I Dreamed Of A Silver Beaked Raven

The images I could find, of real birds, did not come close to what I saw in my dream. Even the word “raven”, must be seen as a perhaps too eager attempt, to determine what the dream was about.
Ravens are spirit animals, they have a meaning in all nature based religions. They are also biblical animals as they refused to come back to Noah’s arc and chose to feed on the carcasses the flood had left.

Ravens are high in symbolism, and when you dream about them, you can find a thousand videos on YouTube about what they mean.
Except:
It wasn’t a raven.

It was a slender looking bird, and if it had not been for the fact that its beak was made of silver, I don’t think we would have been watching it.
“We” were the residents on a square, dome, or mall. It most closely resembled an indoor living community, with a lot of light. If you looked up you would see a few stories of balconies or hallways of the upper floors. But it was so large you would not be able to distinguish anything.

But towering way overhead, was a roof.
Like a dome that could hold an entire habitat or artificial climate underneath.
But that wasn’t the case: Aside from rain the glass roof was not holding anything out, and birds were not supposed to be there.
It wasn’t the ideal environment for birds, and although I m sure pigeons were common there, this bird was a special one. A true bird of paradise.
No one knew what it was, but looking up, the first people started to say things like:
“Look!”
“It’s silver!”
And then I saw.

It was a black bird, with long silver beak. Sometimes I thought it was elegant, a long bill curved downwards. At other times I thought it was sturdier, with a strong base on its face.
The bird was making hummingbird like movements, and possessed the long thin end on its beak, that I know only from hummingbirds. When landing it was clapping its wings swiftly, until it could hold on to something. Maybe a pole?
It was still too far up for any of us to reach, and other birds too, were flying around it.
Making it hard to think of ways to catch it or reach it.

The bird was black but there were white feathers on its chest.
Not spotted, like a sparrow. But like a few white feathers on its chest, just like most black cats have a few white hairs on their chest. We realized its white chest markings too, were most likely silver. But because we were so taken by its beak, and wondering how we would get him out, we were not particularly concerned with the chest.
But it was a beautiful bird, that much was certain.

A middle-aged woman in a long blue dress and curly brown hair, had joined us. She connected to the bird, who immediately understood she would take him outside.
He landed on her head, so she could walk outside.

We were all very worried that going through a corridor or tunnel, the bird would suddenly fly up and hurt itself.
But of course it didn’t.
It understood the purpose of letting the woman carry him, and sat down comfortable on her head.
It pulled its neck in, looking around with one friendly looking eye.

When I later looked for what bird looked most like this bird, it was this eye, at the side of the head not at the front close to the beak, that convinced me it had been a singing bird or non-violent bird.

The dream ended and I wondered what it had meant. The only thing I understood immediately, was that it had been positive. The people on the square had all been compassionate, and the bird had been beautiful. And everybody had trusted each other.
And a bird with a silver beak was of course a sign of prosperity.

When I later Googled for birds, I found a silver bird brooch that had the unique combination of a strong beak at the basis, but a long curled bill at the end.
I decided to buy the brooch, so that I would never forget the dream.
When I later Googled where the store or online platform was located I saw it was in the city of my dreams: San Francisco.
That is the city where Basic Instinct is situated.
Catherine Tramell has been my “writer persona” for ever. And it is my dream to once go on holiday or even write there for a month or a few months. In the town where Catherine Tramell has her beach house, in Stinson. 

The brooch, a Google search result when I was searching for the meaning behind the dream, came from there, my personal holy ground when it comes to what I consider to be success in writing.

But there was more. Because another picture came up. That of the medieval plague masks. These masks have a story of their own, because there are signs they were never used as such. And that it was actually a Venice masked ball invention, which was incorrectly classified as something plague doctors wear. 

But wether the medieval plague beaks were really used by doctors, or not, is besides the point I think. Because it gave me the clue, I had managed to miss.
That the beak in my dream was of course, a reference to the pandemic.

And it had a silver lining.
The people were working together.
They were all in awe of beauty, and there were those among us, who knew what to do.
They had a deep wordless understanding of nature, of animals, and the bird of paradise who had visited us under our dome, where we were keeping the world out, that bird understood she would take him out.

The time has come, to leave our dome.
The time has come, to live.

.
Suzanne L. Beenackers

I would love to know which parts spoke to you. You can share in the comments,
or include a note with your donation on Paypalme 

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You can find my books The Little Mistress Who Turned Into A Baby Koala
A Boyfriend Like Jon Bongiovi and The White Tigress Yoga Workbook
at the bottom of this page:
https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/rockstarwriter

Also by me:
my personal Twitter account
Rock Star Writer
Rock Star Writer on Facebook
Art & Popular Culture: World Between Worlds (current site)
Yoga Blog: Daily Bon Jovi Yoga

Liefdeseend en vintage yoga (Nederlands/ Dutch)

beertje Puux op Facebook (Nederlands/ Dutch)

Rock Star Business: New YouTube channel on how to rock your business like a pro

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photo from the series Girlboss (Netflix 2017)

Just as I was considering writing out the pretty lengthy description box of my Rock Your Business video, into a blog post for this World Between World blog;
YouTube stepped in before I could even weigh the pros and the cons on making cross-over content, reposting a video as a blogpost (a practice I support in theory yet usually end up not caring for at all, when other YouTubers do it);
Before any of those conscious decisions could be made, YouTube already started flashing red lines in my face that my description was WAY too lengthy!
It wasn’t having any of it!

If I wanted to post that video, I had to cut corners with my description, and my model of the three different types of businesses, and the fourth one, the Rock Star Business, would just have to be crunched into bullet points or something.

Naturally, I could not allow for that. 
So here it is! The description slash blog post YouTube refused to post.

And the official launch of my new business channel.
From now on my new business channel, Rock Your Business, will focus exclusively on the Rock Star Business.

Subscribe to Rock Your Business here.

There’s no business like Rock Star Business: channel introduction 2022

The past 3 years – or perhaps the past 30! depending on how you count – I ve been knee deep both in studying business models, as well as in having a business because I was a professional yoga teacher.
And trust me when I say, it was a messy journey!

And a preventable one, ultimately, had I known then what I know now.

Which is that there are THREE types of businesses, which I did not fully understand to be entirely different things.

The three types are:

1. the service provider

makes money from selling their services (hours) but their time investment/ non-monetized hours could be as much as double that.

Focus of the service provider is on the well-being of their client or customer (helping), and they position themselves as an expert in their industry including taking regular extra training, diplomas, and professional specialization.

2. the entrepreneur

Makes money from selling a package, or a clearly defined experience.
Not only does an entrepreneur have a clear vision about which hours are connected to cash flow, and which are non-money making activities (minimizing the latter);
But the entrepreneur can even make money without selling hours, which is called passive income. This means they sell automatically, with payment and delivery handled digitally, and they do not have to do something nor do they have to invest time later.

Focus of the entrepreneur is on the well-being of their business, which is a separate entity that can ultimately be ran and sold independently.
A good book to read how to get from 1 to 2 (how to stop seeing yourself as a service or goods provider, and uplevel to being a business) is
The E-Myth Revisited
Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
by Michael E. Gerber

3. The Artist

Instead of designing their work around their clients or business, an artist builds their work around their art.
Some artists make work they can sell, but the focus of an artist is to work on their art. Not their client, nor their business or income are a priority, but the quality of their work.

Artists who want to monetize their skills in the form of a professional side career or side-hustle should focus on how to become entrepreneurs, and how to package up what it is they can do in a way that is guaranteed to make money.
For example as a photographer, have a fixed fee on your website for photographing a wedding or a studio photo shoot, and avoid terms like “tailored to your needs”.
Artists who want to provide for their creative projects by making money from their craft, must avoid the trap of becoming a service provider. There are too many unpaid hours there.

And here is my fourth, and new, business model: The Rock Star Business model.

4. The Rock Star

If you are a rock star, you re in an equal, non-monetary relationship with your fans or audience. You probably don’t even know who paid you and who didn’t.

The audience knows what the Rock Star has on sale (albums, concert tickets) but their bond is defined by being in a relationship with each other.
The Rock Star with the audience or fans, and the fans or audience with their Rock Star.

Their relationship is one of great freedom, and without any promise of continuity. Each party can leave, whenever they want to.

– The freedom;
– the equality between parties;
– and a relationship that is not defined by monetary exchange;
Are all unique traits of the Rock Star Business, that are not found in any other business model.

My business channel will all be about the latter from now:
How can YOU change your business into a Rock Star one?

And if you do choose to monetize your skills for extra cash flow, how can you make sure you focus on the money making activities, and avoid the traps of doing a lot of work for free?
Doing the majority of your work for free, not being paid in advance, and other practices that are (in my opinion) a disservice to everybody, including your clients, are so common in a lot of industries.
How can we avoid them? One of the many things we’re going to find out in our work together.

Watch this first video about the bare bones of what it means to have a Rock Star Business.
Or watch it at the bottom of this post.

And rock on!

