Categoriearchief: The Write Life

This is me writing, struggling, overcoming and on the road to glory

Confessions of a Yoga Teacher – Done

Carrie_Bradshaw_Prestonby LS Harteveld

Every time I am amazed at how simple life is. And at the same time, how easy it is to make it incredibly complicated. That we identify a trail running through open fire and deadly marshes, as our correct course in life, because it answers to our idea that life is hard, that some things are worth fighting for and that good things do not come easy.
We believe in improving our situation, ourselves, relationships and the list goes on and on – much more than in everything we know, deep down in our hearts, to be true; That only the fool wrestles through the thorns. Especially if the bushes are right next to the road, and the path itself is completely clear.

Ever since I started my training as a yoga teacher I was asked about my daily practice. Ironically, I had one at the time. And I remember the application being a somewhat strange experience, because I could tell they were used to students who still needed to establish that.
Hardly anyone arrived at the gates of this four year teacher training, already having a solid daily practice of an hour or more.
Except me.

Yet once I started teaching, the exact opposite happened. I entered the army of professionals to whom having a home practice was supposedly a prerequisite to being a good teacher, and yet my enthusiasm for it was nowhere to be found. My home yoga was gone. And for years I’ve been trying to get it back because I believed in the story that unless you have a home practice, you are not a good teacher. I believed in the thorns.

But yesterday all the pieces came together. I solved the yoga practice problem and within 24 hours I had basically solved every other problem in my life as well. Once I saw that I was wrestling the bushes next to the road, in one area, it was much easier to see the pattern. And to get my scratched ass on the road of least resistance instead.

I had identified my home practice, or lack thereof, as a problem because I had received strong signs a daily yoga practice had created a major improvement of my menstrual cycle. No more spotting, which is loss of blood before the menstruation or in between periods. A couple of weeks of daily yoga, mainly creating videos, had cleared up the whole menstruation problem in one sweep. But I found that out, after I had stopped doing it.

One of reasons I had cancelled the videos was because they had not felt like a proper home yoga practice. They were okay “content wise”, and I posted them on my social media. But they didn’t satisfy my ego, I didn’t feel like I had achieved a proper practice.
And I had never expected them to be this effective.
That those thirty minute yoga sessions, including five minutes of Madonna storytelling, would actually have the power to do something for me physically.

Even now, when it had cured me and there was absolutely no need, or supporting evidence, for a “real” home yoga practice, I secretly still believed in the path with the biggest thorns. That a personal practice was supposed to be hard.

I reinstalled my daily YouTube and looked around at other affairs in my life. Where was I demanding myself to be perfect, because that was the only way it counted? And where was I then paralyzed instead, and beating myself up about that?
Where did I function incredibly well on hacks, shortcuts, and things that just came out of me naturally? Only to then dismiss them?
A lot.
Oh yes, and there too.

When the truth is, you only have this much willpower. You only have this many hours in the day. And before you decide that something has to be enormous and impressive and hard, for it to count, sweating your ass off to get it perfect, just think about all the other stuff that you could have used that energy for.
There is the 80-20 rule; You can achieve eighty percent of the result, using twenty percent of the resources. After that you have a choice;
To make it perfect, throwing the other eighty percent of your resources at it.
Or move on to the next project, using the next 20%
You could end up with five projects, all good to go, but with some room for improvement. Most likely something only you would see.
Or have one project, one area of your life, as close to perfection as humanly possible but at the cost of having invested it all.

You get choose; Be a perfectionist or be productive and create five times more?

Or in my case;
Bootcamp myself on sheer willpower into a daily ninety minute yoga routine
make only a thirty minute video, and then use the other eighty percent of my energy to write a daily column, publish my eight books, translate my Witte Tijgerin guide from Dutch to English, update my websites, run a yoga studio, be a writer and have a flourishing social life?

The meaning of Done is better than perfect,  has never been more clear.

An unexamined life is not worth living

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Consider this my mission statement; The artist is present


Marina Abramovic in The Artist is Present (2010)

It is like the difference between Madonna and Mariah Carey.
And it goes for many professions.

First, there are the craftsmen, who will refine and develop their trade throughout their lives. Once they’ve reached a certain status, they will train new craftsmen in what has now become a lineage. A higher standard of photography, a perfected way of oil painting, a new form of contemporary dance.
Even in yoga, which is my main profession, the craftsmen – and those who work according to their lineage – are the majority. And it is at this level of craftsmanship, where the craft itself is nurtured, refined and protected. Where rules are created, manifestos declared, and where professionals unite into unions. Into prize giving committees. Into a clan where you are accepted once you’ve paid your dues, praised when you technically excel and where you are expelled if you have strayed from its path.
Although the skill of the craftsmen will never be questioned (not by me anyway), they are by nature conservative and if I dare say;
Boring as fuck.
But you probably got that at the Mariah Carey reference.

