When I first heard about The School of Womanly Arts, I thought I was “fine”, but I had just kinda given up inside. I had gone through the death of my mother and my aunt. I had been laid off, was putting my son through college, and had inherited two houses with debt. And, the man that I loved had told me I was “too old for him to be with.”
I just knew there was something in this work that I needed—something my soul, my spirit, was yearning for. I had no job and a child going off to college but I signed up for Mastery anyway, with a monthly payment plan.
My experience in class showed me I was still alive in the world. My mojo came back!
Through Mastery I awakened.
I found Annette again.
I found that I wasn’t alone. I found sisterhood.
I found my voice.
I reclaimed my body in all her glory, and reconnected with my sensuality.
I felt whole again.
My relationships to all of the men in my life have deepened, and I’m opening up to dating for the first time in years.
Plus, I got my finances in order. I connected with one of the guest teachers I encountered on the second weekend of Mastery, and I worked all the tools I was learning in class. As a result, in the past year, I increased my credit score more than 100 points and just closed on a home refinance which has wiped out all my debt and left me with $30,000 to myself.
Here’s the thing: Mastery just unlocked what was in me all the time.
It tapped into my inner strength; it tapped into my divine energy, and it tapped into my truth: I am an awesome woman and not a victim of my circumstances.
I think back to where I was just one year ago, making the decision to step into this work. Truly, if you want Mastery, and haven’t given yourself permission yet—go for it. Make it happen. It’s an education like no other and will transform your life into the life you knew you always wanted and deserved.
When I walked through the doors of the School of Womanly Arts, I was getting a divorce at the age of 37.
I was beyond devastated.
Joining the program was certainly not a pragmatic decision for me at the time. Yet, somehow I knew I needed to do it. Yes, the price tag was insane to me at the time, but I got my ass into Mastery.
And I pretty much cried the entire time.
While I know that might not sound like a win…it was exactly what was necessary.
One of the things you learn in the course is how to welcome, understand, and move through your darkness. Which is pretty radical, since as girls and women, we’re taught to be nice, and pleasant, and ‘just fine, thank you.’
I was in an epic swamp of immeasurable depth and darkness. But because I was allowed – no, not just allowed, actually encouraged to tap into my truth, that pain began to move.
Without the tools I learned in class, I would have just put on a fake happy façade, trying to cover up what I was feeling, and all of that unexpressed grief and loss would have transmuted into bitterness. Instead, I got to tap into my truth, and move through the grief and loss in a way that remade me into the woman I am now.
I worked the tools hard core. I started to take risks. I took dance classes. I asked for raises at work. And I started dating like it was my second job.
My light turned back on.
I even had several relationships during this time—I got the opportunity to practice Mama Gena’s stand to ‘leave a man higher’, exiting a relationship at exactly the moment when my intuition told me to. And, something that was very important to me—I created an amicable divorce with my ex-husband.
I signed my divorce papers on a cold, rainy Friday night one year after enrolling in SWA. As I left the mediator’s office, I remember the surprising lightness, almost giddiness, of the endless possibilities of the unknown.
Four days later, I spoke to Rob for the first time. Long story short, we fell in LOVE, we moved in together, we got engaged, we decided to create a family.
With utmost intentionality, I called in my daughter (he helped too, of course ;), as did my beautiful tribe of sisters from the program, who lovingly held and nurtured my desire to become a mother.
The sisterhood I discovered changed my life. Women who believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. Women who held the vision for me when my desires seemed so far away. Women who put the mirror up in front of me, to keep me accountable to my truth. Our support for each other is deeply healing, paradigm shifting.
It’s been four years since I picked up the phone and joined the Mastery program. If I showed my life now to the woman I was prior to the course…I would be overwhelmed with gratitude. Even in my deep darkness, I knew that someday I’d get here. I just didn’t know how. I didn’t have any idea.
Mastery gave me the roadmap…and provided the best pit crew when I needed to pull over for refueling. And, something I could hardly imagine back then, I learned how to actually enjoy the unfolding.
