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How the hell is this my life?

Sister Goddess Leslie, Age 41

When I walked through the doors of the School of Womanly Arts, I was getting a divorce at the age of 37. I was beyond devastated. On the other side of this journey, I am a proud new mama at the age of 41, partnered with my husband and best friend, and surrounded by sisters. It’s been a ride, an epic journey that started right around rock bottom. . .

February 2011. I was sitting staring blankly at my computer screen at work on a cold Monday morning, thinking, “How did I get here? How the hell is this my life?”

I had spent the previous weekend at an entrepreneurship workshop, trying to figure out how I was going to pay my bills now that I was single again. But rather than talking about strategy or refining my pitch, I basically spent the entire weekend crying. I had a pretty regular practice of crying back then; tears were almost always smarting behind my eyes, as much as I tried to look like I had it together.

I wasn’t happily married, and actually had wanted the divorce for a long time, but now that it was really happening, I totally fell apart.

Rather than feeling liberation and excitement about a new beginning, I felt lost and really alone.

I torpedoed all the hurt, grief, regret I was feeling directly at myself – “If I had only been more/less this/that, then I could’ve had a successful marriage.” I felt immense shame for getting divorced – it took me a long time before I could actually say ‘the D word,’ as backward as that sounds. It just seemed so big, I couldn’t get my head around it.

At that entrepreneurial workshop, my deep sadness couldn’t be contained. The woman who initially recommended I attend the workshop looked directly at me and said something akin to, “You don’t need to enroll in this program. You need Mama Gena’s.”

I looked at her, confused but also intrigued. I had heard of Mama Gena maybe 10 years prior and even had her book somewhere, but had never considered doing a program like that. I was going through a really difficult time; Mama Gena’s just seemed like fluffy frivolity.

But I was adrift on a very turbulent ocean with no sign of land in sight, and I was starting to go under. So, that cold Monday morning, I googled Mama Gena. And then I picked up the phone.

I ended up speaking with Mary. Anyone who knows her knows that resistance is futile, however, I was not an easy sell. I was pretty attached to my suffering. Even while I was looking for relief and salvation, I was refusing it, pushing it away.

Mary’s accounts of women transforming their lives weren’t enough. I needed to speak with women who were going through a divorce when they did Mastery and hear from them how it helped them. I needed proof. I wanted a guarantee, I guess, that something, anything would help me.

Next thing I know, I’m speaking to a newly minted divorcee who was loving her freedom and herself after enrolling in the School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program.

My reasons not to do Mastery were dropping away, but the money thing was a really big deal. My ‘logical mind’ told me to save. Joining the program was certainly not a pragmatic decision for me at the time. Yet, somehow I knew I needed to do it.

The graduates I spoke with had what I wanted – confidence, fun, and supportive sisterhood. That day, my intuition took hold of the reins and made the decision for me.

leslie1So, I took a deep breath. Called Mary back and said, “I’m in.” Yes, the price tag was insane to me at the time, but I got my ass into Mastery.

And I pretty much cried the entire time.
While I know that might not sound like a win…it was exactly what was necessary.

One of the things you learn in the course is how to welcome, understand, and move through your darkness. Which is pretty radical, since as girls and women, we’re taught to be nice, and pleasant, and ‘just fine, thank you.’

I was in an epic swamp of immeasurable depth and darkness. But because I was allowed – no, not just allowed, actually encouraged to tap into my truth, that pain began to move.

It was so, so healing. To mourn the loss of my dream. To cry for what would have been. To cry for the ways that I failed my ex-husband, and to cry for the ways he failed me. But it was more than that. So much more than a divorce. I needed to mourn years and years, a lifetime, really, of self-abandoning.

Without the tools I learned in class, I would have just put on a fake happy façade, trying to cover up what I was feeling, and all of that unexpressed grief and loss would have transmuted into bitterness. Instead, I got to tap into my truth, and move through the grief and loss in a way that remade me into the woman I am now.

After Mastery, I wanted to go even farther. I was a budding goddess, emerging from the chrysalis and just starting to figure out what these things called wings were for. I knew that sisterhood was my lifeline, and I had already experienced the fact that this paradigm, and the tools I was learning, were transformative. I decided to continue with Regena’s advanced course, now called Creation.

I worked the tools hard core. I started to take risks; if something terrified me, but also excited me, I knew it was something I needed to explore.

I took dance classes. I asked for raises at work. I started to get manicures (what NYC woman doesn’t get mani/pedis? That would’ve been me. Gotta start somewhere). And I started dating like it was my second job.

