What if you lose what makes you feel most feminine?

What if you lose what makes you feel most feminine?Today’s article is one I’ve been trying to write for some time, as it comes in response to a question I was sent a while ago from a reader.

The question she asked me was “What if you lose what makes you feel most feminine?”

I won’t go into the specifics of her situation, but this is a situation that many women face around the world every day.

Imagine you’ve spent your whole life feeling beautiful and womanly, you love your curves and every time you look in the mirror you connect with your body and how feminine it feels.

Then one day you’re diagnosed with breast cancer.

You have only once choice, to have a mastectomy, in order to save your life.

Thankfully, you recover, but the life that has been saved from death has been changed forever.

When you look in the mirror you no longer recognise yourself.

You wonder where the woman who used to look back at you has gone.

Wearing the clothes that used to make you feel good, now makes you feel self conscious.

Feeling good is no longer associated with feeling like a woman…it’s more about covering up and protecting the body that has changed so much.

Hiding from the world a body that no longer feels like your own…a body that no longer feels feminine.

I read, hear and watch stories like this all the time. The details might change…it could be relating to hair loss, an hysterectomy, or the loss of a limb that means that you’re no longer able to dance…but the essence is the same.

What if one of the things that made you feel most feminine is taken away from you? …or worse what if the thing that made you feel most feminine BECOMES the very thing that makes you feel anything but?

Well, I’m very lucky that I’ve never been through a situation like this personally, but I have shared the experience of many people who have.

So what do you do if you lose what makes you feel most feminine?

Well the first thing to do is to allow yourself to grieve.

Losing a part of ourselves that was tied to our identity is a big deal, and something that people don’t give enough recognition to.

It’s important to allow yourself to embrace, feel and experience the grieving process with regard to this aspect of yourself, and not deny your feelings around it.

You are likely to go through denial, anger, bargaining (or the “if only” phase), depression and finally acceptance. Sometimes we’re in so much of a hurry to get to the final phase that we don’t allow ourselves what we need in order to get there.

This has had a significant affect on your life, and it’s important to both acknowledge that and allow yourself to process it.

With regard to femininity specifically, it’s important to remember that (as I’ve always said) femininity has nothing to do with anything physical.

It’s not about your shape, your size, the colour or amount of your hair, what you wear, your makeup, your accessories, what you say or what you do.

It’s about who you are…and how you feel. It can be hard to recover from a knock to an important aspect of yourself…but it can be done.

This is a moment in your life where you get to play with and explore what connects you to your own feeling of femininity. Have some fun with it…try different things. It could be taking a walk in nature, a yoga class, spending time with animals or small children. There are a whole range of articles on the site that can give you a starting point to begin playing.

The key is to ask yourself the question, “What opens my heart?” …when you find the answer to that question, you’re deeply connected to your femininity in a way that a lot of women don’t usually discover.

All though it may not seem like it, this relates very much to a conversation that I’ve had on a regular basis with gay, lesbian and transgender friends.

As hard as this may be to understand when you’re going through something difficult, the fact that you’re going through it can put you at a huge advantage to most people who aren’t going through it.

For example, when you’re put in a situation where you are forced to face questions about your own personal feelings of femininity and masculinity (such as being gay in a society where it’s not always accepted, or losing something that connected you to your feelings of femininity) it brings this whole topic to the forefront of your mind.

It means you’re conscious of it, and when you’re conscious of it you can make the choices around it that are right for you. The vast majority of people walking the planet have never and will never stop to question what masculinity or femininity mean to them…which means they will never make conscious choices about them…and they will never get to experience what life can be like when you do.

I had an email a while back from a guy who was very upset because it had taken him 30 years to become comfortable with who he was as a gay man, and coming to term with masculinity and femininity and what it meant to him. The gift of his situation is that he had been figuring this out for 25 of those years…for me personally, I’ve only had the last 4 or 5 years to figure it out…and there are a lot of people who never will.

As hard as they are, these situations can be a gift…if you want them to be.

When you’ve gone through the grieving process and reached the point of acceptance with your situation, it can help to look back on what’s happened and see if you can find anything good that’s come out of it. Has there been an unexpected gift in your experience? What has it brought you? What have you realised about yourself? Who is in your life as a result of it? How could you use your experience to help or inspire others?

