Categorie archief: The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey episode 5 The Will to Live, Teach or Make Money

Christmas 2017 I started my Hero’s Journey, a project for 365 days.
Episode 5 are a few diary entries from late February-early March.
You can follow The Hero’s Journey on this page and on my Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday 25 Februaryrey-star-wars
Do the math

“The greatest teacher failure is.” ~ Yoda

After fifteen years I m ending my efforts to make a living teaching yoga and I am going to supplement it with teaching math. I haven’t figured out the details yet. If I ll go for a full teacher training and diploma or if I ll stick with the basics and only do home schooling/ help kids fix their grades.
Obviously that’s where I m going to start and then I ll just see where I want to take it.
But what already strikes me as, well, almost offensive really, is the respect, wait let’s use capitals THE RESPECT in people’s eyes when I tell them I’m switching vocations from teaching yoga to teaching math. It’s as if I tell them I m going to be a brain surgeon. Or an astronaut. Or if I m becoming a teacher in primary school, way more difficult than in high school because you have the same group of children all day long.
Yes, somebody announcing they’re going to be a primary school teacher would definitely be a situation where I would respond: “Are you sure you want that?”
Which would also be my response if someone told me they were going to start a yoga business in Nijmegen. By now we have so many yoga teachers here, we could start exporting them to India. Which makes trying to make a living teaching yoga in Nijmegen a lot like making plans to start teaching primary school:
You better be DAMN sure.
How much talent, ambition and reserves do you have and are you willing to invest them ALL to make this work?
Because although it’s not impossible to make a living teaching yoga in Nijmegen, nor to teach 30 eight year olds, that stuff will drain you.
But come on: Math?
You think that’s hard?
You think I deserve to be respected because I m going to teach math?
So I ve figured out it’s either one of three things. And probably all three of them.
One, they have struggled with math on high school and uni. They have a fear induced response, and simply wish me the best. So they are afraid that I will struggle with math too.
Two, they think yoga is taught by people without (other) diplomas and without any knowledge which could be remotely useful in society.
Three, and this is for my part absolutely the biggest misconception: they completely overlook that in order to be successful in yoga you have to be a highly ambitious entrepreneur, work at least the same amount of hours on your marketing as on teaching and preparing your classes.
Most teachers don’t do that. They only teach one or two classes a week and have other means of income. The only two entrepreneurs I know who make a living teaching yoga have a company I would never want.
Because that is the good news. I do have the company I want. After a period when my business felt generic, plain, dull, and incidents with students just kept surfacing.
Right now all members are absolutely lovely. We know each other, we like each other, and it’s peaceful and fun because it’s like we’re all friends.
Maybe in a way we are all friends.
I like to think that’s what I built when my two peers were building financially solid yoga businesses.
I respect them for their achievements, and I respect myself for creating a community that I like, and that I wouldn’t change for the world.
But to then, after fifteen years of giving it my ALL and failing at creating a company that can sustain me, think that I am challenging myself with math?!
No.
The challenge was behind me.
And I failed.

