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How do I know??


As you know, our Womanly Arts Mastery Program starts in a few weeks, and as we get closer and closer to filling our final seats, women are calling in, and asking the same question every day: Is it the right time to join Mastery? Is this course for me? Should I, could I, invest in myself, and take the leap?

It got me thinking about how this question “how do I know?” shows up so frequently amongst women.

We wonder everything, from “How do I know if this is the right guy for me?” to “How do I know if we should get divorced or not?” “How do I know if I should take this job, or that job?” “How do I know if I should offer my opinion now, or just hold back?” “How do I know if this is the right decision?”

We flip, we flop.
We doubt, we fret.
We judge, we disapprove.
We hate ourselves for our own indecision.
And then, we start the whole cycle over again.

Whaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!! (Me, roaring in frustration.)
The thing that drives me nuts, nuts, nuts about women is our tendency towards indecision. We flip and flop more that a fish out of water.
Those creatures are dying, and guess what? So are we.

We lose weeks, months, years, in indecision.
We feel like we don’t know, or can’t know.
And, reflecting on it, I think indecision is a huge part of us playing small.

We have all been doing it waaaay waaay way too long.
Losing years of life to self-doubt, and depriving the world of the best and most radiant aspects of ourselves.

The truth is that the ability to feel confident in our decisions, to feel like you “know how to know,” is key to living as the fully expressed, empowered women we are. (Click to tweet!)

So this week I want to dedicate the blog to helping you get out of indecision. First, let’s get uber-clear: it is very useful to distinguish uncertainty from indecision. Uncertainty is when you’ve got questions, concerns, and a need more information. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact, I count on you to get to the bottom of your uncertainty by getting all your questions answered and taking the time to research fully.

What I’m talking about is indecision. When you’re actually fairly certain, when part of you knows; in fact, the deepest part of you just knows, but the rest of you is in conflict with yourself about it. At this point, the voices in your head are coming at you, fast and furious, with all kinds of wishy-washy reasons why that part that knows must be wrong, can’t be right, and makes no sense.

So how do we truly know that that part of us knows what is right? How do we really tap into it, and believe its answer? What is our compass, our north star as women? How do we start to trust our deepest, most powerful intuition? How do we connect with our divine truth, without all the cultural static?? 

There is a way. And I teach a deep dive into this connection in class, but today I want to get started with a powerful exercise at the end of this blog.

The reason we get confused is that we are not men.
And we can’t look to the way of men to learn how to find our path to our deepest intuition.
We have to get to this place in a different way.

Have you noticed, generally speaking, how men can way more easily decide something? Even if it is flat-out wrong? It is so incredible how confident guys can be. They do not worry about making huge mistakes, like we do. They know that they can learn from their mistakes, as everyone makes them, and they can always fix them, on the other side.

When we try to be like a guy, it just doesn’t happen.
And wow, do we ever disapprove of that.
Our truth and our trust come from a much deeper level of physical connection. Our trust, truth, and confidence come from our bodies, not our intellect. When we try to only use our head, our wheels start to spin and our flip starts flopping.
My job is to get you out of that bad neighborhood, and into your zone of genius: your body.

And once you are in your body, I can connect you to your deepest power: your ability to Turn On. Turn-On is a woman’s superpower. (Click to tweet!) It’s her life force. Her deepest sense of herself. When she is turned on, she is in control. When she is not turned on, she spins helplessly and permanently out of control.

MG indecision cropSo, it’s an interesting dilemma for me. I teach women how to live from that spot of Turn-On, but I need them to be in that spot of Turn-On in order to make a valuable decision of any kind, especially an important decision like whether or not they should invest in Mastery.
And everything about our culture teaches a woman to do anything but Turn On. We equate Turn-On with the lowest, cheapest, most tawdry, least lofty aspects of ourselves.

And, as women, the key to feeling confident in your decision making is tracking your Turn-On. Really, yes, it’s your Turn-On. Getting out of your logical brain and into your intuitive body. See what She has to tell you. See how confident She is.

Does your light get brighter or dimmer? More on, or totally closed down and off?

This is our uniqueness as women. This is the beautiful irony of our culture—where our access to Knowing is looked down upon to the point we forget to include Her. Include her. It’s truly how magic happens. It’s how the impossible melts away.

Perhaps it’s about joining us this year. Perhaps it’s about relationship, or career. It works for whatever topic.

Exercise: Before we can get to the spot of being turned on, we have to get out of our heads and into our bodies. How to do that? For most of us, whether we are in school, or working, we are called upon to use our heads way more than our bodies. So let’s start by getting you straight into your body, okay?

