Like a prayer { final chapter, Lauren quits writing }

Life is a mystery
Everyone must stand alone
I hear you call my name
And it feels like home

~Madonna, Like a Prayer

If I ve learned anything, in my four years with my secret lover Mr.Big – and I learned all of these lessons the hard way, in the first six months – it is that things either ARE or they are not.
Something either IS there, or it is not.
You can put words to things, and even bicker over which word it should be that defines you – a relationship, an affair, a marriage; cheating, a mistake or true love – it doesn’t make any difference.
You can enhance things by writing about them, or make an experience more bearable by reframing your thoughts, but you cannot create things that do not in essence, and by essence I mean in the mind of the people involved, already exist.
Prior to Mr.Big, I had learned in eight years of dating, that if you feel uncomfortable with someone, nothing is going to change that.
You can make things as pleasant as possible, and create harmony.
But you can’t create a connection, where there is none.
But what the first half year with Mr.Big taught me, is that it is equally impossible to end something that does exist in the hearts and minds of the people involved.
In short; All you ever do is work with what is there.
Since I put a lot of work in all my relationships, I know that all I have to do to end it, is to withdraw my love, my presence.
It is not a passive aggressive thing, it is more that you stop watering the plants when the roots are no longer healthy.
You make a choice at an early stage that you’re not going to make things run smooth at surface level, when on a deeper level something died.
Or, in my case; shifted.
Because this is not a breakup post.
I m still in love with Mr.Big, just as much as I was on the first day I met him. My feelings for him are not a dying plant, far from that.
And I have not forgotten the lessons from the first half year, that it is pointless to try to “get” the correct relationship name, to justify how you feel.
It’s not a game of Pairs where you are looking for matching labels on your heart and your relationship.
And then throw all the cards from the table in frustration if the other refuses to give you the status you desire.
Either IT IS.
Or it isn’t.
If two people love each other, they’ll keep returning to each other. Regardless of their conflict of interest over how the thing should be called.
Neither one of the two will be able to cut ties, because it’s like cutting your own flesh.
You can’t whip someone into committing to you.
But neither can you end a relationship when the other doesn’t do what you want; not when the souls are connected and the roots are alive.
Just look at the six seasons of Sex and the City;
Unless you want to end up dating a series of boys who look good on the outside, but who will never move you the way Mr.Big does?
Don’t leave Mr.Big.
Don’t fool yourself.
Don’t waste time bickering.
It’s all so very simple;
Forget the labels and love what you love!
But having said that, something did shift within my relationship with Mr.Big. And I can’t go on, the way I have done for the past four years.
Going back to the start of our relationship; The reason that it was so full of turmoil the first half year, was because I thought he would leave his wife.
I knew he was in love with me, and I also knew he had plenty of reasons to leave her. They had semi-separated multiple times before I even knew him.
I assumed I was the reason he needed to finally leave her.
But he didn’t, and I started to realize many of the aspects in our relationship, suited me well. And I started identifying as a mistress;
Someone whose sexual identity is based on being monogamous herself, but having a partner who isn’t.
That definition of my sexuality was pretty broad, yet it started to feel constricting. Because I realized it wasn’t that I necessarily liked him having other partners:
He could have been monogamous, just as long as he made clear that what he did in his own time, was not a topic of conversation. And that he would only share, what he thought was beneficial to our relationship.
I didn’t want to be with a man who felt he needed to bend over backwards in order to be worthy of me. I wanted him to feel worthy, and capable of having a great time with me, without having to flaunt his monogamy as a reason to accept him, and in return probably put up with things much worse.
Like not taking care of me, or not taking responsibility for our time together.
By labeling myself as a mistress I made clear (first of all to myself) what I was getting out of the relationship: quality time with the man I loved.
But the jacket of being a Mistress became too tight.
Because I preferred the status quo, our peaceful 3,5 years, over the turmoil of the first six months – I ignored it.
I ignored that I was clinging onto a label, which I had invented myself, instead of staying in touch with what was alive underneath.
Parallel to me getting increasingly uncomfortable with the mistress label, was something else. Or rather: someone else.
I can feel a presence, who is not me, and it is not his wife.
And I am positive I pick up their energy when they’re together. That I suddenly get sick with worry. I ve had anxiety attacks in particular over the past six months, over other people finding out about him and me.
And people who sympathize with his wife blaming me for everything.
And then things between us would end, he’d quickly choose her and promise to better his life. And I would be left alone, unprotected from hatred and anger, for a situation that had been his responsibility. Not mine.
I would take the fall, and he would save his marriage.
This fear of being discovered came up multiple times, but the past few months I m starting to feel something else. Which makes me think it has been something else for way longer…
I feel he has another lover.
I have no idea how serious this is, but serious enough to make me sick to my stomach at what seems totally random times. Regardless of how in favor I think I am of him not sharing his life with me: it is making me sick.
I can’t go on, not like this.
Not when I m losing the game.
Not because I condemn his ways, I absolutely don’t. I think he’s the most gorgeous, wonderful man I know, and I ve never felt for anyone the way I feel for him.
But after four years of being a secret mistress, I no longer have the energy to fight for this. I m not going to waste my last energy, to restore the status quo of being a secret mistress.
Because apparently – and this is important – whatever forces were at stake that kept our relationship healthy, they have changed.
I would like to say the disruptive force could also come from me. I do recognize that as an option. My feelings for other men for example, can also be jeopardizing what Mr.Big and me have.
But right now I m working with the hypothesis it’s either something between us, or something on his side.
Whenever we’re together, he’s just as wonderful as he always has been. He never sees me, not “even” now, when his heart is not in it. I absolutely can’t blame this on him in the sense that he’s changed or something.
But I m responding to something or someone, I can’t see.
It’s like a food allergy: apparently there’s something in our relationship that gives me stomach ache and diarrhea.
And it can very well be something that has always been there; and that I can suddenly no longer digest. For example, not being chosen. Not having him at my side. Him not sharing his life with me.
Or the allergy can be to something new. And in that case the most likely explanation is that someone new has entered our triangle, whose presence I can sense.
And in both cases the mistress label is not serving me anymore. The label, our story, this blog and my writing, are ALL preventing me (and probably Mr.Big too!) to see what’s here.
We’ve lost connection to what we were, to how we started out.
I need to stop seeing myself as a mistress, put down my pen, and quit defining “us” but especially quit defining “me”.
And instead I need to sit still and simply observe what happens after I have ceased to tell the comforting stories that have held all the pieces together for such a long time.
The label mistress has served me well.
But I ve lost touch with that woman who after eight years of dating, finally fell in love with a great guy. Someone she didn’t have to “work” for, to make things happen.
Someone who understood her, and she him.
I need to know if that story is still there. And if not, what is the other story, that Life wants to share with me?
After twelve years I’m done telling stories and I m going live my life.
Instead of writing one myself.