My very first date was with a guy that I wasn’t even interested in, but I knew I needed to ‘research’ dating and wasn’t ready for the big leagues yet. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking and I was afraid to hold the wine glass because I didn’t want him to see.

Slowly, with my sisters cheering me on, I began to turn up the volume. I started to flirt. I got va-va-va voom blow outs and glamourama eyelash extensions. And yes, by now, manis and pedis were a regular thing. I practiced the tools I learned, designed to help me receive, and take in all the good in my life, while making room for more. I remember realizing one day that I had become really, really good at dating – which was so deliciously entertaining to me.

My light turned back on. I began to absolutely LOVE having the entire apartment to myself, just me and my dog. I started hosting ‘desire salons’ with my little coven of close sisters. I wrote my desires. I looked at them all the time. I had the most amazing vision board in my dressing room. I wrote down pages of qualities I wanted my man to have; my desire list for the man I wanted to call in. I created the most exquisite altar and would sit there at the end of the day and do gratitudes by candlelight.

I even had several relationships during this time – I got the opportunity to practice Mama Gena’s stand to ‘leave a man higher’, exiting a relationship at exactly the moment when my intuition told me to. And, something that was very important to me – I created an amicable divorce with my ex-husband.

I signed my divorce papers on a cold, rainy Friday night in February of 2012, one year after enrolling in SWA. The mental snapshot of the paper – the color of the ink, his signature, my signature. So clear.

As I left the mediator’s office, I remember the surprising lightness, almost giddiness, of the endless possibilities of the unknown. Four days later, I spoke to Rob for the first time.

Our relationship developed very slowly, organically. He gave me the space I needed to explore what it would mean to be in a committed relationship again. (Because, quite frankly, I was super gun shy about committing to one man again.) But it was easy being with him and it felt really soooo good to have ease. And fun. And laughter. And, well, adoration doesn’t hurt either, right?

Long story short, we fell in LOVE, we moved in together, we got engaged, we decided to create a family.

With utmost intentionality, I called in my daughter (he helped too, of course ;), as did my beautiful tribe of Sister Goddesses, who lovingly held and nurtured my desire to become a mother.

Fast forward to this past year — 2014 was incredible; full of change, magic, and miracles.

Rob and I got married in a beautiful, sacred, intimate ceremony, surrounded by roses in full bloom and those closest to our hearts. I was very with child at the time, but decided to rock a wedding anyway. It was the most beautiful magical day.

leslie-bouquet

In early August, my beloved goddesses hosted the most beautiful baby blessing for me – high priestess Ayodele created a ceremony for me and my baby girl, and the goddesses all wrote blessings for me and for her. Oh my goodness, it was exquisite.

The energy and excitement was so compelling, that 4 days after my baby blessing, our daughter chose to make her grand entrance via an incredibly fast, intense, transformative, and empowering labor.

We are totally in love with this little spunky gal, albeit a bit blurry-eyed from sleep-deprivation. She is now 5 months old and motherhood is definitely the hugest adventure I’ve ever embarked on. I am so thankful for the rockstar goddess moms in my orbit that never cease to amaze me. So thankful for my husband being such an incredible partner to journey with – my love and gratitude for him continues to expand more every day as I see him being such an amazing dad and husband.

I now see that I absolutely HAD to marry my first husband. And I absolutely HAD to get divorced. It was not a ‘failed marriage.’ It was an incredible soul adventure that lasted 7 years and left me so much higher. And the cool thing is that he feels the same way.

I am a completely different wife with Rob than I was with my first husband. I am just so much more aware of the stuff that I bring to the relationship, my patterns, my shit.

The sisterhood I discovered changed my life. Women who believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. Women who held the vision for me when my desires seemed so far away. Women who put the mirror up in front of me, to keep me accountable to my truth. Our support for each other is deeply healing, paradigm shifting.

leslie-sisterhood

It’s been four years since I picked up the phone and joined the Mastery program. If I showed my life now to the woman I was prior to the course … I would be overwhelmed with gratitude. Even in my deep darkness, I knew that someday I’d get here. I just didn’t know how. I didn’t have any idea.

Mastery gave me the roadmap . . . and provided the best pit crew when I needed to pull over for refueling. And, something I could hardly imagine back in February of 2011, I learned how to actually enjoy the unfolding.

Thank you so much for reading about my journey — I’d love to connect in the comments section and hear what resonated, where you are in your own journey these days, and all about your beautiful desires!