Wednesday 28 February
The magical art of fucking things up

I just wrote a message to a friend declaring I ve now fully succumbed to my postpartum “depression” of Max.
Adding: “Although those things always express themselves a little differently with me.”
Postpartum doesn’t refer to birth but to the death of my cat Max, now six weeks ago. And although I did pretty well at first, and was fully capable of seeing how well things had went for him, that he couldn’t have had a better life than the one I gave him, I m now at the point where I realize my life is pretty empty. Not in the sense that I don’t feel energized, or passionate.
But there are two things that are present now, that were a lot less prominent when Max was still alive.
The first is that I ve lost the will to live.
Not in a day to day sense that I walk around without inspiration or think of ending it, but I have definitely made sure my next of kin know that when I drop dead now, to not reanimate me. I honestly feel totally uninspired to come back, probably even with brain damage and try to make my life work, when I m already 45 now FULLY FUNCTIONING not making my own income.
Failing everybody but most of all myself by not achieving any markers that could remotely count as success.
Well not ALL (I used to be pretty good with relationships, although those are being harmed as well, as you will soon understand why and how) but you get the idea. Being brought back to a life that I am already failing at, by any worldly standards, is not something I look forward to. Especially not when fate has just brought me on the side where I will be reunited with Max.
The other thing is that ever since I m grieving I feel I m constantly disappointing people, and I feel ashamed of not functioning. Of losing my temper. Of being triggered.
This is how I imagine people who grieve are: Silent, sobbing, and fragile, nearly ethereal beings. I also think that when people give me permission to grieve, they mean that. That’s is okay if I pledge a few, dramatically timed tears from time to time.
Overwhelmed with sudden emotion.
But that at the same time everybody is counting on my patience, my understanding and my professionalism.
I ve literally had people say to me that I should not feel the need to explain myself, to my students. That I should not BOTHER them with what’s going on. That somehow I should find MOTHERFUCKING SOLACE in functioning like a professional, when I m like.
No.
Hell no.
I can feel I ALREADY disappointed you and guess what?
I m done with it.
Because for weeks on end I am dealing with this overwhelming sense of shame, and disconnect, and an urge to reconnect and make things right, which then only make it worse and now we’re weeks and weeks further along the road and it’s only getting worse. I m at the point where the only activity I can do without having the feeling I disappoint someone is shopping for groceries. And that everything else just leaves me feeling totally dysfunctional. And as if I speak my truth too often when in fact? I m not even SPEAKING my truth.
I m still in “Let’s try to be civil” modus.
When you know what?
I m done being civil.
From now on – and I do mean this – I m going to COLLECT all rejections, silences, and motherfucking judgmental glances that I seem to be magnetically drawing towards me these days.
I m going to make a list of every time I failed someone, thought I failed someone, or had somebody telling me I failed them (or warn me to not fail them) and ESPECIALLY if this was in a passive aggressive way, as if it was in my own interest. I m going to pin it to the wall and say:
“I m making a million dollars every time someone rejects me.”
And even if I don’t I m fine with it. Because the past weeks have been extremely costly, mainly because I just couldn’t function anymore because I spent SO MUCH ENERGY trying to be nice.
And it has cost me so much money.
Let’s see what happens if I just show what’s inside of me, instead of being so ashamed of my rage, of my humanity, my sexuality, my LIFE.
There is a coach I follow, Katrina Ruth and my favorite expression of her is one I need to hear most now:
“You can’t fail at being you.”

Sunday March 4
The Life-a-cide note

I had another break-down.
The combination of me feeling tremendously guilty for not making my own income, and having to receive help from my family, was weighing so heavily on me.
Last year my income through teaching yoga was already insufficient, but I pulled through with help. And also because I had my cat Max to worry about. I couldn’t even think straight about how (in)sustainable my income was.
Career and cat worries do not mix. You can’t have both.
But now that Max is gone, even I agree that I SHOULD be able to make my own money. And not live off the family’s money. And this thought is so urgent that I m basically ready to pull the plug on everything I love doing, everything others value in me and appreciate me for, including my yoga studio, in order to focus on getting my own income and at least be released of the guilt and the shame.
I still might.
But I just got off the phone with a friend, and she gave me such a cool option where I can first explore other options, where I still not make my own money.
But without guilt.
Without regret.
And by being able to continue my activities in all the fields and areas where people appreciate my presence and where I live authentically, and full of joy.
Where the pain of Max’s loss is not overshadowed by the pain of being a total fuck-up. Either because I don’t make money, or because I do have a normal job but without dreams or joy.
She came with a solution where it’s okay to be me, and to keep all the things I love doing.
And even if then worst case scenario I turn 65 and my financial heritage is gone, and I have to live of welfare or accept jobs that suck all the joy out of me, I will have a twenty year old reservoir of happiness filled to the brim, inside of me, to carry me through.
But right now it is time to start filling it.
And not leave it so empty.

