July 29, 2014

The Art of Flirtation

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Welcome to the fourth installment of our 8-week summer series, The Womanly Arts Unplugged, in honor of our upcoming course, Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp! This week, Laurie, a Mastery and Boot Camp Grad from Michigan, joins us to teach about the Womanly Art of Flirtation! Laurie, Age 65 – Retired Nonprofit Director The Art of […]

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July 22, 2014

The Art of Sensual Pleasure

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Welcome to the third installment of our 8-week summer series, The Womanly Arts Unplugged, in honor of our upcoming course, Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp! This week, Simin, a Mastery and Boot Camp Grad from the NYC area, joins us to teach about the Womanly Art of Sensual Pleasure… Simin, Age 38 – IT Director & […]

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July 15, 2014

Having Fun No Matter What

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Welcome to the second installment of our 8-week summer series, The Womanly Arts Unplugged! This week, Maurya, a Mastery and Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp Grad from Boston, MA, joins us to teach about the Womanly Art of Having Fun No Matter What… Maurya, Age 51 – Lawyer, Coach, Wife and Mama The Art of Having […]

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July 8, 2014

Whetting Your Own Appetite

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Welcome to the first installment of our 8 week summer series, The Womanly Arts Unplugged! This week, Holly, a Mastery Grad from ’13 and ’14 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, joins us to teach about the Womanly Art of Whetting Your Own Appetite… Holly, Age 34, Lawyer Whetting Your Own Appetite is one of the most difficult […]

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July 1, 2014

The erotic freedom of giving your all

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Darling, It’s very nearly July 4th. Which has me thinking about freedom, intense effort, and something I have noticed. There is nothing more erotic than giving your all. Whether it’s to create freedom for yourself, or others. To stand firmly for what’s right. Pulling out all the stops, no holding back, and offering all of […]

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miriam head shotMiriam: When Mama Gena and the Palace Staff asked my mother and I to share our story here on the blog, as a way to celebrate Mother’s Day, I wasn’t sure at first.

This the first time my face is front and center in a blog, let alone amongst that pink fluff, you know? And to give you a sense — my favourite clothes were black, blue and some grey until the age of 23 (more of my story later).

Yet, it’s a huge honor to share here. And I’m so touched, because I love this community. I love my mom, and I’m really proud that we get to do this work together.

I was in Mastery for the first time last year, and now I’m on Team Pleasure (the volunteer staff) while my mom, Estela, is a Mastery student this year for the first time.

I hope you enjoy reading a bit about our story, how we each found our way to the School of Womanly Arts, and what’s been possible since.

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Miriam: I didn’t feel very close on an emotional level to my mom growing up. I saw her as a woman who worked very hard – always running after the kids, working long hours, waking up at 5 a.m. to do laundry, and collapsing after work to take a nap before she made delicious dinners for all of us.

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Estela: I was a busy mother, Miriam being my first of five. She has always been completely responsible, I always trusted that she was doing the right things all the time. When she was 3 or 4 years old, she would wake up before me in the morning to give her younger brother his bottle of milk. I never instructed her to do that, she understood it by herself. I used to call her “Mary Poppins.” I have been a mother struggling with life, and Miriam has been at my side.

Miriam: I always loved her very very much, I just didn’t quite understand why she wished she looked better, or why she wasn’t quite so happy in her skin, in her role, in her place in life. My parents’ relationship was rocky, so I attributed a lot of it to that and my heart always hurt a little, especially because, seriously, my mother is the most beautiful woman, and in her twenties and thirties she was flat out hot, and I wished she knew that and felt that in her skin, deep deep deeply within.

continue reading…

Dear Momma

Mother.
What other word can generate so many deep feelings?
Eye rolling.
Sighs of frustration.
Misty-eyed reverence.
Bliss.
Rage.
Longing.
Disappointment.
Blame.
Resentment.
Unspeakable gratitude.
Heartbreak.
Deep, boundless overwhelming love.
Guilt.
Expectations fulfilled, and unfulfilled.

Motherhood is the motherlode of emotion. (Click to tweet!)
I am grateful to both have a mother, and to be a mother.
I am deep inside both storylines.
Neither has been easy.
Daughterhood has not come naturally to me, nor has motherhood.
I have flung myself against the container of both, and continue to emerge a better version of myself.
Mother’s Day rolls around and it’s time to check in.

Here is a letter I wrote to my mom this year:

linderpix-7377-verticalDear Momma,
One of the great gifts of my life is you.
You are the longest love affair I have ever had.
And one thing I never ever ever doubt is your love.
I know it, I feel it, I can taste it.
I count on it.
We have run the range of emotions with each other over our lifetime together, from deepest unspeakable darkness to most radiant light.
Being able to share you with the Mastery room is one of the great joys of my life.
I look over at you, and each glance is saturated with all the ways we have loved each other, the ways we have failed each other, and the ways our love and devotion has triumphed over all of that.
I think if there is one characteristic that I most cherish in you, it is your sparkle. You have such a strong life force. This spark is what makes you a brilliant flirt, what makes you eternally beautiful, and what allowed you to triumph over all of the hundreds of widows in your building to capture the love of your magnificent, hot fiancé, Ted. The love that you two share is so lovely and loving that it makes me weep.
I have inherited your spark.
It is what makes me the woman I am.
And you know what? continue reading…