Suzanne L. Beenackers

I would love to know which parts spoke to you. You can share in the comments,
or include a note with your donation on Paypalme 

Subscribe to this blog World Between Worlds and receive these in your Inbox.
The button is on this page, probably somewhere on the right.

YouTube Rock Your Business
YouTube Life lessons in Bon Jovi songs 

You can find my books The Little Mistress Who Turned Into A Baby Koala
A Boyfriend Like Jon Bongiovi and The White Tigress Yoga Workbook
at the bottom of this page:
https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/rockstarwriter

Also by me:
my personal Twitter account
Rock Star Writer
Rock Star Writer on Facebook
Art & Popular Culture: World Between Worlds (current site)
Yoga Blog: Daily Bon Jovi Yoga

Liefdeseend en vintage yoga (Nederlands/ Dutch)

beertje Puux op Facebook (Nederlands/ Dutch)

 

If we want to keep yoga in our neighborhood, we have to act.

Today I received my first debriefing on the current status of yogaland, since I m looking for ways to start teaching locally again.
Ironically, I only intended to teach to friends, since I gave up being a business owner slash yoga teacher, in 2020. Covid had taken away my last classes, I stopped two weeks before the official decree came, when the time I spent disinfecting the studio after class had become the same length as the time it took me to teach it.
But there had been more.

Two years earlier I had downsized, only teaching at my own small studio and no longer renting extra space. And when I ultimately ended the lease of my unused studio, late 2020, I still did not fully grasp why being a yoga teacher had not worked for me. Why there had been something not working, way before Covid.

Why I had always felt there was something inherently “off” with being a yoga teacher, without any concept of what that was or how to improve on it.

I was empty handed and could not offer any consolation or alternatives, to my fellow yoga teachers, not to my yoga students, not to myself.
Which was less dramatic than in sounds because aside from my own yoga students – who were of course affected by me not finding my way around being what they wanted or perhaps even needed me to be- aside from those directly involved, everybody else seemed to be fine with the dominant business model of students paying a yoga studio, a gym, a community center, or an independent yoga teacher, in order to attend a real life class. 
I seemed to be the only one who felt something was not going the way it should be.
And even I did not know what it was.

The history of yoga as a business, or teaching yoga providing a full income, is a relatively new one.
In the 70s and 80s yoga had been the domain of alternative communities and women, in particular in The Netherlands where we have a high percentage of home-deliveries. For decades prenatal yoga was the most dominant recognizable “type” of yoga.

But yoga changed with the arrival of Ashtanga yoga in America.
Ashtanga yoga is a very athletic form of yoga. It was already in America but it really propelled yoga into a whole new universe, as the go-to exercise, when Madonna revealed it was her yoga, in 1998 when promoting her album Ray of Light.
The more athletic forms of yoga were embraced by the fitness industry, and in their slipstream all other forms of yoga and meditation followed.

At the beginning of the 21st century, yoga studios were still an absolute rarity in The Netherlands, but in America they had been on the rise since the 1990s. As had the intensive teacher trainings  and rise of teacher trainings at large, that were needed to accommodate these studios, and meet the high demand.

Around the turn of the century I began reading the American Yoga Journal. To this day, this blossoming yoga culture with its rich and colorful studios, remains one of my biggest inspirations.
Drop-in classes, unlimited class passes; It was all unheard of in The Netherlands, with the exception of a few yoga studios located in the largest cities of The Netherlands such as The Hague, Amsterdam, and Utrecht.

I soaked up the concept of how these professional yoga studios were ran, what message they presented, and how amazing they made me feel.

Around 2015 online business coaching had started to take a leap, and I worked with a Canadian business coach.
But to my deep frustration, it did not have any effect.
It inspired me, but I felt it did not inspire my students at all, nor did I get any new ones other than from Google advertising which did not require any marketing skills just spending money.

I also studied marketing for yoga studios with two other teachers, although not one-on-one, and I learned about marketing for health coaches and therapists, which was already more general than a focus on how to make a living teaching yoga.
Then I went on to studying marketing of how to run an online businesses. These coaches were also very mindset-focused.

From 2017 and up, my study was no longer of diversifying yoga classes, knowing my audience, target group, niche, elevator pitch, and instead I learned how to create multiple online income streams.
For example: 1-on-1 coaching, group programs, home-study courses (pre-recorded material), selling books and membershipsprograms.   

But I only dipped my toes in the water, execution wise.
Online marketing or having an online business has never been my thing.

It was 15 years later, and all I wanted (still) was a colorful, rich, local yoga studio with drop-in classes, unlimited class passes, visiting international yoga teachers, and yet I was the furthest away from realizing my dream as I had ever been.
I felt like I had actually gone back, in going for my dreams. And was frustrated that I had been unsuccessful creating what I had wanted.

Yet, do you know what I did have?
I had the most amazing group of people in my classes, who by now had known each other for years, and who wanted fixed class times and a reliable yoga teacher. Every time I tried something new, or got new students, I realized I was unable to melt it all together and let the group grow.

I was not so much incapable of teaching classes within a tight community, because I adored my students and they are the reason I m currently looking into ways to start teaching to friends. They will all, one way or another, receive a notification or see a blog post. When I have my new intimate classes up an running (also Covid regulation wise) I will invite them back, and will be the yoga teacher they always wanted me to be.

But it wasn’t because I was unhappy with what I had created, that I failed to appreciate it.
It was because I did not know how to grow it. I didn’t know how to make a healthy business, out of it.

Sure! I had been originally inspired by the dynamic, early 20th century, American yoga business.
And the only marketing I understood – in hindsight – had been for those.

But I basically pulled out of my business not because the dream did not match reality but because it wasn’t growing. I quit before my classes or business would fall apart from natural decline in numbers, of people moving away, etcetera

I quit reluctantly.
And very angry with myself that although I had a Masters in business, had studied marketing both in the 90s as well as picked it up around 2010, specializing in 2015, and absolutely binging on it from 2017 and onward;
It had not made any, any difference.
My yoga business failed.

It took me until 2020 to figure out WHY even the best, most modern, marketing, tailored to my industry, had failed to work in the most spectacular way;

Because the marketing of local yoga studios cannot be compared to those of the biggest cities of America.

And if it had been available, I doubt I would have been inspired by marketing for yoga studios in small towns where maybe they had one or two yoga studios.
Because I was inspired by the buzzing streets of New York city where on the rainy dark streets you could see the foggy windows of a brightly lit yoga space, on the first floor above the shops.  
Or where you had to take elevators to the 10th floor, and the doors opened in the middle of a tranquil yoga shop where bamboo flute music was playing, staff spoke in hushed voices and students in colorful leggings walked around with a yoga mat under their arm.

The big difference between an inner-city, with an abundance of yoga studios, and a suburb or small town where there are only very few studios, is that if there are only few studios, it will be picked for its location and its convenience in class time.
All other aspects, even price, are of little importance.

In a small town or suburb, you can niche and market all you want, but even a class Badass Yoga for Badass Motherfuckers, will only attract an audience if it’s at 8 PM on a Tuesday. 
And it will be people who would have preferred the thing to be called just “yoga”.

Yet after solving this riddle, after understanding that in a smaller town you let go of the New York dream, and go for generic, community focused, weekly classes, for a broad audience, and absolutely ignore everything anybody has ever told you about marketing?
I was on absolute fire!

Not only was I relieved that I had finally answered the riddle and knew why I had failed;
But I was excited!

So excited, that if it had not been for Covid, I would never have ended the lease of my yoga studio, and would have rebooted my group programs, with so much enthusiasm!
I would have STEPPED ON IT in 2020, and be reborn the happiest yoga teacher in the history of  the world. 

Except: there was Covid.
And instead of stepping on anything, I had paused my classes for friends when Covid started and ultimately ended the yoga studio and my business December 2020.

Because of Covid, 2020 was the worst time to be a yoga teacher, topped only by 2021. Which has beaten 2020 as worst year of being a yoga teacher. At least where I live.

But you know what?
This post is absolutely not a story about feeling sorry for me, nor for the yoga industry. We have the option of transferring our work, which is teaching yoga, online.
The thing we get PAID for? With a few modifications, we can keep doing it.

Sure, there are challenges to teaching online, and different rules to making it commercially successful. And some teachers will stop, but then others will take their place.
But as a whole, the survival of teaching yoga as a business model is definitely not at stake here.

What is at stake are our local communities.

What becomes clear now that yoga teachers are going online and the burden of taking care of real-estate and the costs of brick and mortar studios, when those studios can no longer be used (currently the Netherlands is on a 5PM lockdown and all evening classes are cancelled) or when your students cannot come because they are in quarantaine, or are not vaccinated (in The Netherlands you have to be vaccinated to enter);
That burden and those costs have become evident, now.

All those years, we’ve gotten used to the yoga community being there as a bonus, a side-effect, as not being the thing it’s really about, because we said we “did yoga” or “taught yoga”, and it was about breath, health, meditation, mindfulness, philosophy.

Well, what if we were wrong?

