two months. We bonded a hundred percent. They became my life and my sole purpose. And in all the years that followed I took huge risks in my dating life. On an emotional level. But I ve always felt that the reason I could do that was because I knew my two cats were the love of my life. They protected my heart. And the obligations for them took up so much of my time and energy.
Willem had diabetes the first three years we lived like that, with the three of us. If you constantly dabble with insuline, making it on time for his feeding time and measuring his sugar levels – knowing that if you make a mistake your cat will die- there is no way a man can reach your heart.
Those felines were an impenetrable armor. And although I fell in love, had boyfriends, and was sad at times, it wasn’t the real stuff. I gave my love life a lot of attention but it was marginal compared to where my true loyalty lay.
Even my current status as a mistress is, although I m convinced that it suits my sexual preference for a 100%, even that risky relationship has been relatively easy because I knew what mattered in life; To love your cats unconditionally.
I ve always had a reason to keep my shit together, and I would never let drama get between me and them. Willem died in 2015 but ever since then Max has been the one guarding my heart.
I took him to the VET today and he was healed from a cold he had three weeks ago (when I also took him there). That was good. But on all other areas he was doing worse than three weeks ago.
I don’t know how much time we have left.
All I know is that I m committed, now more than ever, to be there for him. As long as he makes an effort to stay alive, and he does, I will have his back.
And he has my heart.

On Friday January 12,
less than a day after I made this blog post “Committed”, my cat Max died in my arms. He was buried two days later, in same grave as my other cat Willem.
Under the rose bush.
read Max’ Dutch eulogy/ In Memoriam here

Tuesday January 16

Slowly creating a new life for myself, after having been a single stay-at-home cat mother for nine years, I ordered a Kylo Ren doll and made this brand new video:
Love bombing Kylo Ren; Why every straight woman without a cat should have a talking Kylo Ren plush 

Thursday January 18
renewing my yoga practice

“You need a teacher.
I can show you the ways of the Force.”
Kylo Ren

Saw The Last Jedi for the first time after Max died, landing me in my post-cat era, and I feel the excitement for all the things I have wanted for myself for a long time. I’m going to start my personal Jedi yoga training. As Princess Leia said; “We have all we need.”
You can find photos of my Kylo Ren Yoga Journal here.

Friday January 19
yoga and my first day out

Did an hour of yoga, AM. Before going to work and teaching class. It was absolutely lovely.
And in the afternoon I went to a book presentation of Johan Fretz, which was in Amsterdam. It was my first day out in Max. Taking care of Max I had been unable to go away for more than four hours, without having to hire someone to take care of him.
I had not left the city in months.
That was wonderful too.

Saturday January 20
Writing spree

I didn’t do any yoga because something strange happened.. or at least it had not happened since Max died a week ago. But I felt like writing about the book presentation of Johan Fretz, which I went to yesterday. And I did. It took me about five hours or such, including editing. Maybe longer, it’s an estimate.
But apparently when Max died, my overwhelming, disrupting, blessed and cursed ability to write for hours on end didn’t die with it.
So good to have you back.
Johan Fretz is The Last Jedi (Dutch/ Nederlands)

Sunday January 21
Good Morning Kylo Ren
- my first month of being an Adam Driver fan-

