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The “I give up” moment.

linderpix-2303A really really really really good friend of mine, Ayo, got engaged last month. For the very first time. At age 68.

This was not a likely thing to have ever happened in this world.
She came from a single mama who raised her alone.
And she had been a single mama, raising her daughter alone.

So there just was not much belief inside of her that she could or would ever find that sweet spot to rest in the arms of her beloved.
She never felt or tasted divine partnership – so how could she even break open her tiny undernourished imagination to the possibility?
She never even thought to crack the door open enough to take a peek.

But – luckily – sometimes our deepest longings are held in the eyes and arms and hearts of our Sisters.
Don’t you feel that way?

Your best friend says she can’t even apply to that competitive Ivy League grad school – but you know she can.

Your Mom says it’s too late for her to date, after losing your Dad, but you feel she has another shot at the brass ring.

Your co-worker feels too shy to ask that incredible businesswoman to mentor her, but you know she just needs kick in the ass to at least send her resume.

We live in a world where women do not have much history in standing for themselves – or standing for one another. Instead, we have a lot of experience joining one another in mutual victimization.

For example, we are so easy to agree when our friends blame their husbands for not helping enough around the house, or forgetting important occasions.
We agree that you can’t give up your day job to write that book.
We agree that if your boss is grabbing your ass in his office, it’s best not to say anything because you don’t want to lose your job.
That the flu this year was the worst, ever, and your horror story is calling out for me to tell mine.

But what if when a woman complains, or says she just can’t – she is not asking for help – she is actually asking to be called out on her bullshit?

What if there was a deep indigenous place, inside every woman, that remembers her power, on some eternal, invisible level?

You can see this phenomenon happen so clearly when a woman gives birth.

“It’s incredible when it happens and you’re by a woman’s side. And she comes to the end of this journey, and she says, ‘I knew I couldn’t do it. I knew I couldn’t do it. And then I did it. I hit a wall that was higher than anything I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And I scaled it.’”
— Elan McCallister (Mastery & Creation Grad) in the documentary The Business of Being Born

When that Sister calls you to say she just can’t… not one more step… not one more heartbreak—

do you step in and rescue her?
do you crumble, right along with her?
or do you call her out?
and press her harder?

The moment when she feels like she can’t, but she does anyway, is her moment to slay her dragons and lay those demons to rest for once and all.

The demons and dragons that keep a woman small and whiny are never vanquished with sympathy. Real compassion is insisting that your Sister rescue herself and stop waiting for the white charger.

This is a new form of sisterhood.

When my buddy Ayo was first even considering dating, she was so unsure of herself that she was too scared to go out on the actual date with a guy she had never met, by herself. She wanted to stop and hide.

ayo-regenaI was not going to let her off the hook here.

I told her, “Fine – no problem – so don’t go out on your date yourself. Take a girlfriend with you.” And she did. Most men found it delightful, and those who did not weren’t going to be the right guy for her anyway.

My friend Ayo hit a place of fear in herself that looked unscalable. And once she did scale that wall, she found access to her true power, imagination, and gifts she could not have imagined were hers.

Turns out, she is incredibly good with men. She knows exactly what she’s doing – it’s just that she never got pushed onto the dance floor before.

There was a woman at the Womanly Arts Experience who deeply desired to join Mastery 2015, but did not think she could make it happen. Another woman stood up to encourage everyone there to give her money. I stopped that action dead in its tracks because I needed her to know a deeper, more powerful truth:
Every woman is capable.
Every woman has the power to create anything and everything she wants.
Every woman is infinite in her ability to make shit happen.

If we are a world of women who buy into each other’s victimizations , if no one stands for us and calls bullshit on our ‘inadequacies’ – how will we ever learn to stand in our own power?

Anything of worth requires investment.
And the things that are of the most deeply held value are going to appear to be the most impossible.

The women who make it into this School have chosen to put themselves on the line.
They know they may have to bump up against the potential criticism that exists from others, who can’t imagine why this is a good investment, or why it’s important for a woman to give herself continuing higher education.
These women have to hustle to get their kids and husbands handled for 4 weekends in New York City.
They have to organize the finances in responsible ways. Some have enormous distances to travel.
These women open themselves up to the potential for inconceivable change and transformation.
They have to scale the unscalable wall to locate their unimaginable strength, talent and power.
And when they do —that is the galvanizing moment when magic happens. Saying yes when every cell of your being screams ‘I can’t’ will lead to the most glorious love soaked adventures of your life. Like Ayo’s engagement.