What if I wasn’t the only one who, in pursuit of a dream, failed to notice that the most valuable thing was right there in front of me?

What if we all failed to see, that the most valuable aspect of yoga in particular in smaller towns and suburbs, is not yoga;
It’s community.

It cost me my yoga studio.

Whether you have a studio, or are attending one, trust me when I say;
Save it.

Now that you still can.

 

Suzanne L. Beenackers
Paypalme

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new content soon:
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You can find my books The Little Mistress Who Turned Into A Baby Koala
A Boyfriend Like Jon Bongiovi and The White Tigress Yoga Workbook
at the bottom of this page:
https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/rockstarwriter

Also by me:
my personal Twitter account
Rock Star Writer
Rock Star Writer on Facebook
Art & Popular Culture: World Between Worlds (current site)
Yoga Blog: Daily Bon Jovi Yoga

Liefdeseend en vintage yoga (Nederlands/ Dutch)

beertje Puux op Facebook (Nederlands/ Dutch)

Dharma and Greg, where Dharma plays a yoga center at a community center

a case for sexual freedom from an amateur | + Rock Star Business preview (from a professional)

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detective: Are you a pro? Catherine: No, I’m an amateur. [Basic Instinct, video bottom of this post]

Within 24 hours I was invited to talk about sexual freedom, and also saw an opportunity to support someone who believes in sexual freedom and who was going through a hard time.
I noticed how I took up on the second, to give support but in private, and passed on the public one. I wondered why.
Why did I not speak up for something I believe in?
If you would ask me what my deepest value is, I would have answered in a heartbeat;
Sexual freedom.

And not just was I passing on the opportunity to speak up for it publicly this one time – to promote a book The Little Mistress Who Turned Into A Baby Koala
which I had labeled under polyamory, because I figured that was the best fit-
No, I was actually, and conscientiously, making a principle choice to never speak in favor of sexual freedom of any kind ever again.
Yet when I reached out and supported someone in private half a day later, it left me wondering:
Why?

Declining had felt aligned with my purpose, the unique thing only I can do.
That work is to teach Bon Jovi Yoga, in short.
And the elaborate description is that my purpose is to guide within a system, Rock Star Yoga, that will develop itself in upcoming years, 
Rock Star Yoga is the bigger picture, and less copyright infringed, version of Bon Jovi yoga.
Given this choice, it made sense I had decided to not speak on a subject that would divert from it.
I would never speak on the subject of sexual liberation, equality and diversity from this day forth.

Yet when I supported someone in private shortly after, and heard how passionate my words were, I wondered why was I keeping those words from the world?
Why was I not offering that statement in favor of sexuality, to everybody who needed support, and share it in a way so people could see it?

Because I did not feel it had been out of some concern that standing up would conflict with teaching Bon Jovi yoga. Quit the contrary!
I felt the two were related. 
But how?

Why had I both declined the invitation to speak publicly about sexual freedom, and supported in private, with an understanding that both choices were in full alignment not just with each other, but with the work I had decided to go public with as well?
How was that possible?

And suddenly I saw the light!
Through another area of expertise I feel very vocal about, even though it has nothing to do with yoga, nor with Bon Jovi, nor with sexual freedom (at first glance!), which is making money as an independent.

I do not say “as an entrepreneur”, because just like Rock Star Yoga is a system that is still developing itself, my “business model” too, the angle that I am going to take on this, does not have its feet under the table either. Let alone that I would narrow it down to being an entrepreneurial model.
That’s why I chose the word independent.

Since my last video for my business channel, this new business model is taking shape in my mind.
I know a lot more than I did then, but it’s not complete and I have not written nor spoke about it.

Which I will now, for the first time.

The new business model I am working on, and that I will start using myself as well as advocating it through the business channel to other service providers, entertainers and artists, is the Rock Star Business model.

Although I personally only encountered the following, old, business wisdom recently, since McDonalds invented franchising there has been a book available how to upgrade a business for the consumer market.
It moves you from doing, exercising a certain skill set (baking hamburgers and french fries), to creating a systemized business and a standardized client experience.
I know the words sound boring, yet this way of doing business does not just increase the value of what you are doing, because the customer now knows what to expect and you get a chance to specialize and keep improving on it, but it also minimizes stressful fall-outs and the daily hiccups of just winging it.
Standardization is as essential to the customer’s well-being as it is to yours.

It is sanity in the midst of chaos.

If they had taught us this book The E Myth at university (which they didn’t), or if they would have taught its principles on one of my two yoga teacher trainings (which they also didn’t) I would probably still have a regular yoga business.
Possibly even despite the pandemic.
Offering a standardized, meaning predictable high quality, experience turns your clients into fans. It has the potential to tighten a commercial relationship as close as family ones.

Perhaps even strong enough to sustain 20 months of Zoom connections.

So even without my new Rock Star Business – model, which will be developed in conjunction with my second yoga career, I could have made the first career so much better if I had read this book:

The E-Myth Revisited:
Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
Michael E. Gerber 2004, original 1986

The customer reviews under this book on Amazon, will give you an indication of whether or not it’s for you. Although I agree with the criticism on this book, and I also see why it’s not scientific enough to teach at university, it was eye opening for me to read.
Maybe not despite the lengthy, colloquial stories about building a business from passion;
But because of it.

If you want to build or rebuild your service based business, (owning a cafe, a barber shop, a yoga studio), basically any business where you are in control of the whole process from client intake to getting paid, this book will completely transform the way you think about your business.

Its biggest perks are increasing customer value and limiting your stress and making it more manageable, but the big fish is that standardization, when done based on a vision, a philosophy of what your company stands for, leads to business systems which then start doing the work for you.
It makes your presence in the business optional, not mandatory.
You can now afford to take time off if you want to or when you need to, and you can sell the business too.

So I say, regardless of its perceived flaws and the book not being the perfect fit for everybody;
Hooray for The E Myth
And I will share with you a private YouTube video to the audio book version so you can start studying this book that would have saved my first yoga career if I had known it.
And I will learn from it for setting up my second career in yoga, as an independent, as well as use elements in the Rock Star Business system.

But the reason I m not bitter over the fact that I did not know The E Myth, and that my first yoga career eventually did come apart at the seams, is because this system has its limitations.
Just like the yoga I taught had its limitations.

Having it fall down has given me this chance to rebuild them both, as a unique system I create myself. And not yoga or a small business, in the more standard way I did them.

I will never sign up for the full entrepreneur package, when I need just a few elements. In 2020-2021 it were small businesses, who had to execute Covid regulations set by Dutch government. Instead of confronting citizens directly, the government, meaning politicians, chose to put small business owners in the role of policing their own customers.
And this is on top of regulations about when you had to close, how many people you had inside, and so on.
It was easier to mandate business, than to individually try to control citizens.
And this is on a system that was already unfairly straining for small businesses, and easy on the larger corporations.
Small business climate in the Netherlands is so top heavy in administrative and legal load, that you have to ask yourself if you can even afford to have a business here.

The second time around I will be incredibly picky in weighing the pros and cons of every choice I make in business. 
Doing something (the actual work) should be a Hell Yes to begin with, but the legal side of it will be weighed more carefully.
Will the increase in possibilities, impact, and income outweigh the extra mental bandwidth, the liabilities, the hours spent on taking care of the administrative trail?

One of the reasons I ve often found myself making a case for sex work (one sex worker called me “sex work positive”, which I think must have been the biggest compliment anyone has ever given me) is because being an independent escort is in my opinion the highest level of being an independent service provider.
All service providers have got to do their own marketing, their own taxes, have a target market or a concept of who their ideal clients are, but independent escorts have to manage (and sometimes juggle) so many other factors such as safety and legal matters since most countries including the Netherlands, make it practically impossible to do your work without being burned at the stake.
And the actual work itself is also more complex, in terms of social skills, and knowing the basics or more of psychology and medicine.
I cannot think of a line of work where the professional has to be so professional, as when you are an independent escort.

As is abundantly clear from the last paragraph, sexual freedom and that includes the emancipation and normalization of sex work, is a topic I am passionate about. 
And yet, a chance to stand up and speak up for it?
I would pass.

An important note:
I think that no one should speak about sex workers, without a very good reason why that spot should not be taken by someone who actually does sex work.
Talk with sex workers about sex work. Period. 
It’s like if someone would ask me to talk about Bon Jovi, then I would only do that from the perspective of being a fan. Not an expert.
It is in those same terms you must see me wondering why I would decline having a public conversation about sex work.
Or why I would be clear on my motives for being there.
Regardless of the topic, I would be hesitant to take up a chair if there is a better fit, in particular if it’s a group often talked about.

However the offer I got this week, to stand up for freedom of sexuality, was not on sex work but on polyamory.
But if it had been about sex work it would have taken me even less time to see how it did not fit my agenda of setting up my second career, this time teaching Rock Star Yoga.

I would have said No.

I would have seen all the good I could do, and even would want to do, I would understand the necessity of speaking about it, and yet?
I would still pass…..
And now I know why.

