Diabolic

my favorite “diabolic” relationship: Detective Nick Curran and writer Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct (1992) Promotional photo.

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

This letter was originally a letter to my pen pal, the one I call “Nikki” in my 1996 series.
He had written me last week, and as excited as I was with it, I just realized this morning (Sunday morning):
“Fuck! I still have not written Nikki back!”
And in my mind I saw my week calendar coming up, realizing I would not get around to it before Tuesday at the earliest, if I did not do it this morning. 
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But before I could shift gears to the sexual, the cheerful, the playful, I needed to share what had happened here in the Netherlands, that had upset me so much.
That had in fact, cost me an entire week.
Including all the days where I could have been writing him back, and – in all honesty – that WOULD have been the better time investment.
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But then after 800 words, and still trying to understand how two scandals had been able to hijack all my free hours so effortlessly – what was the common denominator? how were these two scandals  linked? – I realized I did not want this in my relationship with him (Nikki).
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Writing him would have to wait, until I felt playful and sexual.
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But the 800 words I had already written, were valuable.
I was certain that I would not have been so mesmerized by the news and Twitter, if it had not touched on something deeply personal.
There was a lesson in there that had already cost me 5 days, multiple Facebook diary entries (the C diaries), numerous tweets, and now 800 words.
I did not want to let those investments go to waste.
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So here it is:
The story about what happened this week, the coachable version where I grow and stuff! 
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And then later today I ll see if there is still life, under the belt. 
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Welcome to The Netherlands!
Where You Can Spend 1.6 billion But Not Have Sex In An Unequal Relationship

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(Dear Nikki,)
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Okay it’s a Sunday Morning now and I wish I had written you sooner!
Not because I owe it to you or something, but because I was so happy to hear from you.
But I think the damage had already been done.

The tone of the week was already set, the ship had sailed, and although I did not know it back then, I was basically going to throw away one week of my life.
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It had already cost me my joy, peace of mind, sexuality, and possibly my future if I had not, finally, yesterday night, found a way to untie myself from the horror that was going on in The Netherlands.
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It was not even my own accomplishment that I could break the spell and pick up the pieces of my life.
It was because by then I had witnessed for 48 hours that everybody on Twitter was (finally?);
Equally appalled.
Equally angry.

And also; Equally trying to find the nuance on a second topic that had been bogging me since Tuesday, just like the first topic had.

It is frustrating to have TWO political topics “escalate” (I think the word escalate suggests too much simplicity in the matter, when of course these things are never simple), but “escalate” in the same 24 hours (Tuesday), and to then have that day in, day out, feeling that something is so very frickin’ off!
Yet
you keep refreshing all the regular, official, news sites, and the most obvious point of view or opinion is never on there.

But by Friday it had turned around.
The news sites were still mild, or only addressed it in a roundabout way:
But on Twitter there
was not a single message, that was favorable to the ludicrous plan of our minister of public health to “invest” 1.6 billion dollars in a shadow “test for entrance” society, which he has set up and is already running without any democratic process.

He’s rolling out a (commercially run!) dystopian Brave New World layer over our entire society.

Even when you’re vaccinated, you will have to get tested first (with a €7,50 personal fee) before you get a 24 hour time window to visit a restaurant, cinema and so on.
EVEN WHEN YOU RE VACCINATED!

The first 0.7 billion will already be gone, {Dutch tweet thread that estimates the costs of first months at 1.6 billion euros}
but next week the minister has to pass a law to get his way.

Even though the regular news sites are not yet entirely up to speed with the anger and the rage of the Dutch;
I m convinced that by now this law cannot be passed through parliament.

We will not have a society where we have to buy back our freedom, one 24 hours at a time.

The other topic that bothered me was a politician who has been sent home because he is a 40+ gay man who has been grooming barely legal teens for years.
And now these boys have come out with their stories, about how they felt dirty or used, or just weird.
Again: This topic was on Twitter 24 hours before the first news site even mentioned it.
Basically, it was kept off the news sites, until the decision to fire him was already made, but that is extremely weird if you read on Twitter all these stories from those boys, and to then not have national media mention it;
It’s very surreal.

I m still coming to grips with it, why this sexual scandal disturbed me so much and I think I’ve finally gotten my head around it:
It’s because I resent how we allow for all kinds of power differences, dependencies, and allow for the giving away of power not just to exist in society, but we actually encourage making disempowering choices all the time.

What we call “security”, usually means a dependency on one employer or one relationship partner.

What we call “health care”, usually means a dependency on the medical world. The moment something is wrong, we throw it over the fence of the hospital and expect them to fix it.

What we call “economy”, means that we support ALL life styles where money exchanges hands, at the legalized level of life.
That’s why (street) drug abuse is not supported: Regular business and government do not make money off of selling street coke or heroin, which is why that lifestyle is frowned upon.
But because the legal businesses and government make money selling alcohol, potato chips and donuts; You can get those all you want.

I even read an interesting article about “active mobility”, doing your commute by foot or on bicycle: 
(Dutch) Fietsen is veel beter voor het klimaat dan elektrische auto

Active mobility, meaning getting everybody to walk or cycle to work, is a much faster route to getting clean transportation than to develop electrical cars.
But cyclists are not a part of economy, the way car buyers are.
So that solution is never pushed/ facilitated and we’re supposedly dependent on an affordable Tesla which will still cause much more pollution than cycling.

Dependency, is so interwoven with our society, that we don’t even see it anymore.

None of us are taught, EVER, what the difference is between having  power and not having power.
And that people who have it, will almost automatically use it for their own gain or that of their friends, so that they can gain even more power.

If you look at the FACTS, there really is no other conclusion than that human nature, is either inherently evil, or accidentally evil;
And that it takes a lot of things to have gone right in the way you were raised and in who you are, and THEN it will also take an incredible amount of resources in the broadest sense,
for you to not grow up a 40+ politician who has either just spent 1.6 billion euros of his people on a megalomaniac project that will bring his country to bankruptcy or civil war in the upcoming years;
Or a politician who has been grooming barely legal teens just dropping his name, and making sexual remarks and not taking any responsibility for hurting and damaging these boys who deserved to be protected and guided.

It takes a lot to NOT become that.

And the only difference between the two is that spending 1.6 billion  state funding on commercial parties, goes by unpunished.
Maybe you’ll be halted in your tracks after the first 0.7 billion, but that’s basically as bad as it’s gonna get.

Whereas for the sex with the teen boys you will be fired and Twitter crucified.
Which by the way, is not because the boys wanted that, but because Twitter thought that was the appropriate punishment and after 24 hours your employer/party agreed with Twitter. 

In hindsight the situations with the two politicians behaving badly, and only the sexual one being sent home, raised a VERY FUNDAMENTAL question for me!
And one I will totally bring home, but first:

By now this letter is of course entirely fictional!
There was no frickin way I was going to let it come THIS far, writing this much heavy ass stuff to my pen pal “Nikki”.
The part that was initially written for Nikki, ended paragraphs ago.

But let’s move on and bring it home.

The relevant questions is this:
Shouldn’t any discussion about financial violence or sexual violence , or simply “violence”, or maybe even “any discussion” FIRST be preceded by a fundamental analysis on dependency?

That you cannot discuss abuse of power, or power differences, before you know how there is a dependency, why, and what the instruments or weapons in the toolbox are, of both parties.
How could the outcome have been different?

For example, discussion on Twitter is now around “empowering” young gay men, or what type of protection they could benefit from.
However, there is also a lot of push back to this, because it is in part victim blaming.
It has the suggestion that if you have not properly defended yourself, the victim is to blame.
Which is of course a horrible suggestion.

However, if you start from the viewpoint that both politicians are inherently evil (meaning without empathy and selfishly going after their own gain), or that they are incompetent;
You can easily see that no solution can be expected from them.

So unless you have an idea on how we are going to turn every man to the path of the righteous and the enlightened;
The only way to deal with financial and sexual violence, is to empower the ones who can fall victim to these predators.

And that is the discussion where, if you do it from a broad perspective, you can start making lists of your resources, your weapons, your desired outcomes.

What do you need (f.e. extreme financial independence) to no longer be disturbed by government spending 1.6 billion and risking civil war?

What do you need (f.e. a tribe that supports you) to own your sexuality and therefor also be totally immune to grooming?

