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I’m not that woman!

I ran into a girlhood friend, Nancy.
We had not seen one another in more than 40 years.
She has a quiet life in the country, married to her childhood sweetheart, and working as a high school guidance counselor, in Vermont.

In the last year, she and her husband separated, she battled diabetes, lost a job she deeply loved, and then, quit a job she did not like.
This is a time of great transition in her life.

Now, she wants to start her own counseling practice, and learn how to market herself. She wants to meet more people of like minds, hearts and souls. She wants to connect more deeply to the purpose of her life. She wants to be truly and deeply happy again.

She and I shared a childhood.
I know her longings.
I know her girlhood heart, filled with dreams.

So, of course, I invited her to get her hot self into the Mastery classroom.
Why? Because there is no better place for a woman to crack open to a whole new paradigm of what she is capable of, in this lifetime.

Nancy checked out my website.
And she declined.
Turned me flat down.

Why?

“I am not that kind of woman, Regena. I am not like you. I don’t wear high heels. I don’t even own high heels. I hate pink. I am not flirty or saucy or outrageous or loud. I don’t broadcast myself. I am serious. Deeply committed to my own growth and the growth of others. I am not frivolous in any way, shape or form. I know I would feel like a fish out of water at something like this. And I already feel that way, in my life. It would just depress me more.”

Oh, my. Oh, my.
I was so sad to hear this.
The very woman who could most benefit from the School of Womanly Arts, is the last person who wants to attend.

I know what went on in her head, when she looked at the website, and read all the stories of women whose lives had transformed. She was thinking, “I am not that woman. I could not stand up like that. I could not achieve like that. I could not make that kind of impact in the world.”

It’s possible she was even a little repulsed, like Patty, now a graduate of Mastery, who shared “To say I was skeptical of this whole Mama Gena business would be a vast understatement. I was attracted and repelled at the same time. The women in the videos, talking about how great their lives were now — who could believe all that? I sat there browsing this pink website and thinking, ‘That’s not me. It’s so not me. I’m not that woman.’” (You can read more of Patty’s hilarious and powerful story right here.)

The greatest threat to a woman’s happiness and success is her own negative judgment of herself, and other women.
The way we feel about ourselves is the way we feel about the women in the world around us.

And why wouldn’t we? We have been taught to take care of others, to support the ideology of others, to take care of those that we work for, and work with. We have been taught to dumb down, to hold back our opinions, to defer, defer, defer.
To not help ourselves to a big fat serving of life.
As if a big fat serving of life was greedy or vulgar – or meant for someone else.

As a consequence, women continually and perpetually disappoint themselves.

We look for what is wrong and what is missing in ourselves, and each other.

The consequence of that?
We keep ourselves small. Tightly wound. Never blooming.
As if blooming was painful. And wrong.

And when we do see blooming – in another woman – we might think “How garish! How outrageous! Can’t you tone it down over there?”

It is not always easy to witness a woman who has refused to be limited by our culture’s limitations.
So many women, when they see radiance and hear the outrageous stories of risk and daring, they think, “Not only am I not that woman, but, I find her offensive.”

But, I have news for you.
You are that woman.work
You are your own beautiful, amazing, irreplaceable version of that woman.

It’s one of my favorite things to witness inside the Mastery classroom. Every woman’s unfolding is so unique and heartbreakingly beautiful.

Your style of blooming may not include high heels, and you might never ever get within ten feet of a pink feather, god forbid.
Yours may be a quiet radiance, or you may discover a voice inside that you never knew existed.
Your life could explode and transform in dramatic ways, or everything could look the same but inside you just walk in the world differently.

Every flower has her very own unique way of blooming.
I have mine.
You have yours.
She has hers.
The point is to damn the torpedoes and bloom.
Full speed ahead, and bloom.

Bloom in this lifetime.
Bloom now.
Really. Right now.
Don’t let the cultural prejudices against blooming stop you from stepping up to your own plate.
Don’t wait, just in case we don’t get another round.
Bloom, even if the sun generated from another woman’s light hurts your eyes.