An unexamined life is not worth living

I quit writing

Like a Prayer is the forty-ninth and final chapter from Project M. 
It is also my final blog post for an indefinite period of time.

I ve been writing, pretty much non-stop, since 2006, the moment I became single. And although it has brought me many things – in particular the opportunity to have relationships that are way out of my league – it has now started to constrict me.
The cage I built to protect myself, has become a prison.
I need to start living, and start experiencing life, without the pen.
Or at least without diary writing/ blogging about my real life.

I m going to use this time to create my four new books.

One Dutch book with columns:
Blote Kont
Verhalen over mannen, macht en dagjes uit

One English book with columns:

One English book about Mistresshood:
The Big Mistress

And one diary 2017-2018, called Reboot.
Which will also include the diary you just read, Project M.

I thank you very much for reading my work.
This blog will be resumed, whenever the mood strikes and I have something interesting to say, although my diary writing days are behind me.
Seeing each other will probably be on YouTube! where I ll be checking in multiple times each week.
So I hope you subscribe. 

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This blog – subscribe button on this page, most likely on the right.
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Express yourself

After her confession that three days of rest have left her even more drained than three days of Major Life Changes (change her name, start a company, become an entrepreneur);
Lauren finally figures out, WHY.

I m staring at my agenda. Once again, and this is something that comes up frequently in the first paragraph of this blog, I m thinking:
“How the fuck did I manage to miss this?”
Feeling all drained after three days OFF?
Are you joking?
And then I saw it.
Now technically, it could still be one of two things. And it’s probably both.
The first thing which could explain my lack of energy;
I didn’t write for three days.
I did make videos on Friday morning, for my Dutch channel under my real name.  
And I wrote a Sunday night confession that I was feeling shitty, but that was when I had already exceeded my non-writing day limit.
The damage was already done.
Somewhere between my post about my lover Mr.Big on Thursday, and Things-Went-AWOL Sunday, I lost it.
And then it hit me.

It was NOT just the writing!
It’s because from those three days, only one of them had allowed me to FULLY BE ME!
I even had a conversation that day, with my friend, telling him I was already drawing attention to myself as if I was a lighthouse. Which included negative attention, we were actually scolded at just walking the sidewalk.
I am by now completely used to complete strangers calling me names.
And I m not even famous!

Please let me remember this, when I am famous. That it was never a choice because the option Just Pretend You re Not There And Act Normal, is apparently not available to me.
People notice me even if I do nothing.
And they know who I am, or understand on an instinctual level that I m dangerous. Which is true. I am dangerous. I have non-conformist ideas, but I have tremendous people skills which enable me to manipulate people in a very pleasant way-
for all parties.

But I do wreck the system.
I can point out where they are manipulated, by government, their boss, their spouse, or even by their own thoughts about marriage, since I m best known for being a mistress.
I advocate mistresshood as a sexual preference and missing link in our idea of love and relationships.

So a mistress who can manipulate you, yet who makes it a pleasurable, even totally empowering experience? 
I don’t blame those people who can immediately sense I am the enemy.
I really don’t.
Good job, excellent instincts.
But the problem is, that I am not living like THAT person! I usually write/ do my biz in the morning, go for a walk or cycle in the afternoon, and at night I go see a movie, have a wine at a bar, or see family or I work or write some more.

All places where I don’t necessarily shine.
I shine a little bit, when I go out. Sometimes I meet new people, and that is great! Then I shine!
But with family and also to an extend with most of my friends; it’s very important to keep tuning in how much space there is on a given day.
Or what someone needs.

Except after three days I was absolutely exhausted from keeping that switch from flipping at the wrong moment, and scaring everybody away. 
Drained, because I had been regulating and even cutting off, my natural power source for way too many hours.
Even now, Monday afternoon (I have to leave within minutes, so I can’t even write as much as I want) I feel so tired.
So I m going to prioritize doing one Lighthouse Activity a day.
It can be a network meeting, or by seeing certain friends.
But if it’s a social gathering where have to be careful about putting on the light, and which may or may not end up with us having a great time (we do ultimately usually have  a great time – it’s just the being unsure that’s difficult) –
those dates don’t count as lighthouse dates or activities.
And if they turn out to be just that, that’s a bonus!
But instead of making the resolution to do something social every day, I m shifting the focus to: I have to do something that allows me to SHINE. And stand in my true power.
For example, picking up creating videos for my LS Harteveld YouTube channel.
I am going to be a working lighthouse, instead of just a giant tower taking up space and taking away sun. And after these last three days I have full understanding that to be a working lighthouse is WAY more important than writing, business, daylight, or any of the other things I was building a 100 day challenge around.
Those things are not going to do anything for me, nor for someone else.
Not unless I put the light on first.

An unexamined life is not worth living

Express yourself is the forty-eighth chapter from Project M. 

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Act of Contrition

Lauren writes about her lover Mr.Big, because she can’t share anything about her BIG SECRET.
Then she drops from the radar for multiple days.
Before admitting she’s got a confession to make.