I thought it would be a good thing to explain myself here.
Everything. Why I walk around carrying a Kylo Ren plush. Why I have a Kylo Ren yoga journal, multiple Kylo Ren yoga playlists and a daily Kylo Ren yoga practice.
Or at least I aspire to have that.
I only did one yoga session so far, Friday morning, but it was good. Best personal practice in years. And I do intend to do my Kylo Ren inspired yoga every day.
Make a lifestyle out of it.
But some explanation is in order on why this infatuation is hitting me HARD and why this excites me so much.
First the easy stuff though.
I think we can all agree that Adam Driver is the best thing that ever happened to Star Wars. Closely followed by J.J.Abrams giving him prince hair in The Force Awakens.
You can see this work of art in the larger photo below, where he takes off his helmet. But I already saw that hair two years ago and yet I wasn’t moved by that Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. So when The Last Jedi came out in December, I didn’t even plan on going.
I would wait for the dvd, and watch some spoiler reviews on YouTube. But they didn’t spoil anything! The story line of bad boy Kylo Ren and good girl Rey, which I had managed to miss in 2015, just drew me right back in.
Suddenly I just go had to see that movie.
I went Friday before Christmas. By myself.
My little cat Max (he was old, just very tiny, and he liked to be held like a baby) was not doing well and he had to be fed as often as possible. So although I granted myself some time away from home, I wasn’t ready to invest extra hours socializing before or after the movie.
I would go by myself.
And seeing all those broody moments between Kylo Ren and Rey hit me hard but I still had a backup plan.
Because the thing that had been the most seductive about Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) had been his voice. A voice which, I assumed, had been modified and lowered in production. I would watch a few interviews on YouTube and I was certain I would be able to shake this.
Suffice to say; It did not went well.
Because Adam Driver turned out to have the same sultry voice in real life. And you know I just did some research and his voice in the first movie The Force Awakens was indeed a lot higher than in The Last Jedi. Which explains why that first movie didn’t get to me as much as this one did.
So here I was, watching YouTube in the middle of the night with an absolutely gorgeous Adam Driver who also turned out to be really cute and disarming and funny and basically everything you need from someone that tall and intimidating to get all soft and mushy inside.
He said the children in his building greeted him saying:
“Good morning Kylo Ren!” (at 12:45)
And suddenly all I wished for in life was an opportunity to say;
“Good morning Kylo Ren.”
I was toast. This man had gotten under my skin. Badly. But I adjusted. I was no longer in denial, and switched into worshiping gear. An art I have become extremely good at, because I started in my early teens. Like most of us do, it’s just that most women drop out of it at some point.
I never did.
I feel life is pale and stale without having an idol. I m not going to do that to myself. However it had been a decade since my idol was an American actor. In the meantime it had been Dutch writers, or real men who had been one hundred percent unavailable. I used them as muses and I wrote books about them. Without men I would not be a writer, I would just do yoga and journal. Two things I had been doing very little of.
Either way – having perfected the art of worshiping I started binging on Adam Driver interviews, changed my background on my phone to his photo, ordered The Force Awakens on dvd, went to see The Last Jedi a couple of more times, and I stumbled upon a little doll;
plush talking Kylo Ren.
I promised myself that if my cat would die I would buy this doll to cuddle with, sleep with, sit on my lap. I would bring the doll on trips, anything outside my city. I had not been able to travel for a long time.
The doll would be my new companion if my cat passed away.
And then he did.
After our last night together in which I received a vision of the sky parting, sun shining down on us, and me saying to him in my dream;
“Can you feel that? Heaven is opening.”
Friday January 12. It was the hardest day, toughest decision I had to make in my entire life. To let him go. Even though the real signs were a lot less esoterical than me having Joan of Arc dreams.
I was just happy that I had listened to my gut feeling; I had cancelled classes the night before, because I had a bad feeling about him.
We had spent the night sleeping on the floor so that he couldn’t fall out of bed.
I had helped him find the litter box and had fed him all the eight hour boiled chicken he wanted. Which was a lot.
But there was no other way. One and a half year after he started losing weight, and trying to find out what was wrong but everything failed, he was now barely capable of standing.
But he trusted me so much, so yes. It was hard. Like I said, the worst thing ever.
I brought his little body home and for 48 hours I indulged myself in company and mourning. I asked friends to come by my house, scheduled phone calls. I got home cooked meals at my sister’s.
In a few hours in between I wrote his eulogy. (Dutch/Nederlands)
Sunday morning I went to dig his grave, at my sister’s garden. Same grave as Willem, my other cat who died in 2015. I dug so deep that I found Willem. I wanted to, I needed to see he was still there.
Then I covered up Willem’s bones with a thin layer of sand, and I went back home. I changed my clothes and wrapped Max in a piece of a duvet cover, which I had saved for this occasion.
It was the same sheet I had used to bury Willem in.
The funeral was really small. My mother was there, my sister, and a friend. It was a beautiful sunny day. I read the eulogy, we buried him, planted the rose bush back and I had brought two vases with flowers. Also roses.
We went inside and my sister served tea and cake, just like a real funeral.
I was no longer a cat mom.
I remember when we put him to sleep at the VET and afterwards saying, over and over;
It is done.
It is done.
I can’t believe it’s done.
I had given it my all, both of them. Willem and Max had been the most important little beasties, but now my new life would begin. Without having to physically care for them, although in spirit they’ll always stay with me of course.
True to my own promise I went online to buy the Kylo Ren doll.
When he arrived I made this video
And two days later I made a Kylo Ren yoga journal, and Kylo Ren yoga playlists on Spotify, and I got up early so that I could do yoga with Kylo Ren in my heart.
Yesterday I traveled, for the first time. To a book presentation by Johan Fretz and yesterday I wrote about that. (Dutch/ Nederlands )
Kylo Ren accompanied me there.
He was wearing his travel blankie so that he wouldn’t get dirty or damaged in my handbag. My mother is going to make him a travel pouch, made from the same sheet I used to bury Max and Willem.
It’s a sheet reserved for all things sacred.
And every morning when I wake up, on my side with little Kylo spooning against me, I say.
“Good morning Max. Good morning Willem. Good morning Kylo Ren.”
And I get him out and press his tummy and if I m lucky he says;
“Don’t be afraid.
I feel it too.”