In the comments, I want to hear . . .
What kind of a sister are you? Do you encourage your friends to go further and faster than they can imagine for themselves? Or do you agree with them that there is no way to dream the impossible dream? How would you like women to stand for you? Do you want your flames fanned? Or do you want another serving of empathy?

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46 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Detox Diva Donna March 10, 2015, 12:10 pm

    It is a powerful moment when a Goddess tunes into her intuition (pussy) to know exactly what is needed to help another woman to break open/own their hex/be authentic. It is a moment that encompasses love, trust and truth. We are spiritual warriors when we step into our truth and can live full out!!

  • Debra March 5, 2015, 1:15 pm

    Just reading these shares I am so feeling the support, love and possibilities to come. I have bought into the aging woman thing. My mind knows better, but that bitch on my shoulder… Mastery will brainwash her and lead me to transformation. Bring it on!

  • SG Melanie March 5, 2015, 12:54 pm

    Encouragement! Don’t give up! Just keep going
    Especially when you know it’s what your supposed to do!

  • Lindsay March 5, 2015, 12:51 pm

    My favorite thing about working as a birth doula is getting to encourage women through that I-can’t-do-it moment. It’s a privilege to see women accomplish something they didn’t think they were capable of 🙂

  • SG Kim March 5, 2015, 7:55 am

    love ayo

  • SG Jennifer P March 4, 2015, 10:47 pm

    I am so excited to read about Ayo!! Amazing amazing amazing woman. I ran into Ayo one night in NYC after seeing a talk by the founder of OneTaste. Ayo told me she was going on a date. It may have even have been one of her first dates (maybe with her guy?). She looked amazing, was glowing and had lost lots of weight. I said how did you do this….you look incredible. She just laughed and laughed her fabulous laugh and said…MAMA GENA. I love you Ayo and I am so beyond happy for you!!
    AMEN and hallelujah….he is one lucky guy!!!
    XO SG Jennifer

  • Kady Dalrymple March 4, 2015, 6:39 pm

    I am privileged to be part of a number of women’s communities in my worlds, separated both geographically, professionally, interests and disciplines. Recently I invited a large group of goddess friends to attend the NY Intro and six sighed up. Immediately we made a daily brag text message chain and are standing for each other and supporting each other forward. They aren’t even in the MASTERY COURSE yet and they are so facile in supporting each other. I am beyond proud, beyond excited to have more women in my community that are all pushing forward, each other and ourselves.

    • impressed March 4, 2015, 6:42 pm

      wow. thats amazing!

  • Felice Amera March 4, 2015, 5:40 pm

    Hi. I think this is an important issue, and I have a lot to say around it. And I’m sure I won’t even address all I want to say.

    My best friend is a Goddess through and through (and VERY talented to boot), and occasionally she knows it. That said, there is ALWAYS some serious drama going on. Sometimes not of her making, other times I’m not sure. There is almost never a time when some major issue isn’t threatening her well-being. I perceive my job as her BFF to be to support, consolation and encouragement. I do think having a sounding board and a semi-objective perspective are useful to her, but I’m soooo tired of it! And I know I put up walls to protect myself. I do call her on some of it. I don’t know. And then of course , there’s my stories and how attached I am to my own drama. I’m so sick of all of it. I don’t have a lot of close girlfriends right now, and so when we get together and complain (we would say that we were just trying to figure it all out) I’m left with a part of me that feels understood and validated, and part of me that feels disgusted and bored to tears!

    So I guess my answer is that I feel that I want to be heard and understood, but also challenged.

    I brag that the last time we saw each other I requested that she leave the office at the office, and that I would try to do the same for that particular evening. If she felt she couldn’t do that, I was ready to bow out of that particular evening gracefully. And then I had to very consciously frame that for myself as a gift to myself and not a restriction on her. We did get together, and we spoke about this and had a lovely fun evening!

    (Sorry that was so long!)

  • Esther March 4, 2015, 2:46 pm

    Ayo, congrats to you. What a gorgeous and inspiring blog post that came in the werk of my birthday. Such an inspiring message about age and the endless possibilties we have when we stand for each others greatness. Thank you Regina.