I wish I had done this when the story was still fresh, and I felt excited about starting a new life under a new name.
Because last Thursday, after giving serious thought to look for a real, normal job, I chose to become an entrepreneur again!
Even though I had sworn to never do that again, because A it was not necessary in order to sell my own books.
And B because I figured it didn’t make sense to register if I didn’t know what to sell.
Better get a normal job.
I had my own yoga studio for 15 years and knew very well there was little more frustrating than a company that didn’t “work”.
And yet Wednesday night I knew I had to do it!
Because of a number of reasons really.
First of all, because I figured that if I actually had a chance at getting the type of job within a company which I aspired?
I was better off doing it freelance, and not being on the payroll.
Secondly because I felt naked without a company.
And thirdly, because this was the quickest way to consolidate my new name Lauren Harteveld.
In the Netherlands you re not allowed to change your name. Not as some sort of vanity project anyway. But I had already decided that I was never going to work another day in my life, under my real name.
Whether it would be on payroll or independent;
My real name needed a break from having to meet anyone’s professional expectations.
I couldn’t change my name legally, but I could start a company in that name and voila! Lauren Harteveld was born.
I knew I had to do it yet I wasn’t up for difficult questions or explaining myself, which is why I told no one. Another reason I didn’t tell anyone was because I had no idea if you could name your company after “someone” that wasn’t you.
So I wasn’t sure my plan would work.
Short version of the story was that I barely slept for three nights surrounding this decision, and the aftermath of it. That’s how stressed out I was.
On Friday, Saturday, Sunday I didn’t work.
All in an attempt to calm down, get my heart rate back to normal. Get a decent amount of sleep.
And it worked.
Partially, that is.
I did sleep 8 hours last night, and I enjoyed all these days of seeing a lot of people, doing a lot of things.
But I realized that costs energy too!
I m pretty prone to feeling like I somehow failed at being human, a friend, a family member. And if I have then not written in the morning, because I ve given myself off from work – that’s when I start to lose my ground.
My certainty.
You can be in a conversation, or doubting if you’ve done the right thing, said the right thing and so on; which is all bad enough,
But if you don’t have that knowing that at least you wrote a good blog post today – you get adrift.
It’s hard to say exactly when this happened….
In a way I know very well that I did needed a break. It was a good decision.
But the three days of being social and not working did result feeling hopelessly inadequate, and a mountain of clutter in my hallway from going in and out with five different bags to five different occasions from travel, to working the land planting trees.
I still have to empty my kitchen tonight, because tomorrow they start a three day renovation project there.
I have seven journals, notebooks, planners which I have been carrying around almost everywhere I went, because I was hoping to find the time to weed them out.
My sexuality could very well die of neglect.
The heating, which was reinstalled two weeks ago, is still not working properly, so I heat my house room by room with an electric heater that creates so much noise my ears are buzzing every night I go to bed.
And I ve cycled or walked or worked the land every day, getting a ton of exercise and daylight – and yet I feel like total shit.
It’s Sunday night, 8.30 PM, I have a ton of work to do (mainly clear out the kitchen) before I can go to bed.
But that’s nothing compared to the amount of work I have to do to get my life back on track.

An unexamined life is not worth living

The act of contrition is the forty-seventh chapter from Project M. 

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He’s a Man

Secrecy inspires Lauren to write a post about the man she loves.
Her lover, Mr. Big. 

I can’t believe it’s only been 48 hours since my last post here.
It seems like a lifetime.
I’m going by Madonna songs, album by album. The final song of this album is called: I m a Man.
Since this entire week has been about me-me-me, I honestly had no idea how to go about that.
I solved this problem by naming the previous blog post after the album title, I m Breathless. Which is not really a song.
But today it’s Thursday, and I CANT TALK ABOUT MY SECRET THING!
Hopefully, I can this afternoon.
But I have an hour before I have to go to my an appointment AND I have to cover He’s a Man before this album is done. So I decided to take the opportunity to write about Tha Man.
Instead of about me-me-me.
And it’s not that far off, I do have a reason to write about him.
We spoke this week.
There was clearly something going on in his life, which was bothering him and which had prevented him from being in the mood to see his mistress, moi.
The freedom to basically put me on hold in situations like this, works out for me very well.
Because when we do meet, he’s all mine. I rarely have to compete with something intangible, occupying his mind.
When he’s there, he’s there.
I felt sorry for him, that he wasn’t his usual self.
Part of me wanted to write him a long letter about everything I liked about him so much. And that I would always like, regardless of anything he would ever decide or do.
A full report on how much I appreciated him, and everything about him that simply can only be loved. And that’s just me raving on about his “bad qualities”!
I mean it though. Those qualities are what I like about him most, and maybe especially because I can see the flip side: the unique good characteristics that almost no one has. Because they can only be found in people who have the “bad” qualities as well.
And if you can see that, you see the bad qualities are not bad at all.
That is was all a mirage.
A defense mechanism to keep people, including his loved ones, from coming too close and poking in his mind.
But it’s so astonishingly beautiful.
He is so astonishingly beautiful.

An unexamined life is not worth living

He’s a Man is the forty-sixth chapter from Project M. 

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I’m Breathless *

* More about this title at the bottom of this post.

Lauren’s 100 day challenge has got a rocky start, with four extra hours of writing emails, at 5 PM.
The fun one is to her creativity coach Sara.

Hi Sara,

I was going to write you a raving review on my last two weeks!
And I made notes. Notes!
I really thought nothing could ruin my almost euphoric mood this Monday,
but I definitely underestimated the efforts of the housing cooperation who’s doing the renovation.
So I spent the last two hours, typing an email announcing I can’t cooperate anymore, unless before the end of the week, I receive a new planning which includes all previously agreed upon dates and arrangements. 
“And I’m no longer open to discuss this in person, 
since we already did one of those, and I never got that agreement in writing.”
I m afraid my heart will be bothering me again tonight, that’s how worked up I am.

This is a very long email, and I fully give you permission to not read it.
As you know I need writing to get my head around things, and it will probably be tomorrow’s blog post.
Take what speaks to you, and what is acceptable time-wise, and discard the rest.

