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.
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.
Thursday 11 January
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.”
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
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
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
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.