…and I’ll leave you finally with this fantastic quote by Jackie Morgan MacDougall which I think sums it up beautifully:

“I remember being asked shortly after my double mastectomy, “How does it feel losing everything that makes you a woman?” Funny, I didn’t know I had. My breasts didn’t define me before they were removed. My breasts don’t define me now. But every scar and imperfection does serve as a daily reminder of the strong, unstoppable force I am; ready, willing and able to do whatever it takes for the people I love. If that doesn’t make me a woman, I don’t know what does.” – Jackie Morgan MacDougall

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

You get out what you put in - Claire Brummell, Feminine 1st

What’s the difference between masculine and feminine presence?

What's the difference between Masculine & Feminine Presence? - Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stOne of the most important things when you’re interacting with people is to be present.

Whether it’s at work, with friends, family or your intimate partner, everyone wants you to be present with them.

In this world of constant distraction it’s unusual for someone to be completely and totally present without something being able to draw their attention away…whether it’s a phone, a laptop, a blackberry…it’s easy for something to beep and our presence to disappear.

So we want to know how we can bring more of our presence to other people, but are you aware that there’s a difference between masculine presence and feminine presence?

I’ve never heard anyone else sharing about this, so I’m really excited to be telling you about it today…

If you are already a Feminine 1st Family Member of Bronze Level or above, click here to see the full video

So do you know the difference between masculine and feminine presence?

I would love to share more with you about this and so many incredible topics, and so I’d like to invite you today to join the Feminine 1st Family as a Bronze Member or to become a Free Member to enjoy over 80 Free Videos.

What does Bronze Membership Give Me? Well in addition to all of the features of our Free Membership (including the “First Steps to Femininity” MP3 and over 80 free videos), you will also get access to all future premium Feminine 1st videos for the duration of your membership.

You will also have the opportunity to submit requests for topics to be covered or questions to be answered in these weekly videos.

So click here to find out what the difference between masculine presence and feminine presence…

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Masculine or feminine which is more powerful?

Which is more Powerful…Masculine or Feminine?

Masculine or feminine which is more powerful?I think by now we’ve established that when it comes to the masculine and the feminine there is no ‘better’.

We all have both masculine and feminine inside us, and most of us tend to have one that feels more natural, more comfortable, more “home” than the other. That doesn’t mean that we don’t or can’t use the other, it just means that there’s one that’s our ‘default’ position.

There are situations that come up every day in which the masculine is more effective, or the feminine would be a wiser choice, and if we refuse to ignore or deny EITHER of them we can find ourselves missing out.

But the question that I hear asked on a regular basis is “Which is more powerful, masculine or feminine?”

I saw a story posted in a Facebook group that I’m a member of recently that inspired me to write this post:

There is a native American tale in which a mother takes her son down to the river to teach him about the nature of power.

She asks him to put his hand in the water and describe to her how it feels. He says, “Cold and wet.”

“Good,” she responds.

She then hands him a rock and asks, “How does this feel?”

“Hard,” he replies.

“Good,” she responds and puts his hand into the water and asks, “Now how does this feel?”

“Soft,” he replies.

They walk further down the river to a bend where the water has worn a huge hole through a giant boulder and the mother says to her son, “Soft always wins.”

What cause me to want to write this post though was the comment that was shared after this story: “Somewhere along the line people began confusing feminine with passive and masculine with power. There is nothing passive about femininity and it is one of most powerful forces in the universe. Feminine energy is soft and receptive and it wins every time.”

While I like the analogy of soft not necessarily being weak, I believe that we need to be very careful with the concept of ‘winning’.

When we look at things in terms of winning or losing, we’re likely to be in our masculine (as competitiveness is a very masculine trait)…and the important thing for everyone to understand about masculine and feminine is that they are EQUALLY powerful.

Neither is better / worse, stronger /weaker than the other. The power is very different, but when either is being viewed as ‘winning’ against the other, both loses.

Masculine and feminine are designed to work together, to empower each other and raise the other up. As soon as we begin comparing or competing either direction and looking at which one is more or less powerful, we disempower both sides.

If the feminine is seen to ‘win’, then in reality both lose, because the two sides exist to work together…so that there is no winner or loser…they just are.

Part of the reason that we’re so challenged these days with masculinity and femininity is this very concept of power. For years the men in our society had the ‘power’….until the women had had enough and decided they wanted to take the ‘power’ for themselves.