Here are 3 foolproof ways to get inside that gorgeous body of yours:

1. Jump up and down on your bed, 20 times.
2. Dance like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, to “Maniac,” or like Beyonce at the Grammys to “Drunk in Love.”
3. Kick box with your reflection for a minute. Try to win. (Extra credit if you do all 3.)

Now, go stand in front of a mirror. And think about that decision you have to make. While you are thinking about it, look at yourself in the mirror while running your hands up and down your body, and flirting with yourself.
I am not kidding.
Give yourself a little wink.
Turn the decision over to your brilliant, intuitive, flawless body.
She will never lead you astray.
Seriously. Ask her.
Now listen.
She may not want what you think you want. But if you listen to her, you will not only get everything you have ever desired, but oh, so much more, besides.
The thing is, if you have not been listening to her much, you may have to tune in and pay very close attention. You might, or might not, get a big huge powerful “YES!” or “NO!!” But, if you pay attention, you will feel a gentle sense of lightness with one of the choices you have to make. Follow that subtle sense, and you are on your way to the best possible next adventure.
And the more you practice this, the louder your inner voice will become. Not to mention your dance moves will really improve…

In the comments below, let me know what decisions you are grappling with, and then, let me know how this little exercise impacted you.
Women—loud and proud—that is what I live for.
Bring it.

With so much love and pleasure,
P.S. Do you feel intrigued? Excited? Curious? A little bit scared, perhaps? Perfect! Call Lauren and Hannah at (212) 787-2411 x1 and ask them all your questions. Get them to help you sort out the impossible. I want you in Mastery this year if you’re feeling the pull. And call now, as we will be full. We are actually working with our class venue to figure out just how many seats we actually have.

P.P.S. One derivative of indecision is the question “Is it the right time?” I often find women saying “I love this, but now’s not the time,” or “Next year will be perfect.” Sometimes this is exactly right, and perfect. But other times it’s indecision sneaking in, helping us feel better about not actually making a powerful decision for ourselves. So if you see this one coming up, examine it closely. Do the exercise above just on that question, as a double check. xo

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16 Comments / Leave a Comment

16 comments… add one

  • Sharon March 4, 2014, 9:40 am

    Hey, MG, you’re really worrying me now! I have been paralysed by indecision about buying a house, fear fear fear! Luckily I asked the right people for advice, fabulous women who said all the right things…..and sometimes the thing you think you want…..sophistication, 2 bathrooms etc etc. is not the thing you need right now, a little quirky house that’s like a warm hug and makes you smile. I just thought let’s go for it, I can do something really joyful with it and it’s 20 paces from a bakery! But yes it’s a sort of letting go and a Yahoo! Lets just do it. X

  • Alay'nya March 4, 2014, 9:40 am

    Love this! Fabulous post, absolutely adore what you’re saying, and so, SO appropriate and needed!

    Much love to all of you – A.

  • Pallavi March 4, 2014, 9:59 am

    I am having a terrible time trying to decide which next step is right for me opening my own business or joining another practice with what I’m doing now
    Both are incredibly scary but the joining new practice makes me feel tight and restricted
    Opening my own is scary but seems to be more free sensation
    How do I know which to take?

    • Patty March 4, 2014, 10:22 am

      You already know! Does opening your own practice seem expansive and freeing? If not now, when? You can always choose again.

      • Pallavi March 4, 2014, 11:52 am

        Thank you Patty- it’s so hard to see sometimes despite what you know in your heart may be best

  • Jessica Procini March 4, 2014, 10:40 am

    Thank you Regena for always reminding us that our answers are in our bodies…not our minds.
    SG Bubble Butt Bombshell

  • Roberta March 4, 2014, 12:17 pm

    How much time to put into a new relationship where it seems his dance card is already filled with his male friends. You know = I want to be a priority and am not quite sure how much training, if any, can make that happen in this relationship. He may want to be friends with benefits and I’m not sure that’s what I want, although some days it is OK, some days it is NOT. Great post. Thanks.

    • Roberta March 4, 2014, 1:41 pm

      Mama Gena = you have helped me make a decision with this post. Months ago a guy on the bowling league who had been talking to me in passing = How’d you bowl? How’d your team doing? Stuff like that, came over and sat right next to me on the bowling bench. My body immediately calmed down as if a rush of dopamine had flooded my system. It was so profound, it shook me a bit. Then he finally asked me out.