Wednesday March 7
Daddy’s “spoiled” little rich girl 

I have been private about this. I ve used euphemisms, told half truths, but most of it is secret.
For someone who’s lost her father when both she, and he, were relatively young, and became a writer after, sharing everything from her sex life to other parts most would consider deeply private, my father’s absence must be obvious.
I’ve thought a million times: “When is the day I will tell that story?”
The answer is probably: Never.
But I will share more than I ever have. Because the last couple of days I have been forced to think about my deepest values in regard to the money he left behind for us. Where is the money for? What would he have wanted? And does that even matter?
The past week I spent so much time hating myself for not being able to make my own money (as an entrepreneur), and hating even more the idea of quitting and taking a “real” job – which felt like even more of a failure in a weird way.
Like the moment I accepted to work somewhere for 40 hours, was the moment my life had officially been for nothing. Or maybe it had been for other people, in the case I chose a job with an altruistic side to it. But it had not been for me.
Not to crawl behind my computer, bathing robe still on, and make a Madonna playlist for M Yoga often with a cute column (Dutch) along with it.
It wasn’t to write books.
Or blogs.
It wasn’t to teach yoga even, although I could still keep that as a side hustle for one night a week, if I still had energy for that after being drained of all my energy for 40 hours a week.
But most of all after going corporate, or being paid by the hour which was probably more likely, I would be away from home so much that I would not be able to ever be the cat mum I used to be.
My last cat Max died in January, and even I thought I was now ready for a new life. Without cats. Turning point came this weekend. I was stressing over my company now finally having to make money. Or I, now having to make money. I didn’t have the “excuse” of “can’t work outside the house”. I didn’t have the excuse I had to stay in, to take care of Max. I didn’t even have the excuse my company wasn’t working because I was not giving it the proper attention because roughly speaking, since early 2014 I had not been without worry for more than a few months.
And during all that time I had said: “I m so grateful I have the opportunity to give Max, or Willem, the care he needs.”
Now I was without cats. And my company was still failing. And I was getting more and more desperate at the thought of getting to go corporate. But what I didn’t understand was WHY.
But I do now.
Threefolded.
First, the obvious. Like I said: going corporate means I have to give up on all activities I now call “work”, I now call “desk time”, I now call “hobby.” Playtime is over.
But there’s more.
The second is the cats. The moment I go corporate I have to give up my dream of becoming a cat mother again. Or at least of being the cat mother I was. The moment I figured this out? Was HUGE.
I realized that I didn’t really see the point in living if I couldn’t even afford cats. Whether financially (like I do now) or time-wise.
My family has supported me (in all and every way, including financially) when I couldn’t take care of myself/ my own money. All those years I was focused on my cats. We had an understanding that the financial support was temporary, and yet the moment I realized that the only thing that was going to ensure enough money was to go for a regular job, and thereby to create a life without possibility of cats?
What is the point in creating such an empty thing?
Ever since I got this, I see that for me there is only ONE strong motivator to work my ass off, and make my company work FROM HOME. With limited hours away. And that reason is that I want the freedom to take care of my cats whenever, and however I want to.
So in the most ideal situation I will now (and hope I will!) restore my income levels made as an independent, so that I don’t even need family money, nor need to think about what my stance is on this, and can simply adopt new fur babies without being dependent on my family.
I think we can all agree this would be by far the best scenario.
But.
Aside from that.
It is really interesting what the status of my financial heritage is. The money my father left us. What is it for? Is it to support me temporarily when my company is going through a tough time? As would be coherent with his line with thinking, when he was still alive. It’s similar to financing my education assuming that I would go make a career from that.
Or is there something more to the money?
Here’s what I would do if I would have it my way: I would use the money to support myself, and sustain what I have.
To run a yoga company that may or may not be successful.
To write books that may or may not sell.
To take care of cats which may or may not get sick.
And I would give these things my full attention and love, and have a lot of fun doing it. And get so much “out” of it. All three things would be deeply rewarding.
Worse case scenario, at some time in the future, I wouldn’t have money anymore, and then I would have to accept any work I can get. But it would be after years and years of soaking up the joy of a life well lived, and doing all the things I value most.
And my new cats would have their mother home with them, watching over them, taking care of them. They would live like little princess and princesses, and we would make yoga videos together and I would make them into little stars.
I would be home with them.
I would understand them.
I would not expect anything back.
I have a friend who once adopted a feral kitten that hid under the bed for six months. She gave it his food there, it had a kitty litter box there, and every time she wanted to step into bed, she risked getting attacked.
She never for one moment thought of taking it back to the animal shelter.
Every time I hear of people who want cats for who they are then not one hundred percent willing to set their lives aside for, or who don’t want cats who don’t make good pets, I know exactly, and I mean EXACTLY, how the cat feels.