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51 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Mary June 3, 2015, 5:17 pm

    It was SUCH an HONOR to have been a Sister Goddess with you in Mastery the same year. I’m beyond grateful to have shared that with you (Miami highlight!), witness your transformation in the course, and now, wow!!!! You’re SUCH an inspiration!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story!! I’m SO happy for you! Goddess bless you & your family! Much Love ALWAYS, Sister Goddess Mary Virginia XOXO

  • Ann February 2, 2015, 9:35 am

    Happy to hear of your wonderful transformation! Leslie, you are so beautiful and really glows, so go girl get even some more of your desires! Celebrate your infinite wisdom and goddess power that got you into this position in life!
    Unfortunately I did not had any good experience at all of Mastery, for me it was just a huge loss of money, considering all the costly transatlantic flights and accommodations. Inspiring with lots of interesting women yes, but too large mastery group and no big sister support.

  • Linea January 30, 2015, 6:02 am

    Thank you, so much beautiful and happy light coming out of my phone while reading your story! Thanks!

  • KadyDalrymple January 29, 2015, 3:26 pm

    What an inspiring share! Thank you! My favorite frame was how you embraced your tears and sadness. Love the rupture to rapture. I want that. I desire that. All the best to you and your family Sister Goddess Leslie! Best, SG KadyBloom

  • SG Radioactive Robyn January 29, 2015, 10:19 am

    Dearest Leslie, I am so grateful for your journey and that it brought you to Mama Gena. In finding your light, you helped me find mine. I will never forget my complete rupture in Miami after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer three days before arriving. I was in a heap on the floor and YOU were the one who peered into my wet eyes, wrapped your arms around me and held space for my rupture. I will never forget the light in your eyes, the hope and the love. We just never know how our own rupture will help someone else through theirs. I am grateful for the ways in which our paths intertwined. xoxoxo

  • Barbara J. Simon January 28, 2015, 10:12 am

    My mother had me, her first child, at 41 years old. It can be an amazing adventure. Bon Voyage – and Enjoy!

    SG Barbara

  • SG Claudine January 28, 2015, 9:22 am

    Total inspiration! Thank you for sharing!

  • SG Margaret January 27, 2015, 7:51 pm

    I saw your FB post a couple of weeks ago and was so excited and happy for you. I enjoyed my time as a Big Sister Goddess with you in Spring 2012, and I had no idea of what you had experienced before then! Thank you thank you for sharing the full ride, from rupture to rapture. Your story has so much hope and light for other women. It is a reminder that when we are in that dark and lonely place it is so hard to see for ourselves what is even possible, and with the support of our sisters, we can create anything beyond our wildest imagination! Much love to you and your family xoxo

  • Carla January 27, 2015, 7:22 pm

    So thrilled to read your story Leslie, and the birth of your precious baby!!

    May your path into motherhood be filled with joy and wonder.

  • Brooke January 27, 2015, 4:37 pm

    Love, love, LOVE that!
    Thank you for sharing your story and for rebuilding your life, and reconnecting to yourself. I have goosebumps reading your story – so beautiful! Congratulations xx

  • Yasmine M. January 27, 2015, 3:53 pm

    Badass.

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 4:14 pm

      Right?!

      🙂 thanks, Yasmine!

  • Santha January 27, 2015, 3:45 pm

    Leslie!
    So wonderful to read of your transformations!
    So much hard work, going deeper!
    So much love and joy at the end of the tunnel!
    This is such an encouragement, as, with some trepidation, I prepare to dive into Mastery in a couple of months.
    Getting ready to Master my self and my life, getting ready to steer for truth, for joy, for aliveness, for life.
    I am praying for the courage, the strength, the support, the guidance, the listening, the purpose, the holding, the love, the connection that will allow me to cocoon, melt, transform, emerge, spread my wings, and fly!
    I am deciding they are there!
    Your story shows the journey, step by step.
    Congratulations!

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 4:13 pm

      Santha
      YES!!!! All that you desire, ALL OF IT, is so there, waiting for you! So brilliant that you are bringing all these amazing desires to Mastery! Start stretching out those wings!!!

  • Kelly January 27, 2015, 3:30 pm

    I am so happy for you and deeply appreciate your journey to all of your love, dreams, beauty and motherhood. My story is so similar and having my twins last December with the love of my life is something that blows my mind everyday. Yes and more please. Thank you goddess and goddesses for your courage strength and willingness. Love you all.

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 4:08 pm

      Kelly,
      Congrats on your beautiful family! I love connecting with other goddess mamas!!!! Thank you for posting!!

