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Are you a One-Trick Negative Pony?


We all have voices in our heads.

Come on, admit it. You know you have them. Chatty little noxious voices that yammer on all day, giving us a running commentary on everything we do or say.

Mine’s a bitch and a brat. Hypercritical. Opinionated. Judgmental. If she asked me to lunch, I would turn her down. She is a one-trick negative pony.

I spend a large part of my day redirecting her, altering her perspective, retraining her negative, nasty tone, smacking her upside the head, and diverting her in surreptitious ways.

Do you hear voices, too? What do yours say?

Might yours say stuff like “it’s too late, you’re too old, you are way too fat, too lumpy, too smart, too unlovable, too much, too quiet”…too too too everything and anything?


But let’s get to the bottom of this. Is that actually YOUR voice in your own head?

Mine, in mine?

Don’t think so.

In fact, no way, Sister.

We learned these voices from a culture that has no idea how to celebrate or honor who and what a woman is. Rather, the opposite. We learned how to dishonor ourselves from a world that dishonors women. It’s bigger than both of us.

It takes years for a woman to learn to turn against herself as effectively as we have. Generations, actually.

The reason I created The School of Womanly Arts was to teach women, myself included, how to dismantle those voices. Turns out they are not permanent. They are a habit worthy of breaking.

SG Leslie, one of our Mastery Valedictorians, spoke at her Mastery graduation a few weeks ago about how she dismantled her one-trick negative pony. She inspired me so much that I wanted to let her inspire you…

On my first day of Mastery, I sat in the back of the room making snarky comments, thinking the whole thing was hokey, somewhat crass and feeling like the girl in A Chorus Line—I felt nothing. I was envious of the women in the room that were having an experience, even if it was negative. The women that took the microphone and talked about their lives, their resistance, their desire to break through, the women that just seemed ready to transform. I was filled with jealousy of those women, but masked it as disdain. Those women that came back from lunch the first day telling tales of how the womantra Mama gave us brought flirtatious strangers and doting waiters, I was pretty sure they were plants. And Mama Gena, seriously, the pink sparkly outfits? The word pussy over and over and over again? Writhing with the man on stage? She was too much!

I thought that first day that this probably wasn’t for me. I thought I’m probably not the kind of person that has a breakthrough from the exercise she had us do. I thought I might not need this kind of shock therapy. I thought I already knew what gave me pleasure—someone else’s accolades, male attention, being seen—I just didn’t have enough of those outside pleasurable things in my life. I thought, I thought, I thought. I’m a really good thinker. But I didn’t listen to rule number one: do what Mama says!

Despite that, on Sunday, mostly because I felt obligated, I came back. And then something happened—I cried. I’m not even sure when or why I cried, I don’t recall it being anything particularly triggering for me, but something in me opened up and said that I wanted to stop the voice that has lived in my head for almost 47 years telling me that it is too late for me. That voice saying that it—in fact, all the big “its,” like love, success, recognition, creativity, beauty, money—whatever the desire, it was just not in the cards for me. That’s the same voice that tells me I will never be young and in love. The same voice that tells me that nobody publishes their first novel at 47, so why bother writing? The same voice that wakes me at 3 a.m. with a litany of mistakes and embarrassments. The same voice that looks in the mirror and sees only flaws. The same voice that says I experienced cancer and infidelity and infertility and divorce and financial insecurity—and the list continues—because I am cursed and I can never get un-cursed. On that Sunday I realized that I wanted that voice to shut the fuck up!

The Buddhists say that when people push your buttons you must recognize that they may very well be enlightened beings because if you were the Buddha trying to get people to find happiness in this lifetime, you wouldn’t sit back and passively wait, you would get right in their face! Well, I’m here to tell you that Regena Thomashauer is an enlightened being, because she will get straight to your triggers and help you get clear with them as to who is in charge, even if she has to get you there through your tears, anger or resistance!

This is not The Secret, this is not a self-help 10 steps and, poof, like magic, all will be right. This is not about wishing your way into happiness. This is fun and crazy and invigorating and it’s frightening and challenging and it’s work. At its core, The School of Womanly Arts is about reminding us that we are all connected, we all share in our fears, in our anger, in our shame, in our tragedy, in our beauty, in our triumphs, in our divinity and in our desires. I saw that the women surrounding me were extraordinary in their resilience, their generosity, their beautyand it made me think that I might just be, too.

