Well.. Hello there
PUSSY: A Reclamation : by Regina Thomashauer
WOW, What a read! This book is so diametrically opposed to the catholic upbringing I was ‘lucky’ enough to have, that I’m still digesting some of the information to be honest. But I really want to chat about it.. here with a sip of my tea (large cup, black chai with fresh ginger boiled first, then coconut milk and honey added, strained, perfect) seems like a fair enough place to start.
This idea of Pleasure being the opposite of suffering, and we are each responsible for our own pleasure! How empowering is THAT!?
It’s become more and more curious and annoying to me over the years how much attention the christian church, and religion as a whole really, puts on sexuality and seemingly most of all on the sexual behaviour of girls and women, it’s seen as a massive sin to enjoy sex with another person if you’re not married, or indeed ‘gasp’ pleasure yourself.
The tendancy to judge, judge, judge really focuses so much on what ‘everyone else’ is doing ‘wrong’, it’s something that still makes be feel SO MAD when I have conversations with that mind set.
anyway… i digress …
One of the most FABULOUS things I read about that Mama Gena encourages and fully endoreses is, Bragging! Ha ha ha ha , I can hear the cringe on many faces. I used to be in that thought camp too but I have decided to take down that metaphorical tent and put the leaky, stupid, too small thing in the bin!
Again, perhaps why we’re so opposed to ‘bragging’ is that it was seen as vulgar, and big noting oneself and not at all polite. It’s no wonder then that the automatic flow on effect of self deprecation became the norm. Not only the norm; Australia is practically celebrated for that talent.. NZ a likely close runner in that field too in my bold opinion. Tall poppy syndrome is another very undermining practice.
So,… no to bragging, but yes to self deprecation… and what do you get? A room full of people given full permission to complain and whinge about all the things they can think of that are going wrong in their lives, because god forbid they share a bunch of things that are going right as they might be seen as skiting and full-of-themselves?
Excuse me, but how fuqed up is that? Oh and don’t mistake this for connection and friendship, this is energy sucking fuel for depression, ill health and woefully low self esteem. It’s basically toxic. We have to give ourselves permission to heal this insidious behaviour pattern. In my experience, it’s not easy, it runs very deep, generationally deeeeep. Obviously I’m not talking about genuine sharing with a view to healing a current hurt or pain, that’s quite different.
I actually want to participate in the opposite of that, I want to have gatherings where people share what is bringing them joy, what breakthroughts have they experienced, what do they feel is going right in their lives. This idea of bragging is saying at least three things that you’re jazzed about, and hearing three more things from the one you’re chatting to. YES PLEASE I want what she’s having.
I believe the more we can achieve this kind of connecting and sharing the more a massive shift of wellbeing will take place in our lives. What you focus on you make larger, stronger, bigger, more.
I’m currently having a couple of months kindof sabbatical/retreat, away from my home, house sitting and minding a handsome cat named Charlie. It’s been really eye and heart opening for me to be alone for the first time in pretty much ever for this amount of time.. and see how my thoughts and feelings dip and dive, and rise and soar .. all by what I focus on.
Being alone is giving me a stronger clearer perspective how much I tend to allow others energy to influence my feeling state. I need to understand more fully the nature of being highly sensitive and empathic, while implementing strong healthy boundaries.
Another valuable activity Mama Gena endoreses is SWAMPING.. when you get down and dirty with the dark emotions that come up in your thoughts/life/psyche … she encourages us to dress appropriately.. perhaps grunge like.. whatever floats your boat.. and put on some big music that can hold your anger and rage and let loose in a safe place with your feels. Like .. literally go wild!
How Healthy! I love this idea very much, given that I find myself having an unreasonable tendancy toward being mad as a freakin hornet … actually not unreasonable … in relation to my awareness and thoughts of how the patriarchal system has oppressed women and children and men most likely too, … makes me MAD AS HELL AND I DON’T WANT TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.
Another piece that comes to mind is the Gratitude and Appreciation factor. Mama Gena reminds us to be grateful and… when you do receive actions, behaviours, gifts from someone, to show appreciation for them. Let people know you appreciate what they have done for you. Such simple things, but you know how much of a difference it makes when you receive a heart felt Thank You for something you’ve done or said.
I am deeply moved by this book, I feel like I need to re-read it already to pick up and take in more deeply what it has to offer.
I am SO GRATEFUL to Mama Gena for bravely writing it and putting it out there, she has gone through her own trials and pain, which could have rendered her energetically small and helpless, but how damb lucky is the world that she rose above that to bring us her School of Womanly Arts and all the goodies that have flowed from that, including this book.
Wishing I could pop over to New York and do her course, that would freak this introverted artist out, but in a good way I feel.
Ohhhhhh I almost forgot! Another of Mama Gena’s tips… is to do Spring Cleaning … this is most effectively done with a partner/listener. You bring up a topic that has a ‘charge’ for you… like ‘Pleasure’.
The listener would begin by asking you in a non emotive tone, simply … “So, Denise, what do you have on Pleasure?” and I would respond with a comment, whatever is on the tip of my tongue. Then the Listener would say “Thank you, what do you have on pleasure?” .. and again, I’d answer …. (repeat for 20 mins)
The idea is that you take 20 minutes to empty out your thoughts on that one topic.. it can be really interesting what comes out of our own minds/hearts/mouths. I was first introduced to this idea over pizza with a fabulous woman named Ti whom I met in California.. she was a student of Mama Gena’s and I was dazzled by her talk of pleasure.
Not surprising to me.. I am ending this ‘review’ without speaking too much about the sexual pleasure aspect that Mama Gena is NOT shy to expound on I am not so brave (yet) when it comes to this part of the conversation, but I fully endorse everybody’s freedom to love and be loved in whatever consenting ways they choose to. And indeed love themselves outrageously too.
I am convinced that there is so much wisdom in this pleasure filled tome. It’s controversial, and hugely empowering and magnificently freeing for women.
Here’s to the Sister Goddesses of the world and the ground breaking way they are breaking through old, disempowering, suffocating patriarchal ways.
PUSSY: A Reclamation : by Regina Thomashauer
art journal page while on retreat