Here’s the routine: I wake up, put on the coffee, light the candles on my altar, pray, dance, journal, and then make an oat milk latte.
I am centered and grounded, inhaling the fragrance of the coffee. Warmed on the inside by each sip. Ready to meet the challenges of my day.
But, a few months ago, the world discovered Oatly oat milk.
And my supply dried up.
Can’t find it anywhere. It’s up to $200 for a six-pack on Amazon. Even my local coffee shop is out.
My desire was so strong that morning, I called another larger coffee shop, 50 blocks from my home in Harlem, and found out they still had it in stock. So, ever the pleasure warrior woman, I jumped on my bike and headed downtown for my latte.
This made no sense.
I had places to go, people to meet, tasks that needed doing.
The call of my latte was powerful, and off I went.
After a beautiful ride and a long line at the cafe, I happily had my latte in hand.
My phone rang.
I have a small band of goddaughters that I love deeply. One of them, Jenna, was on my cell.
She was in the wild wonderful throes of her very first boyfriend, and he had driven all the way from Maine to spend the whole weekend with her. She was feeling trapped inside of her tiny college dorm at Barnard, with a boy that she was now hating. “Everything about him drives me crazy! He is so clingy. He brought flowers and chocolates and a love letter. He is too short. He keeps telling me how beautiful I am. I want to kill him.”
The collision between our deepest soul’s longings, our childhood dreams, and the awkward truth of a real human being who cannot possibly live up to or into that dreamscape was all happening for her. I knew this as part of her awakening. Part of her initiation from girl to woman. It was a moment of transition for her that could and would guide much of her destiny, her growth, her capacity to give and receive love. How do we each make the transition from childhood magical thinking to live in the real messy grown up human world of love? And I was being gifted this moment in her life, with her weepy phone call.
I could feel she needed not just a talk, but a hug.
“Where are you?” I asked.
“On 79th street, heading to a class in 10 minutes.”
No way. I was on 79th street, in pursuit of my latte.
“Stay right there. I am coming over to give you a hug.”
Moments later, she ran to me, weeping in my arms. I held her fast, and told her a story about where she was and why she felt the way she did.
Most of us do not have any idea or any experience with the concept of ‘being full’.
Every one of us has a certain capacity for pleasure. And when we hit that capacity, we are as filled up as we are when we eat a huge meal. At first, a huge meal looks delicious. But, after we eat a big serving, and someone comes at us with seconds, or thirds, we can get really irritated at them and with them, because we are already full.
I explained that her boyfriend was still the same wonderful guy, it was just that with spending so much time with him, after not seeing him for a while, she was full and filled up, and at her upper limit for receiving experiences from him. She was full on physical contact, love notes, flowers, chocolates, and attention. And that it was fair to tell him that he had done a great job of filling her up and that now, she needed to take some time and space to digest it all. I promised her that even just telling him that would make her feel better. She got it. Off she went to her class, and off I went on my bike.
She ended up having a great weekend with her guy, because instead of blaming him for the way she felt, and pushing him away, she understood it was not about him, it was about her. She understood that this was all new for her, and it was ok that she could only handle small doses of his attention, as they were just beginning to get to know one another.
This is one of the first key steps in making the transition from girl to woman.
As a girl, we lack control over many of our experiences and blame others for our unhappiness. As a woman, we can take responsibility for our pleasure.
Jenna was now able to understand the very beginnings of her ability to make that choice. She could see how to communicate her truth to her new boyfriend without anger and with appreciation.
I felt so good. Actually, I felt like, not just a godmother, but a fairy godmother — magically appearing at exactly the right place and the right time to be there for my goddaughter when she needed me.
That is the magic and mystery of choosing pleasure.
When we choose pleasure for ourselves, the thought is that we are being selfish. That is never the case. When we choose pleasure, we are actually taking everyone around us higher. If I had not chosen to track down my Oatly latte, I would never have been on the right street at the right time to catch my goddaughter in my arms and help her navigate an important transition.
Sister, how can you choose pleasure today? Do it. And then track how that choice changes the world around you.
Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena”
The School of Womanly Arts
Regena is a feminist icon, a teacher, a speaker, a mother, a best-selling author, and creatrix and CEO of The School of Womanly Arts.