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Leadership is an inside game.

If I were to drill down to the very bluest part of the flame, the hottest truest mission of The School of Womanly Arts, it’s about feminine leadership.

It is my conviction that women are the greatest untapped natural resource on the planet. Feminine leadership is the medicine so desperately required by this world, at this time.

I am obsessed with this topic, and I have been for over 20 years.
It’s what fuels The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program, and why I’m hosting a free, life-changing intro weekend next month.

What do I mean by feminine leadership?
What does it mean to be a woman who leads, both on the inner and the outer?

And how can every woman serve herself up a heaping portion to break loose and discover the world she has been longing to not only create, but inhabit?

A woman who leads her inner world:

  • Is irrevocably connected to her source, her truth, her real, raw sense of Self that guides absolutely everything.
  • Knows that every drop of her storyline is designed to break and remake her into the woman she was born to become.
  • Is unafraid to buck convention and navigate her life from truth, not cultural expectations.
  • Inspires and uplifts those around her, because she lives and breathes the courage of her convictions.

Leadership is an inside game.

Feminine leadership must start in each woman’s inner world. 

This is where we will begin, at The Womanly Arts Experience in January, and this is the lofty, beautiful objective of every course we offer at the School.

Every woman deserves to see, eyes wide open, where her storyline has been stunted inside a culture that devalues the feminine. And to know that she is capable of reconsecrating her sovereignty, over her own life.

But it does not stop there. 
It cannot stop there.

This work is about reclaiming pleasure, turn on, joy, emotional truth, receiving — yes. It’s about creating more enlivened, joyous lives.

But the next step is inevitable and deeply necessary:

When a woman leads her inner world, it cannot help but emerge in the outer world. 
We need feminine leadership not only internally, but externally.

We need feminine leadership – women’s voices raised, women standing as decision makers. Women bringing the values of the feminine, like:

  • Collaboration, connection
  • Deep connection to her full range of emotional truth
  • Surrender, receiving
  • Creativity
  • Intuition
  • Plugged in to sacred power

We do not have to look too hard, to see that we have a long way to go.

We live in a world that is extremely hostile to the feminine. And we take that hostility very personally.

I am so deeply interested in why why why women shy away from leading.
Why we batten down the hatch on our truth, and choose to silence our own voice.
Why we look outside of ourselves for guidance.
Why we feel outranked when a man is in the room.
Why we leave our life choices up to our parents, or our husband, or our boss.
Why we suffer in indecision, even about simple stuff.

I am interested in the story beyond the statistics.

We know the facts . . .
That women still make 79 cents on the dollar that men make.
That out of 109 heads of state in the world, only 9 are women.
That not only is there a huge wage gap and opportunity gap in Hollywood, but only 9 percent of the top-grossing films released last year were directed by women.

And, those numbers are averages for all women – the statistics become much, much worse for women of color who are finding their way at the intersection of both sexism and racism in this culture.

Each of these stunted story lines has a failed, disheartened, frustrated and resigned woman on the front lines.
A woman who has weathered so much disappointment, so much disenfranchisement, so much disapproval that she does not have the courage or the energy to take one more step.
And yet she can’t live with her own inaction.

There is that place, in her life, where she raised her hand, but never got called on.
The moment in her storyline where she put herself out there, but got shut down.
A pivotal conversation, at a pivotal moment where her opinion did not count.
Or, maybe her soul’s deepest truth never ever even had an opportunity to get all the way formed, simply because no one ever asked or cared.
Even though she stood, she never stood a chance.

For every woman that breaks through, there are dozens of women who are still stuck inside the patriarchal world culture.

And my obsession is simple: I want every woman who wants to, to become unstuck.
And paint her version of her life on as big and gorgeous a canvas as she desires.
We all know this: we have no time to waste, playing small.
Deep inside, each of us knows that now, right now, is our moment to step up and step out.

I’m standing for you, for me, for all of us, right here, right now, to step into the next growing edge of leadership – inside our relationship with ourselves, in our families, in our communities, in our governments. Now is the time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I want to know:

  • Where in your life might you be playing small, or shying away from your radiant, fierce leadership?
  • On the other hand, what relationships or circumstances in your life enliven your sense of self, and encourage your leadership to emerge?
  • Where are you being called into greater leadership – on the inner, and/or on the outer?

Add your voice to the conversation in the comments below.

Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena”
The School of Womanly Arts

p.s. If you haven’t already, check out The Womanly Arts Experience, happening in NYC on January 21st – 22nd: a two-day immersive live introduction to The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program. Now in its fourth year, I couldn’t be prouder of this event, and I’m more fired up than ever to serve my community in this way. Hope to see you there! 

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18 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Laurie January 18, 2017, 12:06 pm

    I resonate with so much of what you say and your music, Mama Gena. My challenges are thinking big and getting my play about my sexual journey out to the world and daring to face the fear that I could still have the passionate, loving relationship I desire. I believe owning and loving and experiencing our own passion is healing to the world and men. Determining to add my voice/leadership to those on this path is my desire.