Tuesday January 23 januari
Prince Hair

Why did it take me this long? :D
I suddenly realized I had the perfect hair to get Kylo Ren’s prince hair, from the force awakens.
I made a video showing of my new mane

Wednesday January 24
Tarot & Kylo Ren yoga

Tonight I had another deep night of the soul. Which had not expected. Ever since Max died, my life has been pretty carefree. And yet there it was, unmistakably. Then I realized what was going on; I was on the half year marker of this year of my life.
It was the night where the witch had predicted a whole new era would begin.
yoga: 2 hours, free “Kylo Ren” yoga (that’s yoga with my imaginary teacher Kylo Ren)
using my Madonna ‘From heaven” playlist
It went really well but I had completely dropped out of practicing headstand and I decided to do it until it would come more natural. And it did, after the seventh time. But I was also sick.
After that I only did yin yoga, which is really slow, and can barely be distinguished from sleeping :)

Saturday January 27
videos
Okay, I have no idea if this is gonna work ;) but I did my yoga by making videos.
Here’s today’s class.
#1 Kylo Ren inspired Yoga 55 minutes – Part 1 Warrior Practice
#1 Kylo Ren inspired Yoga 55 minutes – Part 2 Dark and Strong

#1 Kylo Ren inspired Yoga 55 minutes – Part 3 Lunar Yoga

Sunday January 28
article on sex and Star Wars
Wrote my first full “meta” on sex in Star Wars!
Star Wars is finally telling women *cross out* everybody to start enjoying The Thing #reylo

You can follow this project for 365 days on this page and I ll post all lessons learned along the way on my Facebook and Twitter.

Als je in Nijmegen woont kun je nog instromen in mijn yogalessen in alle groepen waar nog plek is.

READ THE NEXT EPISODE 4 PREPARE MY SHIP

Guide to Watch The Force Awakens dvd – Kylo Ren scenes only (30 minutes)

5fdfeb45bfd2a10269420e76df3ff1f3--adam-driver-starwarsUntil someone makes us a YouTube video with ALL Kylo Ren scenes (please?) the only way to watch The Force Awakens - Kylo Ren scenes only is to scroll manually.
Here’s your guide.

If Kylo is only in the middle of a scene I will add this (-+-)
If he’s in the final part I will add this (–+) and suggest you enter the scene by rewinding from the one after it.
And there’s one scene where he walks in and out (+-+-+)

* go to scene 5 *
1 Opening Logo
2 The Force Awakens
3 The First Order Approaches
4 Village Raid

5 Kylo Ren 

ends at; Kylo walking to his shuttle
* go to scene 11*

6 FN-2187
7 Rey
8 Niima Outpost
9 Rey at Home
10 Saving BB-8

11 Interrogation

ends at; “I leave that to you”
* go to scene 14 * 

12 Unkar’s Offer
13 Jailbreak

14 TIE Fighter Escape (-+-)
fast forward to the moment Kylo Ren walks in
ends at; “The one from the village. FN 2187″
* go to scene 16 and enter scene 15 with rewind* 