I even know why not a day goes by without me thinking about marketing, business, and entrepreneurship.
As well as why I keep coming back to yoga over and over and over again, no matter how often I toss it in the bin of things that have become completely unusable because there is simply too much women-, body- and sex oppressing toxicity attached to it.

Because it goes all together. It ALL goes together! 
The sexual freedom I refuse to stand up for, even though it is my absolute highest value over all the others?
It becomes very difficult without the other two: Financial freedom and bodily freedom.

Financial freedom is needed because if your choices have financial consequences it is very hard to see what you really desire, and very easy to talk yourself into desiring what keeps you financially safe.
I believe the biggest amalgamating force of monogamy is because most couples simply cannot afford to be non-monogamous.
There is scarcity of time, money, resources (housing, in particular in the Netherlands), which means that most couples need each other, or that people need other people, in order to make ends meet.
The reason I m so passionate about thinking about new and better business models that are agile, and do not burden you the way small businesses in The Netherlands are, and also the reason I am so passionate about it! An at first sight dry topic as business development!- that reason is because let’s say the easy way, the most friendly way (for all those involved) to think about sexual freedom, is by first being financially free.
By first ensuring that your income stream is portable to wherever it is you end up, once you start giving yourself more space to move and more directions to explore.
And that how much money you make is enough to sustain you as a single.

Financial freedom as an individual, not a couple, gives you the luxury of being in the conversation with, and thinking about, sexual freedom without consequence. 
If you aspire to be sexually free, you should aspire to be financially free.
And if you want to be in this conversation with your partner, then your prime efforts should be in efforts to make you both financially independent.

If you want your loved ones to be free in choosing their sexuality; Support them in creating a business that does not conflict with personal growth and sexuality, but supports it.
Or, alternatively, encourage them to build a business like the E Myth books teaches, so they can sell it if they move on in life. 

But I think this article has kind of surpassed the point where we’re going to settle for a business we want to sell, wouldn’t you agree?

This insight was huge for me.
I now saw how my nothing-to-do-with-yoga-nor-Bon-Jovi eternal fascination with business and marketing, had actually been, and still was, a life-long devotion to, and understanding of, how financial freedom is the easiest road to personal and sexual freedom.
Tommy and Gina, from the song Living On A Prayer, were very lucky to have each other, but they also deserved to be financially independent and free.
Showing up for each other should have been a choice and not a necessity.

It became clear to me, that although the story of Living On A Prayer is beautiful in its display of true love, and a for all we know powerful monogamous relationship;
That I always, instinctively, refused to interpret it as romanticizing poverty.
I had wanted Tommy and Gina to be financially independent. It was why I was always studying personal growth, mindset, business and marketing.

It had little to do with big corporate things I learned at uni.
This was personal.

And now I could also see where yoga fit in.
It had been more than just wanting to teach it to Bon Jovi fans, a group generally not addressed by, nor attracted to, normal yoga.

Yes, Rock Star Yoga was indeed more than the fact that we’d make a cool bunch, more than the fact we speak each others language (we all speak Bon Jovi!) and that I look forward to the future where we can have post-Covid live classes, doing yoga to the beat of Richie Sambora’s talkbox.

Where my interest in business had the deeper lying motive to create more financial freedom for industries and for people who are traditionally excluded from wealth, or where only a few make it;
My interest in yoga and the reason I keep coming back to it, regardless of how many times I think I ve given up on it and let patriarchy have it and keep it;

Yoga was, and is, about freedom of the body

So the reason I do not show up to make my heartfelt case for freedom of sexuality, is because I put first things first.
Financial freedom, with Rock Star Business, which I will soon introduce on my business channel.
And freedom of the body, which I will pick up teaching Bon Jovi Yoga on my Dutch and English YouTube channels.
Those two precede sexual freedom.
Those two, financial freedom and the freedom of the body, give you a gentle, friendly path to walk towards your sexual freedom, even inspiring others to create freedom. 
Sexual freedom is for everyone and (not but) it is easier if you have a joyous, free relationship with your finances as well as your body.

The past two weeks have been stressful because I had many technical malfunctionings. All for the better, because this is my first post typing with a modern computer, the latest software, spiffy backup systems that were absolutely “about time” for anyone looking to set up a career from home.
And I have an internet connection faster than the speed of light.
But as is the case with these hiccups, leading to serious problems, and to things needing to be replaced;
It is seldom a clear cut path, and it was indeed stressful.

But at the same time I thank these weeks where all my available time went to solving problems, which often felt like doing nothing because more often than not I could not do anything-
I credit those weeks for this big picture vision I shared with you today.

I will be your professional for doing Rock Star Yoga and for creating a Rock Star Business.

And with regard to Rock Star Sex, I will be with you in spirit.
As an amateur.

 

Suzanne L. Beenackers
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My Best Life Is Ahead Of Me

2021 04 07 Being Free
caption from Lenny Kravitz: “Being free is a state of mind.” photo Karen Gault 2021 04 07

Suffice to say I was in need of some strong medicine.
Something to take the edge off, realizing how many talents, skills and joys I not so much “lost”, but that I no longer have access to, since the start of the pandemic.
Some of them which a comedian illustrating how complicated or impossible things are once you have kids, would qualify as:
“Things that you don’t even consider to be things will become nearly impossible.
Like leaving the house!”

Me leaving the house is not hampered by children not knowing where their shoes are, but by things like not sleeping, waking up sick every morning, and having social events being punishable by migraines.

But indeed;
Things that you didn’t even know were things, like sitting indoors in a group, and knowing you could be paying by ten days of quarantine for this debauchery.
Things like that.

I now understand how older people go from no longer driving at night time and quitting cycling out of fear, to hardly crossing the city border, in a very, very short time.
I get it.

But I have decades ahead of me.
Decades I do not intend to spend frickin’ tiptoeing around my health.
And I ALSO do not intend to spend them mending what was broken or recovering from what took me out.

I want it over and I don’t want to study, look back, nor give having had the mobility (as in travel) and resilience of someone sick or geriatric, attention ever again.

These lines of thought are not new, but what I have found is that I have been lacking vision of what I am working towards.
Only what I am moving away from.

And I mean on a personal level, because on a professional level I do know what my future looks like, and although it allows me free choice how I want to work, and I could do it all online;
I don’t want that.

I want to be free to travel the world.
And not just on a good day.

So that brings me to the second part of the decision;
I also want to get rid of the “good” habits, and of the truckload of unfulfilled resolutions, that I think I should have in place to “get well”.
Quotation marks means that about a decade ago or something, I saw a Dutch meme somewhere along the lines of:
“You’re back on your feet when you can do all the stuff that’s bad for you”.

In other words:
I do not want to micromanage myself out of this health crisis, only to then have to go to bed early, watch my caffeine intake and be careful with workload for the rest of my life. 
So that IS a decision I made today: No more tiptoeing and micromanaging. They are banned.

I also remembered how inspiring Lenny Kravitz is, and that’s why I used his picture with this article.
He lives in the Bahamas and frequently posts to social media, but gave a longer interview with Men’s Health last year.
Lenny Kravitz’s Guide to Immortality
Contrary to me, he does have a very strict diet and works out three times a day to support his physique, but that doesn’t prevent me from being inspired by what he says about aging and working out with his trainer:

“We always have a goal in front of us.
My best shape is not behind me. It’s in front of me right now.
We keep moving that bar as we get older.”

Lenny Kravitz Men’s Health

And although just like Lenny, changing my physique is definitely part of what I am going to do to bounce back from these past 18 months, and use those months as a springboard, it wasn’t so much the physical aspect of the quote that struck me most.
It was its potential to be not just body changing, but life changing. 

And then and there I made the decision, that;
Yes, I was gonna bounce back from this.
Yes, I was gonna stop micromanaging my health.
Yes, I was committing myself to a new career and a new body.
But mostly?

I would go on knowing that my best life was not behind me. 
My best life was not in 2019 before the pandemic started.
Not in 2007 when my new life as a single started.
Not in 2003 when I started my career as a yoga teacher.

And it wasn’t even in the early 90s when I was a radiant rock fan, who went to concerts fearlessly, alone, and who one night found herself in a hotel bar with Lenny Kravitz kneeling beside her and asking her her sign.

It wasn’t even then.

My sign is Leo.
My shoes are on my feet.
And my best life is ahead.

 

Suzanne L. Beenackers
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The Baby Koala Relationship; The Miracle Fix For People Who Love Each Other So Much Their Wee Little Hearts Just Floweth Over

 
female-koala-and-her-baby-1332217_1280

from a small guide:
The Little Mistress Who Turned Into A Baby Koala (October 2021)
This revised blogpost is its conclusive and most important chapter.

Chapter 3
“The Baby Koala Relationship; The Miracle Fix For People Who Love Each Other So Much Their Wee Little Hearts Just Floweth Over”

I’ve been single for 15 years, and before that I was in relationships for even longer.        
But one thing I never did, was working ON those relationships.
They just happened.     
And that was fine.

