Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts
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Do you get as good as you give?

After watching the Golden Globes the other night, I just had to check out the film BOYHOOD. I especially loved Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech, where she said:

“You placed in my hands the part of Olivia, an under-appreciated single mother. Thank you for shining a light on this woman, and the millions of women like her, and allowing me to honor my own mother with this beautiful character.”

‘An unappreciated single mother’ rang my gong.
I am one of those gals who brings home the bacon, fries it up in a pan, helps with homework, volunteers at school, works out, and squeezes in a social life.

I see it all around me.
Women, doing a shit ton.
Going above and beyond.
Continually.
At work – staying late, being brilliant, giving their all and then some.
Maybe married with husband, but still carrying the weight of the child-rearing and the home-making.

You all know women, or you are women, who over-deliver. It is a storyline of our time. A woman takes it all on . . . at the expense of what? At the expense of herself.

One woman, who is new to my work and joining an upcoming course, wrote in:

“I have changed so much since becoming a mother of 2 sweet and busy boys. I used to be a spunky outgoing girl fearless of anything. Now I worry about lots of life’s challenges and feel as if I am not spunky at all. I look at old pictures and I need that girl back.”

Big sigh.
I really liked that Boyhood brought this cultural thread forward.
Because it’s true in every socioeconomic demographic – women have pressed the accelerator, they are not letting up, and a toll is being taken.

Women are giving at a new velocity.
Whether it’s single moms, for their kids.
Or successful business women, for their career.
Or daughters, looking after their aging parents.

This is an observation – not a criticism.
I would never have learned the depth and breadth of my talents, if I had not taken all the responsibility.
And I learned something very important, that I want all women to know.

When your growth is accelerating, your nourishment has to be accelerated. (Click to tweet)
Most women simply don’t know how to do that part of it.
They know how to sacrifice.
But they don’t know what nutrients need to be put in place to support the kind of accelerated growth that all women are going through, right now.

Accelerated growth can mean so many things – it can mean motherhood, or increased responsibility in work, or going to school while holding down a job, or choosing to write a book, or starting a business in your already-scarce spare time.

Most of us have learned that our job is to take care of everyone else, settling for scraps and leftovers after everyone else on our to-do list gets their needs met.
How’s that working for us?
Not so much.
We have to learn to feed our womanhood, our soul, our body, our passionate hearts, with hi-test, ultra, supreme nourishment.
If all these aspects do not get fed concurrently, none of us can fly. Instead, we end up repeating the same historical problem of second-class citizenship that we have inherited from our patriarchal culture.

It’s time to stand for the care and feeding of a woman as she lives into the new feminine.
Waiting, postponing, short-changing, is no longer enough.
So the question becomes –
How can you have a five star full course sit down white linen candle-lit meal of this one fleetingly precious life? Instead of just hard won leftovers?

After my divorce, I was pissed. Pissed and shocked. I had never planned on being the one who does everything. I was breathing hard from all the running around, and self-care seemed like one more thing to add to the list of every single thing I was already doing, that I didn’t have time for. Which made me even angrier.

But I had created something – in establishing the School of Womanly Arts – that changed everything for me, and for all the women in my orbit. I had created an extraordinary community, along with all of the Tools and Arts.

As it turns out, being in a supportive community of practice, that which might have killed us, doesn’t just make us stronger, it makes us a superstar – and fills us with all the friendship, intimacy, fun, sisterhood and support that can enable us to flourish and be the source of other women, flourishing.
My storyline became the inspiration for others, and vice versa.
Getting and giving happened simultaneously in this new paradigm.

I want this for you.

When you walk through the doors of this school and this community, you can expect a huge dose of that kind of power. You will catch the tailwinds of what is possible for you, and live into a reality where you can give and receive, in a big way. Where you can be deeply nourished, deeply seen, and deeply supported — even while busting your tush to do everything you do.

A breathtaking new orbit is afoot – the potential for women to be deeply and passionately engaged and deeply and passionately cared for.

In the comments, I’d love to hear from you —
Where are you feeling the burn of all the new opportunities in your life?
How are you giving your all, and then some?
What will it take for you to get as good as you give?

