book

The Self-Love Book Club Reads Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts.

The Self-Love Book Club Reads Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts.

"I have never known anyone who followed their deepest desires with all-out enthusiasm and failed. It is almost as if the universe gives you a leg up, or a helping hand when you really go for what your heart desires." - Regena Thomashauer

I've said it before: I was initially put off by Mama Gena's brand of pink feather boas, "Sister Goddess" language, and prolific use of the word "pussy." But by the time I finished her School of Womanly Arts book, I'd come to think of  it as required self-love reading. Which is why I chose it as May's book club read.

Regena's philosophy is that you should live a life aimed entirely at pleasure so that it bleeds into everything you do. Pleasure becomes your raison d'etre. And as it does, it transforms you. Your life becomes entirely joyful. Your relationships take on a deeper meaning. You live out of a deep sense of purpose and desire.

This book is perfect for anyone who has lost their shine or is looking to be a little more true to themselves. Regena walks you through ten lessons, covering topics from sex and flirtation to "owning men" and "partying with your inner bitch." And as flowery as her language can be, each chapter is peppered with real life examples from the sister goddesses who have taken her classes and concludes with exercises you can practice in your own life.

Mama Gena preaches pleasure as doctrine. She knows that by focusing on fulfilling your own needs and desires, you fill your own cup. When we don't prioritise loving ourselves, we become shells of who we could be. And when we focus on everyone's needs but our own, we become drained, irritable, and resentful.

Mama Gena offers the tools and know-how to realign with what you really want and practice pleasure in everything you do so that you can live your best life. Here are a few of her nuggets of wisdom that I particularly enjoyed, but I suggest keeping an open mind and picking it up for yourself.

  • "If you think that a man is going to lead you to your true happiness, you are all drunk- drunk, I tell you. Drunk on the legend of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White. Well, I'll say it again, 'cause I can't say it enough- that waiting for Mr. Right is gonna keep your life and happiness on hold as long as it exists."
  • "Life without your pleasure as a priority is one of perpetual victimization and stagnation."
  • "Become expert at finding beauty in every aspect of womanhood, fat or thin, young or ancient, petite or imposing."
  • "We are not accustomed to being in a state of profound gratitude toward our lives and the gift of life. But gratitude is an essential practice that opens us up for more."
  • "Just as a seed needs soil, sun, and water in order to grow, your appetite requires a support system to really spring to life. The best fertilizers you can find for your sprouting desires are fun and pleasure- they are all-natural and you can never have too much of them, so sprinkle them daily throughout your life."
  • "If you want to be treasured, you have to treasure yourself first and then show someone how to treasure you."
  • "Your dreams are not too big for you, you would not have them if they were not just the right size and shape for the individual you are. They are blueprints of your future fulfillment."

I've decided that this will be the last official Self-Love Book Club read. After almost two years of reading together, I want to find new ways to engage and interact with you - and I am focusing my efforts on creating some very exciting new projects. I'll keep our private Facebook group open as a place to discuss and recommend personal development books with one another, so feel free to join if you'd like. And I'll also be offering suggested reading with my new series of long form articles that I'm starting in July, as well as in my weekly newsletter.

I've had so much fun on this book club adventure and I have some exciting changes and big ideas planned for this space. I hope you're looking forward to this new chapter as much as I am.

Did you read Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts? Did you love it as much as I did?

Love, candy floss, & peppermint tea,

The Self-Love Book Club Reads The Big Leap.

The Self-Love Book Club Reads The Big Leap.
The Self-Love Book Club Reads The Big Leap.

The Big Leap: Conquer Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Levelis one of those books that had me exclaiming "yes!" throughout each and every chapter. Written by Gay Hendericks, this is a book about recognising and overcoming your upper limit problem so that you can happily live with more abundance, success, and joy in your life. He explains the upper limit problem as a sort of default setting that we are all programmed with at a young age. It's the maximum amount of good feelings we think we're capable or "allowed" to experience. When we go past this threshold by entering a really wonderful relationship, attaining great success in our career, or becoming happier for any other reason, we drag ourselves back down with self-sabotage or limiting beliefs. Of course we do this so subtly that we don't realize it's us that creates this cycle of misery. Our upper limit problem becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and we might adopt a "why does this always happen to me?" attitude. But by recognising our upper limit problem and refusing to buy into it anymore, we can enter what Hendericks calls our "zone of genius" and reach our true potential in every area of our life.

