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Running on empty?

Have you ever felt so done in?
That you just could not.
Not even.
One more step.
I mean, really.

See if you can find yourself here:

  • “I am utterly depleted. How do I keep my sex life alive with my husband, when I am so burnt out from work, and kids?”
  • “I am constantly stressed and pushed to the limit – how do I feel my feminine, when I live and work in a man’s world?”
  • “Three kids, a house to take care of—I am depleted. Help.”
  • “Just reading the news today and I feel like I can’t breathe.”
  • “How do I stand up for the stuff I truly care about when I am keeling over from all of my responsibilities?”

Can you see a theme here?
Depletion, everywhere.

The word depletion is interesting. Webster says that depletion is “the reduction in the number or quantity of something.”

What is getting reduced here, in this age, this time, this place, for so many women?
Time? Money? Support? Yes, all true.

But something far more pivotal, and yet entirely overlookable and intangible, has been eradicated.

The erotic.
Your erotic.
My erotic.
Our erotic.

Do you know what I mean by that?
The word can be confusing and misleading.
Some years ago, I would have thought erotic meant a bunch of women wearing garters and high heels dancing frenetically in some kit kat kind of club.
Or a woman participating in lots of suggestive or sexualized activities.
The truth is that it is none of those things.
It is something better.
And way more beautiful.
And remarkably useful.

When I speak of the erotic, I am talking about a woman’s life force. Her creative energy. Her distinct connection to her divinity, expressed through her body, mind and soul. Her deepest feelings, from her darkest darkness to her brightest light. The erotic is the language of her body, heart and soul.

As feminist author, Audre Lorde says in her essay, The Use of the Erotic as Power:

As women, we have come to distrust that power which rises from our deepest and nonrational knowledge. We have been warned against it all our lives by the male world, which values this depth of feeling enough to keep women around in order to exercise it in the service of men, but which fears this same depth too much to examine the possibilities of it within themselves.

The erotic is an inner, continually replenishing, fountain from which – when located – can provide the deep, dense nourishment that only living our own unique truth can provide.

Unfortunately, for most women, the erotic has been banished from motherhood, the workplace, the traditional marriage. She’s been banished from our education, our spiritual practices, our social lives, aging, academia, healing, even our sex lives.

She has been overtaken by production. Doing. Working. Achieving. Which we are all so very, very good at.

Almost every woman I’ve ever encountered has absolutely no trouble working hard. She can do that with her eyes closed. She knows how to stay late at the office, how to hunker down, clean up the mess, give her all, get s&*t done, make it happen.

There is kind of a (cheap) thrill in how very, very competent she is at anything and everything.

Why cheap?
Because this kind of competence that we have all been taught to excel at leaves a woman empty at the end of her very, very long day.
She has given til the well is dry.
And just like all those acres of now-barren land in Fresno, California that used to produce millions of pounds of fruits and vegetables, the climate changes for a woman have left her high and left her dry.

And here is the really hard part:

The last place on earth that a woman has been taught to look is where the antidote lies.

The erotic is a wellspring: a continual, never-ending source, running through each of us, constantly replenishing and renewing.
Which most of us have never been taught to access.
We have been taught to work hard, or harder. To give, or give more. To serve, and to service.

Flipping that switch feels kind of crazy-making. Embarrassing. Socially risky. And worst of all: unproductive.

The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program is an in-depth journey into the reclamation and complete embodiment of the erotic soul of a woman.

But to begin here, allow me to lure you into a new neighborhood, and hold up a different lens.
I want you to consider taking all that excellence that you possess and use it in a different direction.

Today, before you begin looking after the kids, your man, checking your email…take a moment, and look after Her. Who is She? She is the part of you that loves music that makes her soul sing, loves beauty in every form, loves the word ‘exquisite,’ responds to poetry, to flowers, to soft touch and a sidelong glance. She adores praise, longs to have her magnificence noticed and responded to, and loves to walk slowly, feeling her hips sway gently from side to side. She loves candlelight. Magnificently prepared food. Ripe anything. Fragrance. The feeling of fabric against her skin. Dancing in her fashion. Things that sparkle or catch light. She loves to give of her deepest passion, and engage with every drop of her being. She loves nature, the changes in the weather, and making room inside for what she cherishes most deeply.