15
 Marooned on Jakku (–+)
ends at; “I suggest you get it.”
* go to scene 20 *

16 Crossing Paths
17 Marketplace Chase
18 The Falcon Flies Again
19 Introductions

20 Kylo Is Updated 

ends with: “What girl?”
* go to scene 25 *

21 Fixing the Falcon
22 “Chewie, We’re Home”
23 Corellion Stand
24 Rathtar Mayhem

25 Supreme Leader

ends with: “We shall see.”
* go to scene 28 and enter scene 27 with rewind* 

26 “It’s All True”

27 Meeting Maz (–+)
ends with: “Finish what you started.”
* go to scene 29 and forward to where Luke puts his hand on R2D2 *

28 Discussions of Destinies

29 Visions in the Force (-+-)
ends with Kylo drawing his sword in the snowy forest.
extra;  I like to watch to the tiniest whisper
“It’s Ben”
Right after Maz says; “Take the saber.”
option 1- stay on the main route -
* go to scene 31 and fast forward to Kylo Ren arriving and walking between the ruins* 

option 2- I REALLY WANT ALL OF IT
fast forward into 30

30 Starkiller (-+-)
Kylo Ren standing in front of the window overseeing the blowing up of the Republic (no text there)
* go to scene 31 and fast forward to Kylo Ren walking between the ruins* 

31 First Order Invasion (-+-)
ends at; “With a girl”
* go to scene 33 *

32 Resistance to the Rescue

33 Kylo Finds Rey
you could forward to where Kylo appears from behind the rock
ends with; Kylo walking into his shuttle, with Rey in his arms
* go to scene 36 * 

34 Reunion
35 Resistance Base

36 Rey Imprisoned (+-+-+)
ends with; Kylo ruining the interrogation room
* go to scene 38 and enter scene 37 with rewind* 

37 Resistance Briefing (–+)
ends with; The more dangerous she becomes
* go to scene 39 and enter scene 38 with rewind* 

38 Starkiller Landing (–+)
ends with; “Han Solo”
* go to scene 42 and fast forward to Chewbacca placing bombs* 

39 Base Infiltration
40 X-Wing Attack
41 Rejoining Rey

42 Into The Oscillator (-+-) 
ends with “find them”
* go to scene 43 *

43 Father and Son 
44 Dark Forest 
ends with; Kylo Ren and Rey fighting
* go to scene 46 *

45 Oscillator Breached 

46 Forest Duel (final Kylo Ren Scene)
ends with; Kylo Ren lying on the ground, the earth between him and Rey cracking open.
Rey turning around and running away.

47 Cataclysm
48 Made Whole
49 Finding the Master
50 End Credits

<3LSH
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

Don’t want to miss my sex, Reylo and Kylo Ren inspired work?
You can follow it on Facebook or Twitter.
or subscribe to me on YouTube

Rey all wet and shaken by the power that washed over her

Star Wars is finally telling women *cross out* everybody to start enjoying The Thing #reylo

maxresdefault (1)by LS Harteveld

- Spoiler filled, but most of all this is probably an incomprehensible piece unless you ve seen The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi -

Star Wars is a movie franchise currently on its eight episode. And what “The Thing” is?
Okay you know what The Thing is right?
One of the Reylo accounts I follow on Twitter (shoot! now I have another word to explain!) had put out a poll on what we viewed as signs of the collapse of civilization, and she additionally tweeted;
“I wanted to add “Telling women they shouldn’t enjoy The Thing” but that’s been happening for eons.”
That’s where I got the idea.
Reylos are a community who support the story line in the latest Star Wars trilogy that Rey, a good girl from the deserted planet Jakku, will fall in love with dark side warrior Kylo Ren or with “Ben Solo” his original name- before he passed over to the dark side.
Rey’s official Star Wars bio says, and to me (a Reylo) every word in this sentence is hot;
“She was captured by the dark side warrior Kylo Ren.”