I stand before you to tell you that at every step, I experienced resistance. I stand here to tell you that Yes’ing my tragedies, exposing myself, sharing my shame and disappointment, recognizing my gifts and joy, saying “thank you, it’s true” to a compliment, saying the word “pussy”—none of it came easily. And yet, I stand here to tell you that when I felt small and ashamed, I went to the swamp and was transparent. When I felt excited and proud, I bragged. When I was confused, I spring cleaned. When I had nothing to say, I uprided other women’s brags and held space for them in their tragedies. I got clear that my envy of other women was not my greatest downfall, but a gateway to my desires. I understood that my worst days were part of what made me a complete woman, a goddess. And when I couldn’t connect to the tools right away, I looked around the room and found other women struggling and I connected to them. And when I couldn’t do that, women in the room found me and held my hand and took me there. And when I couldn’t do that, other enlightened beings entered this space, like SG Karla, who before she left this world showed us all her divinity in a brave and eternal act of healing.

Sometimes it felt like going through the motions during our weekends together, and it wasn’t until later that I got it. Some things I’m still working to get. But I am clear that we women stand for one another. I am clear that every woman in this room is connected to me, deeply and completely, as my mirror, my champion, my cherished friend, my sister goddess. I am clear that each and every one of us—and I include myself in this—is perfect and divine, gorgeous and lovable, accomplished and irreplaceable.

And as I struggled to integrate the tools into my life, I brought in new clients, I fell in love with the man in my life, we started renovating a house together, I made new realizations, I connected with amazing women, I connected more deeply to myself and my gifts. And unpleasant things happened, too. Not all of this was a result of Mastery, some of it was happening already. But for the first time I can remember, I was able to dwell on the positive and move on quickly from the negative. And that IS a result of Mastery, the tools we learned and the experiences shared with all of you.

I implore each and every one of you to love yourself, just as you are today. Love yourself as if you were the most beloved friend, partner, child. Love yourself as if your life depended upon it, because it truly does. And if you don’t know how, then get yourself to The School of Womanly Arts and let Mama Gena teach you how.

Today, instead of the girl that felt nothing, I am more like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. I have the ruby slippers and the ability to get myself home—home to a place of forgiveness, gratitude, optimism, and self-love. And each of you wear those same slippers. But it took our Glenda, Mama Gena, to remind us that it has been in us the whole the time. All we had to do was click our heels three times…oh, and do whatever Mama says!

SG Leslie

SG Leslie’s right. The Womanly Arts aren’t some easy, poof, answer to all your woes. They are a practice, and are especially powerful when practiced in community with other women. They are a daily practice and reorientation to pleasure as your guide.

What areas of your life have you deemed yourself cursed to never experience the joy, the pleasure and the ecstasy you long for? What are the voices in your head telling YOU you can’t do? Share your thoughts in the comment below.

And if you know a friend who’s hearing those voices, pass on this blog to her today…

With pleasure,
Mama Gena

P.S. Speaking of practicing the Tools and Arts in community with other women, you can do so right from the comfort of your own home—no matter where you live—by joining Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp. We deploy September 12th. Click here for all the details.


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43 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Linda grierson August 31, 2013, 9:17 am

    I enjoy your story is much to complicated ,After a 20year marriage I got
    Divorce. I had to revamp I order to support myself and my children. But it’s not quiet
    Happening, I strogle every day causing me most recently health issues . A lump was found
    And my blood pressure got very serious . So as I try to figure out what is next, my good
    Friend email me your web site.Thank you

    • Linda grierson August 31, 2013, 9:18 am

      Very interested in your comment.

  • SG Skeptic July 25, 2013, 12:42 am

    Here I am terrified because I’ve made my down payment for Mastery 2014 and tomorrow is the end of my seven day grace period to cancel it. I don’t want to cancel it; I want Mastery so badly. And I am so afraid that I don’t deserve it. I am so afraid that my brokeass twenty-seven year old self, living with my dad, working at a job that really doesn’t pay enough considering my qualifications, a job that does not make use of my talents or abilities…really should not have spent all of this money on a glittery feathery pink pussy fest in New York City…because what if I participate in it and nothing changes? Oh God(dess), I am so scared. But like I said, I want this. So I am not going to give in to the fear. I will be there for Mastery 2014. I want this like I have never wanted anything before in my life.