      Well, long story short, my mind got involved and thought of all the reasons this guy isn’t measuring up and should I stop it before we get intimate or what? Then this post. My body enjoys him, my mind wants more, always more. So he just texted me and I decided to meet him tomorrow, at his house for the first time. Thanks so much. You are right on. Ask your body what it wants and be careful about that mind chatter. Hugs Hugs and more Hugz+

  • Elizabeth March 4, 2014, 12:57 pm

    This was the perfect post to read now. Someone offered some unsolicited advice. It didn’t resonate. But I am watching my mind try, over and over, to convince me to take the advice, because what if I’m wrong and they’re right, or what if they get mad at me or think I’m doing the wrong thing, or what if my way doesn’t work out or .. And so I will trust myself again. I guess in the end, I’d rather make my own mistakes, if indeed there is such a thing as a mistake.

  • SG Joan Champion of Pleasure March 4, 2014, 3:00 pm

    A wonderful post, Regena! I love to listen to my body for even the smallest decisions all day long. Am I tired? Stop to rest. Am I hungry? Stop to eat. What do I want to eat? Listen for the cue, hold the food in my hand, feel the response. Am I full? stop eating. From you and Mastery I now know to ask: is this in my pleasure to do so? And then I follow the yes or the no. Listening to my body, following my pleasure, dance breaks, trinities are all tools I regularly use since my Mastery class in 2013. And I used the tools last month when deciding whether to apply for Big Sib, Team Pleasure or repeat Mastery in 2014. My body- listening led me to apply for Team Pleasure and guided me to ask for just the amount of service I could handle. Looking forward to seeing you and all my sister goddesses later this month at Mastery where it will be my pleasure to serve you!

  • Elektra Dekker March 4, 2014, 5:06 pm

    GREAT! :)

    Totally agreed, too.
    Thank you!

  • T. L. Cooper March 4, 2014, 6:39 pm

    I’ve been fretting about a lack of time to work on my next book of poetry and the book of short stories that I planned to release in January that I still haven’t finished editing… Now, I’m wondering if, perhaps, a bout of indecision is the real culprit in the delays with these projects… Hhmmmm!

  • Jocelyn March 5, 2014, 2:15 am

    I have been flip flopping between whether this is the time to just screw the traditional job and just dive headfirst into my artistic life and expression and devote myself to it come what may, or do the smart rational thing and try to balance a good paying job WITH my artistic expression, until it gets to a point when I am 1. in a better financial position to go full hog with my art and/or 2. in a better place with my art to start earning good money with it and/or 3. am clearer as to whether a life as 100% artist is the juiciest thing to do or whether actually what is most juicy is having a balance of good job and doing my artistic thing for fun and pleasure (rather than foe money).
    Timely post for me and many if not all women, thank you!