See picture, above.
The interrogation scene between Kylo Ren and Rey is important for the story. As soon as Kylo Ren takes off his mask, she can’t take her eyes off him. Then he invades her mind, using The Force, and he says;
“Don’t be afraid, I feel it too.”
He is referring to The Force – which he uses for supernatural powers. But right now he can feel The Force between the two of them. Connecting them. She has always known “something” was inside of her, and she had Han and Maz briefly explaining what “the Force” was – just the general idea. But she hasn’t connected their explanations to what she feels inside of her.
“But now it’s awake,” she says about the power inside of her, in episode 8.
During the interrogation scene, due to Kylo Ren interrogating her with the Force, she learns how to use it for the very first time.
And intrudes his mind in return.
He leaves the room immediately, reporting to his Master, Snoke. Before capturing Rey, and before the interrogation scene, Snoke has already asked Kylo;
“There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?”
And Kylo answered: “Yes”.
The interrogation scene is the first time Rey learns how to use the force, yet both Kylo and Snoke have sensed Rey’s awakening days before. You know what happened, days before? And what (most likely) caused the awakening?
Kylo was on Jakku. Just for a brief moment, but his presence there was powerful enough to awaken the Force in Rey.
She sensed it. She sensed him. And suddenly this thing called “the Force” was awake in her. The first female lead character in a Star Wars movie, who uses Force powers, had them awakened by a tall warrior, covered in flowing black robes, setting foot on her planet.
And she learned to use them, not by receiving any formal education like all the Jedis before her, but just by being tied to an interrogation chair by Kylo Ren and having him kneeling before her saying in his sultry voice;
“You’re my guest.”
That’s how this girl learns.
Those scenes tell you that the Force, for this trilogy, is connected to the dynamics between Rey and Kylo. Not to the relationship of an apprentice with his Master.
Ever since The Force Awakens came out in 2015 there has been much debate over the fact if Reylos are right, if there even is a romantic story line between the two, but that’s another discussion and one I m not particularly interested in. For me it’s blatantly obvious that Rey and Kylo Ren are in love with each other. And judging by how gorgeous Kylo Ren looks, I m convinced Disney feels exactly the same way.
So that’s not what this piece is about.
This article is about what makes the story line so compelling. What makes this Star Wars saga entirely different from its predecessors, and especially the use of The Force.
And again, I m not talking about if you can fly through space using the force, or bi-locate yourself using it. Which were things that have been speculated on if this was realistic (???) and if they should have been in the movies. No, I m talking about the fact that if you watch the two movies The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, you can see something entirely new added to the equation.
Sex.
And not to make babies.
The “romantic tension” between Rey and Kylo Ren, as Mark Hamill the actor who plays Luke Skywalker put it, is only half of it. The other half, is sexual tension. And it’s precisely this sexual tension that is going to glue the entire thirty year old saga together.
Traditionally, so that means the first six episodes of the saga, The Force was used by the good guys, the spiritual warriors called the Jedi, and by the dark side, The Sith. But the latest trilogy is said to take an entirely different approach.
That of the middle, of gray.
It’s based on the notion that there can never be peace (balance) if we keep thinking in terms of good and bad. We have to accept the dark side of life, in each other, but also in ourselves. It is just as disturbing to believe you’re entirely good and clean, as it is disturbing to believe you’re a power driven monster who doesn’t need love.
That is the story of the third trilogy.
Back to Rey and Kylo Ren.
In the light of the theme of the third trilogy, their romantic story line represents the merging of the good (Rey) and the bad (Kylo Ren). We also get to know Kylo Ren’s soft side in The Last Jedi (the light within the dark) and we get to learn a bit about the aggression that resides in Rey.
Although for someone who watches the roaring rampage of revenge Kill Bill about twenty times a year, as I do, it is not that obvious.
200px-Yin_yang.svgBut I m taking other people’s word for it, that her fighting skills are rooted in aggression and that she seems to take pleasure in knocking people in the head.
So within light Rey, we have a hint of her darkness.
And within dark Kylo we can see the light shining through.
Rey and Kylo Ren are like yin and yang; each possesses a part of the other.
This new and improved vision on balance between the light and the dark, is also symbolized in the first Jedi temple on the island of Ahch-to. This temple holds the old Jedi texts – which will prove that the original Force users were gray, not good or bad. And the temple itself also contains the light; a tree above the ground containing the books.
And the darkness – a cold dark hole in the ground and sucks you into its waters and then scares the shit out of you with a mirrored cave where you are all alone with your greatest fear.
The tree, representing the “safe” cerebral wisdom of the Jedi, can be destroyed.
But the cave is inscrutable, and way more solid, being made from the sea and the rock that makes the island.
Luke is training Rey, and he’s instructing her how to meditate on the Force.
In her vision, she sees the big (dare we say “hairy”? Because it is!) hole in the ground, the cave under the island. It is calling her. She moves towards it, ignoring Luke shouting her not to. The hole erupts into a giant fountain, as if it comes from underneath her. From the rock on which she is sitting. A giant fountain, entering at her pelvis, and squirting up high into the sky.