But when I noticed a dynamic where I was let’s say “not chosen”, by men I would love to spend my life with,    
AND I saw them happily heading for other women and other relationships where I could immediately see, I was not gonna do all that,           
I started thinking….

Although my intention when I became single 15 years ago had been to create an exciting love life with (a series of) multiple men, and not to improve on my relationships because they had been extremely good,
I found myself in kind of a post-doc trajectory on this journey of becoming good at being single.

A post-doc trajectory of what kind of relationship would follow on that.

After finding out exactly what made for a great life as a single, filled with love, affection, and some heartbreak too of course, but really great and exactly what I had been looking for, I was now PhD-ing on the next level of that.

If a man wanted to go next level with me, what did I have to offer?

If it was not everything I saw around me, where – in my opinion – the women were working their butts off to make the relationship work and the men were just hanging out in their lives until they got sick of it and then they behaved so badly they were basically thrown out?

What was the alternative?

If I didn’t want to be in a relationship where a guy could be so passive he didn’t even have to show up to break up because even that was something I (the woman) would do:       
Then how to start?

And it was on that quest that the Baby Koala Relationship emerged.

It is so good, that once you’ve read this article, not only will you want one;         
You’ll also totally be okay if the man or woman of your dreams chooses somebody else, because your desire for a non-koala relationship may have entirely evaporated, and you can easily let him or her go. 

I mean we’re always happy for them right?        
In an altruistic, Christian way of knowing that they should follow their heart and wishing them well.    
But in this case I mean that you’ll actually think:            
“Thank God, he or she did not choose me!           
Because I want a Baby Koala Relationship and that’s not what he or she is offering! Now at least I have a chance of getting that.”

The Baby Koala Relationship is so good, that you’ll wholeheartedly want that or nothing at all.

 

BASIC DYNAMICS

The Baby Koala Relationship consists of two people:

– one baby koala (daily form)   
   / adult playmate when having a date with the caregiver. The submissive.

– one caregiver (daily form)       
   / charmer and strong lover when having a date with the koala. The dominant.

You can compare it to the top and the bottom in gay relationships, or the dominant and the submissive in S&M relationships. It’s an agreement between two consenting adults, on the basic dynamics of their relationship. It simplifies their lives and adds tremendous joy to being together because it eliminates or greatly reduces the amount of necessary communication.

You can now also see, for whom this relationship model is NOT satisfactory, and that is for people who want to communicate about their relationship.                
For whom the tuning in to the dynamics of the day        
– who’s the strong one today? Who’s the selfish one? What needs correcting? What needs adding? What’s something to look out for? –
is the glue that holds the relationship together.

The Baby Koala Relationship does not have glue, the material cannot tear, and once attached to each other you cannot break it apart by refraining from daily touch ups.            
It’s sturdy as hell.          
It’s like two different parts that are a perfect fit, and screwed together with bolt and nut.

This is another great analogy: A Baby Koala Relationship can be UNscrewed, and then attached in another Baby Koala Relationship. And you can do this as often as you like. 
Whereas if you glue things together, and then take them apart, both parts could get damaged easily.

 

DAILY LIFE

The everyday life of the Baby Koala and the Caregiver, revolves around the daily care of the Baby Koala.            
The Baby Koala, perhaps unsurprisingly, blossoms when it feels loved, and there is clarity.      
Life must be predictable, and you must ask the Baby Koala simple questions, the same way you do to a toddler.

For example:

You’re on a holiday with your Baby Koala, and the Baby Koala is typing furiously on their laptop. Or they are drawing or painting. You can see that they are deeply submerged in their art.         
But it’s been over three hours since the Baby Koala ate, and you want to go on a city trip in the afternoon.

You now say:    
“Do you want cheese on your omelet?” 

These 7 (!) words, are all the communication you need to tell the Baby Koala:  
– that you’re going to lunch       
– and when you’re going to lunch           
– that it’s time to wrap up

If after lunch your Baby Koala says they want to finish something, you can agree on that. Or, alternatively, you can offer to take the city trip by yourself and leave the Baby Koala with its creative endeavors in the afternoon.

Baby Koalas are not companions who join you for your pleasure, but they’ll gladly join if they’re free.   
You must give them a choice though.    
So the key to taking care of a baby koala is to offer choice, but do not ask open questions about the day to day things.

This sounds like easy communication but it illustrates a caregiver should not ask a baby koala things like:        
– when are you finished with your art   
– when do you want to have lunch         
– do you even want to have lunch           
– what do you want for lunch

But:      
“Do you want cheese on your omelet?”

And then the baby koala will answer,   
“Yummy lunch! Yes! I am SO hungry!”  
or “Yummy lunch! No, thank you no cheese. I’m SO hungry!”

The baby koala is the most appreciative partner you could ever imagine.

SEXUAL LIFE

The sex life of this couple is separated from normal life, although this does not have to mean that they plan it.

It is possible that the dynamics shift, during everyday life;        
Where one changes the dynamics to mature, exciting, playful, as an open invitation to see if the other joins.    

Another alternative to setting a date night, would be to use Whatsapp, and send a sexy message.         
These messages are initiated by the caregiver, and are sent because she or he picks up on a vibe or feeling, a hunch, with regard to the baby koala.  
Or because he or she is inspired to make a sexual suggestion.

However, and this is super super important, sex is never suggested by the caregiver because he or she wants sex or feels entitled to have sex.
The reality is this:          
Sex is just an expression of the caregiver taking extremely good care of his or her baby koala.

–>>>>  A caregiver is therefore a man or woman who wants to conquer his partner time and time again.

And a baby koala is someone who wants to be conquered, over and over again. <<<<<-

So to say daily life and sexuality are “separated” means that there is no flirting or sex when they are in baby koala/ caregiver mode.

However “sexy” dates, time when they come out of this mode, are MANDATORY!          
But not for the reason you think.

For a safe baby koala caregiver relationship to work, it is very important that they both stay in check with their own sexual adventurous nature.

So when a couple has a date night the purpose is to support each other in their sexuality.          
What turns them on, what things would they like to try?             
What did they see on the internet that gave a physical reaction?             

Date night can mean that it looks like a regular date, where there is flirting, and the attention is very much with each other, ultimately leading to sex.

But the purpose is much broader;

Sexual time for this couple, or date night, means that it are the moments when both can be in their true sexual power, and can grow in their desires and what they want out of life. Including their sexual lives.

Date night, or the sexual moments are when the two partners claim their individuality, their true strength.     
And are comfortable acknowledging that they are ultimately both free beings.

They say the reason sex is so good at the beginning of a relationship, and often withers away after that, is because sex needs separation, in order to be good. If the two are already one, there cannot be good sex.

Date night and the sexual moments are there to honor and celebrate separation, and the strengths of two adults.

 

NON-EXCLUSIVITY/ SEX WITH OTHER PEOPLE

 

  1. FOR THE CAREGIVER

I don’t think it needs any explanation that in particular the caregiver is entitled to their nights out, and other partners on the side!       
Constantly paying attention to what the baby koala needs in terms of food, sleep, and if it doesn’t get overstimulated;
That really requires some downtime when you can be your adult self.

In order to do this, there must be clarity towards the baby koala about when the caregiver is gone, for how long he or she will be gone, and when he or she is coming back.    
And there must be a protocol the baby koala should follow when the caregiver does not return at said time.

In terms of Whatsapp conversations and so on, with other partners or interests, it is very important not to bring those dynamics into the relationship with the baby koala.      

Great emotional hygiene is asked of the caregiver:         
They can have other partners, but the daily attention must be with the baby koala.

When the caregiver returns from their time with other people, it is soothing for the baby koala if it can take care of the caregiver.           

Again; The way children make breakfast for their parents.          
So don’t expect the baby koala to have conversations with you, helping you articulate your feelings or such.     

But if you say that you will probably be tired when you get home, and ask the baby koala to help out preparing the lunch and letting you take a little nap in the afternoon, you will find him or her eager to take care of you.

Be specific in your requests, and the baby koala will take care of you with the same love and devotion that you have been taking care of them.

 

  1. FOR THE BABY KOALA

The dating life of the baby koala looks entirely different to that of the caregiver.              
It can best be compared to the way children have play dates:   
Anything can happen, and these dates are about growth as much as they are about pleasure.

The caregiver supports the baby koala in his or her path of growth, which requires flexibility and wisdom.         

You could say that the growth for the caregiver is much more in supporting the baby koala with his or her sex life, than through experiencing their own.

Baby koalas are emotional melting pots where all kinds of expected and unexpected stuff can happen.
They may run home crying and need immediate support, or they could text you that they would like to stay a few extra days.

As predictable and reliable the caregiver needs to be in communicating his or her out-the-door sexuality;         
That is how all over the place you can expect the sex life of the baby koala to be.

And again, emotional hygiene of the caregiver is what is going to save the day. Be clear. Do not project your own emotions on the baby koala, but think about what is healthy for him or her or be very clear on your boundaries.