We’ve got to teach every woman to stand for her own dreams and desires, despite her own resistances and her own prejudices.

It’s time to risk living your own destiny, don’t you think?

I’d love to hear from you on the comments below today:

  • Where might you be holding yourself back, from what’s possible?
  • What wants to bloom, explode, ignite in your life right now?
  • How do you navigate when “resistance” pops up around a big decision?


Come add your voice to the conversation in the comments – can’t wait to hear from you!

All my love,

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

p.s. Mastery is our signature program at the School, and it only happens once a year. Class starts in about six weeks, and last year we were full and on a waiting list by mid-February. If you’re interested, now is the time to reach out and connect on the possibilities! Give us a call at 212.787.2411 X 1.

p.p.s. If you do come, please bring Nancy. It would mean the world to me. 

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  • Deborah Smith February 2, 2017, 1:03 am

    Upp, I was not that woman either. Thank Goddess for my daughter and Regena. My life is infinitely bigger, happier and bolder now. I am so grateful for all of the unfoldings and healings that have happened as a result of my saying “Yes.’ I desire this for all persons.
    xoxoxo

  • Jennifer Kelly February 1, 2017, 9:47 pm

    I can so relate with your friend Nancy!!!! But some interesting things have been happening to me! Despite my reservations and a deeply conservative upbringing – I signed up for the Experience in NYC and went alone. I loved it!!! But found myself again questioning in my mind what other people in my family and some of my friends would think about me if they found out what I was up to…..And then suddenly I was up and out of my chair before the lunch break heading over to the table to sign up for Mastery! I started to cry at the table right afterward, and wasn’t sure what it was all about – the tears and deep emotions that welled up inside. My head has surely questioned my decision – but the Deep Heart in me has not. Fortunately my husband is totally on board – and pumped to watch the woman he loves and has raised 5 children to adulthood with – spread her wings and expand and BLOOM even more! Fear may be present, but it is not going to stop me. The greater the fear, the greater the reward…I can’t wait to see and experience what Mastery will hold for myself and the other beautiful Sister Goddesses I met two weeks ago. <3 <3 <3

  • Stephanie Greene February 1, 2017, 12:56 pm

    Dearest sisters–
    I am another Vermonter who never thought she’d wear pink, let alone pink high heels. But as a result of taking Mastery 2016, I have come to cherish the embrace I feel from this community. This connection is deep and real, and is an antidote to the destruction and despair I witness in the news. Using the tools with other sister goddesses has kept me sane during this challenging time.
    More than that, I am bringing the energy and optimism my sisters give me daily back to the very gray, cold winter we are enduring at home, discovering connections I never thought I had.
    I recently attended a workshop on Restorative Community Justice, and was the ONLY person wearing pink lipstick. Surprise! I was not shunned as frivolous, nor did I fret about not fitting in. Sometimes the pictures on the SWA website seem dominated by feather boas and glam. Don’t be put off–the welcome is genuine, the embrace profound.
    With much love,
    Stephanie

  • helen February 1, 2017, 12:50 pm

    oh Charlene – weeds bloom too! – like me… i can relate to the bra thing (have gone braless for awhile due to heart issues.. got better, still too lazy to wear a bra – though i will some days, yes to pretend i have a waist as well (too funny) – i figure i have always been a weed too… a dandelion, yes, my favourite – they bloom everywhere, in the most unlikely places, bursting forth through corners of asphalt, sunny little buggers… yep, that’s me! 🙂 xo
    p.s. ooh i love that image of slutty/rock star… i’ve got lots of leather hmmmm 🙂

  • HOLLY HAUPT February 1, 2017, 9:57 am

    Such a great letter!! I’m not into pink and frivolous either but it was great and I’ve had so many breakthroughs using the tools!!
    It’s a real movement !
    Love from holly hummingbird!!

  • WENDY F GARCIA February 1, 2017, 12:09 am

    I am relating to the women struggling in their present circumstance that are less-than what they dream. Me, too! Mama Gena’s program of self-empowerment is helpful in my struggle, gives me hope and I want to emphasize going for the fun in everything, no matter how small. These threads of joy will lead the way!

