With Mastery 2014 starting in a few weeks, we’ve been hearing the same really great questions asked again and again. Is it worth the investment? Will it really change my life? How do I convince my husband/boss/parents to get onboard and help me do it? Will it help me in my business?
I’m devoting today’s blog post to answering those questions, straight from the women who know best: my gorgeous graduates. There is really no better way to understand Mastery than through the stories of the women who have experienced it.
The Womanly Arts Mastery Program happens just once a year.
This year’s program starts on March 29th.
It’s currently 94% full.
I hope these stories inspire you, move you, and clarify if this work is right for you. Even if you don’t join us this year, I hope you enjoy our grads’ stories, and I’ll return to my more typical musings and missives soon!
“Mastery is expensive! Is it really worth it?”
It’s priceless. ~ Ayodele Moore, Age 67
You see the feathers and the fun, but we do such deep work. And we stand for each other in ways that you can’t even imagine. Invest in yourself. Because you deserve it, and it will pay itself back in full. Investing in yourself is the best decision you will ever make, and it will pay you back over and over again. ~ Sade
When I started Mastery I was a grad student, working to get my doctorate, and making peanuts. Mastery came together for me in so many ways because I decided to stand for myself. I didn’t have a penny to my name. But every month, things came together. Money came from out of nowhere. So it’s really not about the money. It’s the commitment that you make to yourself, and when you put that signal out, the whole universe comes to make sure that happens for you. A year since taking Mastery, that credit card that I used is paid off in full and I am connected to myself, to my sisters and to the divine. ~ Erika P., Age 31 (at left)
When I heard how much Mastery cost, I said, “Well thank you so much, and goodbye.” But thank god I came back. It was worth every cent I have spent on it. ~ Karen Fitzgerald, Age 61
It’s been the greatest investment of my life. ~ Rica Bryan, Age 27
“I’ve already done a lot of work on myself. Will Mastery go deep enough?”
I came to Mama Gena’s as an Ivy League-educated feminist, a magna cum laude graduate of Barnard College where I intensively studied gender and race. On the first afternoon of Mastery, I sat in my seat pouring tears. Tears of disbelief, tears of rage, tears of deep sadness, and tears of relief. Because in one day, she gave me more wisdom toward the seat of my empowerment than I had gotten from 4 years of education at one of the world’s most respected women’s colleges. ~ Kelly
Before Mastery, I had been studying the whole spiritual thing — I had the mind, I had the spirit, but the BODY wasn’t in it! I was a head case. And then, I did Mastery and I started paying attention to moving my body, to getting in the pleasure of my body, to understanding her and what she wanted and what she didn’t. The difference now is that I’m IN my body. I live in my body. And I did not even know that that was missing. ~ Karen Fitzgerald, Age 61 (at right)
Before I came to Mastery, this course was a “nice to have,” not a “need to have.” I was happy and proud of who I was. I was a successful executive director, had an amazing partner who loved me, and a strong relationship with myself. And yet still . . . something was missing. I had read the countless self-help books, motivational speeches, and brilliant blogs. I had sat in rooms full of gurus and celebrities, teachers, coaches and mentors. Listened through workshops, courses, classes, seminars, intensives, and retreats. And while every single one of them contributed to the woman you see before you . . . none of them gave me what I had been searching for. None of them led them to me. Then here in Mastery, in this conversation, in this chaotic ebb and flow of longing, understanding, and history — I found my home, my voice, and my Self. Over the last 4 months, the woman in me that has been struggling to come out finally had an invitation to the party called Life. And as she began to emerge, I realized how dead I had been. I began to notice all the areas in my life that I had squinted past, all the ways I had compromised, the areas I had settled in, the chances I didn’t take, and the life I was ultimately too afraid to live. On this journey I’ve been able to create epic friendships and cultivate a fairy-tale romance with my fiance. I am finally pursuing my purpose on this planet, and am leading a life that fills my heart and sources my soul. Today I stand before you as woman who is madly in love with not only what she sees in the mirror, but with what she knows lies deep inside. I stand before you as a woman who is madly head-over-heels in love with herself. And that is a beautiful thing. ~ Sacha Lalla
“I’m resistant. Maybe it’s just not for me?”