For example: If the baby koala wants to stay on his or her date longer, but you are stressed out because you have been on call for your baby koala for 24 hours, you can tell or text the baby koala:        
“I’m so happy you’re having such a good time!  
You can stay, but I will not be able to meet you then when you get home.           
You can also make a new date with him or her next weekend.”

 

THE FOUR TENDENCIES

There is a book and a system from Gretchen Rubin. It is called “The Four Tendencies”, and it divides into four groups. It’s about how you deal with expectations.

There is:

– the Upholder, responds to outer and inner expectations

These are people that keep their resolutions but also their obligations to others.

– the Obliger, responds to outer expectations.

An Obliger will meet expectations of others, but not their own. This is why they need to create accountability, in order to do what they want to do for themselves.

– the Questioner, responds to inner expectations.

A Questioner will be more likely to do what they set out to do because it is important to them, and not what others expect.                
What they need to do before they can meet the demands of others, is to internalize these external expectations.           
This means asking questions and collecting data.           
As soon as they know Why, the expectation is internalized and they will have no trouble meeting them.

– the Rebel, responds to neither outer nor inner expectations  

How to handle the baby koala is similar to how to handle a Rebel, by what Gretchen Rubin describes as the three C’s:

– clarity              
You communicate without judgement, double layers, but most of all without expectations

– choice              
You give them the choice between staying longer or postpone to next weekend.

– consequence 
You tell him or her you won’t be home if they stay away longer.

I think the caregiver of this relationship, would be an Obliger; 
The baby koala gives the external accountability the Obliger needs, but will never take advantage of Obliger’s tendency to give too much.

It is much harder for an Obliger to not fall into the trap of giving too much, when he or she deals with Questioners and Upholders, than with a Rebel or a baby koala.  
And a Rebel or a baby koala can shield the Obliger from the expectations of other people.          
Because now the Obliger can politely refuse:    
“I can’t do it, I have to take my partner home.” (a baby koala)

The positive complementary relationship between Obligers and Rebels is described in the book:           
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin.           
And if you want to know if you are an Obliger, Questioner, Rebel or an Upholder, you can take her test on: https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/
Or search for videos on YouTube about this model.

 

CONCLUSION

As I come to the end of this post about this relationship model, I realize more than ever there is so much to be said about this relationship.
So many good stuff, about all the problems and traps it avoids!

And I could write just as much about its limitations. About all the situations where this model is not going to work.      
I knew this post could only be broad strokes, but I think it will be enough for the ones whom it is for.    
And they will have a place to start.                        
And thrive.        

 

Suzanne L. Beenackers
Paypalme

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The Sex Gratitude Journal

loveandlust_lock
A sex journal (not a gratitude journal) may be a better start. Buy at https://www.harvard.com/book/love_and_lust_a_sex_journal/ (the not-$100 on Amazon price)

 

If there is something I regret decluttering, it’s a journal I never quite found the right purpose for.
It was called Love and Lust, and it was written by Susie Bright.
Even though I loved its red cover and journaling cues, every attempt to use it stranded after a few weeks.
Upon which I cut out the pages I had used, I archived them, and stored the journal until I was inspired for a new project.

.
But after this week, not only would I have known the perfect way to use it, which is to turn it into a sex gratitude journal;
I would also understand that journals like this do not have to be used, in order to have value.
 
That journals like Love and Lust are valuable just for reminding you that life is there to be lived FULLY.
.
Something which can NOT be said of regular gratitude journals.
But let me explain.
.
dankbaarheidsdagboekThis week I bought a Dutch gratitude journal.
It was an impulse purchase at the checkout, simply because I could not resist its faux leather teal cover.
Maybe because there was a teal colored faux-leather gap in my life, now that I had moved the Deluxe edition of a Christian book “Fervent”, to my pile of books I would be selling.
I had loved the teal faux leather Fervent Deluxe cover.
But although my work is deeply rooted in unconditional love, acceptance and turning the other cheek;
A Christian I am not.
.
And without having left the premises, it created this gaping hole for the next faux leather teal colored book, with which I would get an equally ambivalent relationship.
.
Because when I was home I opened my gratitude journal, still unpacking my groceries. In between stocking my spare box of kitty litter at the bottom of a cupboard, and putting two large containers of strawberries in the fridge, I mentally started going over the damage of not being able to do the rest of my day’s planning.
This journal needed immediate work.
It was a stationary emergency.
.
So I got to work, starting by selecting a magazine to use for clippings. Which one would I choose? A yoga glossy?  A magazine for slow living? 
And then I noticed a sex magazine I bought years ago.
.
It had been one of the magazines that wanted an interview with my alter-ego, who writes a lot about sex. Only to then reveal the real request was to photograph me half-naked.
When the magazine came out with my peers who had accepted the offer, I had bought it.
.
I figured this lacy, sexy, magazine, was the right man for the job!
And got to work.
.
For 90 minutes I cut and pasted. I covered two pages of how you can make tooth brushing into an experience of gratitude. Pages with 30 tips on how to be more grateful . Pages with 100 tips how to be more grateful! 
Good Lord! How many more boring tips could this author come up with?
.
I covered every time it asked me:
What I had learned.
How I could see the bright side.
How I could stay still and let a meditative state of wonder fill my heart.
.
And I covered them with drawings from threesomes, tongues, leather coats worn by naked women.
I covered them with women wearing red lipstick, wearing a captain’s cap, wearing a black military-style cap.
I covered it with women running free, naked, over the beach.
.
The book came with a sticker, and after cutting off the website’s name (something about positive thinking dot nl, I think) I studied the text that was on it.
You will be surprised how far you can still go, after what you think is your limit.
.
I took the seals off and stuck the sticker on my two pages with S&M inspired goodies.
Surprise me, indeed.
.
And as I worked I wondered why this was so important to me.
.
Why was everybody satisfied not just leading a mediocre life,
where they were
not just putting up with it, not just allowing it
– because those were things I DID understand and fully
sympathized with! –
.
But why were they actually CULTIVATING it?
..
That was question number one.
.
But the other question was:
Why was I absolutely, wholeheartedly, not having any of it?
.
Why was I certain I would be finishing off my very soul, if I allowed for tooth brushing to be the gratitude highlight of my day?
.
And then it hit me:
“Oh! Wait a minute! This journal is for people who are not artists!”
.
People who do not live to CREATE.
Instead they live to do two things.
.
Either build, which is creation but it is bounded creation.
Building is creation within the limits of what you can control and then controlling it.
.
Creators ride the wave, having some idea of where it’s going, but ultimately accepting that it could kill them, have them, hurt them, but they ll be damn’t if they didn’t ride it!
.
Builders will only ride the wave if they know where it will take them.
.
Or alternatively, these non-artists, non-creators live to sustain.
.
Their dominant is a sustaining energy.
They make sure that relationships, property, companies, people, stay in good shape by nourishing them, cleaning them, maintaining them. 
The sustainers are the glue that holds the entire world together.
.
When people say that the world is falling apart, what they mean is:
The sustainers can no longer do their work.
.
And the reason the sustainers cannot do that, is either because the builders build too much, too much to be sustained. Compare it to customer service, which is the sustainer side of manufacturing/ creating software or products. Or they can no longer do their sustaining work because resources have become too scarce.
 
But the artist is not part of this part of society.
The artist does not belong to either the builders, nor to the sustainers..
The artist’s first need is to create.
.
And there are only two sources of creation in this world, only two things the artist can turn to for inspiration . The two sources who create as well.
The artist can turn to God.
Or the artist can turn to sex.
.
The artist, however, cannot turn to tooth brushing.
.
As my gratitude journal came together I realized that this should be my sex gratitude journal. And that this probably did not just go for me, but for everybody who is a creator.
.
We are under constant siege from the builders trying to make us part of their plans to build. And we’re threatened by the sustainers pledging that since we are so resistant to making a life’s work out of being of service to others;
If we can please stop creating such a mess?
.
Can we please stop our disruptive, creative work?
.
Your sex gratitude journal, is where you write three things every day, that were spontaneous, not planned. Things that took over your life, your agenda, your hands, your mind, your body.
.
Three things that swept you off your feet with urgency.
Three moments you were overtaken by God, desire, sex.
Three moments when you remembered who you ARE and what you came to do here on this earth.
.
Three moments when you realize that the answer to the question
– if you could just be more of a builder
– or more of a sustainer
– or if that’s not possible, if you could please stop adding to the mess?
.
That the answer is always the same.
.
No.
 
 

Suzanne L. Beenackers
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Categories art

Fear Doesn’t Belong In The Driver’s Seat

“.

“If I ever have to cast an acting role, I want the wrong person for the part.
I can never visualize the right person in a part.
The right person for the right part would be too much.

Besides, no person is every completely right for any part, because part in a role is never real,
so if you can’t get someone who’s perfectly right, it’s more satisfying to get someone who’s perfectly wrong.
Then you know you’ve really got something.”