  • WENDY F GARCIA January 31, 2017, 11:59 pm

    To Susan Gelbman: Thank you for sharing your story! Your adventure rings true to me and I am supported to hear your strength of vision. Namaste

  • Derene Derricotte January 31, 2017, 10:33 pm

    Often I find my self indulged in thoughts that’s stop me. They actually keep me stuck in life. Sometimes I don’t even know how to break out and get unstuck. I am now breaking through and find that it is sometimes difficult to stay on course. For me this manifests in my life in various ways: weight gain, depression, low self esteem, low energy, not wanting to do things. I decree and declare that I am living a powerful life now. I am transforming and making the most out of each day. During the weekend at the Womanly Art Experience the support of the sisterhood was authentic and refreshing. Women opened up like a beautiful flower and the transformation began. I am looking forward to Mastery. I see the difference it make and how much more it will takes me and the sisters to live our life and to live it powerfully. I want to live a powerful life now.

  • Ai January 31, 2017, 4:44 pm

    My biggest reason for holding back has been cultural . I have lived in many different countries and felt , it was much easier to “be” myself and express myself fully in some places . In that way I have always resented and disliked my own country. However, I have come to realise that precisely because of that , I have grown to make more effort to look into myself and take care of myself and my desires. Whatever the obstacles ( society, family, culture etc) I felt the power is within me!

  • mama gena January 31, 2017, 4:35 pm

    oooh. sending you and the babies a huge hug. if i were there, i would draw you a bath, put on some music, and light some candles……maybe when they nap?
    xo
    mg

  • Margarita January 31, 2017, 3:19 pm

    When I started reading your newsletter I felt you were shaming Nancy for not being like you. Perhaps you didn’t recognize it, and your heart is in a good place, but no one is obligated to feel powerful and free. The best thing we can do for others is not cheerlead them on to another state of being, but meet them where they are. This very attitude could be hurtful to your potential clientele and hurtful to your business. A woman’s expression is anything she likes it to be. If it’s soft, quiet, shy, docile… let her be a soft, quiet, shy, docile flower. She is still a flower, but her bloom might not be visible to you or anyone else.

    Then I did notice a change in your tune when you said, “Yours may be a quiet radiance,” and thought AMEN TO THAT!

    This is something we often forget as life couches here in America: It’s not always about boldness and loudness. Quiet has its own voice, too.

    In order to understand the differences that exist in personalities it is valuable to be knowledgeable in such things as psychology and neuroscience. You may make grandiose statements, Regena, such as every woman can be that woman (loud, passionate, daring) but that is simply not in everyone’s neurobiological wiring. Evidence points that there are distinct and indelible differences between introverts and extroverts, and what we need more of isn’t pushing others to come out of their shells but respecting, and even admiring, the shells of others.

    Thank you,

    Margarita

  • Flo January 31, 2017, 2:49 pm

    Here goes…. I love so much about your message Mama— so much! But when I look at the women I most admire, I see some a little different than the high heels, pink boas and the orgasms. I think of Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton~ Elizabeth Warren, Jean Houston, Brene Brown, Mary Oliver, Marion Woodman ~I can never imagine these women dressed in pink boas and high heels, and being carried on stage by incredible hulks ! I love your basic message but its center centers around sexuality, and I believe that is a core part of our feminine genius, but sometimes, the brand I see you ‘sell’ feels like patriarchy–so yes, there is always more to become, always more juice, always more Life, but what a love about women are their hearts, their souls— and yes, even Eros, but not sequined and pink and silhouetted.

    I actually really adore your mission and your work— sadly, Pussy felt to sexualized, and genitalia centered— the women I admire are so much more .

    Is this my stuff?? Could be— yet, I think there is even more to be realized in your Queen of Pleasure movement.

  • Amanda Paolello January 31, 2017, 2:33 pm

    Oftentimes I focus on allowing my wants for my children to rive my actions or inactions , using the excuse that I just dont have that kind of support system to make me comfortable doing this or that etc . The painful truth is I am the one thats saying that and the universe has me no matter what …. when am i going to REALLY start trusting that and just letting myself be and living fully . What better thing can i do for my children but give them this very example with my own life and choices .