The reason I stared for five days at my news feed and Twitter, is because I needed that time to realize that I refuse to start discussing something at the level of the problem.
Because the problem is always the same:
People are inherently evil or inadequate.

And the solution is also always the same:
You have to strive to be completely independent.
You have to strive for FREEDOM

The moment you are willing to give up your freedom, and let someone else make decisions for you:
You re fucked.
(because: People are inherently evil or inadequate.)

You must have a clear view of why you do things, even when you do them for money. Even when you do them for your own gain!
And in particular:
If you do them to survive……

Whether it’s a normal job to live a normal life;
Whether it’s dating a 40+ year old because at that moment in time he’s the only one who can bring you further to where you want to be;
Or whether you get away with 1.6 billion euros;
Keep. Your. Eyes. Open!

Look death in the eye.
Look poverty in the eye.
Look evil in the eye.
Look in the mirror and see if evil is there!

Be there on the brink of the inferno of your life, always on the edge between what is right and what is wrong, knowing that you will most likely make the wrong choice.
Knowing that most people that evil.
And that you’re either going to end up being hurt, OR you re going to end up hurting others.

And train yourself, coach yourself, and never let go of yourself;
To be okay with that.

Because in order to find God:
You must first be undisturbed by the devil.

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~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

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Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
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Nederlands blog:
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Road Map To Success Received. Over.

GarrapataBeach_BasicInstinct (1)“I’m a writer, I use people for what I write.
You write what you know.
Let the world beware.”

Catherine Tramell

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

When I was looking for a new photo of rock star writer Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct, to go with this post, I could not help but wonder:
“Why am I making this so complicated?”
Why do I switch from calling myself a rock star writer, to rock star artist, simply rock star (in a brave attempt to be done with the issue), to rock star creator?
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Only to end up on Sunday 28th March, eagerly writing you ten days before our usual date, because I feel I have such big news!
“I am a writer Sara! I m certain of it!”
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It’s either writing you this early debriefing or tattoos, Sara.
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Either I try to grasp this truth, by ingraining it into my very soul.
Or I get tattoos: “I am a writer! I am a writer! I am a writer!” covering my entire body.
And because I m attached to keeping my skin as it is, after not getting tattooed age 16 because I could not choose between a skull on my upper-arm or a tribal at my lower back, I m not getting the tattoo.
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In hindsight it’s a good thing I didn’t get those tattoos, because the correct choice at the time was the tribal on my lower back because it was original and very aesthetic.
Except that was 1988.
Ten years later half of female Netherlands had one, yet the skulls-to-upper arm tattoos are to this day reserved for a small and conspicuous group!
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The reason I already knew of the tribal lower back tattoos way before anyone else did, was because I was subscribed to a magazine, Revu, which was catered to a male audience. It had a lot of reports on crime, interviews with famous men (mostly) and leaned heavily on photography.
One of their photographers was Patricia Steur, who was good friend with Henk Schiffmacher who also worked at Revu and may be the most famous tattoo artist of the world.
I m not really sure because I once saw a documentary on a former Amsterdam brothel Yab Yub, and the documentary contained a 90s clip that it was the most expensive club/brothel of the world and it struck me how little fact-checking could be done in the 90s….
With this story about Steur and Schiffmacher taking place in the 80s, I have no idea who was the most famous tattoo artist then!
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But Patricia Steur worked with Henk Schiffmacher at this magazine, and he was the one who brought these tribal tattoos from the Maori into his work.
So that is why Patricia had one of the first lower back tribal tattoos of the world.
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I can’t remember on which photo in Revu I saw her tattoo, but I do remember telling for decades after, how I almost got one of those tattoos, because in the 80s Patricia Steur had one.
So that’s how I know it was her!
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So, no tattoos again, but I do hope to remember for the rest of a life:
I AM A WRITER!
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Even though I have called myself Rock Star * something *  for ages.
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So before this morning’s epiphany, I was a Rock Star Creator.
Which I have been for about four months.
Although “Creator” was, and is, technically true, I knew it didn’t have the right ring.
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And then I haven’t even discussed the 20 years where I identified as a yoga teacher!
And since 2015 a Rock Star Yoga Teacher, yes.
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But I have discovered that the underlying principle in ALL my work, and also why ALL my titles feel wrong and yucky, is a mindset one.
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It is the principle that reality is created by yourself, a concept often referred to as metaphysics.
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Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality.
Wikipedia

The great 20th century thinkers I study are often referred to as metaphysical teachers, but I have discovered it is a bit more complicated than that.

Or a lot more complicated
And that trying to explain to what branch I belong within metaphysics, is only going to complicate matters even further.
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It’s like if you want to know the nature of the universe you ultimately end up with mostly space and a few atoms flying around in whatever way you think they’re flying around;
Once I start studying what I do, who I am, hoping to find something solid?
I end up with endless spaciousness and limitless options of what could be true.
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Before I wrap this up to how this ultimately has helped me find my way back, just a little word on that metaphysics being the basis from which I operate;
It explains SO MUCH about why I don’t get along at all with every day life! 
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Because I really feel reality is being created by us, because the emotions attached to it are created by us, and therefor, just like the atoms, the truth is shaped not so much based on how reality was at t=-1
But at how we responded (usually: freaked the fuck out) at t=-1
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So therefor in discussing, or solving a problem existing at t=0 (now), I automatically, I really cannot stop this, start looking at t=-1
“Okay, let’s start at the beginning:
Who was energetically connecting with this thing at t=-1?
And who is probably still giving it their undivided negative fear-based attention?”

and:
What does that person need to stop doing that?
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The professional, teacher, guru, who can leave the first half of the entire equation out, and start treating the situation without addressing that, but instead immediately comes up with something that automatically addresses the final part (stops people to worry, and elevates them to start thinking and believing constructively);
That person can save the world.
He or she makes the bad situation now go away without discussing how we got from t=-1 to t=0 because we thought ourselves that way.
The fictional imaginary thoughts that gave an outcome that was perceived as reality (but that were just thoughts about reality), are reversed, by giving a tangible solution or system that will reverse an unwanted t=0 back to a neutral t=-1.
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And since many professionals believe their system, their yoga, their self-help book, their medical treatment, solves the problem; And many people consulting these professionals have faith in these methods;
A lot of good is done in this world!
Problems are solved in a natural swift matter, without anybody yelling at the top of their lungs:
“Who let his or her fear-mind run rampant, and worried us all into the apocalypse? Well?”
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I would.
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And I would be pointing, as if it was pee or poo that someone just dropped in the middle of the living and that I simply refused to clean up, without first coming to an understanding that this is preventable if we all use the toilet.
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I don’t mind cleaning up poo, I don’t mind attending to the ones who are incapable of controlling their bowel movements.
But I am not the person to start normalizing just letting it run all over the place.
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However, tackling t=0 problems rarely includes an assessment of t=-1,
and how we got from one to the other.
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So much for the metaphysical part of this post.
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Am I a metaphysical teacher who writes and speaks about the nature of reality?
Absolutely.
Am I now going to call myself Rock Star Metaphysical Teacher?
Not even at t= one million years.
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So the past couple of weeks I went through a cycle of feeling “I m almost there!” “I am so close to finally defining what I do!”
Only to end up with out of control atoms, shooting in every direction.
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Okay, that was not little..
A little word on metaphysics, right? That’s how I announced it. And then it was not little. 
This makes it difficult to write this post, as I intended. Because I was going to include the whole process of how I got there, by copying directly from my journal.
I had done 7 journaling exercises to discover my values! 
Discovering my VALUES is what gave me my big OMG I REALLY AM A WRITER! moment!
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It was an exercise I had been wanting to do for some time now. It was as if I knew it (knowing my values) held information that was important. Even to me.
Although even not knowing my values I can’t really go against them, effectively.
I just blow things up, if I do something against my values.
But without knowing why, and without knowing beforehand I m going to blow it up;
So I think my curiosity to know my values was also practical. To make things more pleasant for everybody.
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And the exercise went really well.
Because regardless of how broad my likes and dislikes were, as were the things I wanted to change, and as wide as the gap between me and the world seemed (it even included full-blown rants);
They all created a picture that was “Remarkably consistent”!