Then there is the second “group”. It’s not really a group because they are by nature renegades and revolutionaries. These are not craftsmen, or professionals, they are artists.
Who will create not because it is what they do for a living, but because that is who they are. Even if no one listened, read or bought their stuff? They would still create.
And if they are questioned, rivaled, or judged? They would still create.
It would be an exaggeration to state an artist has to create in order to live physically. But spiritually? A true artist will wither away when they don’t express themselves.

With countless controversy to her name, Madonna has never apologized. And yet, there is one thing she said to regret;
That the Sex era didn’t give people answers.
That she defied people’s preconceived ideas on sexuality, without actually giving an alternative. She would have liked to tie her (later learned) insights and lessons to it.
When in reality, what made the Sex era so interesting was that she didn’t know that stuff at the time. She didn’t know how the story ended. It was a journey of her testing and pushing her own boundaries of shame and morality. She had to work way outside her comfort zone, in deciding what she dared to photograph, and what she dared to put on paper. 

She was on unknown territory. That’s what made it so good. That’s what made it art. But if Madonna had actually waited ten years, and had published it with her soothing message, the Sex book had been merely Kabbalah PR. 

I m on the verge of moving from being an amateur writer to a professional writer. My Wait Worth 8, the first eight books, will soon be available. And I have so many hopes, and fears, and good intentions surrounding their publication. But I think it all comes down to one thing;
I choose to be an artist.
No matter WHAT.

The biggest regret I have is that I didn’t publish book 1-7 when they were still “my Sex era”. And I was still embarrassed because they contained me falling for my barely-legal student. Me getting my heart broken by my lover. And then again by my best friend.
I felt vulnerable because they all contained me longing for Benjamin.
I felt exposed because I wrote erotica. About anal sex, shame, rape. And a hundred pages more that excited me and turned me on and scared the fuck out of me all at the same time.

It’s 2017 now and like Madonna I know all the answers. And because of that, publishing book 1 to 7 will merely be period pieces. I m no longer moved by them. They don’t scare me. The artist, my consciousness, is no longer present on those pages.

But the good thing is, I have one book left! Book eight, Big, erotica and diaries.
The story of me dating a married man. And it’s still alive and sensitive. It is controversial. It raises questions and pushes people’s buttons without offering any answers. Least of all soothing ones.

By publishing book eight, Big, erotica and diaries when it’s still warm and sensitive, I show that although it took me a hell of a long time, I’m ready.
I’m here.
I’m present.

The artist, is present.


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LS 13



The magazine didn’t have a very clear idea on what they wanted when they contacted me. Hot stories?  Hot pics? Or was the interview request a wile of the pretty-faced reporter to maneuver himself into the lair of his online cougar LS Harteveld? The latter was unlikely. The journalist was known to flirt strategically, just to keep the lines of communication lubricated. He didn’t do it to have sex, didn’t need to either.

I had just positioned myself in a stand-off with my fans, foes, and a handful of admirers who had crossed the boundaries of courtesy, privacy and good taste. I was sick of them calling me names, leaving rude comments, and next to their foul mouths, I was annoyed by men not taking NO for an answer. NO! I don’t want to have sex with you “for an erotic story”. That was kind of included when I said I didn’t want to have sex ever. NO! You’re not my type, and I told you once and I shouldn’t have to tell you twice. NO! You don’t need to call me out of the fucking blue to criticize my work!  NO! NO! NO! It was one of those weeks when you know the next hard cock pointing at you, will have you grabbing for some scissors.

After two days the reporter wrote a formal request to me and the rest of the mixed-age group of female writers with dirty minds. The magazine had decided on their demands: a) you had to write hard core porn and b) agree to pose with your face to the camera. (dramatic pause) That’s right: they were planning on publishing the portraits of women who describe every deviant sexual act in the Universe, to it’s last pounding, shivering, succulent detail. “The more explicit the better”, the reporter hammered his point, hopefully referring to our work not the pictures. “We’re a man’s magazine!”

There is a famous blog by Joris Luyendijk, about the banking world of London. He interviews the people who willingly plunged whole businesses, countries and ultimately continents, into financial mayhem. It would have remained a very small blog, if the confessions were to be published with portrait pictures, instead of with light blue standard avatars. Six-figures-a-year suits in the City have rights. Massacring gang members in El Salvador have rights. Robbers, rapists, stalkers and double murderers; they all have rights. And no one would dare to violate them.