  • Luisa January 17, 2017, 4:30 pm

    I am playing it small in my work life, shying away from standing up for myself and owning my place, my knowledge, my ability to lead. The call is also coming from both my outer and inner self. I am aware that if I am not all I can be in one aspect of my life, I am probably not doing myself any favors in others as well.
    What relationships allow me to open up and realize this part of me…at this point only loving relationships from people I trust and that I know have my back while at the same time challenge me.

  • Emily Shaules December 17, 2016, 11:46 pm

    YES!!!! This post came at the perfect time for me, thank you so much!

    #DivineFeminine #HealYourselfHealTheWorld

  • Odette December 16, 2016, 4:00 pm

    Your posting spoke to me so deeply. After years of chronic illness, grad school, getting married and raising a young child, it has recently come inescapably to my attention that I have forgotten who I am. As a woman who thinks of myself as assertive and self aware, it is unbelievably painful to look at all the ways my self was subsumed by academic culture, by marriage, by parenthood. All worthwhile endeavors, but not if I lose myself in the process. And I have.

    So to read your mission, to think of so many women also struggling to reach themselves inside and then put their bright light forward and out, is utterly inspiring. The only thing I have left of myself is my need to paint. So I am now working to step into that self, myself as a creator, an artist. I am working to have that be my foremost self.

  • Kimberly December 14, 2016, 11:18 pm

    You got right to the heart of it all. Totally inspiring and all important. Helped inspire a blog post… thank you!
    Also — Looking forward to joining you next month! It’s my birthday gift to myself. 🙂

  • Daniele December 13, 2016, 2:39 pm

    Where am I playing small? Due to having been shamed into believing I was “stupid” in my family of origin at a very tender age (though by no means was I), by older brothers and a mother who coddled them, I have a history of not being able to sleep before a job interview that has the most meaning for me, or a date that would similarly make me feel like I was on the same emotional, intellectual plane. It has been an awful thing to go through my whole life. So to your point of working on the “inner”, I can see how I still have work to do on gaining a better awareness of the body in terms of “self-regulating”. When it comes to PTSD (of which I certainly have a form), this has been proven to be critical to healing. Seems like after a recent experience of spending 2 weeks as a guest practitioner at a Zen center, I have gained more inner awareness, but still have a ways to go. Our culture certainly doesn’t encourage that sort of learning, so excited to hear about your emphasis on it and its symbiotic relationship to external power. I got that directly from that practice period—meditating 3 times a day, while in close community every day. I’m improving.
    If I could successfully heal that, the external leadership would come naturally.
    So I am being called to heal that “inner”, so that I can more fully embody the natural leader that I am. Thank you for asking the question. The inner/outer relationship is such an important awareness to have.

  • Galit December 13, 2016, 11:01 am

    This is AWESOME!! I have a presentation toady with my boss boss boss and I’m worried what if? I just went to get my blood test for the insurance and it was too high. So, he asked me to sit down and relax, I read your email. It was so empowering, yes I lost my voice long time ago I let my parents and ex-husband make my decisions. Something inside is saying I have to get my power, voice back. No one around me likes it that I have an opinion or a voice. Always backfired so, I learned to shut up.

    But, I have to follow my heart and live and love from the inside out. I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing it for my nieces and nephew who should be raised without the old belief system that women are second class citizens all over the world. As my nephew (5 years old) said to his engineer mom: what does it matter if you are a man or a woman, you make more money because you are the best engineer. Don’t worry mom, a better job will be yours. The little empowered my sister to say I’m worth the raise, she left the current job and start in a new place where they love her. For the next generation!!

  • CA December 13, 2016, 9:16 am

    Hello Mama Gena, I will be joining you for the first time in January and I cannot wait to learn from and to be a part of your vibrant gathering. Thank you for asking questions that permit us to shine light on our deepest thoughts and fears as individuals and as a collective. I know first-hand what it is like to shy away from leading but it was not just men who held me back. It was women, myself included. Too often it was my own voice and the voice of women near and far – that held me back and tried to break me. I believe that Pain is at the route of this dynamic, that we hold it and carry it for too long so that it covers and clouds our feminine voices from the inside and out. I love women but I am not against the men who have guided me, taught me, healed me and loved me. I believe we “batten down the hatch on our truth, and choose to silence our own voice” because many women are judgmental of themselves and others and view another woman’s power with envy, resentment and fear. I have needed to learn new skills to navigate those waters, and to love myself fearlessly. I learned those skills from women like you who lead by example, encouragement and love. and to all of them, I owe a great deal of respect and gratitude, and to me, I owe myself the very same for listening and learning from women and men who helped me to find my voice again. I must never tune out to learning and expressing what I learn, no longer keeping it in. Your work is important and will unite our voices from the inside and out. Thank you for all you do.