<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.

Je kunt ook M Yoga liken. Ik post tot Pasen iedere dag een Madonna playlist en geef yoga in Nijmegen.

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.
It’s probably still too raw. But I feel I might 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

The Hero’s Journey episode 2 The Force Awakens

maxresdefault (1)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 1 Christmas Day 2017
20.30 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1 (solar 1 hour, 15 minutes)
First time in five years or so that I practiced this. Exciting.

day 2 Boxing Day, Tuesday December 26
21.00 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1 (solar 1 hour, 15 minutes)
Tough practice. Maybe the wine bit me in the ass, but I was horribly unfocused. Starting tomorrow, I m gonna do yoga first thing. Read why in this powerful blog post Before the Rain. No it wasn’t just the wine.

BEFORE THE RAIN

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
– Ernest Hemingway

Today a Dutch television presenter died, unexpectedly. He was only 48. And suddenly I remembered another powerful reason why I decided to commit to yoga.
To this Hero’s Journey of doing one year of yoga, one hour a day minimum.
Because working, or more specifically writing, has been eating me alive. This has been hard to swallow because I consider myself blessed. Other writers suffer from writer blocks, or insecurity, but I just get up in the morning and go.
There’s nothing I’d rather do, there’s nothing that comes more naturally, and there’s nothing that makes me feel more alive and in flow.
Yet, there is one very important aspect of writing which makes it a straining activity; it makes you feel awful.
Unstable.
Scared.
Anxious.
Because creativity by definition, stirs things up. It doesn’t calm things down. I imagine writing is a bit like giving a show on stage; afterwards the star feels drained and dreadful. Or amazing and hyped up. But never calm, nourished and fulfilled.
Restlessness and creativity go hand in hand.
And a writer? He stays with the piece. There is no “after the show”. There’s always something that’s not quite right yet.
And if he’s posted it to a blog, then this act of immediately putting it out there in the world gives it both an extra kick, but also an extra desire to keep editing.
You won’t believe how many mistakes I discover in the first hours after I ve already put the post out there.
It just keeps pulling me in.
And sometimes I even write (because I feel the desire/ inspiration) a second blog, newsletter, sales page. The stream of ideas is endless. I even resent calling them “ideas”. They’re way too demanding for that! They insist on being written.
Now I m on this yoga challenge, and I know that although I will be able to cross off my mandatory daily hour of yoga, there is one decision I have not made yet.
And I think I kind of knew I had to do this – but I was resisting it; to do yoga FIRST. To not even allow for the computer to be on until my yoga has been done. Not because the quality of the yoga is better. Nor because yoga “deserves” my first and best energy. But because creativity and writing definitely cannot be trusted with it. There are so many writers who advise to write in the morning, before anything else.
But I don’t need to do that.
I m pretty sure I ve reached the stage, that when ideas want out, I ll get them out. At 2 am with my eyes closed, if I have to. And I don’t necessarily need to “slow down” either, in the sense that I have any desire to change the way I write.
Like I said; I feel blessed.
Please, keep the blessings coming, amen.
But what I need to do, want to do, and starting tomorrow WILL do, is prioritize on yoga to do it first thing in the morning so that I build my foundation before the destabilizing blow of creativity. I always sleep really well, and wake up refreshed. I m going to consolidate that. To integrate the peace and quiet of the night, and hold on to it for a few more hours. And then unleash all the stories that are inside of me.
I don’t know why the television presenter died. From what I understood it had most likely something to do with his heart. Exactly the area where I feel most vulnerable. Last summer, I even suffered from a racing heart beat at night. Mild anxiety attacks too. I slowed down a bit, and forbid myself to go behind the computer at night. It’s 11 pm now… I m cheating again.
But I think the best way to avoid stress, anxiety, and ultimately early death (as far as this would be lifestyle related) is to delay going full throttle in the morning.
To give my body and mind a few extra hours to stabilize.
I m going to train myself, like an athlete, to grow stronger and more resilient. Because we all know when Noah built the arc.
Before the rain.