Rey all wet and shaken by the power that washed over her

Rey all wet and shaken by the power that washed over her

She is knocked down by the strength of it, flings her eyes open, and wakes up lying down. Soaked.
And shocked.
But not as much as Luke, who looks at her, appalled.
“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. In Ben Solo.”
A “raw strength”, that Ben Solo possesses? And that was awakened in Rey, by Ben Solo’s presence? That sweeps her off her feet, leaves her wet and exhausted, and uncle Luke appalled?
And then Luke basically explaining what just happened to her, by attributing the power she just experienced to his nephew Ben?
But let’s not jump to conclusions.
Let’s just, for a minute more, assume that Uncle Luke was referring to the dark side of the Force as it was portrayed in episodes 1-6; as a desire for universal domination, a possessive kind of love and the use of supernatural powers for your own personal hunger to control life and the people around you.
Uncle Luke was just concerned about Rey becoming Darth Rey and plunging the world into darkness and despair.
Next story.
It is nighttime on Ahch-to.
Rey has given in to her desire to explore what’s in the hole, and she has gone out to see what answers the cave could give her. She’s disappointed with its cryptic answers, and feels terribly lonely.
By now she and Kylo Ren, or Ben Solo, are being connected by the Force regularly. It’s like Skype, just that the other person can actually be seen and experienced in the flesh with you. And also – they don’t control it. They can’t dial each other up if they want to. The Force seems to connect them unintentionally. Although that too, is not true. If you look closer.
Before their first ever Force bond, Kylo was sitting in the medical wing and had his wounds attended to by a droid. Wounds that she inflicted. So he was probably already thinking about her.
In the scene above, she had just risked her life going straight into the darkness of the cave well only to be terribly disappointed and lonely. And there you go:
* Forcebond pops up*
“You are not alone,” Kylo says to the disappointed Rey.
“Neither are you,” she says.
And slowly she reaches her hand towards him.
Kylo Ren takes off his thick leather glove. Slowly. His master Snoke has been invading his mind from before he was born. Even when he was physically still with his parents, he already had this evil abuser inside his own head, corrupting him. Demeaning him. Switching over to the dark side was probably a relief for Kylo; at least his surroundings now matched his inner world.
But it was a world without love.
Kylo has never felt love in his life.
He reaches his bare hand to her. It is trembling. Her hand is steady, but his.. yes. There is a tremble. Their fingertips meet. The Force theme from John Williams sets in.
Watch it for yourself.
Article continues below video