That was also the alternative title for this post. “Remarkably consistent.”
Because if I don’t count all my endless deviations where I try so very hard not to be a writer, I really am very consistent!
The only thing I really have been doing all the time, is writing. Regardless of how I label it.
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I’ll take you by the biggest aspects of my values/ life, and how they point to being a writer. And not to anything else, not even a world famous artist/ creator.
Here we go.
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value; being at home with my cats

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Well, “at home”? After a year of being Covid-confined, I would appreciate a week away now and then, but that doesn’t exactly count as “rocking your life and making it big”.
Keith Haring didn’t spend the last years of his life sitting at home and sending his paintings out on UPS.
Marina lived from a van for years and then had a great wall to climb.
And every big artist in history has multiple houses, which they visit in the scarce weeks they are not touring the world.
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Staying at home in the world of art, is not really a thing.
Unless?
You guessed it; Unless you’re a writer.
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A writer is the only person of whom it is accepted that they only visit the real world. Occasionally.
We don’t like leaving the house.
Or as Catherine puts it, when Nick Curran and Gus come to her house trying to make her come to the station voluntarily:
“Read me my rights and arrest me, and I’ll go downtown. Otherwise, get the fuck out of here.”
There is a silence and she looks at the detectives:
“Please.”
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value; freedom

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Freedom in the broadest sense, for example sexually, creatively and financially.
But that’s not exclusive to being a writer, so I m going to focus on why “freedom” was insufficiently guaranteed by defining myself as a speaker, artist, creator and even “author”. Since author means you have a publisher.
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The freedom a self-published writer has, that almost no other artist has is:
Not being bothered by contractual obligations!
I did not stop having a company, stop being a business, to prevent having to deal with legislation surrounding that (such as privacy of data, financial administrative obligations, terms of service, liability) to ever allow for even the scent of administrative and communicative obligations, expectations, fine tuning and so on.
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I have total freedom to create whatever I want.
And then you are free to pay me because you desire to do so, you can shower me with gifts or you buy from me. Or you don’t.
It’s that simple.
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So it’s not that I would not be able to entertain, to enlighten, to surprise, and to charge thousands for a public appearance or make tons of money from a tour.
It’s just that I don’t want to because I don’t want the paperwork, liabilities, and professionalism. The availability to other people’s agenda.
I ll just be a writer.
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And if you want me to come over?
Then YOU get the paperwork in order and take care of my transportation downtown, offer me coffee, and tell me where to sit.
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And then I ll cross my legs and give you a show you’ll never forget.
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value; being in my own world

Fortunately, this is something many artists value, and many artists get to have!
However for teachers, entrepreneurs, leaders, entertainers, and service providers, “being in their own world” is not on the menu.
Their job, the aspect of their work they are paid for, is; They have to relate to other people.

Non-artists directly have to invest in the relationship with their public, audience, tribe, and actively participate in it.

When I, really, already feel slightly nauseous when I “have to” repost a blogpost I wrote myself, to give it a better exposure, and to be present on social media. 

On social media it makes a lot of difference when you post; if you post twice you really do get twice the number of readers. But that already feels, to me, out of integrity. Even though up until now I have done it. 
I feel I owe it to my work and also readers, when deep down?
It is not what I really want. Nor what I feel is in integrity for me.

This feels in integrity to me:
Write whatever I want. post it. The end.

And on days I do not write (for that account) I still have not found my form in how to communicate, really. How to not be a total jerk on social media, by not showing up unless you have something new;
But also stay true to myself and not repost , when I m really not feeling the same urgency as I did when I wrote the post….

But having said all this, deciding if you “have to” repost your own work, is still VERY different, to what your job is if you have a non-artist job.
Because you are paid to anticipate to what other people think and (most of all) what they need to feel better.
When, as we discussed in my take on metaphysics, that is not my forte.

I do have the empathy to see that everyone who is sad, in trouble, hurt, or just a bit flat and in need of some direction, deserves to be heard, helped, and inspired to do better and to make their life totally rock by some amazing system or show that you have for sale or that you are going to provide!
Amazing! Keep doing that!

But I m the person who touches their chin and wonders:
“Really? And what happened before that, at t=-1?”

Or: 
“Are you arresting me?”
“Can I change into something more appropriate?”
“Why would I need an attorney?”

I would ask:
“I’m using you for my detective. In my book. You don’t mind, do you?”

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~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

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Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

Sex induced creativity spree

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,

I ve linked my creativity to sex before.
And yet, the moment I had to decide if I wanted to go all in on that, I don’t think I even took it into consideration as a reason to do it.
In fact, it wasn’t even to gain anything.
It wasn’t even to gain sex!
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The reason I went for it, and see myself making this same choice over and over again in the future, the choice to take sex with someone you’re attracted to when the moment arises and to not wait for perfect circumstances, was because I saw very clearly where the other path was leading.
The path of caution.
Reason.
Fear.
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To dying without properly living your life.
A concept we should all be familiar with by now, since we’ve all thrown away the past 12 months to self-imprisonment.
After 2020 the fact that avoiding risks and waiting for better circumstances before you live your life comes at a price; Is KNOWN.
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The illusion that risk can be avoided, like you can choose to not go into a roller coaster, is gone.
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After a year of letting
the loneliness and the despair seep into our healthy bones, we all realize we need more than just health. 
More than being safe.
A life well lived tastes so sweet, because it always has that pinch of danger and mortality.
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But I didn’t think it through that deeply.
Like I said, it was the knowledge that if I would go with fear – fear of Covid, fear of being used, fear of being judged – I would be on the run forever.

My life would get smaller.
Always.
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If I kept assessing now and forever more how “okay” it was to have sex?
I would perpetuate being in the same claws the entire world has been in, since March 2020.
I would become one of those people whose life had ended but with a few decades to go before I was actually dead.
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THAT is why I chose sex.
To avoid death on a spiritual, God-given plane where my life had purpose.
My motives were spiritual, philosophical, and deeply personal.
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But it paid off a hundred fold.
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I wrote chapter after chapter for Lauren 1996.
Three blogposts on this blog, but there are three posts on my Facebook page, which I still have got to bundle up.
And under my real name, I started a business channel for which I ve already filmed three videos. I wrote five articles, three related to Bon Jovi and two on my art and philosophy blog.
And tomorrow I am starting my biggest art project to date.
It’s called daily Bon Jovi yoga. And it’s just that. After saying goodbye permanently to teaching yoga and deciding I am not going to reinvent yoga to Rock Star Yoga.
The answer to everything I knew was meant for me, yoga wise, and yet it was never what I thought it was, was so simple!
And it was literally on my vision board for 2021.
I had two words up there (only two): “Bon Jovi” on the top-left. And “Yoga” on the top-right.
“Bon Jovi Yoga”
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And last year I “got” three signs from God about what my purpose was. And the second one was “Yoga is my art”.
I even got that one on repeat, every time I went to bed asking for a sign what on earth I was supposed to “do”, make money from, or just what my purpose was.

The answer when I woke up was always the same:
Yoga.
And then I would be excited and have another go at it, and then it would all turn to dust, slip through my fingers, for a moment I would be okay having parted with it;
Until the cycle of accidentally getting inspired or me asking God for clues, began again.
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So “Yoga is my art” and “Bon Jovi yoga” means;
My art is to do Bon Jovi yoga.
DO.
Not teach, not reinvent, not show, not share (as in video, or anything where I have to “show up in spandex”; Something I swore I would never do ever again).
Every day, starting tomorrow, and I do this under my real name;
Everyday, I do Bon Jovi yoga.
Make a tweet and a facebook post, mentioning the album or concert I used.
The end.
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I ve also claimed a domain, and have so many stories to tell about this project Bon Jovi Yoga. My mind is overflowing with ideas and insights.
So I will write a lot! 
But the art itself is in the doing;
Do one cd of Bon Jovi Yoga a day.
Will do it to the day I die.
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It feels so enormously powerful. I m consciously saying goodbye to the first half of my life, without that yoga without that art.
Feeling grateful I had it.
But I feel the absolute thrill and excitement of knowing this is it!
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Yoga really IS my art.
Just not the way I thought, because I don’t change yoga itself into art.
I am the art.
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One of the trainings I took from Katrina Ruth, I remember her words so vividly, was that you should find the thing, the habit, the “business”, that is an activity that you just love to do every day.
That you’re really like: “OF COURSE I want to do this for the rest of my life!!”
.
Well; Of course!
If doing Bon Jovi yoga every day would be the only art that I would ever be allowed to do, I would die fulfilled.
Even if I could not write about it.
Even if I could not share it on Twitter or Facebook, so then technically it would only exist as an energy but it would not be known;
Even then I would be fulfilled.
.
I feel so light and happy and boy! Who would have thought my decision to have sex would have such far reaching results!
.
It was also the best sex I ever had in my life.
Obviously.
.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