So. Those two hours for the email to the building cooperation (it took so long, because I started swearing every time I got all worked up, and had to delete that and start again) were of course meant for something else.
To work on my business and do yoga.
I started a new challenge today.
It was kind of a gift to myself, because I started two challenges;
One in August 2017, Reboot 
And one at Christmas 2017, A Hero’s Journey. 
But they both kind of fell through, and it were the last six months my cat Max was alive.
I tried to stick with the yoga/health challenge after his death, but it didn’t work.
I just didn’t feel it anymore.
So now I m on a new 100 day challenge, called “Reboot, A hero’s Journey”. It will run until about six weeks after I can have a new cat again.
And it’s about daily writing, daily daylight (oohhhh daylight is so nice….) cycling or walking, daily yoga, daily working on my books and daily sales and marketing.
Sales and marketing doesn’t have to be going all meme-ing on Facebook, it can be very basic stuff. Like cleaning up my free sites and claim their domain names properly, or build a webshop for The Netherlands.
It’s more a general term with everything involved in the sales process.
Because that is one of the most important revelations I had last week:
I actually like the business part of what I do.
It is tempting to think that if I don’t make money from my art, and get a real job, I would drop back to just blogging, without trying to sell books.
Tempting, but untrue.
I had even kind of distilled the image of my “work” as a publisher: that the publishing job, was the cash flow part. And it was this part that held the key to making money/ not having to go into a real job.
And that is true.
I can see myself as a publisher.
But what is not true, is that I would somehow not do that part anymore if I have a job with a salary already.
The marketing and sales aspect has always been a part of who I am.
I would do it at night, after my job, just like I would with the writing.
And that was very comforting: to understand that I m not just playing publishing house.
That it’s who I am. I like doing that.

So I m now going to consult my notes for the other things.

Section 1 Mistress success formula!

This is so cool! You know what I discovered?
That I was right, about this whole mistress thing.
It is indeed not some thought or identity that I adopted because I m a mistress, and then just decided to rise to the occasion.

I was right thinking it is a sexual preference; Rooted in certain kinks and turnoffs that will not be met any other way.
But it ran even deeper:
That these preferences were actually just the sexual expression of deeper core values, which influence everything in life.
And if I would run a certain opportunity, or choice, by a mistress profile,
I would immediately be able to see if it was a fit,
or (more likely) why it wasn’t.
Why I would be paying a price doing this certain thing, or going that certain path.
The interrelated underlying principles I found were: 
1. Freedom. 
Especially freedom from expectations. A lover and a mistress choose for each other every time, and they have no obligation. In my business I recognize this as resistance to sell my hours again. It wouldn’t feel like I m building my ideal business (where ideal means: one I would also run if it didn’t make any money) if I would start selling hours. 
2. To let go of outcome. 
A mistress’ payoff is only in the moment. Contrary to more conventional relationships she doesn’t invest or endure, for future benefits. In my business this was the epiphany that marketing and sales should indeed only be done, if I was okay there wouldn’t be an outcome. And I discovered that was the case; it did make me happy to acknowledge I just do them for the pleasure of doing them.
3. Do what lights you up. 
This is related to 2. letting go of the outcome, but that one was more about NOT doing what DOESN’T light you up. This one is (drum roll) that if something lights you up? You actually do it!
You never say: “I m sorry but I can’t”
Instead you recognize the importance, and the uniqueness, and maybe even the spiritual value of encountering something or someone that moves you, and you do it! Because it lights you up! No buts!
And finally; 

4 Keep your options open.
This makes total sense, because if you commit to something, let’s say worldly (any other commitment than to listen to your inner voice), you can’t be free, or do what lights you up.
In my new business I recognize this as resistance to offer services where you can buy my presence at a certain time (as said in 1.) and in particular lower end or groups. With private clients I feel way more freedom to see it as something where we choose for each other every time, although it’s still not ideal.
I d much rather have my meetings/ me appearing be based on good will, and only with one person. So that it’s clear we’re there voluntarily.
There is no taking for granted. 

Section 2. What I really am (surprise! it’s not a writer!) and what I really need

I realized, and we’ve touched on this before, and you have even told me this on several occasions, but I am indeed no writer.
Even though I write until my fingers are cold; I am no writer.

I really am that expressionist.
I get inspired, and then I build a model inside of me, or a new thought, and then it comes out through writing.

That is why I don’t understand why any writer would want to write on assignment, since the writing is only the expression of the thought. But it’s the mental play that I like. The getting inspired and then starting to clay with all these different ideas and making them into new ones.
This has also helped me to formulate what it is that I need most in order to do this work of being an expressionist:
I need inspiration, and I need time and space to get my head around it.
I have 2, I don’t have 1 so much.
Which is why I ve started looking around for networking groups or opportunity, clubs or cafes where people meet more informally. Circles which you would normally associate with networking, but for me it would just be to get inspired.
To find people who lift me up!
And I them.
And it also made me realize that if I do get a normal job, I m way better off being hired because I m really good at finding meaning, and the thoughts and structures and motivation behind what meets the eye;
Than I am in a job where I write.

And a job that inspires me, and can be fuel for my home writing.

Section 3. The Prada bag

I actually ran into a Prada bag, which I of course had to have, because it lit me up, and felt like it was the missing piece in my new identity of LS Harteveld. It was nearly new and (only) €300 in a vintage clothing store where they sell these amazing things.
And I got all certificates to go with it, so don’t be mad at me.
But you have to understand that the bag was speaking to me.

I look forward to our talk tomorrow.

Best wishes,

An unexamined life is not worth living

I m Breathless is the forty-fifth chapter from Project M. 

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About I’m Breathless

I’m Breathless is not a song title –
It’s the name of Madonna’s album, which she made inspired by the movie Dick Tracey, where she plays Breathless Mahony.
I’m Breathless as well as the movie Dick Tracey were released in 1990.
1990 was an extremely productive year for Madonna.
She was on her Blonde Ambition tour, which was documented for the 1991 movie Truth or Dare/In Bed with Madonna.
And she recorded her first “sex era song” – Justify my Love – with Lenny Kravitz. That single and video were released in December 1990.
Below a video where a fan shows all her collectables from 1990, including the casette tape and album of I’m Breathless.

What can you lose { contains 100 day challenge } 

Lauren has got two years worth of goals to fulfill, five extra kilos to lose and a void where her career used to be.
Time to seriously kick her ass into gear, and get her life back on track.
For good. 