It was extremely scary for me to do the Mastery program. But what I’ve gotten out of it? I went from feeling like a second-class man — like a person who could never be equal to a man, a person who was always not quite good enough — to feeling like a first-class woman. I’m so much more in touch with my desires and my pleasure. I’ve found my voice, and I’ve found my power. And I’m finally letting the world see who I am. ~ Susan Batson, Age 52
(Read more student stories and reviews here.)

 

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26 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Sister Goddess Dazzling Debra January 25, 2015, 10:28 am

    I let this sit in my box for a while because I wanted to make sure I could give it my full time and attention. I suspect this is the attitude I use to carry through life. I would attend to myself when I could give myself my FULL time and attention.
    Then The School of Womanly Arts became a part of my life.
    And while I had lived a full and rich and out of the box life before I had my daughter, the 20 years of motherhood, divorce, illness and teenager seemed to suck the life out of me.
    Regena infused that life right back into me, body and soul.
    Actually I infused that life back into me. Regena created the tools and the support of this miraculous community to reclaim my life.

    I say to all women what Christine Northrup said to me when I called into her radio talk show to bemoan my tumultuous relationship with my, then, 18 year old daughter…

    GET YE TO MAMA GENA

    AND my now 20 year old daughter looks at her fabulous mother in a very different way. She sees how the tools have given me my lifeback. We are both grateful to this work.

  • Desirée, the rare flower January 24, 2015, 9:38 am

    Mama Gena, you hit the nail on the head every time.

    There is one question I have relating to this subject: do you think it’s right or wrong to feel you are entitled to things you want in life?

    I’ve met people who think that nothing is yours – you have to go out and earn it, no matter if you have to bleed for it. Then there is the other camp that thinks they are entitled to have whatever they want by any means necessary. The people I’ve met in the latter category have been some of the most obnoxious people I’ve met (and I don’t mean bitchy in the way it’s described on this website, I mean OBNOXIOUS). However, they get what they want and are even admired.

    What do you think, sisters?

    • nathan January 25, 2015, 9:40 am

      i liked this question enough to come and write (even as a guy : )

      my take on it is it can be helpful to have preferences, even expectations … but not entitlements.

      Entitlement implies you have a right to something … and usually along with that sentiment comes all kinds of unpleasant behavior (angry, demanding, bitchy, etc.). As you said “obnoxious”.

      And, perhaps those people have gotten many of the physical things they’ve wanted – but I would bet they haven’t gotten the internal / emotional experiences they truly want.

      Fundamentally we want posessions and things in order to have an internal experience (to feel happy, to feel secure, etc.). A great question to ask is “what will having that do for me?” You keep drilling down to what the “core desired feeling is” as Daniele La Porte would say.

      When I see people running entitlement and being obnoxious, I don’t give it much attention because I know their internal experience is not one I want to be having. The compression and upset and tightness and nastiness are their own hell, as the Buddhist would say.

      Wanting things is, by my viewpoint, a cool process by which you want it, but you also surrender as to whether you get it or not. Its this combination between direction (i want that, i’m moving towards it), and surrender and flow (what will be will be). What a beautiful paradox …

      • Desirée, the rare flower January 28, 2015, 4:51 pm

        Thank you for your beautiful answer, Nathan. It’s nice to know what a brother thinks too 🙂
        The question, “what will having that do for me?” is an interesting one. People can answer it in two ways depending on whether they want to drill down to the core or not.

  • Laura G January 23, 2015, 2:27 pm

    “When your growth is accelerating, your nourishment has to be accelerated.” I love this, Regena, but would you give us some concrete examples of how you did/do this? It sounds great but I’m not sure precisely what it means to you, in practice.

    • nathan January 25, 2015, 9:30 am

      I can only speak from my experience, and in supporting my wife, Liyana… In our experience, its a combination of a few different things (and lot of research / curiosity).

      for me, when I’m in intense times (due to work, or personal growth issues, etc.) my highest leveraged things are to take time to myself (and if i have no time, i get that by sleeping by myself vs next to my wife).

      i also will make sure to better manage my food (less junk, more nourishment), I’ll get massage. For me, I feel really nourished by touch – its super high leveraged activity for me, so anyway I can get touch (massage, sex, etc.).