  • S.G. little jo July 18, 2013, 2:00 pm

    inspiring blog, inspiring posts – thank you Mama and my Sisters, it’s good to know we’re no more confused/crazy/alone and that we’re at the driver’s seat, deciding for ourselves 😎

  • Michele July 16, 2013, 10:52 pm

    Leslie, you are so accurate. Thank you for telling the truth and how you came out of the negative and into the positive, how to remember that change is life and to love ourselves. Thanks for the reminders–they really help. Continue your journey, honey!

  • Flamingo Flame M July 15, 2013, 7:58 am

    My voice is telling me that I am not able to relax and that I have voices in my head. Hmm..
    Thank you SG Leslie.

  • SG Tamara July 13, 2013, 12:03 am

    I’m just reading this post tonight, and what perfect timing (as always). I am working on a book and am a day behind on my calendar. That inner-critic has been running it’s mouth in my mind all week, and today I began to question if my dream of being a professional writer is really something I can realize. But, after reading this post, I know that I can ignore that voice and push forward toward my pleasure. Sometimes, it does take a little courage to choose plesasure. I’m really really understanding that today. . . Thank you Mama and Leslie.

  • Nelda July 10, 2013, 10:18 am

    Leslie! Mama Gena! Y’all are the best teachers…know that your touch comes to so many through these blogs. Thank you SG’s for all the inspiration and uplifting reminders! Much love.

  • Cronegoddess Margo July 10, 2013, 10:08 am

    I say YES YES YES to all that you shared…..My voices have gotten smaller and much more quiet sice Mama Gena came into my LIFE….I laugh at them more and more. I choose to brush them dust in the wind……It works and YOU WORK thanks for sharing
    with MUCH LOVE for ME FIRST and YOU next and the rest of MY WORLD

  • Flamingo Flame M July 10, 2013, 7:43 am

    After reading all of the above, and especially after Janine’s poem I felt that the moment women will take over the world is very near! Despite all the voices, all the struggle…all the holding back, we are pushing forward so hard, we do so much, we make the world beautiful and we make it a Home. I feel your (and my own) power, and sometimes it scares me so I don’t use it. Just like Marianne Williamson says:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    Let us use our power to be gentle and kind to ourselves.
    Love and blessings,

  • janine July 10, 2013, 6:07 am

    i found myself inside this
    pacing like a trapped animal
    captive. under the…. incessant… monotony…
    of my own word.

    this morning at waters edge
    i dropped down
    and howled
    no cage can keep me from the moon.

    You are a genius.

    • Leslie July 11, 2013, 11:25 am

      So beautiful, Janine!

  • Carole July 10, 2013, 12:53 am

    The phrase that sums it all up: I was born alone, I’ll die alone and spend most of the time in between alone.

    I never learned one thing about how to be a girl. I learned to get the job done, whatever the job might be.

    • Fairy Princess Genevieve July 10, 2013, 12:19 pm

      Sister Goddess Carole, start with Mama Gena’s book or go to Mastery! Posting here was the first step to not being alone anymore now that you are part of the Sister Godess community!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • SG YES PLEASURE LOTUS July 11, 2013, 8:12 am

        I would highly recommend the Pixie Dust of The Boot Camp Mama Gena is referring to. That is a great place to start ( and I have done both). Best of luck and I can tell you join in and not be on the Fence or outskirts Sista!

    • S.G. little jo July 18, 2013, 1:52 pm

      Read Mama’s books to begin with, then you’ll have no more hesitations on what to do, it’s THAT working 🙂

  • Rebecca July 9, 2013, 8:59 pm

    Hey Laura,

    I’d be TOTALLY into being a twice-weekly womanly-arts practicer with you if you’d be interested.
    (I haven’t afforded Mastery yet either.)

    Email me if you’re interested

    • mama gena July 10, 2013, 6:40 am

      you too, rebecca!

    • S.G. little jo July 18, 2013, 1:44 pm

      I’m gonna email you 🙂

  • Laura July 9, 2013, 7:53 pm

    And, some of us don’t have the luxury of being able to afford Mastery but follow along best we can on the outskirts ….for years.