  • Julie January 27, 2015, 3:30 pm

    Leslie, Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of courage, sisterhood and triumph. It is very inspiring to see how you trusted yourself and the sister goddess community, and worked the tools to become the amazingly happy woman you are today. Congratulations on your new marriage and your wonderful baby. Congratulations on having the courage to go for your true dreams and desires. xo

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 4:05 pm

      Julie,
      What a beautiful acknowledgement. Thank you! Yes, I do feel it was a journey of courage. I totally longed for the sisterhood I now have. I had never experienced anything like that level of support before. I truly believe, when a woman feels totally supported, that there is nothing that she can’t accomplish. The paradigm of ‘when I shine brighter, you shine brighter. When you shine brighter, I shine brighter’ is so healing. And also really fun 🙂

  • SG Joan Champion of Pleasure January 27, 2015, 2:27 pm

    Wow! So glad you landed in Mastery. What a ride. It is so true that the sisterhood and Regena can really get us straightened out and flying high. Many blessings to you, your husband and your beautiful child. You are a rockstar goddess!

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 4:00 pm

      Thank you, SG Joan! Yes, it’s been quite a ride!

  • cristina January 27, 2015, 2:15 pm

    Dear Dear amazing, powerful Leslie, Kali-Ma, Mama Goddess…. I have so loved being on this path with you. So happy to see you honored and honoring your journey here and to witness how you are affecting everyone that reads the post! So much love to you! Love, Cristina

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 3:57 pm

      Love you Cristina! Thank you for always shining the light on my desires for me! So love being on this path with you too!!!

  • Inna January 27, 2015, 12:59 pm

    What a delicious surprise to get your story in my inbox, love! I have this a huge happy smile reading your journey! Congrats on the beautiful baby! You rock!!! xoxoxox
    SG Inna S

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 3:56 pm

      Thank you, my dear!!! xoxo

  • 1newhoknowz January 27, 2015, 12:47 pm

    I am a transformation coach and supporting the juiciness and exhilarating dance of change in someone else’s life has been easy. This what women do we nurture and care for others and we champion them on. I am deeply moved by your story wondering if you are just the anomaly who had her life open up as a result? I am the woman who supports everyone else yet I don’t have the self confidence I believe that I am the talented woman everyone says I am! Wonder if Mama Gena’s will activate that part of my life?

    • SG Ti Sugarbitch January 27, 2015, 1:01 pm

      I took Mastery in 2012, after years of resisting it because of the cost, the travel, the ‘it worked for them but will it work for me?’ questioning. I can tell you that she is not the anomaly. I have seen several women’s lives open up into bliss, with the sometimes rough road there peopled with sister goddesses cheering her on. I have seen MY life open up, my relationships transformed, and I am continually amazed at the gifts that are still unfolding from that time and this community. Only you know when it’s right. But when it is, jump! You’ll be caught by the best women in the world.

      • Santha January 27, 2015, 3:35 pm

        Thanks for speaking the “it worked for them, will it work for me?” doubt. I will be in Mastery in a few months and am praying that it will work for me. My first dose of Mama Gena some years ago has been working in me ever since, but I am ready for more! Here I come: getting ready, nervously, to jump!

        • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 3:55 pm

          I was the quintessential ‘yeah, it worked for all those women, but I don’t think it will work for me.’ Totally. I had that going on SO strong. But, at the same time, I felt like I really wanted something to help me so I took a leap of faith. SO glad I did.
          And, 1newhoknowz, the stories of transformation are ALL over the Mastery room. Women who RADICALLY transformed their marriages from the brink of divorce to legendary love status, women who were stuck in their careers taking big, bold risks that paid off big time, women who were stifled creatively stepping into their artistic expression and getting rave reviews (and big checks)…I could go on and on. The stories of transformation are everywhere. You’ll see. And you’ll be one of them, I have a feeling…

      • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 4:18 pm

        So true! Thanks, Ti!

  • Sherrie Huckelberry January 27, 2015, 12:45 pm

    I was struck by your realization of a patteren of self abandonment. Thank you being real and shareing your journey. Perhaps I will be able to see more clearly my own issues pertaining to abandonment.

  • helen January 27, 2015, 12:35 pm

    thank you Leslie ~ lovely gowns!! lovely story.. i sat here and cried… ya ya, i see my next step = time for reclamation ~ reclaiming the abandoned me… thank you for that insight.

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 3:41 pm

      Helen,
      I love that! Time for reclamation! So beautiful

  • Sg rockstar January 27, 2015, 12:14 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and reminding me how powerful and in control of our lives we are. Amazing story -so grateful

  • SG Olivia January 27, 2015, 12:07 pm

    Thank you Leslie!