Before finding Mama Gena’s, I had just retired and relocated. I felt like my insides and my outsides did not match and that I had nothing in my life to look forward to. I had no purpose, no partner, no close friends nor did I think that I really ever would. I was very mixed up about how I would live the rest of my life and if I could ever be truly happy. I was tired and grumpy all of the time!
This program was truly one of the best investments I have ever made in myself.
I was an extremely resistant woman to this type of change—I thought I just needed to go to therapy and lose weight, and then I would find love and everything I desired. I had no idea and no real hope that joining in this program would produce all the changes it has.
I finally enrolled because a dear friend and coach said to me, “This is going to change your life. I know you, and I know this is going to be a good thing. Just do it.” I had gotten to the point where I had to trust what she said because what I was doing wasn’t working.
I remember walking to the event space and back to the hotel three times before I finally went in there. That’s what it took to get me in the door.
I threw out every excuse, every road block I could possibly think of to put in my own way, until eventually I looked at the back of my truck and it was empty, with no more roadblocks to throw. 🙂 And I was home.
What I’ve experienced since has been life-changing in every way. And what I now know is that The School of Womanly Arts is about love. It’s not about who you love, or how you love. It’s about allowing yourself to love and be loved.
I’m so grateful none of those roadblocks stuck around.
The night I discovered The School of Womanly Arts, my baby had been crying for 5 hours straight. Nothing was working. It had been like that for weeks. I was at the end of my rope.
In addition to struggling as a new mom and finding my way in a challenging marriage, I was totally cut off from my confidence, sensuality, and power. It was isolating. And when it came to my career, I felt completely detached.
Anyway, that night on my way to the how-to-make-your-baby-stop-crying section of the late night book store, Regena’s bright pink book caught my eye.
I was a hot mess. My kid was screaming. People were staring. But for some reason, I grabbed her book that night. I had to have it.
And that was the beginning.
Since then, I can say that my life is unrecognizable—in amazing ways—because of Mastery, and the sisterhood in my life as a result.
I’ve started and grown a thriving business I love.
I’ve stood in my power as a mother, in a way I never even knew was possible.
I’ve had the most magical opportunities since finding The School of Womanly Arts.
But the truth is, it’s not about magic at all. It’s about working the tools. It’s about turning yourself on, so high, that you can bring on whatever you want. Self-love is magnetic.
It’s not all perfect. Sometimes I screw up.
But when you’re in community, the ship can right itself. It will keep course-correcting, even in those moments you try to self-sabotage. That’s sisterhood.
In our culture, we’re trained that it’s women against women, for the sake of maintaining the structure that’s hurting us all. It’s like there’s this unspoken agreement to suffer together.
What happens at the SWA is that the whole notion gets turned around, and we’re using each other for our power. We stand for each other and we learn that standing for ourselves is the primary way we do that.
When you make it a practice to see your life through the lens of the goddess—through the belief that everything around you is designed to take you higher—anything is possible.
I actually found out about the School of Womanly Arts through Facebook. A “School for Womanly Arts”? What the hell would that be? Cooking, sex, makeup application? Why would a person want to be a woman anyway? And even if you did, how could someone teach you that?
To say I was skeptical of this whole Mama Gena business would be a vast understatement. I looked at the website and figured all of the women in the pictures must be actors—who could believe all that? They should have made it more believable.
At the time, I was in my early fifties, doing everything a person was “supposed” to do, yet I was as unhappy as a cat in a room of hungry dogs. Inside I knew something was missing.
I was attracted and repelled by The School of Womanly Arts, at the same time. A little tiny part of me kept saying, “What if it’s true? What if women could be that happy? What if they could be that friendly and loving toward one another? What would it be like if that were true?” That little voice started to crack me a little.
There was a phone number on that ridiculous website, so I called. It all poured out of me. Despite all of my reticence, I enrolled. Because, “What if it were true?”
Right before the first class started I was an anxious mess. What was gonna happen? What would we have to do? Who would I talk to? Who was I going to eat lunch and dinner with? Would I spend all my time being apart from, instead of a part of? I had already done so much work—was this really going to make a difference?