Sex first. Writing second. And yoga got cancelled

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,

The last time we spoke, I told you I had started a project, a YouTube channel (under my real name) where I was going to investigate how to either reinvent yoga and after 20 years in (and out) of the yoga business, become the rock star yoga teacher I knew with 99% certainty I was meant to be.
Or to leave yoga behind, once and for all.
.
For 2,5 years minimum I ve tried to quit yoga, and I did actually quit, but it kept coming back.
But by now I believed I was destined to do yoga. 99% certain was really 99% 
.
Although there had been times I cursed myself and the world, for having wasted 20 frickin years in a professional environment that had little to do with the yoga that I had FELT, in the three years before I got officially trained.
And it had nothing to do with my personality, with my values, with who I was or even with what my core talents were.
It had in fact conflicted heavily with them.
.
Yet, I still thought this YouTube channel researching and investigating my love for yoga, or lack thereof, was a formality.
That it was no longer a question if I would commit to rock star yoga;
Just a question of when.
.
Because the cursing had stopped.
And the vision of the life and the work ahead of me, was rapidly taking shape.
I had been in a hurry to start the channel, before even the last of my doubt and resistance and the final lap of my existential crisis had vanished and only the New Reinvented Me remained.
.
And although I did not believe my yoga, or me as a rock star yoga teacher, were in any way boring;
The journey would have ended.
The exciting part
of becoming a rock star yoga teacher would be behind me.
.
But if I hurried, and maybe exaggerated a little bit about doubt which I no longer really felt, just for some dramatic effect;
Maybe I could then squeeze out some videos before I made my finite choice to reinvent yoga and totally rock being a rock star yoga teacher.
.
Victory.
Redemption.
Or maybe even a big fuckemall and toldyoufrickinso!
That was the energy I could feel, on the other side of reinventing yoga.
.
Until the day when I was on my bike, cycling to a location where I wanted to shoot a video for my yoga-reinvention channel, that I had made my decision, when I changed my mind.
I had a handful of A4s in my backpack, that provided an outline of the rock star yoga practice, but also the business model and my own values it was based on.
But suddenly it ALL felt wrong.
.
Having to map out a new form of yoga that would rock, felt like having to make a list of why it was a good idea to have sex with someone, or to date someone!
If I think of the past 6 years where I have had a secret lover, and currently we re more like friends with occasional benefits, but whatever it is we have is secret;
I don’t have to make a list to know that for all six years that I know him, the reasons to not have sex with him, would have been endless.
And only reason to do it was:
Because I wanna.
.
And I regret nothing.
.
Yet all the years before him? The years of being single between 2006 and 2015?
I had no bad experiences, but I would have traded all, largely respectable, single, honest, goodhearted men, for one night with my last or maybe even current lover. 
.
To know 20 reasons why something is not going to work, and 20 more why it is a terrible idea, and yet still following your heart? 
That is me!
.
My style is not to after 2,5 years of not being able to quit permanently, to then finally “get” yoga, learn my own rock star yoga blueprint, and film my official rock star yoga launch video.
And then for the next 20 years be the yoga teacher who redeemed herself and her craft and found herself or fucking something.
.
One moment to the next the whole idea of rock star yoga absolutely disgusted me.
Or of ever having to speak the Y word ever again.
It all felt so constricted and awful.
An artist has full creative freedom, and to be a good artist you must always go into the unknown.
Like Marina Abramovic once learned from one of her art teachers:
If you can draw with the right hand, immediately shift to the left.
.
After 20 years of drawing with my right hand, I had been on the verge of leaping into two more decades of drawing with my right hand, whilst explaining why my drawing with the right hand was entirely different from everybody else’s drawing with the right hand.
And I had been 99% certain I wanted to go down that road!
.
If I look at it in hindsight, I can’t believe I came that close.
Just the right hand left hand argument, and the general distinction between being a yoga teacher which is a service provider (or a high-level, world famous version of that) or being an artist, are enough of an explanation.
Enough reason to know I m never going back.
.
But there was something else, which was on that list the day I cycled to the location to shoot my Yoga Commitment video. Something else that was ultimately the reason I knew I had nothing more to say.
Not about yoga.
.
It was that I had written down in the Rock Star Yoga outline, what the two biggies were:
Sex and purpose.
Rock Star Yoga was going to be developed with full understanding that when it came to increasing your energy, those two were king.
And suddenly I realized that someone who has Sex and Purpose on number one and two, of her list of Things That Matter, was only a true to her word rock star yoga teacher if her Purpose, was indeed to be a rock star yoga teacher.
That she would value sex more than her purpose, was acceptable.
But after that she was to immediately run to her yoga mat, fully inspired!
Except my yoga mat is not at all where I run to, do I?
I am a writer.
Left “unsupervised”, I run to my desk to write.
.
And just like my love life, there are no reasons to write.
Writing is not practical, it’s time consuming, it makes little to no money unless you do it to promote something else (fe yoga) or write on assignment.
I could easily fill five A4’s with reasons why writing is a terrible idea.
.
Just like I was never short on reasons why I should not be with my lover, or male friend for whom after 6 years I still have feelings so intense, it makes me cry just thinking about it.
.
There is no logical reason for my love life.
And there is no logical reason to write.
Yet the moment you need even half an A4, to map out why you got it right this time?
With 99% certainty? And the list and the proper plan to prove it?
.
Immediately switch to the left.
.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Wanna join me?
I m going to do yoga, starting from scratch because I m yoga free by now,
But I ll be using my own book

White Tigress Yoga Workbook
by LS Harteveld (me)

For anyone who had a decent chance of staying healthy
but screwed it up and now needs something that works. Fast.

I like the no-fuss, kick your ass into gear energy of it!

PS: Here’s the page with all my other books as well!
(Dutch/Nederlands AND English)

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU 
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

Wine at 2 PM on a Monday

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,

Although I had the title “Wine at 2 PM on a Monday”, right there from the get-go, where get-go stands for WordPress Blocks, which is a year old software update I am very skilled at avoiding except when I create a new post by copying an old one. Then I immediately save, get the hell out of there and open the new draft in Classic Editor;
That draft was already titled Wine at 2PM on a Monday.
So I knew what my angle would be, but I did not know it was going to be about sex.
.
Aside from the evening curfew which has made daytime alcoholics of us all (you’re also only allowed to have one visitor per day per household), I had no idea what this post would be about.
Because everything was so…. perfect?
Hopeful?
I even have a new 8 step daily to-do list, with a secret priority code embedded that only I know of. I am still nowhere near where I want to be in terms of doing yoga, and clarity on my business;
Yet, I ve got this covered.
Step by step, I know I ‘ll get to the ultimate destination (body, money and career goals), and there’s little I need to do, or even can do, at this point.
.
The only thing I can actively DO in terms of selling/ having something to sell, is that I have decided today, that I m going to publish the non-dating, and non-fiction material I wrote under this account, and in particular the coaching and business blogs, under my real name.
.
Since my future is under my real name, I want to have books under my real name asap. 
And I have way too much material here, for Lauren Harteveld, anyway. It makes a lot of sense to separate it;
Diaries and sex are books for Lauren.