The last diary I published as a book, ended December 2016.
Which means I have two years of diaries waiting to be extracted from my sites, covering 2017 and 2018.
I remember two of them:
Reboot, which I started August 2017, right after I published all my books.
And A Hero’s Journey, which I started Christmas 2017.
A Hero’s Journey was inspired by Rey from Star Wars The Last Jedi.
There was a brief overlap between Reboot and A Hero’s Journey. A Hero’s Journey was to be the designated survivor.
But when early 2018 my cat Max died, who had been sick for a long time, everything started to shift.
I wrote in A Hero’s Journey, for a few more weeks. But the project didn’t come to life again.
Maybe it died with Max.
I remember the first half of 2018 as being so broken, so hurt.
It was the darkest time of my life, not having my tiny fellow around.
To make it worse I now had my yoga business to worry about, and as Rey said in Star Wars, when Finn asks her how the engine is looking:
“If we want to live not good.”
That was the state my yoga business was in.
May to October was spent redesigning my business. In the final phase I didn’t teach any groups, and only offered private yoga.
But it was too late.
I just couldn’t do it anymore, couldn’t bring myself to get excited about it.
Ironically, lately I have been thinking about picking up teaching yoga.
But under this name, my pen name, not my real name.
In retrospect it was my real name, and the name it build for itself, that held me hostage.
There was no way I would teach what I wanted to teach, using that name.
I wouldn’t say the name is cursed, but I am never going to use it again for professional purposes. I do not want to put her under any pressure, ever again, of having to be something or someone.
From now on Lauren Harteveld is what everybody will have to deal with, period.
And this new name does give me a lot of confidence, it does feel like the fresh start I was aiming for this year.
That’s when I started toying with the thought of rebooting my yoga studio, and only for privates. Just like I originally intended.
However, I don’t have a business at the moment (no VAT number, Chamber of Commerce registration, insurance for liability) so it’s not something I can explore without investing money.
But there is a second reason I m weary to start teaching again;
Because I stopped practicing it.
There are diary entries here in this blog, claiming I will go do yoga afterwards.
Not true.
Never happened.
Even though I do have a new work & exercise schedule, to make my new career as an author a success?
The yoga barely ever happens.
Neither does daylight.
Neither does cycling.
I ve made before and after pictures numerous times, and only got bigger. I have a slide show of me gaining weight.
I ve made resolutions to do more yoga, even when I was still teaching classes.
Yet by now I can almost call myself yoga-free.
What’s with me?
And what do I want for myself?
Do I really want to go publish all those diaries filled with good resolutions to lose weight, get fit, wealthy, on top of my game; And have the story end that I now have no income, no waistline, and no cat?
It’s time to man the fuck up, and do something about it.
In February the building renovations are over, and I can have a new cat, who can actually go out for fresh air on the balcony, and doesn’t have to hide under the bed all day, frightened by all the banging and slamming.
And it will most likely be my little grey fur-baby M, who stayed over for a few weeks, from August to October.
Actually M is not little at all, but I say that just because she’s so extremely cute and sweet. I always use the word little, as in sweet and soft and totally adorable.
She’s all that.
So I already know I will be having a cat again, 13 months after Max died.
I already know I ve given up my yoga career.
I already know I want to make money selling my books, without starting a business.
There is so much I let go off this year. So much stuff I didn’t know in May, when I started to seriously reorganize my biz.
And it’s okay that A Hero’s Journey and Reboot, didn’t give me the results I wanted. It were the last six months Max lived, and a few weeks after when I made that brave attempt to keep on writing.
Of course I felt like shit.
Of course it wasn’t going to work.
But I m so much further in my process now, and I m about to publish my latest work, including my diaries.
Which I don’t want to end at no income, no exercise, and working way too long hours behind my desk.
So I’m going to write, and live, a new final chapter to my memoirs, which I will call;

A Hero’s Journey

And it will be based on my diaries from August 2017 to March 2019.
It is tempting to revisit Reboot, and A Hero’s Journey, to see what I had set out to do, and create a comparable challenge.
But I feel that my life is so different right now, that it’s best to base it on what I currently want to do each day.
And what I need to discipline myself on.
So here’s what I came up with, which I will do from today (Monday December 10) to March 19, 2019.
A hundred days:
1. writing and posting
This is really a soul thing. It always takes up way more time than I plan for it. And practically not a day goes by where I don’t consider to cancel this, in favor of publishing my books.
But it would be the stupidest thing to do, because like I said:
My soul craves it.
My writing will be posted on this blog you’re now reading (Project M on Daily Harteveld), or on one of my three Dutch blogs;
for Books & films,
my business blog about publishing,
and my blog under my real name.
2. cycling or walking during daylight
3. yoga
4. sales and marketing
5. work on publishing my books

For a hundred days, I will post exactly what I do each day, on my Facebook page. So follow me there, and we can travel together!

If you’re unsure what to do yoga-wise, you can check out these yoga channels:
Yoga with Adriene
Yoga with Kassandra
Five parks

An unexamined life is not worth living

What can you lose is the forty-fourth chapter from Project M. 

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Vogue (The core values of a mistress)

Once Lauren understands her mistresshood holds the key to business success,
she can’t stop putting pieces together!
And The Way of The Mistress, is born. 

I’m sure this will be one of those ideas, I ll keep coming back to.
And that I can keep expanding on, translating it to multiple areas of my life.
So in that respect everything I share today, on The Way of The Mistress, is by definition incomplete.
What I’ll do today, is distinguish four interrelated principles of the mistress lifestyle. And apply them to life and business.
The Way of the Mistress is based on the idea the there is such a thing as a born mistress: someone who will not have her most important needs and wants met in a normal relationship.
She has to be the other woman, and he has to be cheating with her, or at least be non-committal with her.
The born mistress has a set of values that can easily be overlooked, because they’re the opposite of what we, as a society, view as normal.
So these values are not valued, which makes it pretty hard to acknowledge to yourself that’s how you think.
An example is the Marshmallow test:
A test where children receive a marshmallow, and are then left alone with it, with the promise that if they have not eaten it, when the guide returns?
They will get a second one.
In this test the children who don’t eat the marshmallow are attributed self-control, and it is predicted they will be more successful in life.
Whereas other (later) interpretations, explain the difference in behavior by difference in background:
Poor children have learned that nice things are not always available, and you should enjoy them when they are.
The marshmallow test shows us we value self-control.
Illustrated by the guide coming back in and asking:
“Did you do good?”
Whereas before she left she still attempted to be neutral, as to whether the child would eat it or not.
But also other aspects (which I will not even be touching upon here) are simply so ingrained in society, it’s unlikely many actually thought about it, if it matched their values.
Such as making fear (of the future) based decisions;
A disdain for anyone making other choices, or who don’t make choices at all;
Disrespect for people with different ideas, or different strategies to life.
Disqualification of people who lie.
The layer of civilization is actually quite thin, if you see how little room there is to be yourself.
Yet many of us may be mistresses, be rebels at heart.
And they will never be happy, as long as they keep coloring between the lines.
So these are four core values of The Way of the Mistress.
Followed by how this applies to daily life.
And how it has helped me to see things clearly for my own business as a writer.
The core values of a mistress are.