Most of us, as women, have been taught that we must wait and receive these experiences from another person. Which leaves us high and dry.

There is another option.
What about each of us being responsible for handling our own depletion?
There is freedom there.
And all it takes is a willingness to experiment with a different choice.

For example, she might choose a poem in the morning, to take with her and read out loud every hour.
She might choose a theme song for the day that causes her connect to her beauty.
Mine, today, is ‘Never My Love’ covered by Audra Day.
She might take a handful of rose petals and secretly trail them as she goes to the nursery to tend the baby or as she hits the grocery store, knowing her presence is equally perfumed as the petals she drops in her own pathway.
She might spend her lunch hour designing a special tryst she is anticipating with her husband.
Can you feel the soul fuel in those choices?

The erotic is the deep connection that a woman has with the most sacred part of herself, the part of her that is both timeless and eternal, that never diminishes, but only intensifies, the more she pays attention to it.
When a woman is in constant investigation of her erotic landscape, her well never empties, her cup is always full.
What can you do today, to feed your erotic nature?

Today, in the comments below…let’s inspire each other.

  • What’s one small way you can fill your own cup today?
  • How can you take a stand for getting yours?
  • What are your go-to strategies for when you’re running on empty?

Tell us about the extravagance of your self-love. Filling your erotic longing is only a thought, and then an action, away.

With so much love and pleasure,

Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena”
The School of Womanly Arts

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14 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Melissa February 27, 2017, 4:35 pm

    What a lovely message I really appreciated reading this today. My son is at daycare today, and for the first time in literally his 2 years on this planet, I have a day to myself and I’m pondering what I’ll do with it to nourish myself. So far, I have been in reactive mode, responding to work emails (work from home), and looking at the house I should pick up…however, I did make a nice cup of tea and I think I’ll turn on some music I like and do a bit of reading

  • Chara February 27, 2017, 1:46 pm

    Thanks for this article, which I need right now, and for citing the Audre Lord essay, which opened up a new way for me to explore this. I and so many women I know need what you are offering, Mama Gena. Thanks, and keep it up, please!

  • Janet February 24, 2017, 5:32 pm

    Enjoying my morning coffee outside in the fresh air and nature. Observing the crows, Cardinals, roosters and 1 duck as they embrace each new day.

  • Karen Asbury February 23, 2017, 4:01 pm

    The most empowering self-care for me (and so many of the women I serve) is abdominal massage that I’ve learned via the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®. It is a great way to connect in with the erotic power of the sacral/womb chakra, in addition to realigning my womb and optimizing the five flows (blood, lymph, nerves, hormones, and qi) to improve digestive and reproductive health. This work saves uteruses, literally, from unnecessary surgery. And it makes me feel centered within my womanly self.

  • Kelly February 22, 2017, 8:22 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I cannot tell you how much I needed this today. It is exactly what I needed to see & hear.

  • SG Lovely Rita February 22, 2017, 5:32 am

    What’s one small way you can fill your own cup today? I am awake earlier than I need to be and not fighting the fact. I’ll have more time to sit outside as the sun rises and sip my coffee, breathing in the fresh pine air.
    How can you take a stand for getting yours? Be clear with my communication, at home and at work, and not depend on anyone to be a mind reader. If I need help, I will ask for it. I will leave on time and get to my yoga class!
    What are your go-to strategies for when you’re running on empty? Make time for sleep is number one for me. And good healthy simple food on hand. I love to have homemade soup in my freezer as a simple go to when all I can handle is reheating. And opening my sun roof, even in the winter (I’ll put on the seat warmer and turn up the heat) for a few miles is refreshing and mind clearing. Music can re-juice me too.

  • Anita February 21, 2017, 11:28 pm

    hi Gena,
    my way of recharging my energies is going to some private space where I can be alone and listening to some really nice, sexy jazz music.