      These are all behaviors, the other thing I find really nourishing is to internally find places where I can aknowledge what I have thats great. To appreciate those in my life, to enjoy things already going well. Good gets better, bad gets worse. So I put alot of attention on finding whats going well already, what I can enjoy about my life (even when its intense or in growth mode).

      And, lastly, I find having a community of people who share my values of enjoyment and appreciation and support a huge impactor. They’ll keep me honest when I forget. They’ll lift me up when I need a hand. Listen when I’m maxed, create nourishing experiences when I don’t have the energy to do it for myself.

      For my wife, I’ve noticed that she does really well when she gets frequent movement – like going to dance class, or exercise. She needs that sense of flow to move through intense times. I’ve also noticed that time with girlfriends and other women is KEY for her. Something is nourishing and rejuvinating about quality time with women for her … (in a way i don’t totally get, and doesn’t track for me with men).

      So we make sure she gets a night out here and there with just women … and women who are conspiring for her, not competing with her. And time not to complain but to do fun stuff together, to talk about whats going well in her life, to mastermind about how it could be better.

      So a solution oriented, appreciative, life loving group of women friends. I’ve noticed that as her most nourishing thing as she’s grown her business, has become a mother, and needed more “support” as she grows into both.

      Hope this helps!

      • Suzanne January 28, 2015, 2:44 am

        Hi Nathan — how beautifully written. Your wife is lucky! S

  • Sandra January 22, 2015, 11:55 am

    Oh synchronicity! I had an “a-ha!” Moment this morning before scrolling upon this article. I realized I created ALL of this! The “Nobody is helping!”, “I gotta do this and that!”, “I’m so exhausted!”, and etc…how am I going to stop the insanity? What do I need to do to change this crazy train that’s going in circles? I’m not quite sure yet but I do believe it starts with realizing I created this and that I need to stay open to all possibilities and know anything is possible. Change!

  • SG Abisola January 21, 2015, 9:32 am

    Mama Gena You Are So On It! You make me weep and inspired at the same time. Thanks for championing a different direction and story…my new moon wish is to nourish myself and care for myself to the outrageous highest!

  • LaVerne January 21, 2015, 12:07 am

    I guess I need a major lesson in this bnot necessarily at home but at work. I really do need to stand back and let others worry for a while!

  • linda January 21, 2015, 5:26 am

    I am married 36 years to this man, we have 6 children, 7 grandchildren, I have been a nurse since I was 20, I am 53 now. I am exhausted. I never learnt to balance work and family, I loved staying at home but hard financial situations dictate I have to work, I still do. I get sick often, especially after working a nursing shift. I limp back time and time again but always end up with a headache. I need to go and see my aging mum in NZ whom I haven’t seen for 3 years and I miss dearly, but I have not got the money, nor afford the time off work. I do not do much for leisure at all. I feel tired old and lost the plot.

  • Cat January 20, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Honestly, this is hard. Sometimes I feel like a rabid fireman, ever at the ready to put out those little fires, on my toes here, shifting this way and that, and taking time out for me to nurture me, feels like the whole world will go up in flames the moment I put down the hose. Like I will pay a price for that “time off” the fire line. It will be my fault that decision to let it burn. (where did all that guilt come from?)
    But sheesh, I need some time off that line to see where I’m actually going right?

  • Tiger Zane January 20, 2015, 2:54 pm

    Ahh… YES! I know this path of doing doing doing so well! I’ve been a single mom for 12 years and have recently moved in with my partner who is loving and generous man– but who needs lots of taking care of too (like that puppy reference you make in one of your books Mama)! If I want a house that feels pussy, it’s me that has to do it. If I want delicious organic food, then I have to shop for the all the groceries, if I want a fun social life for us it’s me that has to create it…etc.

    It has been a fight with both myself and sometimes with my partner who has his own view and issues. It feels scary to be vulnerable in this way! I am learning to take up space, to release the anger I carry when I feel overdone and exhausted and finally to stand up and make choices that are for me and my life regardless of how they might appear selfish.