  • janet shannon (@janetshannon20) March 5, 2014, 3:18 am

    For those who know who they are and what makes them happy indecision seems like an annoying way of avoiding the forward motion of life, an indulgence designed to defy commitment, individuality and pleasure!!! My ex-husband spent two years working up to proposing to me and another two postponing our marriage while the building he wanted to have the wedding held in was being renovated. During the next 2 1/2 years we tried to have children but in spite of every type of medical help, it turned out I was barren (running early with non visible signs of it). My fertility specialists pleaded with my ex-husband to go ahead and use a donor egg so we could start our family. He had told us we had time to play with if that was our choice, so my ex told me he thought we should wait five years as he’d just started a new business. Adoption, he decided, was out of the question. I went back to university and had the happiest time of my life awakening to my love of learning and writing which were and are synonymous. My ex had a falling out with a mentor, the only person in his industry who had really helped him and enabled him to move upward in the beginning of his career. They were at a stand off and my ex would not bend. It was over money, but other factors played a role as well. I pleaded with him to be more flexible, knowing how important this relationship was to him. Finally his mentor told him he would never work with him again. Their friendship ended and although they remained cordial on the surface, I watched my ex attempt to get his bearings. At the same time, an artist he’d worked with turned her back on him when the fruits of their labor resulted in a publishing contract for her and the launch of a CD with 3 songs he had co-written on it, including the title single. Her label had hyped her into thinking she had to leave the past behind, but had no intention of putting the kind of money it takes to create a public awareness of an artist in this day and age. The record was in the stores and she had a launch party but little came of it. He even had to go to court to fight for his 1/3 of the profits on a song he had a written in a 3-way split. He won, but it was petty stuff. It was agonizing for me to watch someone I loved being treated so badly in his field. After that he began to experience one defeat after the next. He fought courageously to regain the ground he had lost, attending industry parties he’d gone to seven years earlier and being received almost as a newcomer because he’d lost his association with his mentor. At one point a guy friend who was a successful songwriter attached himself to him. We had known the fellow for some time; he was often at the parties of my ex’s mentor and his mentor’s friends. At this point the guy latched onto my ex for some reason. He had just come out of rehab and felt uplifted by my ex. I was happy that my ex had a buddy who really liked him, kept in touch and wanted to spend time with him. I thought perhaps it would encourage his life at this critical time. And their friendship did not seem exclusively focused on business. However, I only saw the guy at parties and functions that we attended; he did not go out of his way to get to know me. Most of their social interaction went on outside the home. Throughout my marriage, with the exception of the first few years in which I’d tried to get pregnant, I had been steeped in my studies at university and in the solitude that is a writer’s life. It is a happy solitude and one of my choice. I felt that the loose structure of marriage enabled my ability to focus on studying and writing and to spend the necessary time holed up alone, writing. I didn’t have to invent a social life all the time as I had in my 20’s. In the early phase of my ex’s career, I had had the time to cheer him on and pour myself into encouraging him to take the risks necessary for him to move forward. I believed in him and I was not afraid. Now, when my efforts at university began to pay off, my ex applauded me for the scholarship money I was awarded for graduate school as a gift from my college. While it made my ex nervous that I intended to continue in school, not simply continue writing, I would not be swayed. I won a fellowship to a prestigious MFA program in writing at an ivy league institution. My mother had been a voluminous reader and while she was no longer alive I knew she would have been so happy for me. Unfortunately, my spouse did not share those feelings. My small achievement had come on the heels of a series of defeats my ex had suffered in his career in recent years. He refused to rejoice over the fulfillment of a long cherished goal and began acting very peculiar. I was too naive to see that he was jealous. I wondered if he feared that, like his mentor, I would leave him too. There was rational reason for him to feel this way, but he began to treat me like the “enemy.” In the fall, when I began my MFA program, he had a skiing accident that would lead to disastrous consequences. He survived physically and only needed a little patching up physically afterward. A surgeon he saw a few weeks later planted a seed of doubt in his mind, however, and he began to wonder all kinds of horrible things. Should he have been operated on the night of the accident? Would he be maimed for life? He saw one doctor after another for two months. I continued to attend classes and wrote prolifically in spite of the chaos in our lives. He could no longer sleep. Word spreads quickly in an industry when clients notice your hands tremble or that you are distracted, not quite yourself. My ex could no longer work. He demanded that I move our entire household into his tiny music studio across town because it was quiet there–the whole place was sound-proofed. He felt he had a better chance of sleeping through the night. Yet, he would not take a sleeping pill when offered one by a friend or a doctor. I tried to go over there for a few nights. I had to sleep alone in a room and urinate into a can because if I passed through the room he slept in in order to get to the bathroom I risked waking him. We had pets. I couldn’t see how I could move our household over there, study, urinate in a can every night and maintain the high standards of study and writing I had for some time while living in this way. The apartment was also miles away from campus in comparison to our family apartment. The fact that my ex was unwilling to take a sleeping pill, return to his previous therapist or see a new one and it was up to me to shoulder the financial burden of our situation made me feel that I, ultimately, just choose what was best for our “family” of two. Clearly, his inability to sleep was due to trauma that began with his skiing accident. Until he ex was willing to take action to deal with trauma, me taking action on his behalf would not help him, though it might make him feel supported morally. He was scared and he was needy, but I felt it would take him longer to recover if I gave in to his every demand. Over the winter his sister became aware of his condition. She told him that I was not taking care of him. I guess she thought I should have withdrawn from classes and stayed home to be with him all