Dying for sisterhood

Darling,

Women’s health is just one of the topics that we delve into, in The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program.
We don’t just delve, we reconsecrate, reassemble and generally completely overhaul a woman’s relationship to her body.
And this past weekend, as I was delivering this glorious reconsecration, I was up to my arse in the statistics that pertain to women’s health, right now:

  • 1 in 4 women will experience depression
  • 2 in 10 women will get breast cancer
  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing one woman a minute
  • 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder

And I am deeply in love with this group of over 300 women who are currently in Mastery.
And deeply deeply beyond in love with the thousands and thousands of women who have graduated from my classes and read my books, over these past 16 years.
And every cell in my body galvanized in a huge NO. NO.
Not my Sisters. Never again. No.
I do not want to lose another Sister to these afflictions, some of which are absolutely preventable.

And here I am, standing in the question that has dominated my life for the past 50 years.
I am a searcher, a seeker. An awakener.
I have been asking myself over and over — I want to know with every fiber of my being — what is it going to take?
What is it going to take to make the personal political for women?
What is it going to take for a woman to awaken to her extreme value? Her irrevocable preciousness? Her importance? Her divinity? What is it going to take to change a woman’s mind about her significance?

With this incredible incubator called The School of Womanly Arts, I have learned one thing for sure:
It’s not anger.

We have been playing that tune since Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought for oh so many decades, to win our right to vote.
Women have been fighting for almost 200 years.
Fighting for equal pay. Fighting to own property. Fighting for equal opportunity. Fighting for education. Fighting breast cancer. Fighting the international epidemic of abuse.
And I have noticed something.
Anger has failed to ignite and galvanize women.
Which initially, made me angry.
Because I wanted to fix it NOW.
But I have found out that there is something so much more powerful than anger.
So much more creative, so much more infectious, so much more potent.
So very much more powerful.  continue reading…

A 30-second assignment

Darling,

Every morning, I start my day the same way: I dance naked for 10 minutes. Two full songs on my playlist.
Every morning.
Even when I don’t want to — especially when I don’t want to –
I dance.
10 minutes in the morning. Then, little 30-second tune-ups throughout the day, when I start to feel my life force draining or my crankiness encroaching.

Why? Well, a woman’s body LOVES to move. In order to unlock the legend that lives inside her, a woman’s body needs to move.

The only way to blow the lid off your greatness is to practice the action of self-love. Not the thought of self-love. Not the kind of self-love that is a result of your hard work, how great you look, or how effective you have been — we are going for the kind of self-love you feel for absolutely no reason, just because.

The only way to practice this kind of self love — the turned on, lit up, legend-creating kind — is to get into that gorgeous body of yours. To feel it, to move it, to inhabit it. Your body will teach you self-love in a way that your intellect cannot. (Click to tweet!)

I have a proposition for you. It requires 30 seconds of your time. Ready?

I propose a worldwide dance break — right here, right now. Just because. Because it’s fun. Because it’s useful. Because it will orient you to pleasure, which will change the course of your day.

Now here’s the thing: the majority of you do not want to take me up on this. You will want to stay glued to your chair, staring at your computer screen, reading about moving, and not moving. How do I know this? Because I was you. I hated to move because I wasn’t very good at it. I am not a dancer, so I was in my head, disapproving of my awkwardness, when I attempted to dance. Being stuck in your head and not wanting to move is a perfect place to start. Awkward is the new sexy.

Just for fun, as a harmless experiment in service to your greatness, I’m going to ask you to trust me and do it anyway.

If you’re at home, crank your speakers. If you’re at work, head into the bathroom with headphones. Wherever you are, stop what you’re doing and press play. Dance with me for 30 seconds and see how your world shifts (and then read on to find out why).

The song of choice today has become a sort of theme song here at the Palace. Join the party:

Did you feel that? continue reading…

My trip to the ER

Darlings,

Last week, I promised to give you the 5th and most important step in creating a pleasurable experience. To recap for those of you who are tuning in today for the first time, the creation of a pleasurable life is not easy. In fact, it is actually easy to live a miserable life — do nothing, and you will have a miserable life.

But pleasure requires discipline, it requires attention, it requires practice. We all want pleasure, but because we live in a world that celebrates you for how hard you work, how busy you are and how much multitasking you are capable of, pleasure is like a stepchild, kind of like Cinderella — she never really gets a proper invitation to the party. And just like the Stepsisters, everyone feels a little funny hanging out with her — kinda like they’re doing something a little bit wrong, which is assuredly frowned upon.

On the other hand, a life without pleasure is a life devoid of meaning, devoid of color, devoid of deep down soul satisfaction. (Click to tweet!) Pleasure makes the mundane magical. When I am faced with a sink full of dishes after a huge dinner party, if I open a bottle of champagne, crank up the music, grab a couple of friends to help, and get them to all sing along to the oldies, doing the dishes becomes Part II of the party. The mundane becomes magical.

The ingredients of every pleasurable experience are always the same:
1. Planning
2. Invitation
3. Anticipation
4. The Big Event
Bonus: If you have hit all your marks, and have done 1-4 really well, default pleasure will land in your lap.

(To review last week’s post, click here.)

The 5th and final step to creating pleasure is the most important step of all. continue reading…