Business blogs, coaching and even writing (life of a writer), go under my real name.
.
All posts where I keep my clothes on, are good to go!
Which excludes this blog post, because although I knew the title of this blog was going to be wine at 2 P.M on a Monday, and I wanted to tell you the Rock Star Yoga Teacher vibe from the last letter I wrote you is on the rise!, I didn’t know what else I was going to write about.
But it’s sans clothes!
.
With the first glimpses of my future as the new face of yoga, and the 8 step secret prio list which will basically and ultimately get ALL the shit done, there was very little to get worked up about.
Even my sex life seemed to be stable and sensible. My secret lover and me occasionally see each other and we have sex to a level that doesn’t freak me out, and I can just pull up my pants, or his pants, and say:
“That was fun!”
.
Although one time things did go wrong, emotionally. I got so intensely sad and hurt afterwards. It was horrible. But I worked through it with friends, put a new sex protocol in place, and I m good to go.
I got this, there’s no more drama in my sex life.
.
So I went through my downloads looking for an illustration to go with this post. Not knowing exactly what I was looking for until I saw a promo photo of the movie Basic Instinct. It depicted the two main characters making love; my writer idol Catherine Tramell and her lover the detective Nick. 
The ultimate playing-at-high-level sex couple!
I knew immediately, that this was going to be the picture for this post, and that I wanted to uplevel my sex game!
.
Although I am very grateful to the friends who helped me do damage control and get me the fuck stable, after I basically broke in the weeks after I saw him;
That is not me.
.
No one has to pick me up, you can just send me home if you re my friend, I don’t care. But I am NOT going to waste sexual encounters coloring within the lines of my comfort zone.
And do you know why?
Not because I think I can do “this”, and be a cool chick or something, but because in my last letter I told you what my vision for my future is;
After 15+ years of being a full-time yoga teacher, 20+ years of being a practitioner; And currently yoga-free business-free, and contemplating a new career based on the vision that’s inside of me; I wrote you how I saw my future.
Rock Star Yoga Teacher.
That was how I saw myself.
.
And although doing yoga has not come to me, as strongly as I would have liked.
My new yoga body, strong and lean, sometimes seems impossibly far away.
And I even catch myself staring at the secret 8 step system, like Harry Potter staring at the wall that says Platform 13 3/4, thinking;
“Will it really work?!”
.
Even though all of those things, all that doubt and uncertainty about can I and will I; I do know one thing! For sure!
Rock Stars do not coast through their sex life, staying within their comfort zone.
They do not say “oh well I have to be careful, because I can get really emotional when I m intimate with someone.”
That is NOT a thing.
.
So although it’s still unclear how to do yoga as a rock star, let alone how to teach that yoga, I have ALWAYS known how to rock my sex life!
And now more than ever is the time to rock it!
At 2 P.M. if we have to.
.
Because curfew has made daytime lovers of us all.
And only one visitor per household.
.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

The Rock Star Yoga Teacher

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,

Bad news first: I went through another round of blowing everything up.
And I do mean everything.
I considered deleting all my websites, all my social media accounts including LinkedIn, and I m talking about both my accounts now.
LS Harteveld as well as everything under my real name.
.
I could quieten the rage by only quitting writing here, for Lauren Harteveld. It took the edges off and gave me time to think.
But I was so self-destructive.
.
And the irony is that I can still feel that rage inside of me. It’s not gone. It’s just that by giving myself massively complicated topics write about, like an adult pacifier, I can distract myself.
And by now I m so caught up in them, that I am already thinking of the future. 
.
Is there really no way to make money from my art? 
Or have I even tried?
.
This morning I got a message from a consultant I gave an interview to earlier this month. He was hired by a company where I am a customer, and he was getting back to a few things we had discussed.
One of the things he asked, but that was more of a chitchat thing since it wasn’t relevant to the interview, was;
“How is the yoga by referral coming along?”
A term or job I came up with, when I had heard that he did not have a website or even social media profile. 
He was a “referral-only” consultant. Which had an elusive ring to me.
.
“If I ever start teaching yoga again, I will be a referral-only yoga teacher!”
I had answered.
.
Although I am usually quick to brush things like that off, because I really do not want to be teaching yoga again, but in this case I had asked the Universe to SHOW ME the means how I was supposed to make money.
Because by now I want to know if I am supposed to be looking for a job, or set up a business or or or, what, right?
I was sure the Universe knew the answers, and I literally asked God to show me before I went to sleep.
.
Not remembering my dream when I woke up, I assumed I had not received an answer.
But then I opened my email.
The consultant had sent his email with the yoga teacher by-referral, at 6 minutes past midnight:
15 minutes after I had fallen asleep.
How’s that for a speedy delivery.
.
And there is also the 3-part vision I received, the three sentences, about half a year ago.
They were my three guidelines from God or the Universe, how I was supposed to develop myself.
They were (and like all religious texts they could be interpreted in multiple ways):
1. Get in front of as many people as possible
2. Yoga is my art
3. Album tour. Album tour.
.
Especially the third one, not being a musician I have no idea what that could mean.
Am I meant to go on a book tour, and are my books my albums?
But I only publish books under this name, LS Harteveld, and I want to be known and get “in front of people” under my real name.
Am I supposed to start publishing books (albums) under my real name too? Or should I be making “yoga albums”?
.
Even the second clue, “Yoga is my Art”: There have been weeks when I “felt” that. When I had an intuitive understanding that yoga was indeed my art.
And that I would go back to it.
.
And then there are moments like this when just thinking about picking up the phone and someone wanting a yoga lesson would be enough reason to throw myself off a bridge. 
I would not even go through the trouble of deleting my profiles first.
.
So all in all, the three clues from last year, as well as last night’s yoga teacher by-referral, has not brought the finite vision to which I have a (positive) emotional response. 
.
And then (another clue the universe is working its butt off to get through to me!) I went through a stack of notes, and they were like a “best of” series of insights I had jotted down in the past 6 months or something.
Different paper types, different pens, and also some notes made more sense or spoke to me more than others.
But even with not everything falling into place immediately, one thought shot through my head;
“Oh my God. It’s all there……”
.
One by one, I had written down all the things, all the pieces of the puzzle. And I instinctively knew the puzzle was complete.
I did not need to look anymore, or wonder if it was going to fit.
.
This was everything I needed.
.
So I want to share those notes with you, so that in our coaching call, we can see how they fit together.
.
note 1: I AM THE KATRINA RUTH OF YOGA!! *)
.
This is so true.
I don’t even think it’s about me comparing myself to her in terms of being a badass leader. It really is not about me, nor about her.
What I mean is;
If there had been someone in yoga, like Katrina Ruth, I never would have stopped teaching. I never would have stopped practicing. And since there is no Katrina Ruth of teaching yoga, this means I am the Katrina Ruth of yoga.
.
I can be for yoga what she is for female entrepreneurs:
The positive mirror, the loud older sister who tells you you can fucking do it. The unapologetic bitch who tells you that IT IS time to put your foot down and stake your claim.
.
So that no one like me, ever has to leave yoga again because we just can’t breathe there.
We could level up, where the air is still clear. Go the extra mile, because as we know; It is never crowded there 😉 
.
note 2: PERFORMANCE ART
To be in a state that makes art inevitable. Steward of this energy. Experience of living.
Big ass wave.
Pond.
.
(note 2, last two entries, are a mystery)
.
note 3: EXPRESSIONIST
Putting forward what’s in me, into the world.
Being the guardian of my inner-life.
.
note 2 and 3 were made during one of our coaching calls, although I can’t see when that was.
.
note 4: Teach yoga (like being a psychologist who stays faithful to their craft) the way I believe it should be taught.
To people who will drop out of yoga// get turned off, the way it’s currently commercialized/ taught.
.
note 5: characteristics Historian
Take 25 years off.
High-pressure cooker. (no idea what this means)
We define someone how he makes his money/ instead of by what someone’s interests are. 
.
And finally note 6, which I made just this weekend, and which originated from writing a meaty article on my love life and things I would never again ask of a man, of a lover.
But I noted it down for in our conversation, once I realized that if I reversed it, it fully applied to what people could ask from me, when I thought about it in terms of me offering a “service”, or being a service provider.
.
So where my conclusion in this article I had written on my love life had been:
“I will never expect of a man (after a date), what I would not expect of Jon Bon Jovi (after the show).”
It now became, applicable to me as a service provider;
“No one can ask of me, what they would not ask of Jon Bon Jovi.”
Meaning: I can deliver a peak performance, but the boundaries and roles are clear. 
And of course, then what you do is not service. Not in the way we think of service providers, and in particular not the way we think of yoga teachers.
.
If you deliver a peak performance where the boundaries are clear;
You’ve put on a frickin’ show.
.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

*) You can find business coach Katrina Ruth on YouTube, Facebook, and she has the best optins (freebies) and great content in the email sequence you get after.
Current Optin:
Everything You Know About Success is Wrong.
A 4-Part Video Series with Quantum Success Coach Katrina Ruth
(or go straight to her website)

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

No Longer Hiding, No Longer Dropping Balls, No More!