The feminist revolution, while doing incredible things for our society, also cost us dearly…because it put men and women definitively on two different teams, and convinced us that in order for one to win, the other had to lose.

As with all things in life, it was subjected to the ‘pendulum effect’…the perception was that the power was with men…so to rectify the balance, culturally we have swung to the other extreme of believing that we had to move to the opposite extreme…where the perception is that the power was with women…or the feminine more specifically.

…in order to ‘win’ the ‘power’ women took to emasculating men in a way that is now prolific in our culture. But when we take away men’s ‘power’ we also lose the incredible potential power that is open to us all when we choose to work together… which, as with most things in life, is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

My hope is that sooner rather than later the pendulum swing gets to balance out in the middle where we realise that neither is better or worse, more powerful or weaker than the other…that we are simply equal and opposite.

I was at an event earlier this year where they talked about the concept of ambivalence.

While the dictionary definition of ambivalence is having mixed or contradictory feelings, the definition they gave at this event really resonated with me.

They talked about ambivalence being the sweet spot between seeing something as good, or bad, light or dark, positive or negative…where you can see and appreciate that it is actually both.

The same is true with masculinity and femininity – and I hope that we can all get to the ‘sweet spot’ of recognising that masculinity is both powerful and weak…and that femininity is too.

AND that when we get the feminine and masculine to work together, both within ourselves and with others around us and society in general the result is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

You get out what you put in…

You get out what you put in - Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stIt’s a concept that we’re all familiar with, we’ve heard it a hundred times…

…you get out what you put in.

We all know it…but do you always remember it?

I know that for me, I had an experience last year that took my understanding of it to a whole new level.

…not only that, but it also helped me to understand a new distinction.

It’s the difference that makes the difference, the missing piece that means that you get out ten times what you put in.

…and today I want to share it with you.

So what’s the difference that makes the difference?

I would love to share more with you about this and so many incredible topics, and so I’d like to invite you today to join the Feminine 1st Family as a Bronze Member or to become a Free Member to enjoy over 80 Free Videos.

What does Bronze Membership Give Me? Well in addition to all of the features of our Free Membership (including the “First Steps to Femininity” MP3 and over 80 free videos), you will also get access to all future premium Feminine 1st videos for the duration of your membership.

You will also have the opportunity to submit requests for topics to be covered or questions to be answered in these weekly videos.

So click here to find out what is the difference that makes the difference…

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Are your thoughts getting in the way of your feelings?

Are your thoughts getting in the way of your feelings?

Are your thoughts getting in the way of your feelings?As we know from the definition of femininity, our emotions are a crucial aspect of the feminine.

Connecting into our emotions, and what we’re feeling helps us to connect into our femininity.

The challenge that we have these days is that we spend so much time in our heads, rather than our hearts and our bodies.

We’re all about the ‘thinking’…and not so much about the feeling.

With our unending ‘to do’ lists, our brains are constantly in overdrive. There’s always something to think about, and when we’re done thinking about the first thing, there’s always something following up behind ready to take its place.

If we were just thinking, that would be one thing…but so often we cross the line from ‘thinking’ to ‘over analysing’…thinking through every possibility, every eventuality, all possible outcomes and questioning everything that we come across.

Look at our relationships – how much time do we spend, analysing, re-analysing and over-analysing what happens in our relationships?

What if he does this?

What if he doesn’t do that?

What did he mean by that?

Is he the right person for me?

We even tie ourselves in knots trying to figure out what everyone else is thinking too!

When we ask friends for advice, our first question is always “What do you think?”

So we’re living in an intellectual culture…does it really matter that we think so much?

Well it can do, when our thinking gets in the way of us connecting to how we feel.

So often when we have a problem or a challenge that comes up in our life, our first port of call is to jump into ‘logic mode’. Our attention goes immediately to our head, and we start trying to ‘figure out’ the solution.

We’re so in the habit of doing this that it doesn’t even occur to us to stop and pay attention to what we’re feeling.
The thing with this is that as women, what we’re FEELING often guides us in the right direction, but we’re so used to worrying about what we’re thinking that we don’t even hear what our feelings are saying.

…and when we do turn our attention to what we’re feeling, our brains still want a piece of the action.