1. Freedom, and especially freedom from expectations

The heart, the presence, and the devotion of a mistress have to be won time and time again. And she will win over, and work for the attention of, the ones around her.
People who are tied to her, or stuck with her, because of legal ties, family ties, or because they’re colleagues or neighbors, are people she will never fully be comfortable with, since the relationship is not based on freedom and choosing for each other.
She may invest a lot in these types of relationships, but it is merely in order to make them as pleasant as possible for all parties, including herself.
And she can be really good at it.
But the nature of obligation is such a heavy burden, she’ll minimize the number of these types of relationships.
One of the moments I realized letting go of expectations is a field where I can still learn, was when I had a little irritation with my lover, at the start of our date.
And although we recovered quickly, I later realized how little space I was giving him, to be himself.
Be grumpy if he wanted to.
And that there was a new level I wanted to reach:
To give him the freedom to be the way he wanted to be that day, without taking it personal or being disappointed.

In creating my new business, being free has become my number one priority.
I just finished a 15 year career as a yoga teacher, where I was obliged to show up at a certain time, every week. I had sold my freedom.
I will never again create a business where I have to sell hours, or am legally obliged to make an appearance.
My presence cannot be bought.
If I have to take a normal job, in order to basically subsidize my life, that is bad enough in itself already. But that’s where the idea of selling hours will stay.
Freedom means making a living without selling your life.
Selling hours, either as an employee or entrepreneur, means a life in chains.
I’m still not sure if I want to live that way, ever again.
Or maybe I am sure, but just not ready to say it out loud.

2. let go of the outcome

A mistress doesn’t stay with a man, because she hopes he’ll one day choose her. She chooses him time and time again, because he is the person she wants to be with most in the world.
The being with him, is the outcome.
This is what gives her an advantage over people in normal relationships, where so much is done in order to make the relationship work.
It’s usually not until the relationship comes under threat that at least one of the two parties realizes how much they have invested, hoping it would one day pay off.
The mistress doesn’t invest, so she doesn’t need future outcomes.

Applying the not-needing-outcome result to my business turns out to be a multi-layered process as well.
Every time I can go deeper!
The basics have been in place for a very long time.
I know I will write for the rest of my life, regardless if I get paid or not.
It is indeed what Marina Abramovic said:
“To know if you’re an artist is like breathing.
You don’t question breathing.”
So I was well on the way of being an artist/ doing my work, for the sake of it. I had separated it from a financial outcome.
But just the other day I saw the upcoming selling books part of my business (sales and marketing), which I intend to develop in the upcoming months, as something that I only had to do in the months where I would work on my business full-time.
If it didn’t work out, and then I had to take a real job, I would allow myself to drop back to only writing.
I wasn’t going to invest in sales and marketing, if it didn’t bring me the outcome of freedom.
And that’s when I stopped!
Wait a minute!
This is not what I believe.
EITHER I m not going to do any sales and marketing. Not even now, when I’m working on my business full-time.
OR I’m going to do it for life, in evening hours if I have to, because that’s just who I am.
So either marketing and selling will be like breathing.
Or it will not be there at all.
And then I realized the funniest thing… of course this is like breathing already!
Of course I ve done many things, if not all, under the flag of sales and marketing, for my yoga studio as well as for my writing, thinking, assuming, I did it because I wanted to make my business a success.
Get more yoga students.
And so on.
When in reality, that wasn’t the case at all.
I did it for pleasure.
And if I can’t make a living from my writing, and I do take a normal job, then get home at night and do it still.
Sales and marketing, just like writing, really is like breathing.
You don’t question it.
And you certainly don’t do it because of an outcome. 

3. do what lights you up

This one is of course related to not working for a certain outcome.
But the idea to do what lights you up, is a more radical one.
“Let go of the outcome” was more about:
Do NOT do what DOES NOT light you up.
For example, don’t stay with someone, because you assume things will be better in the future.
Do not do sales and marketing activities, because you expect an outcome.
But this one:
“DO what lights you up?” 

You understand the profound meaning of this, right?
It means to actually DO (!!!!!) what lights you up!
To never say, to something or someone, that figuratively sets you on fire:
“I m sorry, but I can’t”
You always can.
And you always should. 
Once you’ve decided you’re a mistress, you must always follow curiosity, laughter, desire. You must follow your heart, and everything further south.
Because you must DO what lights you up.
It is absolutely not enough to only, merely, stop doing what doesn’t light you up.
A mistress, and everyone living by her values, should learn to rise above fear of the unknown and recognize the thrill of Life actually calling for you.
Of inspiration calling you.
Someone actually calling you, and asking you out on an unexpected date.

Perhaps a new lover.
A new path to life.
Could be anything that asks for your attention and that lights you up!
Say yes!
Go against the grain, and be that kid in the marshmallow test who unabashedly eats the marshmallow, before the guide leaves the room.

Applying the principle of choosing what lights me up, to my business, has been a strange but satisfying experience.
I always get to eat the marshmallow!
Just yesterday, I started a whole new blog, in Dutch, about how to make money from selling books. And do that without having a company, or being burdened by Dutch entrepreneurial laws.
This was entirely off-topic, if you compare it to my other work!
It didn’t have anything to do with this diary you’re reading, nor with my Mistress series (also on this blog).
It wasn’t a Dutch blog post on books or film.
Nor was it a comic as I make for my account under my real name.

Judged by the laws of good business, I should have ignored the urge to share my thoughts on how to create an underground book business;
Except that of course, according to the logic of doing what lights me up, it made total sense to spent five hours on a Saturday morning, creating an entirely new unrelated blog, about writing and selling your own books in the Netherlands.