    I brag that I have made a super self-loving, juicy choice by putting together my 2nd retreat “Joy & The Feminine Path” for women in France this spring! I’ve done this despite the financial investment, despite that it means my partner has to take care of my daughter for two weeks on his own, despite that I feel uncomfortable taking time for myself in such a seemingly frivolous way. BUT I decided that I don’t know how long I have to live so I want to do the things that delight me and share them with other women!

    xo SG Tiger in Seattle
    http://www.joyandthefemininepath.wordpress.com

  • SG Amelie January 20, 2015, 2:24 pm

    I recently started a course at the NY film academy – fulfilling a life-long dream. At the same time, I am maintaining a (demanding) full-time job and in a serious relationship. I thought the course would make me feel really empowered – but instead, I started to feel tired, overrun. Felt less attractive, more tired, more jealous, less balanced. I realized that in “going for it,” I started to slack in the self-care department – and it has played out in difficult ways. Just shows you that even when you’re making great decisions for yourself, the inner work/worship needs to continue on…

  • Renee January 20, 2015, 1:14 pm

    As I sit here at work with a breast pump attached to me reading this after another night of 5 hours of sleep broken up into 4 segments, how loudly “When your growth is accelerating, your nourishment needs to be accelerated,” is being heard. I am in such a deficit and my health counselor self has known it for some time.
    I look at pictures of myself from previous years and don’t even recognize myself. The self-deprecating part of me jokes about just wanting 12 hours by myself in a hotel room. My true self wants to build my own business/work from home so that I can spend more time with the baby I waited so long to have, build our finances, be able to wear clothing again that makes me feel alive and nurtures my spirit and have my husband wrap me in a hug and tell me I am doing a great job.

  • Jill January 20, 2015, 1:07 pm

    I have been soooo there. Give, give and give some more. All out going energy….taking care of everyone, including neighbors, except myself. Came down with breast cancer in 2006, and everything changed. I suddenly valued me….my bodies ability to heal. Had less tolerance for the takers (and me being the willing giver), in my life. I left a 19 year relationship and started a new life at 52. Have had a lot of ups and downs….recession challenges, moving etc. I came up with a new saying that my girlfriends and I share….”Baby Up Bay”…ie: pamper, rest, nurture ourselves, pedicures, naps, movies, massages, music, peaceful walks. All of these yeses to ourselves, means a lot of no’s to other people and situations. This use to be the difficult part for me. I was a very big people pleaser. Pleasing all those people, made them happy, however, I was on the losing end of all those “yeses”. I woke up one day and it hit me deep down inside, that when I was saying yes to you, I was saying no to me, in many situations. So now I treasure my no’s and love me yeses, to me and love to Baby Up Baby!
    Thank you MG for this beautiful open forum and for your daily reminders. Jill from CA

  • Tania Morris January 20, 2015, 12:45 pm

    Love this! I have been writing on my macaroni kid the same gist. We must set some time aside to nourish ourselves or we will have nothing to give. I think we are much to hard on ourselves, I see it all the time and realize I do the same thing. I think we have to stop being such perfectionists and let some things slide. This year I have established three businesses, each one of them growing in their own way. I volunteer for my son’s boy scouts and religion. It’s a lot. I’m exhausted. I have started taking guitar lessons, working out to nourish my body, and just came back from Mexico to nourish my relationship with my husband, make time for my social life. The future is always a little scary and I over deliver and over commit and truly need to learn how to say no.

  • Car0line January 20, 2015, 12:22 pm

    When I started at the school of womanly arts, I was 67. I thought most of the information was for younger woman. While I found it truly affirming and it helped validate my life’s choices and see my life in a different light and it brought confidence to my present life, I never thought it would change what I saw as a retirement in Florida to anything more than retirement in Florida. I thought perhaps I would have a few more parties, laugh a little harder and more often, maybe take more art classes, dance a bit, and that most of the message was for the younger women who still had life decisions to make.

    Boy, was I wrong. While the facts about my life have stayed pretty much the same, everything has changed. I am having the time of my life, finally having arrived in a place I never thought possible. It is more than amazing. The first thing I did was follow my attractions. I came to look at them as lights along my path, not impulses to be denied. I found a house which made no sense but mesmerized me and I moved to a different community, one which I knew nothing about except that I liked the way it looked.

    Then I called out to the universe my preposterous desires and sent them out in a “message in a bottle”. I felt happy and I never expected my message to be answered but it came back to me 100 fold. It’s not an answer, mind you. There is never an answer. Each step leads to another and I suspect that will continue if I am un-stuck. I just go higher and higher. More and more enjoyment. Life shimmers. Possibilities abound. the moments are the same, but I am able to extract pure gold from them. I don’t know how this is possible, but one week of this is worth more than 10 years of life in the fog of uncertainty, unease, and doubt. Thank you Mama Gena. You are a beacon of light. Thank you for shining on me.