And what about travelling to NY? That is as different from where I come from as night and day. Millions of people, lots of buildings, transportation, the flights back and forth, it seemed overwhelming when I thought about it. I just ended up organizing one weekend at a time. That was more manageable for me.
Once I got in that room and sat in the seat, and Mastery began, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be. Being a part of the community started right away. I made it a point to sit in different places all the time to get to know as many women as I could. These have become women in my life that I could call at anytime and they’d be there for me. And I am there for them.
How am I different since Mastery? Probably would be shorter to say how am I not different.
There isn’t really an area of my life where I am not changed for the better, since Mastery. Relationships, sensuality, parenthood, career, money, body image, self-confidence, community
—all are all outer manifestations of what has happened inside of me, through this program.
The bottom line is, in Mastery I learned to love myself on a level I didn’t even know I was missing, and definitely didn’t know how to tap into.
I love my body and I take care of my body now—not sporadically, like if my weight gets out of hand, or if I have an attack of hypochondria after browsing WebMD, but everyday.
My business is changing because I have changed. I am expanding and opening a new business now and I am having fun doing it. I get out of bed excited to see what I can create everyday.
My relationship with my children is different. I no longer look to my children to fill up some empty hole in me that could never be filled no matter how many achievements they have, how many times they call or visit, or what kind of gifts or time they give me. Because I love myself, the time we spend together is fun and meaningful and they can only add joy to my life, and they do.
I am part of an amazing community of women who are smart, supportive, and beautiful, inside and out. It is hard to believe the real depth of friendship and support in this community.
Because I learned and came to love myself, I am in a fun, loving, and supportive relationship with an amazing man. Me! I have to reread that sentence, and repeat it to myself again and again. I’m the one who used to listen to things like that and say, “Yeah right, lady. Tell us what’s really going on.”
Mastery is an experience beyond explanation.
If your life is good, it will get better. And if it’s not so great, it will get better. For yourself and everybody in your life. If you feel it calling to you, do it. Just do it. There’s a reason. You don’t have to know the reason, just do it. And the money—if you extrapolate the cost of this course, out to the rest of your life, it will turn out to be the least expensive experience you’ve ever had, that has made the most difference. Like getting a Picasso at a dollar store.
And if you’re like me, you’re reading all this, browsing this pink website and thinking, “That’s not me. It’s so not me. I’m not that woman.”
It turned out I was right on that. I wasn’t that woman. I’m this woman.
I came to the School of Womanly Arts feeling just fine (thank you very much), but deep down knowing there could be so much MORE. I actually didn’t sign up because I felt I needed to change my life. I came in skeptical, ready to network, and learn a few tricks. I thought I would meet some great gals who’d love what I do.
Feathers boas? No thank you. That’s for that girl over there…Anger, resentment? Me? No. Thank you. Desires? Yes, but I’m really focused on being grateful for what I have, so thank you but I’m okay and perfectly happy where I am. And Men? Well I already have a great guy, and I adore men, thanks!
What was going on under the surface before I signed up for Mastery, however, was that my life felt chaotic, and my goals unachievable and so far away. The feeling of scarcity was a constant theme in my life. Struggle? Um, yes. It felt like I was pushing boulders up very steep mountains, daily.
Everyone thought my businesses were taking off, my hats were even in Oprah Magazine, Vogue and Harpers Bazaar and anyone would have thought everything was perfect. But the truth was, I was in debt, I hadn’t paid myself since I started my business (which was causing tension at home), and my businesses were just barely breaking even. I remember looking at my business bank account, and seeing there was less than $1000 in it.
The things that have shifted since I began the program have rocked me to my core. Little did I know my studies at SWA would shake up my foundation so profoundly, and bring me things that I didn’t even know I desired.
When I started Mastery, I really desired a Parisian Style Atelier in NYC where we would make hats in the back and have a gorgeous showroom in the front, where our clients could shop, meet up and play dress up. At that time, with less than 1K in the bank, no employees, and a 200 square foot studio, this seemed impossible. My desires felt so big, but I just didn’t have faith in them. It felt HARD.