4. Keep your options open

This relates of course to 1, 2 AND 3!
Because as soon as you commit yourself, it becomes impossible to choose your own company, schedule your own time, work regardless of outcome, and do what lights you up.
In order to live by value 1 to 3 you have to keep your options open, so that you can move freely.
This is how I know my ideal business can never be based on selling my time.
And I didn’t like that!
I was almost like: “Oh no! No one does that! That’s not even possible!”
And who knows, maybe I will succumb, and create an online business.
Which still leaves me a lot more freedom than having to go somewhere and selling real life hours.
But as soon as I commit myself to delivering certain services, at least I know what I m sacrificing.
I’m aware it will cause stress.
Whereas things on my schedule that don’t make money, and are based on good will?
Those feel more like a lover-mistress relationship!
You plan something but both of you are aware that if the other person changes his or her mind, you have zero rights.
Both of you know that you still have to work for it, to actually make it happen. You can never take the other’s presence for granted.
Because he or she is just like you:
Completely free.

And that, is The Way of the Mistress.

An unexamined life is not worth living

Vogue is the forty-third chapter from Project M. 

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Now I m following you

After creating her daily schedule for success in every area of her life, Lauren looks for guidance on a pressing business matter.

Within hours of solemnly swearing my entire business model would be exclusively based on selling books, I found myself inspired to register as a company, start giving some sort of coaching, get paid gigs for public speaking AND SO ON!
Thank goodness I postponed these decisions to February when I will have a cat, and be my normal self again.
And also thank goodness I realized as early as this morning that these were all terrible ideas, or at least premature and not thought through.
But nevertheless it gave me a good scare that I had so easily succumbed to boxing up what I do into a business, an identifiable service again.
Had I learned nothing?
Did I actually have to tattoo all the reasons I didn’t want a normal business, on my forehead, in order for me not to forget?
So instead of diving right into writing this post this morning, I gave myself unlimited time with my favorite coach Katrina Ruth.
I read everything she posted the past couple of days plus a long blog about her early days: How I Quit 1:1 Personal Training and Created a 50k+ Per Month Online Business Part OnePart TwoPart 3 Part Three epilogue
(Kat never wrote part 4)
It took me 3,5 hours of reading, journaling, thinking, and I was so grateful I knew her. I have followed her since late 2016, and she has changed my life.
Or to be exact (I m sure this is how she sees it): I changed my life, but she was the only coach who could support the process all the way through.
Even today, when I needed confirmation that it was okay to focus fully on purpose work, and to let go of the idea of creating or adjusting something so you can sell it and meet your income goals, she is the one I know I can turn to.
So I did that, and although it was still a bit uncomfortable, to take all that time to dive in so deep, before writing, I didn’t regret it.
Because I found that what I was currently doing in “business”- going entirely against the grain – was something I have been doing for years in my love life.
Where I don’t have a normal relationship, but I am someone’s secret mistress.
And in my case, being a mistress and doing my purpose work, turned out to be the exact same thing!
The mistress is someone who is with a man, only for the pleasure of the moment. She doesn’t do it because she’s looking for a partner, or because she’ll get something out of it, in a normal sense. And she’s not with him because she’s afraid she’ll end up alone, or because he’s a good man and he “will do”.
Instead, she adores him, and loves him, and can’t think of a better way to spend her time.
The outcome, the reward is in the moment.
Doing your purpose work has exactly the same characteristics;
You don’t do it because you’re paid, not because it brings you stability, or any future outcome. The joy is in the doing.
And the reason I have always seen deeper meaning in seeing myself as a mistress, is because I believe my entire life should be lived this way.
Nothing should be done for a future outcome.
Everything should be done for the joy of doing it.
And that’s when I knew how I could always stay true to my nature, and never stray from the path again. I could make sure future “business” decisions were aligned with my deepest values, by asking myself:
Is this *insert random business decision* something the mistress in me would like to do?
Next time it will not cost me 3,5 hours to figure out where I went wrong.

An unexamined life is not worth living

–> 17 December start of Katrina Ruth’s new program EXPANSION
10 Days of Live Soul Transmissions, to Help You Find and Follow the Messages Within 

Now I’m following you is the forty-second chapter from Project M. 

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Lauren still hopes she’ll wake up one day with nothing to write, and copious amounts of time to publish her new books, kick her ass into shape, and get laid.
But it is not today.

I honestly thought that if you don’t have a life – or at least not beyond envying other people who do have lives – that at one point the stream of thoughts that need to be written down before anything else is even allowed to enter the head space, would stop.
It’s a fair assumption.
Once you stop the input, logically speaking, there shouldn’t be any output. 

Because what on earth could I possibly be writing about?
The sixth time I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody? 
I already did that last night. It was in Dutch.
That I feel uncertain in my relationship with my lover Mr.Big?
Did that twice.
Once in my post as The Mistress Speaks on Tuesday, where I describe having a lover as a luxury.
And I poured my heart out about inadvertently harming our relationship in yesterday’s diary entry.
Writing to me is the final stage of a thought process. I m not a writer, I am a thinker. Which explains why I always feel so relieved once it’s out there.
Then I can let the thoughts go.
Sometimes new thoughts arise, on the same movie, topic, or about my relationship with Mr.Big. But when I write, I empty out.
And am convinced I covered all.
And indeed, I don’t have anything more to say today, about Bo-Rap, or my complicated mistress status.
And yet when I started my day, which was supposed to be all about doing yoga, getting fresh air, and building my Dutch web shop – not about writing – I couldn’t make myself do any of those things.
I knew I had to write, organize my thoughts, and sharpen my vision for the future.
I could already see the shapes of it, and knew this was going to be one of those posts, I would want to print out and live by, for the upcoming months.

Write every day

This really should be a no-brainer by now. Writing is my internal compass, without it I get lost and the feeling of “Where am I?” just keeps building up.
Until finally it finds it sweet release.
I will write on this blog, in my diary and for The Mistress speaks.
As Lauren Harteveld I will also write for my Dutch site, about films and books.
And under my real name, I will write comics about a little duck.
So you won’t necessarily see me here every day.

young and healthy body

I keep getting the number “15”; the body I had when I was 15.
Maybe it’s the virgin-esque ring to it, I don’t know. But I do know that I enjoyed my body so much when I was young. At my parent’s house they had a mirror in which you could see your whole body, while you were taking a shower.
I loved doing that.