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,

It was tempting to not write a public blog post, and just like for our last call two weeks ago, to write a private email.
Except: I didn’t really have a good enough reason.
There were no matters that were affecting me, and that needed to stay private.
There was no reason to only email, aside from the fact that I had kind of liked that. It had felt like skipping class, to break my self-imposed rule to always write a blog post preceding our call.
To “earn” your coaching, or to justify spending money on myself.
To first work.
.
So there was nothing going on, compared to last time.
But the fact that I wanted to not write, was a pattern that I have witnessed the past two weeks or perhaps even longer.

That I don’t feel like writing for my LS Harteveld account, or even hesitate writing my pen friend The Saint/ Nikki;
It is all related.
And in a way it feels like mourning.
For a lot of things: Sexuality, my lover (we still see each other but our affair is over), but most of all that I m not further along the road with my art, and in particular with my books.
.
In autumn last year I cleared my agenda to publish my books, as LS Harteveld, so that I could start fresh with a new career under my real name in January.
But it didn’t work.
I barely published any books, and yet I lost three months as well as my entire productivity.
.
Where I used to write one sometimes two posts a day, or create a video and a post, usually under one of my many accounts;
Since autumn it has been terribly quiet.
.
I started 2021 with even less than I had in September or early October.
Feeling massive disappointment, I had screwed it up.
.
And I think that’s most of all what I m coming to terms with on a deeper level. That I can’t clear my agenda to create books. It has cost me three months now, but this has been going on since 2018.
We’ve been here before.
.
It feels like I have been so destructive by throwing all that time away to nothing..
I hope writing it out as bluntly as this, will speed it up. But it feels raw.
.
The good thing that has ultimately come from it, but no sooner than today which is why I am writing you much later than I usually do, is that I understand that creating and posting (so creating something that gets done) has to come before creating things that have a longer cycle.
.
For example, under my real name I make reviews from old Bon Jovi concerts for YouTube.
That usually costs me 5 hours, preparation only.
.
And another example would be publishing the books for Lauren Harteveld/ this account.
That can take anything up to a few days to a few weeks per book.
.
What I learned is that I am a daily creator first, long cycle creator second..
Combined with other obligations this will mean that the long cycle posts and the publishing of books more often than not will not get done.
.
Another thing is that for so very long, I have considered, tried, structured, planned to do important things every day.
And on days when I have a lot of time, I do enjoy it to add half an hour of this and half an hour of that.
.
But Friday, Saturday and Sunday were three days in a row where I had a minimum of two long appointments a day, as well as many people who asked me things and so on;
And all the good habits, and mental peace I had been building during the week, went overboard.
.
By the time it was Sunday night, I was so extremely frustrated over not having done even one blog post in over 72 hours, nor making any headway with my art.
.
So from now on it’s creation first.
Everything else second.
.
And if the publishing of the books of Lauren Harteveld gets done somewhere in the upcoming decade;
That’s soon enough.
.
.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

The Story Of Dutch Lockdown Told in Crafting Paper

My “Don’t Know What You Got Until It’s Gone” – crafting pad as sold by German bulk store Action (stationary departments are closed until January 19th, 2021)

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,

For 21 days, I m test driving 2021.
As opposed to business coach Katrina Ruth, who once baffled the car dealer when he asked if she didn’t want to test drive the car before ordering it, by answering:
“It’s a three-hundred fifty thousand dollar car.
I assume it will drive.”

I am making no such assumptions about next year.

With a year of Covid under our belt, I think we’re all done assuming anything will drive.
We’ve learned even the most obvious things, cannot be taken for granted.

Oh! This brings me, about five paragraphs early to the crafting paper story I wanted to tell you.
So I ve added a photo of my crafting paper pad – let me rephrase: of my favorite crafting paper pad – and I ve also added a German video about a haul at Action, featuring this pad.
You can find it at the bottom of this post.

Thanks to this video, I can not just give you a good viewing of this pad, but I also know the price.
Bulk store Action, who also has stores in the Netherlands with similar prices, sold it for € 1,33
Just to compare:
The last listed price for this pad on Etsy is € 10. 

So in 2019 I bought this pad on one of my own Action hauls.
The first time I really started appreciating it was when I used it for my continuously updated and expanding vision board card deck, which I started last summer.
I used them as the back of my cards, and particularly liked the process of selecting the card size frames on every page.
I wanted the paper to be used economically, but I also wanted to keep certain prints (such as one unicorn) whole, and not end up with two backs of the cards both featuring half a unicorn.
I was making a vision board not a puzzle.

Yesterday, on my daily walk  – and also the only 2 hours I did not spent news binging to an unprecedented level which has taught me I m not bringing THAT to 2021! –
a friend asked me, which products I would have bought, if I could have had one more go at them before our current lockdown, which will last to January 19th.

I confidently answered:
“Crafting goodies!!”

I think the look on his face was comparable to the look of the Mercedes dealer in Goldcoast Australia.

Since you are an assemblage artist, this is of course preaching to the coir. You understand perfectly well, why the final minutes shopping before lockdown should be spent on buying crafting goodies, but just to make my point, I present to you the mouthwatering, scissors rattling, glue pot waiting,
Crafting For Adults assortment of the Action store.

Action does not have an online store, so for five weeks I will not be able to access these products.
Among which I detected a crafting notebook which I have baptized “man cave” (design #3, on this product page).
Twelve years ago, Nijmegen did not have an Action, but I knew exactly where to find it in Arnhem. Even though, traditionally, the Action is never located in the main shopping areas to save on rent.
But it’s things like crafting pads man cave, that make it a store I will never get tired of visiting, and even travel for!

So when my friend asked the hypothetical question, if the non-essential stores had not been flooding with people the final few hours before lockdown (although my neighborhood Action which opened this summer, has had people waiting in line every day)
then which products would I have hoarded?
The answer was crafting materials.

But the underlying premises was that it were not just crafting materials, but a haul at Action, where you can buy anything you want on impulse, leave it on your shelf for a year, and then start using it for your vision board cards and be blown away by how amazing it is.
My wish had not been to have a go at €10 paper pads which demand immediate use to not feel like you wasted your money.

I need to have a lot of space around my crafting materials, and for them not to be utilitarian purchases. 

So this summer was the first time I realized I loved this paper so much, I started looking if I could get more of it.
But the few times I visited Action, they never had my glitter and unicorn crafting pad, and the others were nothing alike.

Ever since then, and totally unaware my time window to visit Action was rapidly closing, the realization had come that even though I would not be able to stock up on my favorite crafting pad:
That I should buy more crafting paper, with a different print.

That I should stop browsing the Action crafting shelves looking for just my own design, and then be disappointed it wasn’t there.
And instead let myself be surprised by whatever it was they did have.
Just like today, when because I m writing you, I visited the Action site and found us this man cave pad.
Spontanously.

It was probably there all along, I just didn’t see it because I was too focused on getting a duplicate of the one I already had.

So, the crafting department of Action and this particular paper pad had been on my mind for months, when yesterday The Netherlands went into a new 5 week lock-down.
And this time it DID close all the non-essential shops. 

Stores like Action are only allowed to give access to their essential product aisles*

Being a notorious stationary hoarder has never been more rewarding.

Next to crafting paper, I own:
– a laminating machine, supplemented with ample laminating covers
– a small basket full of stickers
– about 20 rolls of paper to cover books and wrap presents
– a large basket full of gift ribbons, textile ribbons, gift cards
– a large assorment of postcards
– and an assortment of notebooks in various sizes, that probably requires a “We need to talk first” conversation before I let a man into my life who claims to love me, and wants to take things next level

There is a genuine possibility that my love for stationary exceeds my love for sex.

If you would drop me on a deserted island with the stationary and crafting assortment of an average Action store, I would not even miss people, Sara.

I think Dutch government has not realized that what they call “non-essential” is actually more essential to some people than human interaction.
PLUS
If you delete human interaction for five weeks, it will be the next go to for even more people!

After Netflix.
But – and this is the story I really wanted to tell you, before I realized that this story should be all about stationary – I quit Netflix.