day 3 Wednesday December 27
21.30 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 2 (lunar 1 hour)

NOT THAT EASY

I still endorse the idea.
I do still believe that doing my daily yoga first thing in the morning – instead of writing, working, really whatever I feel like – is the best way stay more grounded before creativity derails me. And it would avoid getting stuck behind the computer for too long to do my yoga practice before I go out the door.
And then having to do it when I m back.
At a time when I really was looking forward to coming home and getting behind my desk to get the real shit done, more shit done, or let inspiration move me once more and get another piece of writing out.
Because whatever the day looked like – either writing a.m. or like today just reposting some things  and then out all day with a friend – I never feel like yoga later on in the day either.
I would simply always, as a given, prefer to get back behind my desk to work.
Always.
And yet every morning I think I m struck with some unique idea or situation which i will be able to solve or lock-in, working for one latte macchiato. But instead I end up working for as long as my agenda allows me.
So recapping yet another day where I had to do yoga at nighttime because my whole plan went AWOL – I see three things that I misjudge every time.
1. I keep thinking that the idea or the little piece of work I feel inclined to do in the morning will only take me forty-five minutes. Instead of an infinite amount of time which will only be defined by my next appointment out the door.
2. I keep forgetting that there is no such thing as one idea or piece of work. Ideas will keep coming.
And finally
3. I also keep forgetting that in the afternoon, and especially if I ve been out the door, I will have more ideas, or more finetuning, or more things I d rather do immediately because otherwise I have to write them down and do them later.
But I can’t afford to forget those three things tomorrow. That is the first day where I have multiple appointments and I also have to work preparing classes. I have far less hours to throw at following my creative flow, than I ve had the past few days. So in a way tomorrow is the first day the challenge is really a challenge. Where I can’t postpone my practice to the evening, like I have done so far.
It has to be done either in the morning, or in the late afternoon.
Tomorrow I need to have my shit together.

day 4 Thursday December 28
21.15 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 2 (lunar 1 hour)

THE PIECES ARE MOVING

Today was heaven. It was exactly the opposite of yesterday because I had zero time for writing and a ton of obligations. I prepared classes, taught yoga, and I worked on the land for three hours. I got a sunburn on my cheeks and my whole body was toast. Not from the sun but from working hard. I feared it would affect my class tonight.
But then it didn’t.
And I can only accredit that to the mandatory hour of yoga for this Hero’s Journey challenge. I did the practice at the studio, before class, and although it was quite a messy practice, I could feel Shiva Rea’s soothing voice work it’s way into my tormented spine.
All the pain disappeared.
When my students came I was just as excited about the upcoming class as they were, and it went really well.
But aside from the yoga miraculously taking away the pain in my body there was something else that sparked my energy. Something else that made this day memorable. And it had to do with my current obsession with Star Wars episode 8, and the developing romance between Kylo Ren and Rey.
For the yoga playlist for tonight’s class, I took their (Kylo Ren’s and Rey’s) official playlists on Spotify. And although I used few of the songs, it gave me clues on what I did want, and I was extremely pleased with the result. Especially with the choice to alternate between male and female vocals.
Now the reason this interest in their story line has gotten a chance to spin out of control, is because YouTube is filled with videos on the subject of “Reylo”; their names combined, like Brangelina. And it was in one of these hours I spent browsing Reylo videos (“studying” would be more accurate) that I learned they had playlists.
Anyway, with my new habit of spending every minute of free-time watching their romance-explained videos, and also investing hours on creating the playlist, I was getting emotionally invested.
And I could feel the restlessness inside of me, but during that hour of yoga I realized something was shifting.
I was stepping out of the role of the mistress.
I was still very much in love with Mr.Big, and I didn’t desire him to leave his wife anymore today than yesterday, a month ago, or last year. I feel like I am Mr.Big’s dark guardian angel – I could never wish for something that he values, to fall apart.
I m on his side.
So it wasn’t that I wanted to change or end what we had.
And yet, the feelings I had mistaken for restlessness, were in reality the first signs of a transformation.
I no longer fully identified with being a mistress.
I was becoming a warrior, like Rey. An archetype that I ve been trying to get my hands on, and trying to live by, since August, but failed. And maybe I failed because I knew it would mean shedding my mistress skin.
But I registered the restlessness during yoga, and I felt excited.
The journey had begun.