Andy Warhol

-1SeSPUMAGuDgso3mErLzQ_custom-Custom_Size___harry-benson-andy-warhol-new-york-1983

Yesterday was a biggie for me, as I pulled myself out of Alice’s rabbit hole, and back through the looking glass, and into the real world.
As described in yesterday’s post.

What I didn’t mention was that it was my second post of the day, the muse was incredibly intense in its presence. Or prolific.
The other post was a Dutch one under a pen name, about my conscious decision to get vaccinated, even though after careful study of this particular vaccine and other things considered, I thought it to not be beneficial for my own health.

I was indeed choosing to be vaccinated to “help” others. Not help as in that I believed my vaccination would technically help less people dying of Covid;
But because I believed a vaccination would help others to feel comfortable around me, and relieved I had been vaccinated.
Which in my opinion was an equally valid reason to get vaccinated, because ultimately if you do something for other people, it is none of your business why they want you to do that.
If you get vaccinated because you believe you are protecting your social environment for death, or from fear and worry, in the end, doesn’t matter.
Once you have decided you’re gonna take one for the team, you take one for the team.
End of story.

Except in my case, because I am a writer, I did feel the need to write out my exact considerations because I wanted to be able to read back what they had been.
Taking one for the team was going to be a conscious choice.

The most important reason that I hesitated, however, was because I believed it was a dead-end street. That giving into fear had in the entire history of the world, never been the wisest thing to do.
And after a year of lock downs, social restrictions measures and half of our economy immobilized, like cancerous limbs that were cut off to stay healthy;
I suspected the fear underlying this social self-mutilation would not be satisfied with me, or even the entire population, taking a vaccine.

My decision to take the vaccine was like giving an addict his or her heroine;
You knew it was only a matter of time because they needed more.
There was little reason for joy.

All this cannot be seen separately from my social phobia:
I have always thought people were extremely unreasonable in their social demands, of needing to be psychologically pampered before they were okay with… well, life.
They needed a delicate mix of acknowledgement, love, and empathy, or, alternatively, they needed to know who you were and if you were influential or if they could ignore you.
From the way I saw the world, people always needed my attention, my money, my approval;
And up until recently, my attitude to life was that this was a bad thing.

That it was an injustice that people needed me to behave a certain way, in order to feel good about themselves.
There was something very wrong about that, in my opinion.
So when Covid came in 2020, that I was now supposed to keep 1.5 meters distance, stay indoors, not see other people and so on and so forth, was just added to the pile of demands that I had to fulfill if I wanted human interaction.
I wasn’t happy with it, but then again, since I was already phobic of other people because I thought they were unreasonable in what it was they needed from me in order to have a normal human conversation, it didn’t surprise me either.

Just that when I realized I was on the verge of getting vaccinated when my number is up, I needed some alone time with my Dutch blog, to get it straight why I was choosing to do this.

Today I woke up, feeling the same dystopian feeling I have been having since spring 2020.
That feeling of: “Something really terrible is going on…. what was it?”
Oh, yeah. Covid.
Or to be more exact: The ever changing social dynamics, the always hungry beast of fear, that I m getting tired of feeding.

Because it’s never enough.

And then, suddenly, like a bolt of lightning!, I saw the truth which made me so very happy!
Not just because after a year of being haunted by my social fears, it finally gave me an action perspective, as psychology so beautifully puts it. But also because it was a great equalizer between me and “them”.
It snapped me out of my perceived loneliness that I had experienced because I had thought the people afraid of Covid, and therefor adding wanting me to make them feel safe to their pile of social demands, were different to me.
After the bolt of lightening, I no longer felt that.

The bolt of lightening was this:
Me needing “the public” or “people” to get over their need to be Covid-reassured, for example by me getting vaccinated;
That need, my need and waiting for that moment when there are no more facemaks, no more social distancing, no more frantic testing and stress when you get sick or cough any more than the years when we only had the flu;
That need of mine for “them” to stop their behavior that scares me?
Is exactly the same as their need to have their fears acknowledged, and their desire for “it” to go away.

I am giving away my power, and making this about something outside of myself, just as much as they do.
It doesn’t matter at all, whether you’re afraid of people’s impossible social demands, like I am.
Or whether you are afraid of death by Covid and therefor try to get your surroundings to behave in a way that is palpable or reassuring to you.

Fear is fear.
You have to cut the cord.
You have to put your foot down, and refuse to bow.

See it like those movies where they refuse to negotiate with terrorists:
Negotiating with fear is just as pointless. Unless, in theory because I don’t have examples of that, but unless just like in the movies you have a hidden agenda where you appear to be negotiating with the terrorists to buy yourself time to win;
Negotiating with terrorists or with fear, is a very bad idea.

And I m sure you remember the older, wiser cop or FBI agent, who negotiates the best, don’t you?

He or she does not get angry, or emotional, in their negotiations.
They hold the space, let the other do the talking, listen very carefully. They’re always polite to the terrorists but they don’t give anything they are not willing to give.
They don’t give anything without their end game in mind.

So do that. Stay calm and keep your endgame in mind.
Whether you feel fear for the virus, or you re suffering from a social fear like I do;
Hear it out, let fear speak.
.
But make sure it doesn’t get to drive the bus.
.
.

Suzanne L. Beenackers
s_beenackers@hotmail.com
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Categories art

That escalated quickly! Ended my project to be offline within 72 hours

“.

ade-amsterdams-most-legendary-clubs-1422362331657
Click for the article for legendary 90s clubs in Amsterdam. photo Dennis Bouman

“I have left the crowded squares, the public buildings, and now I am in a large spacious room.
I don’t know where, but I assume it’s where all art comes from:

That I am in the world between worlds.
.
And I ve taken my place at the table.”
.
.
That is how Saturday’s post ended!
Finally, after a long time of playing with the thought, I was going offline!
And I was going offline AS ART!

* heart eyes*!
.
I was literally so excited, I could feel my destiny being fulfilled.
.
You see, Covid started at a very strange time in my life.
A time when I had finally “accepted” (a literal coming to terms with) that I was a writer, and that I would be spending so many hours each day writing, sitting behind my desk.
Realizing that had given me inspiration to counter balance the indoor, solitary writing, with work with my hands, or in a venue or outdoor location.