    • Rebecca July 9, 2013, 9:00 pm

      Hey Laura,

      I’d be TOTALLY into being a twice-weekly womanly-arts practicer with you if you’d be interested.
      (I haven’t afforded Mastery yet either.)

      Email me if you’re interested

    • S.G. little jo July 18, 2013, 1:43 pm

      I have the same problem… Lauren, Mama’s enrollatrix, told me $ is not an issue, but I cannot agree on this. Especially since I’m not even living in America so if I take the Bootcamp I won’t have the w-e in Miami- but I’d rather save my bux for Mastery, my real desire, if I find another S.G. who’d like to join me in this Adventure of a life by sharing her shelter with me for 5 weeks…

  • Laura July 9, 2013, 7:50 pm

    I’ve been chasing my husband for 9 years to pay attention to me, to want me, to care about the things I want, to want to spend time with me, to have time & energy for me, to desire me. I’m attractive, I’m smart & fun. I can’t do this anymore but still love him and don’t want to end the marriage!

    I’m 54 and still don’t know what I want or where my passion lies. I still battle with immaturity, like going into a rage when I feel alone, abandoned or underappreciated which is pretty much all the time…sucks. I want attention, love, joy, passion, romance and adventure and to enjoy life to the fullest but I have a hard time with being real, being vulnerable and being honest in a calm, mature manner. Part of me doesn’t want to fight for these things but just have them all come natural!

    Parts of me seem to have disappeared all along the way in this life time. Also gone is my “mojo” and can’t get it back. I never mattered growing up… my thoughts, desires, feelings so it’s hard to know what I want now & when I do know what I want and don’t get it …watch out for the scary, earth-shattering tantrum that I inevitably feel bad about later and which does nothing but send my husband farther away.

    God, sometimes I wonder what happened to my life, my dreams and think shit, life is just passing me by and is this it? WTF!

    • mama gena July 10, 2013, 6:39 am

      ok, this is a 911 pleasure emergency, laura.
      i am not permitting you to spend one more year in this untenable dynamic.
      i have one word for you: bootcamp.
      it’s 10 weeks of yo mama, plus a live weekend in miami.
      and starts in september. (early bird price is $850.)
      in bootcamp, we could create a whole new you, a whole new marriage, by november.
      (the outskirts are ok- but they only work when you are doing great.
      we gotta bring you close, now, and tackle this together.)

    • S.G. little jo July 18, 2013, 1:34 pm

      I think our Mama’s right, you need to be emerged into sisterhood bcz your case sounds like a typical case Mama describes in her books… Have you read them and practiced the exercices?

  • Molly July 9, 2013, 3:46 pm

    Leslie I hope you write that book and never stop writing. You are a true inspiration

    • Leslie July 9, 2013, 10:33 pm

      Thank you, Molly!

  • Melinda Cohan July 9, 2013, 3:45 pm

    It was such a divine treat to hear you deliver that in person during Mastery…and so amazing to dwell in every word here with you in this post! Thank you Leslie and thank you Mama for sharing her entire speech with all women!!! It was exactly the reminder an rejuvinater I need this afternoon in the midst of my work day!!!

    • Leslie July 9, 2013, 10:32 pm

      Thank you, Mel! So looking forward to the next part of this journey…

  • Magic Mirna July 9, 2013, 12:35 pm

    Wow! What a speech dearest Leslie. It is wonderful to read it here in the context of Mama’s blog. You are a true Valedictorian and you did us all proud. You are such a treasure and an amazing writer. So happy to be journeying with you sister.

    • Leslie July 9, 2013, 2:53 pm

      Thank you my dearest Mirna and for being the first woman in that room to take my hand and help take me higher. Always an inspiration and a cheerleader for others, you are my sister for life!

  • Andie July 9, 2013, 11:52 am

    I’m smart, beautiful, and I have my sh*t together and 31. BUT, until recently, I’ve struggled emotionally with the fact that the guys I don’t like cling to me like beige on quinoa and the guys I do like run screaming in the other direction (or just want to be friends). I’ve been sitting with this in therapy for over two years now. (It’s all tied in with the fact that my daddy didn’t love me and I was horribly bullied in middle school). My therapist thinks I should date one of the dolts who’s into me, even though I find him physically repugnant. She just wants me to feel what it’s like to be adored. And I think that being adored by someone I don’t find adorable is a recipe for an unhappy life.