It got to a point where I was considering giving up my company entirely, and I was actually looking for a new job.
Throughout class, I learned how to allow myself to have those desires. To desire without limits. I learned how to get honest and transparent with the women in this community. Instead of pretending like everything was perfect, I finally confided in women about what was happening. Getting transparent led me to be honest but it also allowed me to build an incredible new business and foundation.
I began learning how to listen and surrender. As I was having a hard time at work, I took a week off to find some balance. I had had big visions of where I wanted to go, but so much fear about taking on the responsibility and of living that big. I was seeing and living too small to actually show the universe I was ready to receive. It’s funny, but I learned that being in your feminine can mean doing less, it seems counter intuitive, but the less I did, the more open I was to receiving. From that place, I learned to take more risks in my actions. Desiring big, with trust, and without attachment and to take action when it’s time.
A year later, I have a 5,000 square foot factory, we’ve cleaned it up, I have 7 employees and we are making a lot of money! My business is on track to do extremely well. In the last 9 months, I have had a huge feature in the Wall Street Journal, a gorgeous photo in the NY Times, the TODAY show did a great feature on me and my business, I have a feature coming out soon in Domino Magazine and in the very near future some incredibly influential celebrities will be wearing SATYA TWENA hats as they go down the runway this fashion week.
I still have to hustle when it’s necessarily, but I’ve found more balance. When I allow my life to unfold, it does so better than even I can plan or force. That letting go part has been the hardest, but the greatest lesson I’ve ever learned.
Nearly 7 years ago, when I began my studies at the school, I had one question I wanted answered: “Should I stay in this marriage?”
At the time, my marriage was not working and we were very stuck. Recently retired from a successful business career, my husband, Bob, had little sense of who he was, feeling lost and less. We were not having fun, I was unsatisfied with my sex life, and I was beginning to doubt whether that would ever change.
Through my coursework at the school, I can now say that at age 80, I’ve never felt more happy, beautiful, sexy and sensual, or deeply connected to my husband than I do right now. Yes, 78!
At a time of life when most women of my generation have retired their sensuality, I am proof that there is so much more that’s possible.
For many years inside of my marriage, everything had been focused on my husband’s problems. Being a family counselor, I believed that if I could help him with his problems, we could return to the love and connection we’d experienced in the first few years of our relationship. It never occurred to me to put my focus on my desires first.
I knew who I was as a wife, a mom, a daughter, a community member, but who was I as a woman? And how could I create my own pleasure? Totally foreign territory!
Mama Gena invited me to take my attention off of my marriage for a year, and put it directly on myself and my own pleasure. I threw myself into the practices: bragging, spring cleaning, swamping, desire lists, womantras, and all the phenomenal tools that are taught in Mastery.
For months, I focused on generating more pleasure for me, invited Bob into it, and surprisingly, he kept joining me.
One of Mama Gena’s core teachings around men is the notion that they truly do wish to serve women. This was a hard one for me to grasp at first. I thought, “What?! That’s not my world. What world are you living in?”
Now, I see just how true this is. And I see that my role in this equation is to receive graciously (no small task for a woman taught to give, give, give to everyone else).
Bob gets so much pleasure in giving to me, from small errands to edgy steps like going to sensuality classes. At the very moment I am writing this to you, he just walked in the door with gorgeous white and purple roses for me! I kid you not. A moment like this was unimaginable when I first stepped into this practice.
The women I’ve met in this community have been crucial in my journey, every step of the way. If I had been on my own, I don’t believe I could ever have made these changes. I knew it was safe to share myself with these women. All of it, my ups and downs—even when I wanted to hide from embarrassment as my relationship would move forward, then backward, idyllic one week, hell another. My Sisters are there to reflect to me my progress, remind me of who I am and what I can create, and cheer me on through the lows. They are my champions, and they stand for my pleasure and my desires.