  • Julia January 31, 2017, 2:29 pm

    Thanks so much for your beautiful and inspiring letter ! Just perfect for me to read right now 🙂 The more I recenter on the feminine, the more I I get positive feedback from everywhere : myself, my feelings, my surroundings, from the people I meet … I so enjoy getting spontaneous smiles from people through eye-contact with a little twinkle and comment for “fun”. Last week, I battled with the idea of being egotistic, well, I decided, hell yes, I am and I’m grateful to be egotistic which for sure helps me be a better communicator! I really appreciate your idea of “owning” ourselves… Thanks for your support and encouragement 🙂

  • Christina January 31, 2017, 1:33 pm

    This is an important distinction to make: blooming & radiating your full goddess self looks different to each of us! I’m the girl in fun flip flops, skirts, beginning to collect crystals, and just starting out on my blended pagan journey. This embracing my feminist goddess self has taken a much more earthy, gentle tones to it, because that’s my true self!! And my own understanding of the Divine feminine.
    Thank you, Mama Gena. Peace & blessings to you for waking up the Divine. 💞

  • Susan Gelbman January 31, 2017, 1:27 pm

    So much to say, so much to say! I went to the free weekend in Nov and signed up for Mastery! Went to weekend in Jan with my 23 yr old daughter and 2 friends of mine.
    I am wanting my divorce after 32 years of marriage. I am wanting support in my move and dreams. I began this process years ago and the timing of vast support during the actual shifts is so exciting to me! I am looking for the sisterhood that I connect with daily. I already am sharing and I want more more more. I have a lot to say and knew I came to this life to help others. Now I know I am receiving help daily and am in the flow always.
    I am going on pure faith and desire with this ending of marriage #1. I want a new relationship. And I’m creating it always with Myself! And women and men and family, friends, clients. I’m choosing a big change in my 50’s . I’m very excited to be vulnerable , learn new things and become new in the presence of others! I do feel this is jumping off a cliff. I keep jumping and being happier.
    In the Jan workshop I cried, grieving for my mother, living with dementia, 93 years old. I wept in my daughter’s lap.
    She began to cry, I asked why. She said she was crying for me. One day I would die. The bond we have deepened in the beauty and tears of life that we shared . The safety and sanctity of a great community of women. WOW!
    I’ve been loving and missing my mom more and more and feeling the sacredness of life. This is what helps me be of value to others and I have a lot to share!!!!!
    I want to grow my business my way and reach people. I want the space to dream big and be heard and seen in Mastery and keep transforming my work offerings to reflect my blessings and yearnings to help others feel better! I also desire to travel and be with a new man. This is a bold statement for me to make. Feels very vulnerable.
    Finding growth thru the pain and fear and joy and connection! Life is better and better and my light shines brighter as I feel all my feelings. I’m looking forward to the Mastery, like a child, like a priestess, like a warrior, like a fool for life! Like Susan! I’m looking forward to feeling, seeing all of you and you witnessing me. Thank you! Om shanti Namaste!!!!!

  • Laurie Irwin January 31, 2017, 1:09 pm

    I think everyone is Nancy at one time or another in our lives. The fact that we are where we are now is because of the work we did and do in the School of Womanly Arts. You learn to define your own kind of outrageous!!

  • Laurie Stone January 31, 2017, 12:05 pm

    I love this. I just hit my 60’s and am giving myself permission to be who I am. I write. I blog. I travel. I do all the things I love, now that my two sons are grown. I’ve been married a long time, but even that’s starting to reflect the changes in both of us…especially a renewed independence in myself.