  • Yael March 4, 2015, 11:48 am

    Thanks Mama for this incredible post, just when I needed to be reminded of the the extent of my capabilities!!! And CONGRATS Ayo! I loved hearing your story and wish you and your beloved much much glorious love! xoxo

  • Tara March 4, 2015, 3:50 am

    Beautiful post!
    Great middle of the night reading…
    This occurrence and how it came to pass delights me to no end.
    Regena you stand for women and push women to stand for themselves like no one else I have encountered.
    I will never forget talking to you on the phone while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and you saying: “Someday…it may not be today, it may not be tomorrow or the next, but someday you will take a stand for your pleasure.” You believed in me. And that is exactly what happened. (ps-I think of you whenever I cross the Brooklyn Bridge.)
    As far as sharing a personal anecdote, just the other day I sent off a care package to a friend’s daughter who is in a wilderness program for threatening to end her life. I found several items related to Frida Kahlo. Having done art with her I thought this might resonate but then found myself writing: “There are not enough female acknowledged artists in art history. The world NEEDS you. I can’t wait to create with you again.” The words and message just flowed through me. It was my opportunity to “crack open the door” for a sister.
    Thanks for instilling the fierceness to stand for other women.
    much love and in gratitude-

  • Susan March 3, 2015, 11:13 pm

    Hello Ayo! Congratulations! This is such happy news. I am so excited for you, for your bravery, owning your personal power and being open to love. You are an inspiration and a shining light for all women. I wish you every happiness!

  • LolaKat March 3, 2015, 9:48 pm

    Congratulations Dear Ayo!!! <3. Xoxoxo!!!!

  • Anita March 3, 2015, 9:42 pm

    Congratulations Ayo!!!! I’m single at 62 and only today a friend said how “overrated
    marriage is…” just because she’s going through bad times with her husband.
    I encourage anyone that wishes for romance to go for it. and wish they would do the
    same for me because I’ve given up.

  • Oceana March 3, 2015, 6:31 pm

    Deep in thought about this, and feeling a huge yes for a woman’s breakthroughs. I love your genius, and how you ignite new thought!
    Somewhere in here I feel there is space for empathetic calling out that matches the individual’s energy. I want empathy and I want the calling out…I am greedy for both. 🙂 Sometimes I have seen the calling out actually take someone down further into stopping completely, and so I feel there is an art of sensitivity to this, and want the measures of each of this seeming polarity to resonate with each goddess individually.
    Maybe it is when the calling out is directed at the woman rather than the story? Yes, I think that’s it. When it is a calling out of the story, it still lifts a woman up and gives her an opportunity to be an accomplice in her own reframe, rather than the potential of feeling bullied.
    I am so happy for Ayo, and deeply ever grateful for your powerful, beautiful, epic work, Mama Gena. Thank you for your endless commitment to us all. Much love <3

  • Original Sin March 3, 2015, 6:23 pm

    OMGoddess!!! What fantastic news!!! Congratulations, Ayo!!! What a journey, my friend. You inspire and energize me – thank you!!

  • Jess March 3, 2015, 6:05 pm

    I have been cultivating relationships with sisters and have morphed into a woman that says what is instead of sugar coating things. I recently sent a message to a sister goddess that said, I don’t sugar coat shit. I am not Willy Wonka! Oh wow this still makes me laugh so hard because it is true.

    • Debra March 5, 2015, 12:59 pm

      I’m not Willy Wonka, omg funny!

  • SG Pussycat Coltrane March 3, 2015, 5:29 pm

    I have such a crush on Ayo! It never dawned on me that she may have been unsure of herself in a past life. And that is the power of the SWA! Ayo, to me, embodies great power and strength. I only know her as my inspiration! I’d love to sneak into the past to see this exquisite transformation at work. Congratulations to Ayo & Mama Gena for calling out her bullshit! Goddesses, call out my bullshit always please! And I will also hold you to a higher standard!

  • SG Annette Sparkle Dancer March 3, 2015, 4:49 pm

    Congratulations to SG Ayo on her joyous event! Outside the Sister Goddess community, a lot of my close friends and relatives operate mainly on a negative interpretation system AKA “life sucks but what can you do + ain’t everybody awful?” I’m an optimist so sometimes I feel like the oddball around them. My gentle encouragement is largely ignored or disputed. Ass-kicking does not get a good response. I’ve finally accepted that I can’t fix anybody but myself and I don’t really need fixing, just an upgrade renovation to take me to more fabulous levels of form and function. When I get stuck in the process, I really appreciate a positive observer’s reinforcement and feedback. Sister Goddesses are great for this as are a handful of my fellow yoginis. Some of the best advice: “You already know what to do. Just trust yourself and you’ll do it when you’re ready.”