    I’ve read (and re-read) Mama’s books but I’m a flirting failure and can’t escape the nagging feeling that “giving it up” to and “appreciating” a guy who I don’t actually want is just going to make me feel like a loser and, in turn, a contemptuous bitch. So, for the time being, I’ve accepted that I’m cursed in relationships and decided to stop b*tching about it. (Except virtually, apparently). For now, I think I just want to focus on re-writing my screenplay and enjoying my sweet solitude and nourishing friendships. Instead of being jealous of my friends with husbands and lovers, I’ve realized that relationships are high risk/low reward endeavors and I might just be happier without one (or at least healthier and more balanced). At the very least, I feel happier when I’m not pining away for one. I don’t know if this is progress (i.e., accepting my resistance) or if I’m just too tough a nut to crack for even an expensive therapist or Mama in this area.

    • ms July 9, 2013, 3:03 pm

      Ugh I feel the same way. My friends always tell me, the right guy will come along. There sure are a lot of guys who seem to think they’re “right” for me, probably because I am smart, interesting, attractive, make 6 figures, and have big goals and unusual hobbies. A lot of these guys see someone like you, or like me, and they say- here is an individual rising up out of a sea of sameness, and they want to glom on and ride your coattails to glory.

      But the thing is, I am pretty happy being by myself! We aren’t defined by our relationships. They’re like a nice bonus. Maybe someday I’ll have a good one. If not, big whoop. Buy another motorcycle, go on a good long trip, hit stuff with hammers and say hallelujah I am free to be myself and head East if I want to head East, or West if I would rather head West.

    • mama gena July 9, 2013, 5:45 pm

      there is nothing more fun than a tough nut!
      yo mama is all over that like beige on quinoa!!! 🙂

    • S.G. little jo July 18, 2013, 10:47 am

      If you had well read Mama you’d know by now that therapists are just reminders of bad memories, I mean, does it help you to know the reasons why you got there? Most of the time talking about problems brings more/new problems (i.e. rows when coming home after a session) and negative thoughts (i.e: revenge), so, after a good spring-cleaning (which doesn’t cost nothing and is more efficient than a session), you’d better focus on PLEASURE and use Mama’s tools…

  • Kathleen Harrah July 9, 2013, 11:02 am

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES *jumping up and down*

    Thank you to Regena and Leslie for the reminder that I needed today! Your timing is perfect and elegant!

    • Leslie July 9, 2013, 2:53 pm

      Thank you, it’s true! 😉

  • shantala surya July 9, 2013, 10:32 am

    i can’t have a great relationship until i’m financially free…

    i’m stuck and always will be stuck

    i’m only as good as my next booking

    i’ve moved home so i must be a loser

    my ethnic community doesn’t support anything other than ‘doctors, lawyers, engineers’ or other academic prowess

    changing all that today~

    • Linmayu July 9, 2013, 12:06 pm

      Bravo, Shantala <3

      This South Indian artist stands with you all the way! There are more of us out there, we must stick together!

    • Leslie July 9, 2013, 2:54 pm

      “changing all that today” YES!!!

    • mama gena July 9, 2013, 5:44 pm

      you better, shatala!
      a woman is a terrible thing to waste on self limitation.
      and you are so powerful.

  • Satya Twena July 9, 2013, 9:50 am

    Wow! Yes and yes. As a ceeative, fashiknable woman who’s created my businees around designing romantic & sexy womens accessories…i thought i had this all womanly goodness stuff figured out…
    It was when I had lunch with Mama and she suggested that my body needed movement and that i should go to S-Factor…(& of course from everything i beard about mama i knew rule 1: listen to her) So…I went two days later to s.factor (and took my team with me) – in just those 2 hours so much shifted not just for me but my team and us as a group!
    I couldn’t beleieve how incredible and sexy I felt and most interestingly how my body craved movement the weeks that followed.
    Mama read me like a book-I can’t wait to see what comes out of working with her professionally! I have no doubt amazingness & my hottest most authentic self.
    Merci Mama!
    Xx Satya

    • mama gena July 9, 2013, 5:42 pm

      you are the best summer read, ever, satya!
      a page turner, for sure…..
      can’t wait to have you in mastery.