This book is full of useful exercises, ideas, and a great affirmation to help you dismantle your upper limit program and I highly recommend reading it for yourself. Here are a few of my biggest take aways:

  • Worry, fear, and sadness is often our reaction to some sort of positive experience or breakthrough trying to shine through. Pausing and allowing ourself to locate this positive feeling in our body nurtures it so that it can grow and spread.
  • Humans generally shift between two relationships with time: believing that there's never enough and that the minutes are always racing by or being bored, so that every second seems to drag on forever. But when we recognise the power our mindset has over time (or at least our perception of time), we can also recognise that we always have enough, so that time seems to shrink or expand to exactly what we need.
  • Being in a relationship will constantly challenge our upper limit program as it pushes us to expand our capacity to love and be loved. Usually we resist this challenge and find ways to push our partners away or sabotage the relationship. But if we remain constantly open to learning through both the ups and downs of our relationship, we're able to be truly intimate with one another and work through the upper limit problem together.

Hendericks has a PhD in psychology, so he takes a very pragmatic approach to his subject matter and offers practical way to implement what he's teaching, which I think will appeal to people who are put off by self-help woo woo. However, there is also a spiritual and metaphysical component to his writing as well, especially when it comes to thinking about time differently. Don't let this dissuade you from reading it as there's a lot of substance under everything he says and I feel certain that anyone could get a lot of insight from this book.

The Big Leap is one of my favourite books we've read through The Self-Love Book Club and I think it is an essential read for anyone who is looking for more in their career, in love, or in any other area of their life.

Have you read The Big Leap? I'd love to hear what you thought!

The Self-Love Book Club Reads Outrageous Openness.

Outrageous Openness was our February read for The Self-Love Book Club and I have to admit, it took me by surprise. We chose it at the recommendation of Nikola, my co-host for the London group and I went into it feeling skeptical. I have conflicted feelings about the universe or divine source, or whatever you want to call it. On the one hand, I . But on the other, I'm a staunch believer that life is ultimately the product of your choices and your actions. No more, no less. So anything that preaches just trusting the universe to take care of you, feels a bit too woo-woo for me.

But Tosha Silver blends a belief in divine guidance with a knowledge of the need to step up and do your part to make things happened. The book is peppered with anecdotes and humour, alongside prayers and rituals for becoming more in-tune with the flow of life. It was came as a welcome reminder not hold on so tightly to outcomes and instead to view unexpected twists or "setbacks" as opportunities in disguise. It's a quick read and since finishing it, I've found myself applying this wisdom to release my stranglehold on how I want things to be and instead to enjoy things how they are.

It seems like most of us were pleasantly surprised by what this book had to offer. Here's what a couple of the other girls had to say:

"My first impression of Outrageous Openness was one of cynicism. A book that's talking to me about the Divine Source surely won't have anything concrete and actionable to teach me. I couldn't have been more wrong. The simple act of reading the book was like taking a deep breath and then letting it all out again. A relief. Permission to relax and loosen my shoulders. The words were a comfort to me at a time when I particularly needed them, and I will continue to look back at the book when I want to remind myself that the Universe, Divine Source, or whatever you'd like to call it, has got my back." - Rebecca Hunter

"Outrageous Openness was inspiring, a delightful arrangement of wisdom in the form of rehashing tiny stories of relevance. Not being religious myself, but always feeling spiritual, I have often cringed at the thought of people who blindly put all of their hope in God. However, now I've come to see that this can be a spiritual practice of attuning yourself with the highest vibrations in the universe and releasing yourself to that higher calling, which is quite different from trusting God out of fear or a crushing thought of a predetermined future. I think tapping into the Divine Source in the way described could prove to be very enlightening!" - Colette Hanson

Have you read Outrageous Openness? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

And if you'd like to join us our next few books are The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks in March, Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts: How to Use the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World by Regena Thomashauer in April, and Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck in May. You can join our discussion on Facebook or meet up with us in person in London!

Love, almond milk lattes, & dog-eared pages,