  • Jen January 31, 2017, 12:05 pm

    It’s so funny that you wrote this! I just attended the Experience with two friends (one who was highly skeptical and very Nancy-like) and another who was intrigued. I have been following Mama Gena since my mid 20s and now I am 38. After reading her first book I was liberated and it impacted so much of my life then, even into my marriage. But then I started fearing my power and shutting down. I returned to the arts time and again, each time I didn’t I would see my life disintegrate. Like a few years ago, I struggled with PPD, with work, with exhaustion. My older son has special needs. And I become obsessed with trying to help him to the point that I was depleted.
    After attending this event I feel revived! I am facing fear and tuning into myself again. And it feels amazing. My family is feeling the positive effects too and are loving this side of me again. I’m enjoying work too.
    I know one of these days I’ll do mastery!

  • Stephanie Marrone January 31, 2017, 11:50 am

    Amazing piece! I, too, was skeptical when I got Dr. Northrup’s newsletter in the mail with a picture of you, her, Annie, and Kate. It was their mastery graduation, and my first thought was, “huh, it must be nice to be happy”.

    Stepping into the mastery classroom was one of the greatest moments of my life; I am forever changed, even with falling down and getting up again.

    xoxoxo

  • CB January 31, 2017, 11:48 am

    How do I get my stagnant perimenopausal self unstuck when everyone depends on my (financial) support? That is my biggest obstacle. With teens ready for college, a mortgage and so many expenses, it seems impossible to find the funds and the time to reinvent myself, to pull myself up out of this hole and this unrewarding, life-sucking job. I’m so sad and tired of living the marathon lifestyle and never feeling rewarded.

  • Beate January 31, 2017, 11:47 am

    I am Nancy too. Much more into felt than feathers. But after attending the weekend Experience in NYC, I have no doubt that what I need to bring out my biggest, best-est and baddest Inner Nancy is to spend a lot of time with other women at the Mastery. Join us, Nancy – I’ll save you the seat next to me!

  • elise Pettus January 31, 2017, 11:46 am

    Love the email about your childhood friend! I can’t help but wonder if someone will forward it to her!

    Always hoping…

  • Sara January 31, 2017, 11:33 am

    You inspire me so much and your emails bring me to tears of inspiration, courage and joy!! Thank you for all you do!! I will make the mastery one of these days!

  • Annabel January 31, 2017, 11:33 am

    You write great letters, Mama Gena. And I read every piece of mail I receive from you. This letter about Nancy is the best I’ve ever read in describing the pain, the alienation, the lack of connection, the bitter denial of self that we all felt (don’t let me say “so many of us” because it is all of us women). Those of us who have completed Mastery are the fortunate ones, and fortune shines on us because of our efforts, our dreams, our sisterhood and the guidance we received, and keep receiving, from you and your amazing Team Pleasure and high-achieving Sister Goddesses who make Mastery the road to success that it truly is. Thank you for today’s letter: may it touch the hearts of many and help them see through their doubts and fears. Ever grateful.

  • anoek van Praag January 31, 2017, 11:31 am

    I so emphasize with Nancy. But I see the possibilty of being different
    I have an excruciating desire to BE different
    But I am not and can barely make my rent
    I want to join mastery, but its like russian roulette, or gambling with a ton of money (like my ex did with MY money)
    I crave sisters (mine committed suicide)
    much love to you all
    help me see the light

  • Carol January 31, 2017, 11:26 am

    I have been considering Mastery for 2 years now. What holds me back ARE the pink feathers and the ‘winners’. And yes, I know that it is my own fear and judgement that is holding me back.
    If I could be assured that I would not be manipulated to wear pink feathers before I was truly ready to do so – I would register. I have done several mastery type workshops over the years and often left feeling manipulated and judged for not suddenly getting it and becoming a better version of myself.

  • Brenda January 31, 2017, 11:15 am

    This post seems eerily familiar to one you posted a year or so ago, yes?

  • Lisa Szramowski szramowski January 31, 2017, 11:14 am

    Im reading your PUSSY book , and finding it fabulous and challenging…. im in the lowest place i have ever been, where i am in total exhaustion / fatigue and conserving energy for my toddler … BUT – your book is helping me rekindle the fire in me – my challenge is how to do it whilst feeling ill and needing to be at home alot. I sense a chicken and egg scenario… being poorly kind of exhaserbates difficult feelings, but there is a deep sense of needing this down time too. so the question is how to bloom in the quiet , winter down time and trust that when the t time is right , things will change … connecting with pussy is enlightening – thank You.