I had JUST quit watching Netflix, where I had become a heavy The Black List user, and just like with all addictions it had become progressive and I now needed two episodes a day.
When after one day of “This is not too bad!” I was SUCKED INTO A 24 HOUR HOLE OF NEWS ABOUT THE LOCKDOWN AND PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ABOUT THE LOCKDOWN

I should probably have reintroduced myself as:
“My name is Lauren Harteveld, and I am an addict.”

Because the first day of quiting Netflix had been so easy, I had not noticed that I was still carrying a hole the size of three seasons of The Black List with me;
And that ANYTHING could have jumped in there!

For me it was binging unapologetically on news about the lockdown.

New ethical low in the history of the Netherlands:
All schools including for little children and daycare, are closed for the upcoming five weeks.
The reason is not because our government have new evidence or suspicions that the children are spreading the virus, but because the parents who come to school to drop their children off are spreading the virus, AND because the parents are going to work at the office and do not work from home, as long as the children are taken care off by school.

So the Dutch children have lost their right to education, as stated by the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, to serve as human ball and chain to their parents.

I don’t know, maybe it was not just coming down from my Black List addiction that made me go under in a 24 hours binge on the latest news on how our politicians were rationalizing that.

Maybe I really am a little concerned over this.
A little more than not being able to buy crafting paper.

Maybe, when the rights of an entire new generation are violated so brutally, and a right for education is apparently valid until we need you home to shackle your parents:
Maybe that asks for uproar, aggression, and a mother fucking revolution.

But if it doesn’t? 
Then the VERY LEAST it requires, is more crafting paper.
And no I do not mean for me.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

* Within 24 hours the rules changed, and now Action and other stores with less than 70% of products essential, have to remain closed during lockdown and are not allowed to open to sell essential products.

At the bottom of this post you can find a video on my design paper. (not my video)

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

video (German): At 11 minutes 55 you can see my beloved crafting paper 

I ve Never Been More Ready In My Life

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Whether you share a bath or all the orifices in your body; In 2020 it’s all the same

Dear Sara,

It is hard to resist reading what I wrote you last time, to provide context to how good I m feeling.
Am I really doing great?
Did I make optimum use of the past two weeks?
Of have I in fact been plateauing, and am I just on my End Of Lease Yoga Studio Emptied Out All Done – high, that is keeping me from seeing that I did not publish any books the past two weeks?
That I did not see my lover the past two weeks.
And that I m still a reborn virgin considering our last time intimate-intimate was months prior to him breaking up with me, so summer 2019.

Even my erotic pen buddy The Saint, has been less frequent in his correspondence, although certainly not less open or confidential.
But things have been better.

Something I DO remember from my last email to you, was an elaborate review of the masturbation challenge The Saint gave me!
And although that was very relevant to my creativity and productivity outbursts, every time I reread that letter on sexual alchemy, I thought:
“What will people think that I write this to a coach?”
So I do remember feeling self-conscious.

But despite the challenge, all its miraculous insights and the stunning results it brought me, I can confidently (and perhaps reassuringly) state that my sexuality has completely flatlined since then.
So there is absolutely nothing embarrassing to share this week.

Yet my coming to terms with owning my sexuality, and the decision that this is the way way it’s going to be, has become very defined and outspoken.
It feels totally different from last time.

There is such an awareness that because of Covid, and also because my lover will be having an affair with me (he’s married, as he was the past 6 years since we know each other) I ve calculated how this will influence our sex life, should we restart it.

This year, the times we were back to kissing, cuddling, maybe a bit or a lot more than that but still very modest and rounded off it doesn’t really count – 
that was spontaneous.
We did not talk this through.
And I realize now that this was both something we still needed, we weren’t ready, had not made up our mind.
But it was also how things have historically always been between us.

To never know if you re going to have sex, or if it will be a normal coffee date that doesn’t even get to go some place private.
It was always up in the air and that was what made our dates fun.
I loved that dynamic of him always having to conquer me, and at the same time also him leaving me frustrated when he didn’t conquer me.

It was addictive.

However, and this is the new 2020 insight, under the current circumstances, if we are in the same domestic space, where we’ll very likely and just naturally will not have kept the 1,5 meter distance;
We ALREADY ARE close contacts!!
As defined by Dutch health services.

Dutch regulations do not distinguish, in terms of contagion and danger, between being in the same room doing the dishes together, or doing a 12 hour marathon of which body part fits where and a rerun of the ones you liked.

To Dutch Health Services those are all “close contacts”. 

So a hairdresser and a lover have the same status, when it comes to catching or spreading Covid.

Now, I wonder, do you see what I see? 

Because in my opinion this means that, contrary to all the years we were together, this is a time to shake up our routine, and have a basic understanding that if we see each other;
We’re going to have sex.

I understand what we’ve been doing this year;
It was messy.
It was not the best choice.
And considering the risks we took even breathing the same air, the discussion and my thoughts on how to manage having an affair/ a sex life/ a lover, with Covid going round, were almost surreal because if you’re already in the same domestic space you may as well get going with it,
but okay.

When you know better you do better, right?

So now that I see this, now that I realize that I don’t have to overthink how far I want to go, and if I only want him as a normal friend, or just as someone to kiss and cuddle with, or (if he would like that) if I want to have sex;
Now I feel so thrilled!

It’s not that there will ever be an obligation or entitlement, from him to me or from me to him.
Of course every sexual move will be deeply felt by both, and very consensual.
So this is not about bypassing that.
But any principal choices are completely irrelevant!

Due to Covid, lovers or people who want affairs, have a binary choice.
No more complicated stuff.

Here’s the binary 2020 choice on anything from friendships, sex and relationships:

option ( 0 ) You’re friends, you meet for walks in the open air.
Technically this is still a “close contact” according to the Dutch health services, but I think it is so obvious that this is a far safer situation than any indoor appointment or date

or

option ( 1 ) You’re lovers who have sex.

ANY and ALL arrangements that are no ( 0 ), automatically round of to ( 1 )! 

Isn’t that absolutely thrilling?! 
It’s like a game, where I knew how to play it, and then the rules changed.
And my initial response was phobic, was confused, was defeated.

But now that I understand what this new situation actually means, and that it has made a complex multilayered decision extremely easy, it has become exciting.

It has the excitement of having sex with an entirely new man, except now it is the excitement of having sex in a totally new world.

This time in my life, where sex is a binary choice, will never happen again.

And I can’t wait for it to start!

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

The Sexual Alchemist

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,
.
Yennefer in The Witcher

I found myself just not being okay with adding a picture of the real alchemist of the series The Witcher;
Which was “Giltine” played by the actor Julian Rhind-Tutt, who I know as Mr.Pimms from the first Lara Croft movie.

But Giltine played by the actor Julian Rhind-Tutt was the real alchemist, not Yennefer whose picture I used.
Giltine was the one who transformed all young witches into what they wanted to become.
In that respect, Yennefer was only the subject of the alchemy.
In exchange for her womb she went from having a dislocated spine and jaw, to being breathtakingly beautiful.
.
So if I really wanted to write about being an alchemist, I would have to illustrate this piece with Giltine, Julian Rhind-Tutt.
But I couldn’t do it, Googled Yennefer’s transformation instead, and then the memories came back.
Of who she really is.
.
Not just the most powerful mage from The Witcher series, but also the most sexual one.
Even when she was just starting out in magical school, she was sexually active, and very sexually independent.
.
She could really enjoy the physical benefits of it, and if my memory serves me correctly, she has two other lovers later on, one of them being The Witcher himself.
.
So although she had been transformed by a male alchemist, her being so rooted in her sexuality as well as being so powerful, does give me permission to use her photo.
.
And in fact, this aspect of her reminds me to start this story at the beginning, when I just like Yennefer felt disformed, out of shape, lonely, and yet I picked up this offer from the man I am corresponding with.
A man I call The Saint.
And he proposed a challenge where I would masturbate daily.
That is the short version, in reality it was a very detailed and well-thought through plan, that the average sex coach could have charged for.
.
Just like Yennefer said Yes to the beautiful man who wanted to be her first lover, without questioning it, I said Yes to The Saint without questioning it.
And the reason we did, is because we knew that regardless of the intentions of the other we had more to win than they did.
And more to lose if we didn’t.
We knew we would get something out of it, that went beyond what they were doing.
.
I took up the masturbation challenge, and went from a meager once a week, which is dangerously low for me – to killer orgasms on repeat.
It took a couple of days of muscling my way through it, but by then I had upleveled my orgasms to a strength that I have not experienced since I stopped the pill in my early thirties.
It was absolutely unbelievable.
.
And my creativity, in terms of writing, also shot through the roof as soon as I had said “Yes, I ll do it”. 
.
So those were already two big benefits, which I could tie directly to saying yes to the masturbation challenge from my anonymous letter writer.
.
Finding the photo of Yennefer and remembering how sexual she is, reminded me that a lot had happened before the moment that gave me insight in my identity as sexual alchemist.
That although the short-cut story:
“Oh I saw my ex and then this-and-this happened, lol, sexual alchemist right, duh?!”
would have made a good story in and of itself, provided it had been penned down in a less Beavis and Butthead way, that was not the whole story.
There was a reason meeting each other had been so great, and the reason was there had been sexual alchemy going on for days before he contacted me.
.
I committed to the challenge one week ago, on a Saturday night.
And next to my daily masturbation plan, which I had gotten from my anonymous friend, I picked up writing for this blog again.
.
I also did something else:

I decided this would be the week I would get over my lover, and start identifying as a single again.
Purge all that needed to be purged.

It had been 11 months since he had broken up with me. Last summer we tried to have sex again, but I paid for that with headaches and there were also other things I could just feel not being right about the whole thing.
Which had to do with something I have not written about, but I will, since I now know how essential it was.
.
He broke up with me in December after having been my lover for 5 years.
The reason for the breakup was something that was going on in his life, which required him to focus.

You could also say that guilt over having a mistress was simply becoming too straining, considering other circumstances.
.
But in the years prior to that, something else had happened and either I have not written anything about it, or it has been very minimal.
There have been opportunities for us to see each other for a longer period of time, one on one, without anybody mingling into our affairs or without any difficulties for him accounting for his time.
And he didn’t take it.
There has even been an opportunity for him to allow for a mistress, and privacy with regard to his sexual whereabouts, and again;
He didn’t take it.
.
So when he broke up with me in December 2019, or at least told me we could no longer have sex, he had already been sidelining our affair on numerous occasions, without me knowing.
Weeks or months afterwards, I could reconstruct that there had been giant opportunities for us to be together, or for him to create more space for us, and that he had not used it.
.
I was only allowed into his life, if seeing me could be contained.
.
And I didn’t write about it, because it was entirely irrelevant at the time.
He never told me, it were things I found out afterwards.

And I didn’t write about it after the break-up because then it was even more obsolete.
Even this summer, when despite Covid we were there together, and our bodies wanted each other more than anything, I didn’t write about it either, because by then I had almost forgotten about it really.
And the Covid stress and the migraines that followed all my indoor interaction, were already plenty to deal with.
.
Except now I see that Covid’s stress headaches didn’t have anything to do with me no longer wanting to be his lover this summer.
It was because he had not created more space for me, for us, all those times he had gotten the proverbial hall card, or the conference with the free days to wander around, or the chance to create space within his marriage.
.
Just like Yennefer who had been raised being told she was worth nothing, I too had started to believe, not so much that I was worth nothing, but that I meant nothing to him.
.
And yet this week, just like Yennefer, I rose.
To a place where I no longer depended on the love of others, and in my case that meant a place where for the first time since the breakup I fully identified as a single.
I could feel the power flow back into my hands, my fingers; As if something that had been shut off was coming back to life.
.
It was a week where I became so aware of all the power I had lost when I had started identifying as “a mistress”.
Not only became it the week I was over my lover, it also became the week where I felt my strength returning.
And I knew that even if we would start sleeping with each other, I would never call myself his mistress, or a mistress, again.
.
And then the unexpected happened.
And yes, I did pay for this by dropping off the wagon of blogging and writing.
I paid for it with headaches but they were far less intense than I expected, and after a day I was fine.
I saw him again.
This week.
In my radiant self-proclaimed so-over-you week.
.
He asked to see me, and the way he did it immediately had me worried.
I could just feel something was up. Something bad. But – like I always do – I “got over it”  before I went. 

I trained myself to be completely okay with whatever it was he was going to say.
I sensed it had something to do with another break-up, like a hard Brexit type of thing, where our affair had originally ended friendly.
Maybe he would sell the condo, or maybe there was another mistress.
I had really prepped myself to the point where I was able to take anything he wanted to say, in a neutral but supportive fashion.
.
But that was not at all what it was about.
It was the exact opposite.
The urgency and the seriousness had been because he wanted to know what was up with me.
.
Because all the cafes are closed, we met at his place. He made me coffee, and contrary to last time, no alcohol was involved at any point.
And he wanted to know everything. 
Why I had not wanted to have sex this summer.
What I did want.
How he could help me.
And when we had had the whole “Covid just sucks” headache story, it all came out.
.
For the first time I told him how much it had hurt that every time there had been an opportunity to give me more, and he had given me nothing.
I didn’t even cry or anything, we had a good laugh. And that was because I really was okay with him making his choices.
And then, when I thought we were definitely done talking about it, he asked: 
“Was there anything else last summer, that hurt you?”
And there was…
.
And I m not even going to repeat it here. In fact, I couldn’t even repeat what he had said. I had not remembered the words, just how they made me feel, and what I thought their general gist must have been.
I added: “I’m sorry, I don’t remember the exact words. That must be frustrating especially because I took them so badly.”
And he instructed me to immediately call him out if he ever said something like that again. Without hesitation, without sugar-coating, just blurt out: “Hey! That’s hurtful!”
.
And we had the best afternoon in years.
.
We stayed together for hours.
.
But what was the absolute best, was that I finally saw that what I create with my partners, with the real ones, is something that never dies.
And I say “I create”, but it is always a “we create”.
.
Every man in my life with whom I ever fell in love, is still in my heart.
They can all call me, or walk through the door, and they will always be welcome.
And with way more than half of them I would still have sex, I am still in love with them.
.
Most people, my lovers included, long for normal relationships. Structures that come with a certain set of agreements and predictable interactions that provide safety and stability.
But relationships can fail.
.
I said:
“I think we will always be in each other’s lives. And some of those times we will see each other, and have sex.
And other times when we won’t.”
.
An alchemist is someone who creates something higher, more noble, and more desirable, from materials that are readily available.
So what they can make out of life, with the same materials as the layman, is by definition of a higher quality.
.
But more importantly, and this is what I learned from my lover who was a changed man;
That an alchemist’s true magic, is always created with other seers.
.
Giltine transformed Yennefer, like he had done with all other young witches.
But unlike the other girls, she manipulated him into it because she had no legal right to be transformed.
And she refused sedation, she wanted to be present and in the moment, when it happened.

And by that, by her will of being there and her presence throughout the surgical procedure, she became more than all the others.
More than Giltine, Yennefer had changed herself.
.
To me the anonymous writer, The Saint, gave me a challenge. Which he had written out, in exactly the right tone of voice, and precisely the right mixture of dominant presence, playfulness and backing off leaving the ultimate choice up to me.
But I was the one who decided I would get over my lover this week.
And I was the one who used my creative fire and wrote every day.
More than The Saint, or the challenge he gave me, I transformed myself. 
.
I was there with my lover, for the first time since 2015 no longer seeing myself as a mistress.
My lover has become a new man, but I cannot take credit for that any more than Giltine should take credit for Yennefer.
Or any more than The Saint will take credit for my transformation.
.
In the end we are all responsible for ourselves, but in this lies an extremely heavy responsibility towards others.
Because if we don’t change, if we stick with the ground materials and the ground emotions of jealousy, doubt and pain;
So will others.
.
Yet if we elevate, transmute, rise, and become the immortal alchemist versions of ourselves, who transform everyday elements like relationships, like sexuality, like masturbation and like affairs, into the realm of the eternal;
So can others.
.
True alchemy is started by the alchemist, by the sorcerer, by the mage, by the anonymous writer or by the woman who was once your mistress and who has found back her strength.
You may say we need these special people in our lives for magic.
.
And at the same time they are of no importance;
Because all alchemy comes from within.

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/