It is absolutely invaluable to model for each other what it is to be a juicy, turned-on woman. It is so very nurturing and uplifting to have these women available to me, all the time. Because the world isn’t like that—we need to create this world for ourselves.
Before learning the Womanly Arts, I was unhappy and looking for my pleasure in life, I was feeling victimized by my history and childhood, I had not valued the good in my life. I had an amazing husband (still do), a wonderful home, we were financially well, but I always felt like something was missing and that it was not enough.
I grew up in India. My childhood was surrounded by a lot of dysfunction, violence, stress and anxiety. My early relationship with sensuality was filled with shame and unsafety. I had an experience with sexual abuse as a child, which created so much fear and shame around it. And on a cultural level, there was certainly fear that it was not safe for me to be open and to be sensual, or sexual. I struggled to stay connected with myself in what became a very unsafe situation.
Despite all of that, there was still this place inside of me that said, “No, that’s not true, I’m not going to give up on this.” My sensuality was somehow always a guiding light, an always-present knowing that I needed to be in touch with myself in this way.
I was 16 when I met my husband, and he was 19. We’ve been together now for 22 years.
We have gone through so much, focused a lot on surviving. Back then, the pleasure was missing in our sensual connection—even though it was there in other forms. But there was a very strong part of me that kept desiring a very strong, full sexual life with my husband.
Practicing the Womanly Arts opened up such important conversations and experimentation with my husband.
Now, post-Mastery, we are enjoying a wonderful new phase of our journey together with so much more ease and pleasure in our sensual life.
I can even see the shifts at work, because of my practices and how it helps me stay grounded and confident within myself. I used to be so needy, I lacked confidence, needed approval and now I’m not doing that anymore.
Really, every aspect of my life has been affected. Now, not only is my Sensual Pleasure safe, but it’s where I feel my power. My work around sensuality was all about claiming my power, claiming my life. And I could merge the spiritual with the sexual.
With awareness, and the wonderful support of sisterhood, I released a lot of old pain. I stood up for myself and stepped into that place which stood for me. Which has always been there, I just didn’t know it.
I signed up for Mama Gena’s emails, and deleted most of them for a year or so. I thought, “That’s not for me.” I didn’t unsubscribe, though—almost like it was somehow just nice to know that this school was out there. Even if it “wasn’t for me,” I liked knowing there were these women out there having these fabulous lives. “Good for them!” I thought.
At the time, my life had become very small. I did all the things I thought I was supposed to do. I was a good lawyer. I made good money. I was a good wife. I was a good mom. I volunteered. A lot.
I had great female friends but we were all in a similar spot. Our lives were okay—good even, but not great. My relationship with my husband lacked spark. I didn’t feel sexy or confident. I was flat.
When I think back, it just didn’t occur to me that there was an option to have better.
Fun was just not one of the things on the menu. Fun was certainly not part of the job description for being a lawyer, or a wife or mother for that matter.
When I saw the opportunity to go to an intro event, I jumped at it. Even though I was terrified to go to New York alone. Even though I couldn’t imagine paying the tuition for the course. Even though I really had no idea what I was getting myself into!
All the women were SO warm and welcoming. And Mama Gena, she wanted more for me than I even wanted for myself. It makes me cry to remember that feeling, standing there and realizing this woman saw more for me, wanted more from me—and that I had lost touch with that for myself.
I knew I wanted Mastery. I went home, talked to my husband. We agreed, for lots of great reasons, to plan, save and for me do it the following year. But as the start of Mastery approached, I knew I had to do it that year—I knew nothing would change in a year, and I just couldn’t let myself delay any longer. I signed up on the last day of enrollment, trusting things would figure themselves out. And they did.
Since Mastery, fun is just injected in so many things. In everything. Things aren’t so serious. I can have fun for free, spontaneously, wherever, whenever.
When it comes to mothering two adolescents, the game has totally changed. Where I would normally react with anger and discipline, I can now respond with humor. WAY more effective. If something gets canceled, and one of my kids is disappointed, as opposed to being focused on the thing that we missed, I’ll make it fun, framing it as, “Wow, let’s see what adventure is going to unfold now!”