But what about the victims? What about #bedofshame where a guy tweets a photo of a naked one night stand, that he secretly takes in the morning? Your ex placing your old sex videos online? What about the women who are followed home when they return at night, or can’t leave their house without some weirdo on the street making kissing sounds?

Victims do not have any rights, until the moment they are brutally violated. Until that video of you getting raped in the school yard is played on the late night news. Until your son is beaten, MS13 style, on a school square in effing Den Bosch. Until it’s all too little too late, and no one saw it coming. The moment the knife of your stalking ex slits your throat, that’s when you get your rights.

So yes I refused. And I will keep refusing. My stories are for everyone, but my face is for myself. Not that I don’t want to show it, but because I don’t live in a secured all-white suburban compound, with two pit bulls and a house ninja. I live alone in a small house, on the ground floor, in what they call “a colourful neighborhood”. Since I write erotica I have had prank calls on my home phone, old dates calling my cell in the dead of night, and strangers emailing me why I deserve the worst. They react on first impulse, exploring the boundaries of what they can and can not do in a trial-and-error like fashion. Until now, they all seem reasonably docile. They retreat when I scowl them, leave when I slam the door, and stop calling me after a month or two. But I’m not going to give any rejected date, jilted lover or perceptive neighbor, a reason to focus on me, more than I apparently already do.

They all have two topics, the men’s magazines we have in the Netherlands: sex and crime. And if I am to end up in the crime section, it will not be as a victim. I will poison the reporter. I will slay my competitors. I will breed an army of 22 year old cubs, who will kill at my command. Because then at least, none of the mags is allowed to show my picture.

I write, therefore I cheat

Not so long ago an ex emailed me. If I had a list of People To Least Likely Hear From Ever Again, he would have been number one. Just seeing his name brought me to the brink of a panic attach. I vividly remembered the cold words of his last correspondence.

The years apart, had made him milder. He confessed he had Googled me.
“I see you have not published that novel about you and me. How are you doing?”

Hungry for his approval I responded. A warm and intimate email conversation followed. He excused himself for his past behaviour;
“I am sorry I lashed out at you before. Your presence and your writing made my girlfriend jealous. She didn’t like what was going on between us.”
“ So you two still together?” I emailed in between my neutral lines.
“ We are. But what can you do? We men simply have too much hormones to be faithful.”
Ah! There was a surplus of hormones and I was asked to audition as mistress. I lived at safe distance from him (check), was unconnected to his circle of friends (check), and the chemistry between us had not been put to the test in over a decade, but the first signs had been promising (checkcheck). Perfect material for an evening with wine, memories and love making. And if he played his cards right? Memories and wine would not even be necessary. My own 30+ set of hormones would work all the magic we need.

But before I had time to reply, the writer in me started to protest.
“No!” she yelled. “I don’t want him in my life again! Not his cold shoulder. Not his mixed signals. Not his stupid wish to keep everything a secret, and not tell.”
Now of course, a lover’s wish to be discrete is not stupid. I know that. But to a writer? It is very very inconvenient. If you want to date a writer whose novels are practically memoires, you have to come up with something good. You are, after all, robbing your beloved from her future material. Bidding should not start under:
“I will take care of you for ever, love you for ever, be there for you for as long as you need me “
Then, maybe, a writer will take your request for secrecy into consideration.
If you are offering Miss Broken Heart (me!), all the sex and intimacy you can squeeze in between your mandatory sms texts to home, you are not a nice guy.
But if you are seducing a novelist (me!), for late hour romance, early hour rendez-vous, or the days you can lie yourself to a “conference”, you are making a BIG mistake.
Writers, bloggers and novelists are the last women in the world you want to be having a secret affair with. We want to write about it. Because that’s what we do.

“Let’s not go there,” the novelist in me now answered his last email. “You never liked what I wrote about you in the past, you will certainly not like it anymore today. I am the last person in the world any man should have a secret affair with.”

“Can’t you just not write about it?” he inquired.

“Can you just not cheat?” I replied.

We all have our vices. The things we are so passionate about, we do them regardless of who gets hurt. When we’re in love, we melt, promise to do better, and stay straight for a little while. Romantic hearts make the craziest of promises. But in the end? He is a cheater. I am a writer. And the only thing we can do to protect the ones we love, is to be honest, insist on condoms, and to always use fake names.