  • Nicole Schwelm December 12, 2016, 9:09 pm

    Mama Gena, You’re so good at putting into words something I’ve always felt is wrong with this world and the hope of fixing it. What you said about women’s stories being stunted because a devaluation of the feminine and how women need to reclaim sovereignty. Thank you! Love you!

  • Jen December 12, 2016, 8:27 pm

    I attended the expirence last January and it changed my life!!!! If you are on the fence just try it! It really is worth it! Last January I was totally suck in a job I didn’t like with a difficult boss. Today I accepted my dream job with an amazing leader and guess what? It is a double promotion!!! My life changed for the better the day I signed up to learn from Mama Gena. Yours can too!

  • Kim Mayberry December 12, 2016, 6:13 pm

    Oh Mama Gena – all your words are just speaking to me like crazy! In an electrically charged, super-fired up, this is my destiny – things have to change, no more patriarchal bullshit, why the fuck aren’t there more women in leadership roles, and it’s all so past-due fire in my soul type of way! I’ve known this since I was born, I think so many of us have, it’s been bubbling and burning for 40 years! I feel about to burst! I will make it to one of the events in New York – I WILL! I’m not sure how, but I know I will! Thank you for the inspiration and fire!

  • Sara Carlson December 12, 2016, 5:04 pm

    You know, I’ve always placed the suppression of women at the man’s doorstep. Then I turned suddenly and unexpectedly, and ran smack into it at work with two women owners. Boy do I feel betrayed. Without men in the mix I found that ‘big fish in a small pond’ mentality which kept other women at the most menial pay rate, or they got very competitive. Then when one of them got married, they both felt it was important to pay males the higher wage. I understand they’re working with what this area affords them (which is still in a recession), but this pandering to men and their perceived importance, while professing that they’re the paragons of liberated females is a real bitch…and very prevalent once your eyes are opened. Is this just me waking up, or is it still like this everywhere?

  • Elisabeth December 12, 2016, 4:36 pm

    Amen! Amen! Beautifully said Mama! I am finally stepping into my purpose and power after a lifetime of playing small. And I hope to encourage, inspire, and empower other women to create authentic impact in their own lives and in the world through my new business. I can’t be there in January but I’ll be with you in spirit and hope to attend a program soon. Rock on sister!

  • janet December 12, 2016, 2:49 pm

    WOW, thanks Mama Gena for your inspired words. I believe our generation of awakened women are at the cutting edge of the new paradigm of existence. We have been given the opportunity to stand in our strength and love and warrior leadership to speak the truth and radiate for the feminine. Sisters together in a world wide tribe, calling all to each other to ‘light up’ the conscious field of love.
    We are all such inspiration for each other. Thank you.

  • Jane December 12, 2016, 12:13 pm

    I’m so happy you’re writing about this subject, feminine leadership. It gave me such pleasure to read it. This subject is one I’ve been giving voice to, and standing for over the past several years as I navigated male-dominated leadership teams in large corporate companies as a consultant, focused on workability and a world that works for everyone. It never fails to astound me how few women there are ‘at the top’ in the corporate world – and at the same time, it doesn’t surprise me. I see a direct correlation between the dysfunction of a team and the lack of female leaders on that team. Men need women to be feminine…to bathe in their light and grow in their love. The world needs feminine leadership to evolve.
    I’m currently creating my next work opportunity where I can bring forth my expression of feminine leadership, and elevate my contribution to this world. And I’m excited!! 🙂

  • Alison December 12, 2016, 11:45 am

    Loved your post and am looking forward to January’s event. I find that I am more intimidated by the women in the room then men. I recognize that my nature at times can be very assertive – I am working through that – however, when I have worked really hard in my career, I find I receive more backlash and intimidation from women than men. In my own coaching practice, I have also manifested women who struggle with the same thing. Our “fierceness” is seen as bitchy, climb-over-you, etc. So I coach through finding the balance but not loosing the authentic fierce, goddess that they (we) are. I want to step in a bigger way not only for myself but also for women who are challenged in the same way. I am passionate about building stronger, more authentic and accountable relationships with women – find that tribe – still searching for that. 🙂

  • Lisa Suazo December 12, 2016, 11:24 am

    Thank you SO much for your words, Mama Gena! They spoke to me deeply.

    I am a health coach and I have always been interested in nutrition and education for women, but lately I have been feeling called to become a louder voice for busting the existing paradigms of exercise, weight, calories, etc. I really and deeply want women to begin recognizing that they can only change their bodies through love, not hate. And I want to help them build trust and awareness of the feminine qualities of listening to your body and honoring her needs and understanding and working with her instead of relying on the voices of “experts” and media and the heavily masculine types of paradigms that we have grown up with that tell us to just DO, DO, DO and “no pain, no gain”, pushing harder. It’s not working and it doesn’t feel good to most of us!

    Love. Patience. Wholeness. Pleasure. I’m all about these things!

    Thank you again,

    • Nicole Schwelm December 12, 2016, 9:14 pm

      To the woman who is a health coach I highly recommend Kim Brittingham’s memoir/ positive body image womanifesto “Read My Hips”.