    I’m 35 and have always felt like it would be impossible to have children and maintain the glory of life without biting off everyone around me’s head, and JUST THIS PAST WEEKEND I said to myself, “ok. When you’re 40. When you’re 40 you will let yourself have the children you know you want.”

    So thank you for living it and sharing it.

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 1:50 pm

      hey SG Olivia!
      Having the tools and arts at my fingertips and being surrounded by an amazingly supportive community of sister goddesses has helped immensely with navigating being a new mama – to not go into the ‘motherhood martyrdom mode’ but to make sure I’m taking care of myself, which in turn, elevates everyone around me

  • Robin Amos Kahn January 27, 2015, 11:29 am

    Leslie,

    I am so moved by your story. I have watched you in Mastery and seen bits and pieces on Facebook, but never knew the whole story. I so relate to the devastation of divorce and the tears and I love how you really were able to let this community hold you up through this amazing journey of finding love and having your beautiful little girl.

    So happy for you! So inspired!! What a transformation!!

    xo SG Robin

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 4:16 pm

      SG Robin!
      Thank you so much! You are such an inspiration to me as well. So great to connect with you here!

  • SG Mona January 27, 2015, 11:27 am

    So inspiring, thank you so much for sharing your shining light with us. Wishing you and yours so much love and happiness.

    SG Snowcat

  • Rachel January 27, 2015, 11:22 am

    Awesome story. So inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

  • SG Lorraine January 27, 2015, 11:15 am

    Oh my! Your story has brought me back to what I received in Mastery four years ago. I feel like I missed so much growth by not staying on top of the program. I feel like I’m ready for another healthy dose of Mama Gena. Thank you for sharing your story.
    SG Lorraine

  • Suzanne January 27, 2015, 11:10 am

    Fabulous and uplifting! Love you Mama Gena, and love your passionate ladies….
    Always inspired by these stories…
    xoxo

  • Lisa January 27, 2015, 10:59 am

    SG Leslie,

    Thank you so much for your massively moving and inspiring story. Beautiful.

  • Sister Goddess Dazzling Debra January 27, 2015, 10:58 am

    What a FABULOUS, gorgeous beautifully written magical story. You not only picked up the phone but you WORKED the tools.
    I LOVE your attitude, your perspective and most of all your fairy tale ending!!
    Bravo Sister Goddess BRAVO!!!!

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 11:21 am

      SG Dazzling Debra!
      Did I ever work those tools! Damn! 🙂
      Thank you SO MUCH for the upride!

  • Kate January 27, 2015, 10:33 am

    Wow. That is inspiring. I think Strikes home. Not too close to home as the saying goes…but right on top of it.

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 11:16 am

      Kate,
      My desire for telling my story was to inspire a woman who might be experiencing something similar. Thank you so much for your acknowledgment!!

      • SG Carla January 27, 2015, 7:12 pm

        SG Leslie you accomplished just that! Our stories are very parallel. And today happens to be a day where a lot shame and guilt are being placed on me for filing for divorce. So your story being sent today was divinely timed. Mastery can’t get here fast enough! Many wonderful blessings to you and your family

  • BSG Glitzy Cougar Karen January 27, 2015, 10:32 am

    Leslie, having witnessed even a portion of this journey has been a joy to me, but reading the whole story? I am over the moon with excitement for you, your new life, and the juiciness you continue to bring to all around you. Your story is absolute inspiration, as are so many in the room. And as for your dating magic? May I rub your head? :):):)

    And what is so compelling is that we get this transformation all the time in this wonderful sisterhood. Here’s to Mama Gena and the magical weekend coming up in NYC. May it rock your world, ladies!!! It has rocked ours.

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 11:13 am

      Karen!!!
      So good to hear from you! And thank you! You have been such a beautiful supporter of my desires – and such an incredibly inspirational woman yourself! That’s one of the best things about Mastery – the caliber of women who are in the room with you.
      And yes, the transformational stories of Mastery are countless. Truly. There were so many times I would hear a woman’s story of going after what she wants and get goosebumps. Or cry tears of joy. To have hundreds of women rooting for you, cheering you on, sitting on the edge of their seat in anticipation of your brags. Oh my goodness. It’s pure magic. And deeply healing.

  • Annettielove January 27, 2015, 10:25 am

    Loved and moved by your story! Gives me so much hope that love with a great partner is possible after loss. I can’t wait to start Mastery this year. I’m soooooooooo looking forward to it.

    • SG Leslie January 27, 2015, 11:03 am

      Annettielove,
      Thank you so much! Love after loss absolutely is possible! So brilliant of you to enroll in Mastery – SO much magic is awaiting you, so go ahead and start writing that beautiful desire list!