How do we know that we’re successful in the world?
One of the aspects of a patriarchal culture, like the one we live in, is that we’ve all been taught a definition of what success is. We’ve been trained to go for certain markers that demonstrate success – external events, or circumstances that our culture adores and elevates.
You know the ones–
The guy. The baby. The job. The salary. The waist size.
But how do you ever feel that you’re really there? What is there? I mean, really, when does the little pixie fairy in the sky arrive, ready to serenade with her tabernacle choir, and sing the “You’re there!” hallelujah chorus? I am still waiting for mine. What does it take to feel successful, to approve of yourself, to celebrate your thereness? And then, when you are finally approaching the neighborhood of there—what do you do when life throws you a crazy curveball, and everything falls apart?
We live in a culture that teaches women to be kind of like corrupted men. We’re trained to be Heroes, versus Heroines.
And it’s not working.
Any time we have to ‘man up’ to ‘get the job done’, an essential part of our nature gets left in the dust. And we tend to do that over and over and over again.
Throwing on a suit to work in a cube farm – whether it’s actual or metaphorical – is clipping your woman wings.
We need to install a new internal navigational system that guides our lives. It’s not that the destination changes — you still want the guy, the baby, the job, the salary — but the path, the journey, the way to get where you want to go, is completely different for a woman.
In today’s post, I want to unpack this a little more. What is the Hero’s Journey that is driving so many women, in a way that keeps them stuck and unhappy? What is the alternative? What does the Heroine’s Journey look like, and how can you lean into its powerful embrace, as you unfold your legend?
The Hero has a quest.
He knows what he wants, and he will stop at nothing to get there.
He wants power. Prominence.
He’s going to make millions of dollars.
And how does he do that?
Well, he starts with a quest, and goes out on his own to slay the dragon. It’s him, all alone. Heading into danger and adversity, with one goal, and one goal only.
You may notice, in this story, there’s no question about his emotional, moral, or spiritual relationship with himself.
Everything is about the end game.
We see a lot of corrupted Heroes on the news channel. Much of our world is running on the broken patriarchy, fueled by linear goals of power and profit, ignoring the world of feeling.
The result is emptiness. Global unhappiness and dissatisfaction. And a world that is being destroyed for profit.
Every woman has shards of this broken patriarchy inside her–she’s trying to be that Hero.
We try to ‘man up’ and do it all ourselves. To stuff our feelings down and get where we think we should go. When women try to be the Hero, we hustle as fast and hard as we can to reach goals that define “success.” And then, when we get to wherever we are, we judge.
It’s not enough.
We’ve done it wrong.
Everyone else has more than we have.
We are too embarrassed to tell anyone about it or share with another person what’s broken.
And we have to keep going because the only thing that’s important is the goal.
Okay – how much joy does that bring?
How much deep, soul-drenching gratification?
As long as we attempt the Hero’s Journey, women are constantly living inside judgment, judgment, judgment. Judgment of what we have, or haven’t, accomplished. Judgment on top of judgment, finding ourselves additionally wrong because no matter how hard we have worked, we don’t have any joy!
Running after “slaying a dragon,” at all costs, with no relationship to your divine or to the other human beings in the world, will never generate joy.
A Hero’s Journey doesn’t suit us. It’s just not going to work.
We need something else, we need a new map.
We need to step into the Heroine’s Journey.
The Hero points himself in the direction of a singular goal,
the Heroine uses her desire as her internal compass.
The Hero leads with his sword,
the Heroine leads with her pleasure.
The Hero is alone,
the Heroine locates herself in community, in sisterhood, in collaboration.
The Hero is self-sacrificing,
the Heroine receives from others.
The Hero revels in his victory, no matter the price.
the Heroine is filled with deep gratitude at the privilege of life, itself, at every twist in her storyline.
The Hero never questions himself, or his value, or direction,
the Heroine lives inside the question, and trusts that the enjoyment of her deep longing draws her desires closer to her, every day.
The Hero survives adversity against all odds,
the Heroine owns her rupture, surrenders to it, celebrates the perfection of her circumstances, no matter what.
The Heroine takes a huge leap — she chooses to be the author of her own storyline, rather than the victim.
The power and the fuel that allows the Heroine’s Journey to unfold is her turn on.
Turned on to life. Turned on to her divinity. Turned on to her beauty. Turned on to her pleasure. Turned on to her power.
When a woman is turned on, she is tuned in.
Most women are living in a state of victim because there’s a crimp in the hose, where turn on wants in.
I’ve devoted my life to teaching women to become the Heroine of their own lives. The only other option is victim, and I know we are all so done with that game. Living as heroine, every day, is a real mind-bender, I know, because nothing has shown us how or what it really looks like.
I really think this is one of the most important inquiries for us, as women.
In so much love and pleasure,
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.