It was extremely scary for me to do the program. But what I’ve gotten out of it? I went from feeling like a second-class man — like a person who could never be equal to a man, a person who was always not quite good enough — to feeling like a first-class woman. I’m so much more in touch with my desires and my pleasure. I’ve found my voice, and I’ve found my power. And I’m finally letting the world see who I am. ~ Susan Batson, Age 52
I don’t believe there is a word to describe how resistant I was before signing up. I turned around and went back to the hotel three times the first night of Mastery. I was ashamed of my sexuality when I came here. I hadn’t been in a relationship for 30 years. I can tell you now that I believe in love, and I believe in love for myself. I feel more accepted in this room than I ever have in my entire life. I am totally transformed. ~ Laurie Irwin, Age 64 (at left)
Mastery begins the moment you sign up. I had not encountered anything more compelling or terrifying than that idea. Compelling, because it promised change. Terrifying, because it required change. I didn’t actually attend my first Mastery. I fled under the pretense that I would hate it. That no one would like me. I wouldn’t like anyone else. That Mama Gena would fall short of my expectations, thus ruining that which had already changed in my life when I read her book. I feared the people that loved me would think I was absurd and crazy. It would be better to simply acknowledge that at the root of my feeling of displacement in the world, there was some irreconcilable chemical imbalance. It was better to stay home. Thankfully, gratefully, all of us have paths back to ourselves. I had a sister standing for me. And when she invited me back to Mastery for what we shall call my “second Mastery,” I sobbed into her arms. I sobbed because I had proven to myself beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could not go any further without this work and this community. I sobbed because I had to show up. Mama Gena, you did not disappoint. ~ Kasha, Age 34
“I don’t live in New York. Can I still do Mastery?”
I’m Australian and I live in Singapore. I fly 24 hours every Mastery weekend. I have a husband and three children. It is not easy. It is a big sacrifice, every time. But it is that important. It’s worth it. You will not even recognize your life when you’re done. ~ Mirna
“I think I’ll do it next year. How do I know if the timing’s right?”
I put off Mastery for about 17 years. I was intrigued, but I had a lot of reasons “why not” and they all boiled down to not being willing to give it to myself. I spent a very long time knowing that I wasn’t giving myself something that would be joyous. I kept thinking it was about the money. It really took a lot for me to love myself enough to sign up. ~ Mim (at right)
I put Mastery off for 3 years. I thought, “That is not for me. It’s pink and feathery and not my thing.” I finally went to an intro night. Something inside me lit up and I knew I had to be here. I didn’t know why, I didn’t know what was going to come out of it. Two months into the program I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I do not know how I would have gotten through that experience without the sisterhood of this community and without the tools that taught me how to go through these crazy times in our lives. Mastery gave me a pathway. I don’t always trust it and I still resist, but there’s something deeper that keeps pulling me forward. And each time I step forward, this community steps in to hold me. I am living a richer life than I have ever lived. Don’t wait. Stop putting off your life and your desires and your dreams. Start living today. It works. ~ Robyn
“I’m a busy mom. Will Mastery support me in my parenting?”
It wasn’t easy to take the time away from my kids, but I stood in my knowing that until I was whole, I could not be there for them. I know that when I’m good and whole, I’m giving them permission to be good and whole. And I’ll tell you what: my girls, they are rocking their teenage years, and we are connected in ways I wouldn’t have believed. Take care of you and they’re going to be great. ~ Sarah Sherwood, Age 50 (at left)
Starting with caring for me has helped me to be more present for my family. Mastery has helped me be more mindful and deliberate about raising girls. ~ Wokie
“How could Mastery help me in my career?”
For many years I was working really hard and not making a lot of money. A few years before Mastery, I could only make 13K salary for the whole year. And then I took Mastery, and after the first weekend of Mastery, we had a group call and I got off the call early to do my first teleseminar. I made $35K from that first seminar in 5 days. Then the business was 200K. Then 440 gross. And it looks like it’s going to be double this year. It’s amazing. And the weekend after Mastery is when it all turned around. ~ Sandi, Age 65
What brought me to Mastery was that I received an evaluation from my boss that said I wasn’t performing. With the tools that I learned in Mastery, I’ve since negotiated 6 weeks vacation in the summer to be with my son, a salary and a title of Executive Vice President. A year ago I didn’t know if I would have a job. I now earn close to $250K after starting in the industry 10 years ago making 38K. I have a pink boa in my office. We do dance breaks. And it’s all because of a paradigm shift that happened in Mastery. All I can say is: Trust this woman. I can honestly tell you my life has changed phenomenally. ~ Victoria, Age 44 (at right)
“Will Mastery change my mindset?”