  • Liz Ronan February 21, 2017, 10:46 pm

    As always, a wonderful email to keep us plugged into our own pleasure and power source Mama, thank you. Woke up this morning knowing without a doubt that the prevailing male culture is and was terrified of women’s ability to create – babies, works of art, anything she puts her mind to really. Hence the loss of female power. We as women emulate Mother Earth’s ability to create whole new land masses through volcanic eruption and how symbolic is a hot volcano to a women’s centre of femininity? But just like our Mother Earth we can no longer be restrained as more and more women are realizing just how powerful we are. As I see it, we lose touch with our power through depletion and that’s why it’s so KEY to our wellbeing. So my favourite ways to recharge are to go for a walk in nature at sunrise or sunset or beneath a full moon, journalling daily, meditation daily, yoga, swimming, playing my guitar or drum, listening to music, watching a good movie, lunching, dancing or skinny dipping with my girlfriends, cooking delicious and healthy food, shopping at the farmer’s markets, gardening , pampering myself with beauty treatments and simply resting with or without a great book to read. It doesn’t need to cost a thing, it’s simply a matter of investing the time in myself. Hope this helps ladies. Blessed be ☺

  • Dee Light February 21, 2017, 9:52 pm

    I just read this. And I feel like I wrote it too. Like you got into my head and found my highest secrets. I’m so glad the erotic has nothing to do with power over or even sex, but all to do with how I wear my scarf, move my hips, apply my lipstick, imbibe the froth off my coffee with a slow spoon sweep…and how I look at myself, unashamedly. Thanks Mama Gena, the world needs more of you. Thank you. Warmest to you and your Team, Dee Light.
    PS. I did my best to put it into words 4 years ago on TedX stage….here’s my ten minutes of truth.

    • SG Tisha February 22, 2017, 7:11 am

      Dee Light!!!! Thank you for inviting an extension to this erotic topic via your TedX talk! Wow!!!! Wow wow, you put words to truth and I’m so grateful…all of this is what I needed this day, this morning…what difference can me and my body create now???
      Love and gratitude Goddesses

  • SG Rona February 21, 2017, 8:29 pm

    I wanted everyone to know that the essay Mama mentioned by Audre Lorde can be found and downloaded here:

    Using erotic as power is so much a part of the writing I do and the characters I create. It’s one of the reasons I write erotic romance.

    Ironically… I forget to do it for me sometimes.


  • Laurie Williams February 21, 2017, 6:13 pm

    So I need to rant a bit before I discuss. I will be 72 in April and I have come a LONG way since I finally found programs that were hands and/or woman and sex positive when I was 59. I was so moved by my first encounter I knew then I had to write a play about it so women could find it sooner. I knew it was key for us. I did 10 years later; however, I still have not overcome the fear that keeps a beloved away and my play languishing after a few very positive runs. All that you write about – except I am single and have been for 15 years – I know on some level – but with my hip limiting my desire to walk, hence go anywhere – I am investigating a hip replacement – and my age the feeling of possibility has waned and I feel tired of always having to do everything for myself. Yah! DEPLETED!!!!! aaaaaaAnd I make even things I love into work!! I still have this thing that I desire some of the erotic to be with someone. Ah well I know that no one, especially a prince charming is coming so what will I give myself? Music. Thanks for the opportunity to vent. I hope its okay? I am signed up for Mastery and looking forward to it. xo

  • Claire February 21, 2017, 4:59 pm

    I felt empty at the end of last week…and I know it’s because I neglected the things I love to do the most…so today I have: been to a fun burlesque class and had loads of laughs with other women just enjoying the music and the decadence of parading around with our feather boas! I’ve gone for a long walk in the countryside and enjoyed the solitude and birds singing. I decided to ignore the boring household chores and instead played a board game with my son. ive got into bed nice and early so I feel fresh and wonderful tomorrow. Looking forward to hearing others inspirational ideas on making pleasure a priority 🙂 x

  • Susan February 21, 2017, 3:17 pm

    My strategies are:
    1. Sleep, consistent 8 hours of sleep
    2. Working out, sweating it out 3-4x a week
    3. Fun! which can look like watching a funny show/movie, quality time with a friend (usually at least 2x/week), a hike
    And using the tools has made my life feel so much easier and upbeat.