    • Barbara January 20, 2015, 1:13 pm

      Wow, this is awesome. Thank you for sharing your success. I love the idea of attractions being lights along the path!

  • Andrea Cook January 20, 2015, 11:40 am

    I went to your Womanly Arts retreat last year and was encouraged in so many ways. It helped to change my life.!!!

    I’m learning to be patient and just enjoying the journey. The waiting is bitter sweet.

    – Andrea Cook

  • Toni W January 20, 2015, 11:11 am

    Preach it!

    I, too, can related to being pissed and shocked that at age 51, I’m still single and doing it all for everyone in my circle! I find the men who talk a good game about taking care of me, but it’s really the other way around! And when I do speak up about the disparity or ask someone to help or do something for me, you’d think I’ve asked for the moon on a silver platter. Grrr.

    And it’s not just in love relationships. Many of my friendships, etc. feel this way also. Lend a friend money (which I no longer do!) and ask to be repaid, I get one excuse after another. My needs do not seem to be a priority to anyone outside of my Mom, whom I am greatly blessed with.

    For the past 2 weeks I’ve been getting messages from all over that it’s time to dump the things or people that drain me and LOVE ME first! This is the icing on the cake! I DESERVE to be treated with respect, courtesy and love and it has to come from me.

    Let’s do this thing!

  • Deborah January 20, 2015, 11:03 am

    My life has been accelerating in so MANY good ways. BUT I never realized just how much I deal with soul malnutrition I’m struggling with until I read this. THANK YOU, MAMA <3

  • Susan January 20, 2015, 10:49 am

    AMEN, Mama Gena!

    I am doing it ALL and then some. My hubby is often away on biz trips, leaving me to deal with our three children, home, shopping, cooking, etc. He often stays in hotels and starts work in the afternoon (eats in restaurants, goes out for fun with his team, and has a cleaning lady to do the toilets and make the beds). And then, when he gets home from his trips, he kind of just sits around implying that I haven’t really done anything during the time he was gone.

    He says I can go out, but doesn’t allow me the financial freedom to do so. If I can’t afford all of the groceries, birthday presents, gas, etc. on my money ($1,100 a month), then he complains about me spending from his account.

    I. am. so. freaking. undernourished. Scraps are NOT cutting it right now.

    Today I was just thinking “What would Mama Gena do to get out of this superfunk I am in…?”

    I know it is my obligation TO MYSELF to make a good life for me. If I can’t get the filet and vino from my man, I’ve gotta make it for myself. I need to get out, to make friends, to assert my needs and care for myself.

    So I have decided to at the very least, go to an art museum once a month. I am going to take a nice, hot bath once a week, to make sure my finger nails and toe nails are painted. I am going to do what I can to make more $$ so that I have more freedom.

    What will it take for me to give as good as I get? A little business success so I can have an allowance for my self-care. There is probably more, but I am not sure what I can do to turn things around for myself.

    Sorry for the swamp.

    • Ines January 22, 2015, 2:34 am

      Hi Susan
      I have just discovered “the queens code” I t might have been in Mama Genas blog.
      I’m still shaken by the information. My relating to my man has changed
      immediately and brings out the best in him.
      Good luck.
      Ines

    • Corneille January 23, 2015, 7:34 am

      Dearest Queen Susan, beauty can be found in that swamp in the simplest of things….money is a beautiful tool, to be sure, but kick ass attitude can go a long way…..Sharing with your sisters will fill you up and inspire your gravity upwards motion….we are here for you…share away!

  • Evonne Tocco January 20, 2015, 10:37 am

    As I read your blog every cell in my body was screaming YES… the new velocity of the woman. I love to give, I love my job, I love my family and sometimes the scales tip and I’m out of balance, to much give not enough receive. Back to self-care, back to quiet, back to me… back to breathing. Is there time? I can pack in tremendous healing and self care in a 4 hour period but what I really need is a weekend! Lesson: Ask, your deserve. Thank you for your inspiring words, always.