Mastery is about unlearning everything you thought you knew. And finding the way that you always wanted it to be. Saying yes to Mastery is saying yes to having it all. ~ Leah Fisch, Age 37
Before Mastery I thought it was too late for me. I used to say, “I’ll never be one of those gorgeous women, I’ll never be in love, I’ll never be successful. I’ll never be, I’ll never be I’ll never be . . .” The greatest thing that happened in Mastery was that that voice shut the f*ck up. ~ Leslie, Age 47
I was looking at all these Mastery grads and I was like, “I know her — she’s me, she’s inside me and she wants to come out.” What I needed was to learn how to be that. And the only way to do that is to go to school. And it’s a very different kind of school. A school that we all should have gone to before we went to school. ~ Mirna (at left)
Before Mastery, I couldn’t say no to anything. Anything anyone wanted me to do, I’d have to say yes. After Mastery, it’s about: what’s in my pleasure? I’m more me-centered, but in a good way. ~ Ayodele Moore, Age 67
As a child, my stepfather molested me. And I was made to feel like it was my fault. And so I started to make my body small. And I started to cave. And I began to not move. And I began to make my hips and my butt tight. And I took that smallness, that narrowness, into every area of my life. I couldn’t breathe; I felt like I was girdled. When I stepped into Mastery, of course I thought this place was crazy. These women were alive, and I thought, “What is wrong with them?!” But what I felt in my body was that I wanted to be like them. I couldn’t stay that small, I was suffocating. Now, I move. And I am dancing every chance I get. And I am rolling these hips, and I am making grandmotherhood look really good. ~ Bernadette Pleasant, Age 49 (on home page)
“Can Mastery help me with my relationship with my body and my health?”
Before Mastery I pretty much hated myself, and every time I walked past the mirror and looked at myself, I found something that was not beautiful, that I found imperfect. It really was traumatizing to walk past the mirror. I didn’t even know what my own smile looked like. Now, after Mastery, I adore every part of my body. I adore my hair, my face, my eyes. I sometimes spend time adoring my body, and every time I look in the mirror I think, “Oh you’re so cute.” And now, I’m using my body. I’m integrated with my body, and what I feel through my body is very important information. And much more pleasurable. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but now, I really understand what a gift I am. That’s the gift that I now freely bring to the world. ~ Tatiana, 39
Because of Mastery, I started taking a different care of myself. And now, I’ve just got a whole new body. 60 pounds gone. ~ Ayodele Moore, Age 67 (at right)
You have to know that this Goddess has avoided the beach for almost 20 years, unwilling to show my ample thighs to the world at large. Now, well, things have changed. Now I stand here for every woman who has a self-image issue, as I learned to love myself, every inch of me, just as I am in this moment. ~ Paula Liscio, Age 66
“Will Mastery help me in my relationship/sex/dating life?”
During the course of Mastery my marriage almost ended. For both of us, it really almost ended. We made an agreement to take the summer, instead of “working on our marriage,” to enjoy our marriage. Well, we’re still doing that. ~ Mim
My marriage of now 16 years IS my work of art. My heart is full of love and passion! My intense gratitude is to you for your intervention at year 15. Because I was very, very close to throwing it away out of sheer frustration and boredom. ~ T.W.
Before Mastery, I really wasn’t dating. I had my profiles up online, but I didn’t go out with anybody. I was scared. I was shell-shocked for 7 years after getting separated from my ex-husband. I never saw myself as attractive, and no one else saw me as attractive. No one ever looked at me in my 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s! And now I’m 65, and the men are lining up. It’s so amazing. I am amazed every time. ~ Sandi
“What kind of community and sisterhood can I expect?”
About 7 months before Mastery, my dad died. And that’s what brought me here, because I didn’t know how to deal with the grief, and I didn’t know what to do with all of the emotions I was having. And I got so much more than learning how to get through the grief. And I got this community. So when the grief comes up, and the rage comes up, I have sisters that I can swamp with. It’s a space where you have the permission to go to that point, and you can do it, and you’re held by so many people. ~ Lauren Joyce, Age 26 (at left)
When my mother passed, it was extraordinarily painful. But knowing that there is this community around me, for me, at any moment that I need them has really helped in ways I can’t even begin to say. ~ Pamela Morgan
The women you meet here — I don’t know any other place where there is so much love and support — it’s just unbelievable. ~ Ayodele Moore, Age 67
I am grateful for the Sister Goddess Community, and to be part of a group of women who rock the world. Thank you, Goddess, for now I know I am “WOMAN.” All you beautiful Sister Goddesses have elevated me to a self-love like I have never tasted before. Thank you, Goddesses. ~ J.G.