  • I am you. I am Nancy. I am Me. January 31, 2017, 11:14 am

    I don’t understand this post. I don’t hear Nancy’s “thoughts” as saying the words you scripted for her. I hear her words simply saying I choose another path to bloom. Another path to achieve. Another path to have impact in the world. Another path to her authentic self. What’s wrong with that? What happened to choice & self-determination? Why do the more outrageous women trample over the not-as-outrageous ones as though there is only one way for woman empowerment to look, feel, & bloom? She doesn’t seem to have a negative judgement of herself but a clear vision of herself. It doesn’t seem limited. It just is different from yours. Is it ok that her choice for herself not match your choice for her? Why can’t that still be honored even if she doesn’t choose The Mastery class?What if the new culture of woman empowerment is limiting women, also?

    You wrote: “Every flower has her very own unique way of blooming.” I agree. The beauty of the flower world is its variety in color, shape & form, environment and even season of bloom. Flowers bloom in different soils. Maybe we can embrace nature’s wisdom where there is room for all’s glorious blossoming.

  • Caitlin January 31, 2017, 11:05 am

    This was a reminder I needed today. I was single for several years and during that time I really learned how to be myself and to treat myself better. This led to meeting an amazing man that I am deeply in love with. Even though (or maybe because) he is so wonderful to me, it is really a challenge to keep making myself a priority rather than sacrificing everything trying to make him happy. We are in the process of moving in together and I am struggling to find ways to continue to be myself in a very close relationship.

  • Gayle January 31, 2017, 11:01 am

    Such a timely post for me. While reading “Pussy” I had a revelation. I can EMBRACE my femininity. I have lifelong been that dressed in black “professional” and oh so proper woman. High necklines and low skirts. We as women have an opportunity that men don’t. We can have fun with our image and clothing.
    So, I am spending the week trying on different images that I have spent a lifetime denying and deploring.
    Yesterday I was the “Professional Power Queen” , today I’m am going for the “Slutty Sister/Rock Star” look, tomorrow…earth mother, super bitch, superwoman, brassy waitress…intellectual professor, Mama Gena! The possibilities are exciting and the revelation was that those could be parts of me I rejected because we’re only allowed to be “good”. But we are whole beings; light side and dark side. I’m ready to try them on – at least for a day.

  • Susan Pizette Mandel January 31, 2017, 10:50 am

    I am trying to find my voice again after being a mom and wife for decades

  • Jen January 31, 2017, 10:49 am

    I am so Nancy. And I’m coming to Mastery.

  • Prue Addy January 31, 2017, 10:44 am

    Thank you so much. It is not easy for me to stand for my soul’s longing. To stand up to the “good ole gal, good ole boy” network that heavies the systems around where I live. Be it supermarkets, law offices, school settings, universities. It’s heavy to me and with reading you and others, I stand taller in my goddess ways and I feel better; truer to the softness of my strength, the joy of being a woman free inside and now wanting to put myself out on this planet, and being the balance I believe this planet is aching for. I know I am.

  • Charlene Martin January 31, 2017, 10:36 am

    I feel Nancy. I am at work in an elementary school feeling self conscious because I am wearing a new black lace bra that has my 38G s up off of my stomach and now people can see that I actually have boobs and god forbid a waist. It is hard to bloom when you have spent your entire life feeling like a weed.

  • sarah kolker January 31, 2017, 10:34 am

    I have a new born and a 7 year old. I am their everything. Before they were born I would go all in with my art. I went all in with a business I started that fell flat because I didn’t have the money to start with and I was burning everyone out, especially myself.
    I want to balance my health, my family and my checkbook, and my passions get the back seat, because I’m too worn out.
    I know I am giving myself too little credit. I went back and got my Masters and teach what I love, art and yoga. But I still always feel like I’m falling short of my potential. I always feel like I’m poor and hustling. I know this time while my babies are young is short but my patience is running thin and I’m tired of always feeling inferior.