the time and assuage his fears. Would that have made him see a psychologist or try a therapy that involved medication? I felt my focusing 100% on him would have only made him dependent on me. I wonder, looking back, what his new guy friend made of all of this. I suspect that at this fork in the road, the opportunity for people to criticize me for the condition my spouse was in presented itself in a tangible way. His sister encouraged him to go on Lexipro, an anti-depressant that also works as an anti-anxiety medication. It had helped her a great deal. She talked to him at length about it. I encouraged his consideration of the idea and supported it 100%. He tried the medication once but taking it increased his fears. Then, a week later, he went on it. Within two weeks he began to stabilize. He was able to sleep at last. That was in March. I was in the middle of my second semester in my MFA program. As my ex began to feel better and better I noticed an arrogance in his attitude that accompanied his improved health. He told me his life long fear of public speaking had vanished. Other fears that he had struggled with began to disappear too. As a young man, he’d struggled with a fear of rejection from women. All summer he was exceedingly hostile. His friend had a house in Vermont and they frequently took off for the weekend together. I needed to write and this suited me but there was a tacit understanding that the time they spent together was exclusively theirs — a male bonding type of sport like fishing or sport events. No matter what I did, I could do nothing right anymore. My ex was always annoyed with me. This was particularly sad because he had always been someone whose negativity never displayed itself in his tone or choice of language. He had been positive, sweet, humorous. He had laughed at all my jokes. Now, here I was, doing what I wanted with my life at last, in what should seem an ideal phase of things, but feeling more isolated from my spouse than ever. Many years later, when I became ill, I would learn that he was spending nearly all of his time with his friend and that he was in a state of deep indecision about our marriage. He actually told later that he had spent five years trying to decided whether or not to remain in the marriage. To me that sounds absurd, laughable. It had taken us four years to get to the altar–no one had twisted anybody’s arm. After his failure in music, however, I feel his inability to recover the ground he’d lost made him feel the need to escape the life he had created. I reminded him of his music career, which was on the wane, and while he had not yet found his new dream or “mission” I feel he turned a hostility on me that made me butt of all of his dashed hopes and dreams. In reality, I had supported his success in every way and been there for him in every way when things went sour. We both assumed he’d get back on track. The friend who attached himself to my ex had been riding the coat tails of an early success in music when they cultivated a serious friendship. He too, had arrived at a phase in which he was searching for new contacts, new opportunities, etc. The difference was he had a father who subsidized his career in music. He gave him close to $200,000 at one point to establish himself in a fancy apartment, build a state of the art studio and resume his music career. By the time I finished my thesis and graduated with an MFA, I had divorced my ex-husband and attempted to move on with my life. Around that time, my ex-husband’s friend began to go into a panic mode. His father’s money was running out. He wasn’t selling songs and there was little action in his career. My ex and I stayed close friends. I liked him tremendously as a person and understood his need to date again so he could overcome his fears of women and fulfill the romantic dreams we all grow up with about finding a perfect love. I had found my perfect love in him, warts and all. There was no point trying to convince him that he had as well. I believe it is his nature to question and doubt. Coming to a decision about anything is never easy for him. He is very adept at gathering information and it is harder for him to feel something for sure unless the people in his life confirm it as well. I had never been the type of woman his family would have wanted for him because I wasn’t a professional. Over the course of the years, I think I won their respect. I am still invited to family gatherings now and then and remain in touch with my ex-sister-in-law. Looking back, my only regret about my marriage is that often when I had an idea or hunch I asked my spouse confirm it before going ahead with it. There are certain things, such as buying a home, that require working together and sharing a joint-commitment. I wish I had gone ahead and bought the fantastic one bedroom apartment on West 66th Street they were giving away in 1993 that had a maintenance of $202 a month! My ex had said, “but the building is filled with elderly people!” I wish that I had bought the house in Brewster that was on a lake that they were giving away in 1999 that my ex said was useless to us unless I was willing to make the basement into the bedroom and use the bedroom as the music studio! I wish that I had fought for children–any kind–via donor egg or adoption. That is my most serious moment of indecision in which I allowed my spouse to have his way. I had always assumed we would have children but they had never been on my mind. It is only now that I am older that I long for them. I know that I would have made a wonderful mother. My ex abandoned birth control on our wedding night. He wasn’t the type to discuss the things that meant anything of weight to him, deep down. By his actions, I came to realize that marriage and children meant a great deal to him. After more than a decade, he has a girlfriend and we met for the first time during the last holiday season. She is young enough to bear a child but has no interest. I urge my ex to ignore her attitude. Generations of women were taught to postpone having children as long as possible and I do feel this was a mistake. I think sometimes we feel our lives ought to be perfect in order to begin a family and this just isn’t the case. In the end, nobody loves you the way your parents love you. There will never be anyone who loves you like your mother. This has been true for me. My ex’s love continues in the form a friendship and I am ever so grateful for it. I am more interested in writing than in having relationships with men at this stage in the game. It’s nice to be clear about certain things.

  • Kellie Sue March 5, 2014, 4:33 pm

    The timing for this blog is one of delightful synchronicity in my life. I agree absolutely that it has to do with “playing small.” And unfortunately, having come from where I have, I get so stuck in my head that “I don’t know what to do,” is often an icky mantra swirling around in my brain, upping my angst exponentially to the tenth power. Thank you so much for reminding me that I do indeed, have a body to get back into, and that she can be my friend, rather than my out-of-breath-heart-racing-sweaty-palms-panic-monster. :-)

  • cindi March 7, 2014, 10:17 pm

    Very cool!

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