  • Car0line March 3, 2015, 4:00 pm

    Some friends are setting themselves up for another disaster and some are just wallowing in a lack of faith in themselves, and sometimes friends have some of one and some of the other on different issues. It’s a judgment call. What do they need? You can’t put yourself in their situation, you have to see the world through their eyes. I believe in gentle suggestion, although my friends may not think I am gentle at all. I try to reflect back in what ways they are limiting themselves or challenge beliefs that are limiting and counter productive. I often challenge the woman as victim paradigm, and the cultural myths that put a woman’s attributes down as inferior. I encourage them to stop looking at themselves as bad or deviant. Men have as a birthright much of what we have to steal and plot to get. It leaves us feeling like bandits. For myself, I like a friend who listens carefully and challenges gently and then listens some more. Mama Gena, you do an incredible job of getting to the heart of the matter, or making what is muddy, clear and of crystallizing issues that affect all of us. You are a great model for us in the school, if only your insight and clarity would rub off on us. Thank you.

  • Alicia March 3, 2015, 3:35 pm

    You know, I DO do this. I have ONE friend who does it for me, and I spend a lot of energy putting it our there, but not much is returned. If I don’t do it, NO ONE else will. There is a piece of me that is really pissed off about this fact. I do it anyway. This week, I have a chance to once again raise the bar for myself and the people I’m working with. Yesterday and today I looked to them for some energy, but didn’t really get any. SO I put on my big girl panties, saw what was happening, cleared some space for ME and tomorrow I will rise, and take them with me, I hope!

    • Alicia March 3, 2015, 3:35 pm

      meant putting it OUT there…

  • Gail March 3, 2015, 3:20 pm

    I let them dump, rant and whatever then I change the conversation.

    “So sista, what do you have to do to make this thing work? What are your options? How can you turn this around? What support systems do you have? What support systems do you need?”

    Ask the right questions.

  • Tatiana March 3, 2015, 3:08 pm

    OMG! Ayo!!!!!!! ahh…. I’m on the floor squealing with happiness.

  • Sister Goddess Marilyn Moody March 3, 2015, 2:37 pm

    I do love reading all of this and also want to thank Ayo for the inspiration for us to share about taking ourselves higher! Since Mastery 2014, I still experience the roller coaster that wants to take me under water, deeper into my pity pool , but as I have learned and trained myself, I love pep talks to myself, followed by any and all appropriate tools needed to take myself up up up. It works every time!! This is my protocol when I can’t seem to find another Goddess for some divine reason. I stop traffic once I’m in my power again and it never fails when I am honest in my efforts of using the tools and the Goddess community.

  • SG Melanie a.k.a The Pleasure Channel March 3, 2015, 1:32 pm

    THIS is the sh*t that makes life worth living…

    • LolaKat March 3, 2015, 9:47 pm

      Melanie??? Is that you, darling?

      Please tell me how your amazing trip to the wild untamed wilderness was! Don’t leave out a tale! 😉


  • SG Melanie a.k.a The Pleasure Channel March 3, 2015, 1:31 pm


    CONGRATULATIONS, SISTER! I am SO SO SO happy for you! My heart opens WIDE with joy, gratitude and love for you in this moment. Having watched you evolve has been a gift. It has been an absolute wonder to marvel at the beauty that you exude and grace the world with in your existence. You deserve the ultimate love. I am so happy to know you have found it. You are a temple to be worshipped. A queen to be crowned. A treasure to be discovered.

    Can’t wait to witness how this beauty unfolds for you. Looking forward to the diamonds your trail holds in store…

    SG Melanie.

    • SG Kathy March 3, 2015, 10:22 pm

      Beautiful, Pleasure Channel Melanie! And it makes my heart sing to see your name and hear your voice here! Can’t wait to hear it in person!

  • Linsey March 3, 2015, 1:29 pm

    My absolute most favourite feature of the School of Womanly Arts is the transparency in this community. When we show up as our best, most “us” version of ourselves the most magical things happen! In fact, I would argue when we don’t show up in our full brilliance and honesty we rob ourselves of the true depth of this experience and community…

    We are held here. We are called to our highest selves here. We collectively raise ourselves and our sisters to climb higher than the “un-scalable” wall.

  • SG Tahera March 3, 2015, 12:35 pm


  • Laura March 3, 2015, 12:24 pm

    Ayo You melt my heart with what you have created for yourself.
    The sister goddess community for me are witnesses to my divinity They see me and though their eyes and voices I am able to take myself higher. The power of this community never ceases to amaze me.
    It has come to me that I am a beautiful sensual woman who is capable of loving myself and others more deeply than I have ever imagined.