In regards to work, if I have a presentation, I wear something really sassy with great accessories. Saying that sounds so frivolous. But the thing is, it’s not — because it’s actually putting the attention on myself and being in relationship with myself. Knowing that I am creating my experience, and I can choose fun. So when I’m doing my presentation, instead of worrying about how I’m being perceived, I’m anchored (connected) to my ability to choose fun, and it’s contagious. Even though they don’t know why, if I’m lit up and playful, everyone else is too.
Additionally at work, if I have stuff I’m dreading doing, I know it’s time to amp up my practice. I get my atmosphere together. I make sure I have flowers. I’ll bring rose water. I’ll set a very pleasing stage for myself to do stuff that I don’t like and it really shifts my experience.
In terms of taking care of me, when I’m in the middle of a stressful time or have been kicked in the ass by something happening in my life, the very last thing I want to do is have fun. Hiding from the world under the covers with Ben & Jerry was my go-to move before the SWA. Now, if that’s where I’m at, I handle it differently. I don’t try to take myself out of the mood, or out of the misery. Instead, I play with it. I throw myself a party. Fine wine, tasty treats, sad music, smeared mascara—the works. Giving full expression to whatever I’m feeling is what turns it into fun.
And it’s about community too—doing this in community makes it much more powerful, and helps you give yourself permission. Since studying at the SWA, I feel like it’s my responsibility to take charge of my life and insert fun whenever I desire.
It’s a practice. Sometimes I forget or get lazy and things get bland again. But not for long! This community reminds me, opportunities for fun are everywhere.
Many things in life are outside of my immediate control—mean people, traffic, the list is endless. But I have the power and agency to control my experience and make it fun anywhere and anytime.
Mastery was one of the best decisions of my life. I landed at the School of Womanly Arts at just the right time, after a period of seeking and exploring.
Honestly, when I signed up for Mastery, I wanted to come out a size 6, and maybe with a ring on my finger. But you know what? That’s not what it’s about. I do still desire pieces of those things, but life isn’t measured in such a linear way now. I can see that what I was actually seeking was sisterhood and community and embodiment.
I have a healthier body image, and that’s huge, because those negative body image issues were not just mine—they are those of so many women living among us! Coming to this peaceful place I feel heals not only me, but somewhere helps to end that cycle of self-flagellation that exists among so many women, not just physically, on so many levels. Now, I look in the mirror and approve of myself.
Through Mastery, I understood what I wanted in a friend and a sister. And I understood what kind of relationships I wanted to have in my life. I learned how to really stand for my friends in a deeper way, and I also learned how to let things go. Ultimately, I gained an incredible community. Whenever I am upset, or unhappy, or I need someone—they are there.
Additionally, in Mastery, there are tools that give women permission to feel their darker emotions like grief, rage, frustration. Now having permission to feel things like sadness or heartache can feel luxurious. It’s almost sensual. That’s a huge reframing of how I look at life. Even when I’m not happy, there is such a beautiful space for it to bathe in. These are the tools for all of your life.
Mastery a treasure. It’s much better than going to a psychologist. I appreciate this very much. And I have seen some miracles.
As an Orthodox Jewish woman, I observe Shabbat. On Mastery weekends I rent a room that is not far from the venue so I can walk there. I do everything the way I understand I should be doing to observe it. For me this is a way of sanctifying and “resting” on this special day.
I see that Mama Gena is combining pleasure with morals. Any religion aims to bring you an ethical life. Mama Gena understands that a woman respects herself by behaving ethically. Even if the words aren’t the same, I now understand that flirting means that when you feel good with yourself, you are in connection with others. So flirting is about respecting yourself, honouring yourself first, and then through that you’re honouring the other.
So what she is saying is to value ourselves. And what I like as well is that this concept of pleasure also works well with my spiritual life.
All women of today, from all over the world, should be caring for themselves and knowing that they are a goddess. Women should cherish themselves, enjoy themselves and have a voice. This “pleasure” world is incredible fun.
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