My physical exercise consisted of cycling every day, except for the winter months.
I weighed only 55 kilos, or less. This is the reason I don’t understand why this number keeps popping up. I think 55 is too low to carry much muscle.
But from this day forward, right after writing, I will go out every day and cycle, and/or do yoga for a minimum of one hour.
I want to have that body back where you’re looking in the mirror:
“Oh… that is nice!”

Build a Business versus publish books 

For the past couple of months I ve actually been pushing back business building activities (selling books and growing following), because I thought it was more important to get those new books out first.
But the truth is, that the practice of working your business is just like exercising, daylight, and writing;

You feel totally disconnected, if you don’t do it regularly.
Whereas creating my new books is more suitable for bigger time slots, and it doesn’t respond very well to being done half an hour at a time.
Both business activities and book creation can be done in evening hours – they require little band-with.

So before I ruin the entire set-up by giving you my number one priority, which has the potential of causing lasting chaos, let me scribble down the schedule, that will be mine from this day forward, until the day I die

Work & Life Schedule Lauren Harteveld 
start date: Thursday December 6, 2019
end date: till death do me part

AM first thing: WRITE
And publish/ post to a blog (providing I have wifi and a computer)

2 PM latest
walking, cycle and/or do yoga

business building activities and admin

create new books

The ONE thing, that is allowed to throw everything upside down, is:
I feel I m barely living.
As if I have a deficit in every human interaction imaginable. From not seeing family often enough, to having way too little sex.
And the sex thing is a difficult one, because I made a rule that I will never again, in my life, have sex without being in love.

I m just not going to do it.
I did that for eight years, dating and rebuilding my sex life, and sex when you’re not in head over heels in love, is haaarrrrrd.

All the dates where you basically have to ignore all the things you don’t like, in order to get laid. It’s just not worth the hassle.
Especially not since I now have four years of sex with Mr.Big in my pocket. So I m spoiled rotten. I know at least of one man who knows exactly what I like, and is fully capable of giving it to me.
But only ever so often.

To compensate I will invest way more in dating in a friend-like manner. I already have male friends, but I will start dating more. Going out more.
If I meet someone I also want to start an affair with, that’s cool.

But I don’t really expect that.
I fell in love this year with someone else. So I know it’s possible, but also like I already had my chance. That I will not get another chance like that. But I m just going for more dating, more friends, more fun.

So that’s it!
My New Life Plan, which unfortunately doesn’t have a name.
And in twenty minutes it’s 2 o’clock and according to this blog post I have to leave for daylight, cycling and/or yoga.

So I ll let you know how it goes, my new life plan without a name.

I m going for the body of my 15 year old self;
A successful writing business;
And the sex life of Mata Hari.

An unexamined life is not worth living

More is the forty-first chapter from Project M. 

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Sooner or later

Dick Tracey:
“Whose side are you on?”

Breathless Mahony: 
“The side I’m always on. Mine.”

For the past couple of weeks, I ve been wondering: Why is this so hard?
Why don’t I feel light, relieved, and hopeful, about having another identity? Another career? 
Wasn’t this what I always wanted, to be a full-time writer?
It’s not the writing in a narrow sense that interests me. It’s the expression of ideas. To be free to think and to say what I want.
I have all the time in the world, and no appointments since I don’t have clients in terms of people who are buying my time, or my presence. Not even online.

I sell books, and I create new work only from soul.
Then WHY does it feel like I’ve lost something?
And not just something…. something extremely important. Something that has most likely been there for a very long time, but which presence I didn’t feel until now that it’s gone.
And then I knew it…
Yesterday, when I was having my second fit of jealousy in a pretty short time, that’s when I knew what was up.
First of about that jealousy: It’s a returning thing.
As a mistress it is my nature to long for taken men, who have at least one other woman in their life. Yet even after four years, whenever I feel left out of Mr.Big’s life, I can still worry there is someone else.
I don’t so much fear Mr.Big choosing his wife, and wanting to be monogamous. That would be painful emotionally but ego-wise it wouldn’t.
It would be an admirable choice, coming from a longing to be normal and do the right thing.

No, I m talking about the risk of him actually falling in love with someone else.
Or getting entangled in a web of vulnerability and possessiveness of someone most likely way younger than we are.
That is when ego and heart are stabbed at the same time, and it keeps me up at night.
It was through these returning cycles of jealousy, far more frequent than usual, that I knew something was up. Either with him- that there was more at play than he cared to share, and I was picking it up telepathically.
Or there was something wrong with me, and I was projecting my insecurity onto him.
Last week I concluded that it was probably a bit of both.
But now that I was struck with a second fit of jealousy, and feeling even sadder than last week, I wasn’t so sure I understood this.
And I dug a little deeper.
Why was I feeling so insecure, jealous, sad, when I had just chosen my dream life, dream career also? To become the famous LS Harteveld.
And then it hit me.
Of course.
By becoming Lauren Harteveld full-time, I had created a path for myself to grow. But what I had not realized, was that I had also cut off all paths, that required me to play small.
Where I was an out-of-work yoga teacher, with a time consuming hobby called writing.
Where I fell in love with Mr.Big, in 2018 or 2019.
And he divorced his wife, in an elegant way. Pretending it was shortly after we met.
I would write in my blogs Mr.Big and me had broken up, and I had met this new man.
And never speak of “Mr.Big” again.
I would sacrifice my story, of our secret love affair’s happy ending. All in order to make things easy for him and his family.
The reason I had suddenly become hyper aware of how vulnerable my position was, the moment I chose to be Lauren Harteveld full-time, was because I had inadvertently made a drastic choice.
That I was writer first.
Lover second.
And bending over backwards to save everybody’s feelings, never.
Not even my own.
Although I believed my choice to be Lauren Harteveld was the right one, and ultimately inevitable, it had marginalized my chances of getting what I wanted most:
Mr.Big by my side.
I had every right to feel sad over that.
And so did he.

An unexamined life is not worth living

Sooner or later is the fortieth chapter from Project M. 

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