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,

Get Your Brag On!

Do you want definitive proof that we keep each other playing small? Here it is: we treat the word “brag” like one of the dirty four-letter words.

We’re quick to sing the praises of someone else but when they  talk about that amazing thing they did or bought or had happen to them we think it’s distasteful. That it denigrates their achievement. That they should pipe down and stay in line.

But isn’t it the most natural thing in the world when you’ve dragged your big dream down from the sky, had an amazing stroke of luck, or created something wonderful that you want to shout it from the rooftop?

We’re social creatures and sharing our experiences makes them feel more real. Talking about our happiness and accomplishments affirms them and solidifies them in reality.

So why are we so quick to dismiss ‘bragging’ as a bad thing?

Perhaps we’re not really as happy to celebrate the good fortune of others as we’d like to think. Because it brings up those nagging fears that we aren’t good enough and we start comparing ourselves to what they have and seeing only what we don’t.

So we’ve created a culture where we downplay what’s going well for us or stay silent altogether.

But this is dangerous. Because happiness is power. Because bragging shows others what is possible. Because it helps us feel good.

We need to start wielding that power.

I love that Mama Gena’s sister goddesses make a practice out of bragging. They say “I brag…” and tell each other in no uncertain terms about their incredible achievements and every fabulous thing happening in their lives. And they know that doing so doesn’t threaten the fabulosity of anyone else. It encourages them to unearth their own desires and revel in their own delicious brand of wonderful.

And you should brag about the little things, not just the milestone pay raises, new houses, or holidays. Celebrate taking the time to buy flowers for yourself or get a manicure when you’re really busy. Boast about that delicious meal you made or that new dress that looks so good on you. All of life’s little pleasures are worth bragging about.

So how can we reclaim bragging?

Make a practice out of it. Call your girlfriend every week and list your brags to each other. Get into the habit of sharing your big achievements and the simple pleasures you’ve indulged in. You’ll be cultivating gratitude and encouraging your friend to own her happiness. Win, win, win.

Stop downplaying the good stuff. When you get a compliment, accept it graciously. If someone compliments your outfit, don’t point out some perceived flaw. If you get a thumbs up for scoring great media coverage for your company, don’t pass it off as luck. Just say “Thank you” or even more goddessly, “I know.”

Encourage it. When someone brags to you, express your genuine happiness for them and tell them how happy you are that they told you their good news.

Talk about it. When something wonderful happens, don’t hide it! Wield the power of your happiness. Bringing more happiness into the world is a good thing. So don't allow fear of other people's reactions keep you playing small.

So what are your brags today?

I’ll start: I brag that I just got an awesome new haircut. That I am heading off on a whirlwind trip to Paris next week. That this week I’ve been treating my body like a temple with loads of plant-rich meals. And I have one more BIG brag to share with you soon...but for now I'm going to be a big tease, because I need to keep it under my hat for a little while longer.

Come on babes, let's get our brags on!


Photograph from Death to the Stock Photo.