day 5 Friday December 29
This is the first time I m logging my practice before doing it!
But I look forward to keeping the computer off, when I m finished.
22.15 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 2 (lunar 1 hour)

day 6 missed
day 7 Sunday December 31

New Year’s Eve
13.00 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1+ 2 (group class 1 H 45 minutes)
20.00 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1+ 2 (2 H practice, at new years eve)
Missed yesterday’s practice because  I unexpectedly went to see Star Wars VIII The Last Jedi for the second time!! That movie is the whole reason this project even exists, so hell yes I ll go.
And it was awesome.
And it gave me so much insight into WHY I am on this challenge. It wasn’t because the Jedi use the force, and that brought me back in touch into wanting to get access to my force. Do my own yoga to gain control over my mind. I thought that was it – because I had already been toying with the thought of going on some major challenge after Star Wars VII The Force Awakens,
So I simply thought that this was the little nudge I needed for daily yoga; to see that new Star Wars movie a few days before Christmas.
But yesterday’s rerun made me realize I had ulterior motives. And that the reason I had lost weight in doing one week of yoga. And the reason it was going so – well- easy. The reason I barely needed any sleep. It didn’t have anything to do with Luke Skywalker or Rey the girl Jedi. It was only because I had fallen in love with Kylo Ren.
Hard.
I had fallen in love with a movie star, but even more with the character, and that was the reason I loved doing yoga. They were like these XL day dream sessions.
And today I made up for missing yesterday’s practice, by doing two; A long class, and my the 2 H practice that I had initially planned for yesterday.

day 8 Monday January 1
New Year’s Day
16.15 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1+ 2 (2 H practice)
I TOTALLY LOVE THIS MAN WHAT A GREAT PRACTICE!
Are you Dutch? I wrote my blog post here, about the most amazing New Year’s day ever. Although not the way I thought it would be..

day 9 Tuesday January 2
21.30 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1 (1,25 H practice)
I had a meager day, with a pretty bleak evening. I didn’t have anything fun or social planned for today, and had a slow start which I compensated for with a productive day. No daylight or daytime yoga though. Again.
Did some nighttime grocery shopping and then did my practice. Instead of the regular two hours I cut it to just one cd.
The reason the evening felt bleak was that Max has not been well all day, and he’s so thin and fragile I worry about him and especially about the choice about having to let him go this year. He vomited this afternoon. I gave him a painkiller around nine and hope he’ll start feeling better.
He still joins me in bed, but doesn’t bother to come to the couch or sleep in the window anymore. He sits on a little box or lies in his nest made from a duvet, both in the hallway next to my small pink desk which I use for journaling.
His world has become very small.
As has mine.

next practice set for
day 10 Wednesday January 3 – double 2 hour practice

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.