  • helen March 3, 2015, 12:17 pm

    i seem to be the odd egg in my local group of people where i live, there is no one to bolster me past the i can’t’s – except me, for myself. I find myself setting my kitchen timer at night of 9-10 hours sleep, yet i am awake for an hour or two journalling, exploring what is really true for me and what is not. Last night i wrote down mean things family had ingrained in me to believe where true and then i found instances where people/events belied those things. Nothing like waking up to realizing you been living someone else’s lie (because they didn’t love themselves, so how could they love you). Ya, so my journal and places like this site have been my “encouragement” to keep going xoxo 🙂 thank you all… nothing like realizing ~ hey if they can, i can too

  • SG Catherine, Goddess of Sex and Drums March 3, 2015, 12:12 pm

    Are empathy and the fanning of flames mutually exclusive?

    • Oceana March 3, 2015, 6:34 pm

      I just saw this after posting my reply, and I have that same desire, SG. I think they can coexist. 🙂

  • Melody March 3, 2015, 11:53 am

    I’ve been on the hamster wheel of woe for so long I simply didn’t know if or when I could jump off. I’ve been so far removed from my whole self. All I could hear was my distress, my “situation”, my lack of everything. The cycle of whining, complaining and excusing gains more traction when we sisters repeat the same litany over and over to each other. This is not sisterhood this is victim-hood. And we cannot find release, resolution or respite this way. I am anxious with crazy, crackling energy as I prepare for Mastery to begin this month.
    I am so grateful for this opportunity to jump off the wheel and create something new.

  • Annettielove March 3, 2015, 11:26 am

    I met SG Ayo at SG Kmur’s house one evening and she shared that she was dating a great guy and she was 68 years old! She was such an inspiration to me that evening because at 47 years old a guy that I had been dating told me that I was too old and broke off our relationship. I was devastated. Ruined really. At that moment, I shut down and shut off. I had told myself that that was it, I was too old to date. I wasn’t attractive and all the other stuff that goes along with that… My self talk was awful. And for 5 years I closed myself off to any possibility of meeting, dating or ever having sex again. And I gained 50 lbs to boot. So when I heard Ayo’s story I knew there was possibilities for me too. I signed up for Mastery in 2015 and I’m so excited to begin this journey to break out of this hardened shell. I want to live fully again! Thanks SG Ayo, SG Kmur and SG Shimoda for introducing me to Mama Gena!!

    • Debra March 5, 2015, 1:05 pm

      Annettielove I look forward to seeing you again. My connection to you in Miami was so meaningful to me, you inspired me with your kindness, friendship and beauty. Both inner and outer beauty. You have it all.

  • Debra March 3, 2015, 11:03 am

    I have recognized this, “experience joining one another in mutual victimization” among my women friends and colleagues. The need to be held is often the desire, even if it was being held in a state that is harming them, over and over again. I prefer gentle nudges to stand and move, or when needed firm nudges with kindness and then a kick in the ass is okay too. I met Ayo in Miami in November 2014 at the Immersion Weekend. I talked with her before signing up for Mastery. She answered my questions and also redirected my what ifs, or I don’t knows into thoughts of strength of knowing instead of fears. Ayo signed me up! What an example she was for me.

  • SG Laurel March 3, 2015, 10:54 am

    It is so wonderful to hear Ayo’s success story. I’m so happy for her. What a beautiful testament to the power of sisterhood. When I feel doubts about owning my genius, reframing my objections and fanning my flames is what works for me. Sometimes, a positive reframe of my objection is what I need to think about the situation differently. Thank you Regena for this post, it is as usual perfectly timed!

  • Roo March 3, 2015, 10:38 am

    I just experienced this with my daughter. She was struggling with a university assignment and texting me from afar saying, “I can’t do it. Maybe I’ll just drop the class. I stink at this…etc” Usually I try to hear her out, give ideas on what direction to go in and take on her anguish. This time was different. I said, “you can give up if you want to but I KNOW you can do it.” Every time she said I can’t, I said you CAN- I believe in you.
    It felt SO good to bolster her but not rescue her. And she did it 🙂

  • Flor March 3, 2015, 10:28 am

    I’m 100% the friend who pushes my friends to their discomfort zone. I always encourage them and don’t stand around for pity parties. I try to offer a new perspective but can never seem to do that for themselves. I don’t even open up to cry for help for someone to do the same for me.

    • Flor March 3, 2015, 10:29 am

      I can’t seem to do that for myself**

  • SG Patty March 3, 2015, 10:28 am

    Depending on the circumstance and/or issue, there’s different ways to call me out, sometimes with love, sometimes with humor, and sometimes with a challenge.

    And for me, it is exactly the same when I am standing for someone. Sometimes its just facts, sometimes its gently with love, or with humor, or a challenge, and sometimes its just with a sideways look.

    This is a great community to practice all the ways to support a sister.