Something in art or entertainment where both the real 3D space, as well as the real interaction with people were key.
.
Knowing I was already sitting on my ass for hours straight (last weekend I spent 10 hours per day writing or socially interacting at my desk), I simply didn’t have any ass sitting hours to sell, or to offer in exchange for some human interaction.
.
But I knew that after the coming to terms with being a writer, I would be in need of this real life. Whether paid or voluntarily work!
I needed to be saved from myself.
.
A desk, a writer’s internal world, is such an intense place.
We need “you guys” to, I don’t know, throw a cocktail umbrella at our heads or something, to wake us up from our artistic delirium.
We, writers, should not be left unsupervised, for days on end.
There was a reason Alice fell down the rabbit hole: she probably sat for 10 hours at her desk too.
.
So by the time Covid started I was very firm in my conviction I needed some scheduled live interaction, to save me from myself.
And then the pandemic came and I wasn’t the only was tied to their desk:
We all were.
.
And the jobs I had set my eyes on, either didn’t exist anymore because they usually involved festivities, real life interaction. Or if they existed, they had this whole layer of Covid etiquette, Covid hygiene, Covid expectations, and a ten day tail where you could be summoned to get tested if a colleague had tested positive.
.
So aside from the fact that all sectors I wanted to work at, were closed or worked in a way that was full of stress and lacked the spontaneity that had been its charm, the actual interaction with colleagues, customers or clients, no longer had the same charm as it did before Covid.
Like everybody, I minimized all social interaction, wrote and taught yoga online, and stopped looking for a job in the sectors I had wanted.
.
Initially, I thought I was just waiting for the storm to pass.
Until the real world had found its form again, and I could resume my plan.
And then something started to shift.
.
I think it was before the end of summer 2020, that I realized that after 14 years, I was no longer going to be a writer.
Instead, I would take the thinking and the vision, that had always been behind the writing, into the real world and express through the spoken word and performance art.
I would use the rest of this crisis to wrap up my writing (the majority of my work is written under a different name), consolidate my sites;
And then go professional as a speaker, thinker, performer, and have my published work (which would be about 30 books total) available online.
.
Even if I never wrote another word, I had written enough to speak about, and sell for the rest of my life..
I prepared for a professional life offline;
No longer as something that was nice to have, in addition to being a writer.
But instead of it.
.
I never wanted to spend another day behind my computer, ever again.
It was during this time, that a deep, burning, yearning, desire to go offline started to take shape!
Oh man, even thinking about it, makes my heart sing.
I have called it different things.
Analogue heritage: The skill to be in the real world and deal with real space, real people.
But it was also very much linked to Marina Abramovic and the awareness and acuteness of her work.
.
Just think of the impact of physical proximity/ touch/ live interaction after Covid! 
When all our minds are so programmed to start seeing other bodies as hostile.
.
Standing next to each other will be like standing next to a military man with an automatic riffle.
We don’t even need the shock-effect of the loaded gun, knife and self-infliction from Marina’s 70s work!
Another body already IS the loaded gun! 
Hugging other people already is self-infliction! 
.
The energy around physical interaction is so dense, so toxic, and the awareness of our own mortality almost tangible;
When people say things will go back to normal when it is “safe”? 
Oohhh… you have no idea what you are dealing with here.
.
Things will never go back to normal.
Not because situation is different; But because we are.
.
We are now suddenly aware that social interaction has a price. That having safe sex was just the tip of the iceberg; Every interaction can cost you your life, or the life of your family members.
.
The price of social interaction and NOT living solitary and working from your study;
That price is giving up having control over your hygiene.
.
And I m telling you from the bottom of my heart, that is a price so worth paying.
And not just for the few people you voluntarily see, but also for all the ones you accidentally meet or are standing next to in jam packed trains, or at concerts, or whatever.
But maybe that is the artist in me.
.
The idea that every person can kill you by their physical presence, is the most fertile artistic ground since the second world war.
.
And I could not wait to jump in and be a part of it.
The insight that my future lay in the real world, and that going offline would be part of it, started to take shape.
I was no longer a writer.
.
Last Friday I wrote for my Rock Star Writer blog, a post about that it was too early to go offline. Because I needed being online, now that normal interaction was cut off. I wrote, convincing myself, that now was NOT the time.
Posted the blog.
And realized: “This is bullshit. NOW is always the time!!”
So one day later, I wrote for this site World Between Worlds, the Day One post of my offline project.
Now was, indeed, the time to go offline.
.
I was very happy that despite Covid, I already started living that part of my life in integrity with how my life would be post-Covid.
I was already offline, meaning I used social media and email only deliberately. I did read news feed and watched YouTube. And although I knew that the news and the channels I watched, were pessimistic and could make me angry, I also knew I would not be able to stop that.
.
I was going into this offline project for life, so I definitely did not want to make it too strict.
.
But in the process, I either got it entirely backwards, meaning that it would have been a better choice to only do social media but no news at all.
Or, that it was just undoable.
.
That I had been right, Friday. That now was not the appointed time to go offline and assume my post-Covid artist lifestyle.
.
Because on Sunday, for the first time since last summer, I was back to only wanting to be a writer.
I had lost all desire to ever be part of the world ever again.
I would throw myself head first in the looking glass AND the rabbit hole and say to the Red Queen:
“Please take my soul and my head, whatever I need to pay to stay here, but don’t send me back up ever again.”
.
When I cut myself off from the digital world, it opened my eyes to the real world. And it was a world with people who had been so afraid of death and disease that they had blew it up, and destroyed it.
And I lost all desire to create art for them.
.
I felt like having a popcorn and watch the show.
.
I had told-you-sos and really’s? and a lot of you-gotta-be-fucking-kiddings growing in my heart, until I became more evil than the Red Queen, and started wondering where death would strike.
And looking forward to it.
.
Disconnected from my social media and without the comforting surroundings of my Inbox;
I started longing not just to withhold my real-life presence, my art, my empathy, and my love;
I started longing for it all to end.
.
I hoped that if death struck, or if the masses lost their minds and started to riot, they would take me first, because I no longer had anything I wanted to do.
Within 72 hours offline I had lost all purpose and desire to be part of this world. 
.
So after a year of Covid I am back to where I was. I’m standing in exactly the same spot.
.
I am a writer.
I live at my desk.
But I need something solid, something scheduled, in the real world.
And yes!
That will be speaking, performance, art.
That will all be there, as well.
.
But first there will be unlimited access to my socials, my Inbox, and ANY and ALL things digital my heart desires!
Ending this art project of being offline, after less than 72 hours.
.
Like Alice, I have woken up after a scary adventure and found myself awake, back at the riverbank.
The dark clouds have moved away and the sun is coming through.
.
.
.

Suzanne L. Beenackers
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But why is it art? | being offline is my art, day 1

lz49oouwu0i51As the day draws to a close, and I look back at how my first day in my New-Committed-For-Life art project “Being Offline Is My Art” went, I think I would label it:
A lesson in humility.
In particular because the difficult parts I expected, were not the actual difficult parts.
.
Sure, there were the drawback effects of realizing how often you grab your phone to open your email or social media.
And there were the blissful pure parts of the day where I had heightened awareness of everything around me.
Something I attribute entirely to not being on a digital drip the entire day. Of not having my awareness sucked into what I call “The Matrix’.
.
So that was the difficult part but also the benefit which I kind of expected.
.
But where I slipped were the online moments. Like this message I am currently typing here, straight into the Facebook box;
“Officially” I vowed to prepare all my emails, social media posts, in a separate Word file.
And to go in copy-paste and post. Although with emoticons, finding a picture and so on, it is not that clear-cut.
.
But the idea was pretty simple:
1. Type, prepare “offline” (on a not interactive software)
2. And then just go in to post.
.
I can tell you that works great for email.
Did that. Was great.
.
But really knocks the fun out of typing messages like this, or composing a tweet or shorter message which I will do later tonight for my Daily Bon Jovi Yoga project.
.
So that was a lesson:
If I want to keep this up, I have to give myself some slack and be generous in what I call “offline”.
Maybe you could even call it a project in practicing being offline. Not an outcome of being offline/online for an x amount of minutes.
At least not for starters.
.
So that was one practicality where things did not go as planned. Preparing work “offline” (meaning on a non-interactive medium) is painstaking and no fun, and only works for emails.
In particular because my spelling check in Outlook is broken, so the emails have never looked better now that they’re made in Word.
.
But there was something else…
Other than the humility lesson that “being offline” is more “practicing being offline” or “brave attempt to be less addicted and constantly checking my phone”.
.
The other thing was that the “offline” work time, so using other non-interactive websites or software, still drained me….
.
I had expected tonight would be totally different than I had been feeling the rest of the week!
That the anxiety that often haunts me, the restless energy that seems to build up during the evening because I m always on my computer, would be less now that I did not use interactive media.
.
Now that I had avoided a lot of checking and browsing, and had already had my peaceful blissful moments as a payoff, I was SURE the evenings would be swell!
Except they re not.
.
I feel just as “hit-by-a-truck how the fuck did I get myself into this?” as I always do around this time.
.
Just as “Oh, and then I still have to do yoga too…” wondering why I didn’t do that at a moment when I could still keep my eyes open.
.
So those were the very down to earth aspects of my first day of this new lifestyle “Being offline is my art”.
And yet, as humble these beginnings were, they did give me enough to start understanding why this is indeed an art project, and not a lifestyle choice.
It’s not digital minimalism.
It’s not a productivity tip.
It’s not me trying to overcome an internet addiction.
.
It is art.
.
Because just like people who live in a time-capsule, f.e. a house in the 19th century style, I do feel how this untethers me from modern culture.
.
I quit Netflix months ago, which is not an interactive medium at all, but I just didn’t like the endless possibilities it offered.
That was already a big step for me, because I liked being there. Liked watching what everybody else watched, or at least having that readily available.
I have written a lot about popular culture over the years, and although much was from the 80s 90s, I ve always gone through phases when what I wrote was more contemporary.
.
Like my Sex and the City phase, Vampire Diaries phase, and I watched all available episodes of Stranger Things and Lucifer.
When I quit Netflix, I knew I untied myself from that…
That I would not be writing about contemporary popular culture anymore which made me kind of sad.
.
But today, the first day of practicing being offline, was a deepening of that.
.
It was a realization that I was cutting myself off from normal everyday society. And that it had been inevitable.
That I had always known solitude and being solitary was my path.
.
Not in the yoga sense of meditating and turning inward and connecting with God.
I had not cut myself off from the digital world for spiritual reasons, at least not that clear.
.
Going offline is part of choosing art, the creation of it, and choosing to have a limited number of sources and input from others.
In particular input from non-personal sources, things you encounter because you’re on the internet.
I m not on the internet.
Hence: I don’t see them anymore.
.
I interact with other people (yes)
I investigate topics, I watch dvd’s, and I will also chat/ attend live streams.
But I will not be attending and interacting and going after, everything that catches my eye and interest.
.
What I make and write will inevitably be far less relatable than it has been.
And even the process will be different:
I ve been writing since 2006 under pen name, but always with all tabs open.
All social media open.
As I was typing, internet was my window at the world.
.
And it no longer is.
.
I’ve closed my digital work studio, where I have been having my adventures for the past 15 years and saying:
I live offline. I ve moved my art studio.
.
When I m online I am a tourist.
I am no longer a resident online, and not an employee with an online office.
I am no longer dating online either, although I stopped that in 2010 officially.
But I simply will not be online to build a relationship and meet people that way.
.
I have left the crowded squares, the public buildings, and now I am in a large spacious room. I don’t know where, but I assume it’s where all art comes from:
That I am in the world between worlds.
.
And I ve taken my place at the table.
.
.

Suzanne L. Beenackers
s_beenackers@hotmail.com
Paypalme

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