READ THE NEXT EPISODE 3 FROM HEAVEN

The Hero’s Journey episode 1 Take the first step

qtixd9qatau9ztdzsbrxI ve always wanted to do this.
And in a way I ve always done this. Just that I failed more often than I succeeded. What I m talking about is a challenge.
For example writing a book in a month, like NaNoWriMo. Which is really a thing. It’s an abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place every November.
But my challenges were usually yoga challenges. The first one was in 2009 and I called it The Goddess Challenge. I did yoga twice a day, for half an hour. I did complete that one but all the others after failed massively or moderately, but whichever it was, it never gave me the satisfaction of the Goddess challenge.
And now I understand why.
And this is a huge insight that I only received a couple of days ago, and it has changed my love for challenges from an impulsive, can’t-not-do craving, to a Life’s Choice, which I will stand for and defend.
I will even go as far as to say that I ve reached the point where I m opposed to any new habit that is not a challenge. As a principle. Because the longer I think about it, the more I believe that you should go big or go home.
And yes, i know of all the research that says you re supposed to take baby steps because otherwise your reptile brain blocks, from too much change. I know all that. And I confess that I thought “they”- the babystep, ten minutes a day, people – were right.
And that I was wrong.
That I would just keep failing at my big challenges and they would laugh at me because they knew I would be totally rocking it (whatever “it” was) if I would just come over to their side and take things slowly. But now I know; No.
Not doing that.
I m on to something here, and I have always been on to that something, just that I didn’t know what it was. But now I do and I call it The Hero’s Journey, after the book by Joseph Campbell.
I received my insight on the purpose of challenges versus the danger-free small-change approach in an unusual place; Studying dating programs.
Those are programs that explain how to get your man and keep him, or how to bring the spark back into your relationship. These programs came with a catch, that I believe even the creators didn’t quite understand;
They gave you formulas and principles that you could only adopt if you pushed yourself to go next level.
So for example, the programs didn’t say; You must let go of all bitterness, and all righteousness. They said: Always let him know you are on his team, and that you respect him.
They didn’t say: You must let go of all past hurt and neediness. They said; Give him a chance to do practical things for you.
If the programs had been candy, it was candy that was stuffed on the highest shelve, and you would automatically, and without asking, go get a ladder to reach it. Whereas if the programs had said;
“In order to save your relationship you need to get a ladder.”
You would have been all like;
“A ladder? Why? They’re bulky! I don’t need a ladder to save my relationship!”
Or: “I don’t have time to get a ladder.”
But now that you had to get the candy? You yourself got that ladder, because you thought the candy was going to save the relationship. When in reality? It was the ladder.
The ladder/ candy analogy, is the reason why I believe challenges work. And baby steps, in their definition of something anyone can do and squeeze into their life and within their comfortzone, do not work.
Baby steps, new easy to do habits, are like candy that is already on the counter;
You either think you don’t have to change to reach it, or you really don’t have to change.
Now this doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Your whole internal system could still start revolting at the idea of taking baby steps, but the problem is, that you will not be very willing to put in any effort, in order to overcome resistance for something so small and silly.
Exactly the same way many women (and men) would revolt against the “candy”- what it is they have to do to save their marriage or become successful at dating - if it was handed to them too casually. But if they paid to get their hands on the candy?
Or if they were presented with a free video that was “online only for a limited amount of time”?
They would pay very close attention, and do everything that had to be done in order to reach the candy without questioning.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase; “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”
“The Journey” represents that of course you’re getting the ladder, or putting in the time, effort and money, in order to reach the destination. And of course you’re going ALL IN in order to overcome any challenges to reach your destination.
What happens during a journey, is that you transform into something else. But that only happens if someone placed your candy on the highest shelve, if someone gave you a difficult dating life or frustration about a whole life going wrong in the first place.
The way to change yourself and your life, the way to come up with inventive solutions to crack the code, is to start by defining something as a challenge. A difficult and intimidating challenge.
Not something that is doable, or easy, because doable or easy will not inspire you to give it your all, and yet you d still be highly frustrated if you didn’t make it for your daily ten minutes on the mat.
But if you give yourself a HUGE challenge?
Either you drop out immediately. Which is cool, because then you were not ready anyway to give it your all in this area of your life.
Or you go ALL IN and you crack the code, solve the riddle, survive the marshes, meet the wizard, get lost, ask for help, lose your resources, hustle new ones, suffer injury, are healed, find the pot of gold, save the world, get the girl, or the guy obviously, AND you live happily ever after.
And that?
Is called The Hero’s Journey.

The Hero’s Journey
How I took my life next level doing yoga.
But you could also run, write, cook, or have sex for 365 days.

Start; Christmas 2017
Ends: Christmas Eve 2018
What; One hour of yoga a day minimum, and one two hour practice once a week
Resources/ how to do this yourself;
I m using the 1999 cd Yoga Sanctuary by Shiva Rea
cd 1 is Solar Practice 1h 15 minutes
cd 2 is Lunar Practice 1 h
cd 1 and 2 combined is 2 hours

You can follow this project for 365 days on my live blog 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 2 THE FORCE AWAKENS