Because The Last Jedi has not been released on dvd, all videos on YouTube are bad quality. (sorry!) But you get the idea right?
And do you know what Luke does when he barges in on the two?
HE BLOWS UP THE HUT!
Now does that seem to you like he would do that because;
a. Kylo is raping and beating Rey and about to kill her?
or
b. because Luke is a jealous old hermit who can’t stand the idea of Rey having sex, and especially not with his evil nephew Kylo Ren who by the way he, Luke, was supposed to train and make a good man of, but failed miserably?
Cock blocker Luke, we Reylos call him.
Or at least I do.
But not without acknowledging that Mark Hamill is both the nicest celebrity on Twitter, as well as the most heroic and epic character in The Last Jedi.
So no hard feelings.
But keeping Rey from her first night of experiencing making love, and Kylo from his first experience of being loved – that was a horrible thing to do. Even more unforgivable as betraying Ben Solo and giving him up to the dark side.
THIS WAS YOUR CHANCE TO SET THINGS RIGHT
Okay, I ll stop yelling at Luke.
Because there was actually a point in bringing this up. Aside from the point that the force bond between Kylo and Rey is absolutely not just a romantic one, but a sexual one.
Because Rey represents the light sight of the force – love.
But the thing that sparked it, that ignited The Force in her, was not love. Because Rey was a loving person all throughout her life. And although the Force has been there, inside of her, it was only sparked when someone who she would become sexually interested in set foot on Jakku.
And it is this aspect of the Force that Luke is afraid of.
He’s not afraid Rey will plunge the world into darkness. He’s afraid she’ll become sexually active with Kylo Ren. That is the dark side, Luke is warning her for. That is the “raw strength” that is connecting the two.
Raw strength is a referral to sex. Not to love.
A lot of people think the new Star Wars trilogy will be about Love conquering all. I can understand that, but
a. there has always been a lot of love between light side users. And this has never conquered anything. Yes, love has brought Darth Vader to the light, but that story has already been told.
b. Love being the key clearly doesn’t support the Gray Jedi idea, and the merging of dark and light. In my opinion they can only make Love conquer all the moral of the saga if they see Love as being the light dot, in the dark half of the Yin and Yang symbol.
But it doesn’t explain the dark dot in the white half of the Yin and Yang symbol.
Because that dot? That’s sex.
c. And the third reason I feel there is way more behind the Rey-Kylo Ren story line than a simple Romeo and Juliet theme is that Love is not a power that would scare the shit out of Luke Skywalker. Love is not the “raw strength”, about which he says;
“It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now.”
That is sex.
Rey is the first character in the Star Wars movies, with whom the dark side of the Force is (to me at least) only apparent in her sexual power. Like I said, I can’t see her going on a rampage of revenge, nor do I see her becoming a cruel empress of the galaxy.
Which leaves only one option – her raw strength, is a sexual one.
The key that awaked the Force in her.
For Kylo though, things are a bit different.
He has not known love, which is why his hand was trembling touching Rey, and he’s very familiar with the dark side of the force in terms of being mentally abused (by Snoke) and inevitably turning cold hearted and cruel himself.
Kylo is probably not a virgin.
He’s ten years older than Rey and his whole body language – especially in The Force Awakens – radiates that he’s highly comfortable in his own body. The way he fights Finn at the end of The Force Awakens – swinging his light saber, showing his physical dominance in a cocky, totally non-functional manner that is clearly connected to him being jealous of Finn.
Not to using the most effective way to take out an opponent.
That fighting style just tells that he enjoys being in his body, and that he knows how to move it. Especially when he wants to show his sexual superiority.
Just watch the clip. And also; watch how Rey, on the other hand, fights clumsily because she’s holding a light saber (!!) for the first time in her life.
And don’t forget the ending.
Where Kylo, sparing her life and not playing at his full strength because he knows it’s her first time and he fancies her, offers Rey the opportunity to learn from him how to use the Force and the saber.
Article continues below video.

“You need a teacher! I can show you the ways of the Force!”
Kylo shouts to Rey.
As Luke would say;
“Amazing. Every word in that sentence, was wrong.”
Because as soon as Kylo mentions the Force, Rey suddenly remembers everything Han and Maz told her about the Force, and what she experienced with Kylo in the interrogation chair.
The strength between them that Kylo referred to as;
“Don’t be afraid. I feel it too.”
She murmurs; ”The Force?” Suddenly remembering all of it. She meditates there, right in the middle of wrestling Kylo. She taps into the strength, swings out from underneath him, and rocks that light saber like a pro.
Soon the mighty Kylo Ren is on his back, covered in wounds she inflicted.
“Beaten by a girl who never held a light saber in her life,” as Snoke would remind Kylo, in the next movie Last Jedi.
From what Star Wars has shown us so far we can conclude that Kylo Ren represents the dark side of the yin and yang symbol. And the light dot within him, within the dark half of life, is love. Represented by his romantic love for Rey.
And Rey is the light side of the yin and yang symbol. She represents all people who like being good, loyal, clean, and reminds us that we can be more than that.
That there is a Force within us, that has always been there.
And not so much what, or how, but who will awaken that Force.
The Force will be impossible to miss, if it is taken out of its dormant state.
Don’t worry, we’ll feel it too.
And that it will be so fascinating, and calling us, that the only thing that makes sense is to answer the call and to jump into the cave of the unknown, to explore it.
And yes, you must be prepared to come out disappointed.
There will be no easy answers.
But the person who sparked your Force, whose presence you felt from half a planet away. The one who “felt it too” and who told you not to be afraid?
That person will be waiting for you, when you come out.
To complete your own saga.

<3LSH
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

Don’t want to miss my sex, Reylo and Kylo Ren inspired work?
You can follow it on Facebook or Twitter. 
or subscribe to me on YouTube