The second we stop and check in with how we’re feeling, for most women our brains are there in a heartbeat:

“What am I feeling?”

“Why am I feeling that?”

“Am I feeling happy, or excited?”

More often than not we’re actually thinking about what we’re feeling, than actually allowing ourselves to just feel it.

We try so hard to describe and define something that is a tangible experience that we can end up limiting the feelings to what we can currently describe.

For example, if you only knew the word ‘happy’…but you were feeling exhilarated…in trying to describe and define the feeling you could actually limit the feeling itself.

So how do I know about this?

Well last year I took some time out and decided to spend the week in Glastonbury, one of my favourite places in England to visit.

During the week I did quite a bit of yoga, and meditation. One of the meditations I was doing was specifically about feeling into certain parts of my body…and being fascinated by whatever feelings I was experiencing.

One day, while doing this meditation I suddenly realised that I was trying to describe the feelings as I was experiencing them, and in doing so I was actually blocking myself from feeling them, and limiting them to what my brain could define at that moment in time.

I found myself sitting there thinking, “Is that a tingle, or a glow?…is it radiating, or circulating? Is it moving up or down?…” etc etc etc

All the time I was trying to describe the sensations I was feeling, I wasn’t allowing myself to just feel them.

So rather than describing them, I decided instead to just breathe deeply, relax and allow myself to feel them…and something wonderful happened.

The more I relaxed and just allowed the feelings, the more they grew, and changed and intensified.

The less I thought, the more I felt.

…and when I really wanted to express what I was experiencing, instead of writing about my experience and trying to put it into words, I chose to pick up a sketch pad and pastilles and draw and sketch what felt right.

Then later that same week I found myself having an incredible experience I was having a deep therapy massage, feeling so much going on in my body, and I suddenly realised that my mind was also joining in too!

I had a moment where both my thoughts and feelings were being allowed to flow…but in order to get to that point I first needed to allow and get in touch with the feeling in my body because my day to day life hadn’t previously allowed for that to be heard as often as it would have liked to!

So this week I encourage you to take a few moments where you can give your mind a break, and connect in to what you’re feeling, both emotionally and physically…and see what a difference it makes.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Do you celebrate all the little things?

Do you celebrate every little thing? - Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stSo this Christmas I got to spend some great time with my family.

It’s one of my favourite times of the year, and getting to spend it with the people that I love most is wonderful.

One of the best things about this Christmas was getting to spend it with my 18 month old nephew.

Last year he was a little young in order to be able to really enjoy all the Christmas fun, so it was great this year to have him running around making the most of the festivities.

We baked together, he helped unwrap all the Christmas presents, we wore silly santa hats.

But what was really beautiful was that he taught me such an important lesson…and today I want to share this lesson with you.

If you are already a Feminine 1st Family Member of Bronze Level or above, click here to see the full video

So what did my nephew teach me, and how?

I would love to share more with you about this and so many incredible topics, and so I’d like to invite you today to join the Feminine 1st Family as a Bronze Member or to become a Free Member to enjoy over 80 Free Videos.

What does Bronze Membership Give Me? Well in addition to all of the features of our Free Membership (including the “First Steps to Femininity” MP3 and over 80 free videos), you will also get access to all future premium Feminine 1st videos for the duration of your membership.

You will also have the opportunity to submit requests for topics to be covered or questions to be answered in these weekly videos.

So click here to find out what my 18 month old nephew taught me…

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Does your help sometimes hinder?

Does your ‘ help ’ sometimes actually hinder?

Does your help sometimes hinder?I know what it’s like when you have someone reach out to you to share about a problem or challenge that they’re having. You want to be there for them, you want to be the best friend you can, you want to help them.

You know exactly what to do.

You listen to their problems. You know how they feel, you’ve been there yourself.

You want to help, support, nurture.

You want them to feel better.

You want to have helped them in some way.

So you dive in and do everything you can to help them get out of where they’re at and into a better place.

They feel better, you feel better…everyone is happier.

That makes you the best friend in the world, right?

Well, maybe.

The thing is that sometimes we’re so eager to help a friend to move out of her pain…that we don’t allow her to really feel it.

As we know, in order to fully release emotions, and to let them go, we need to fully feel them.

So sometime by trying to help someone ‘feel better’ we actually deny them the very thing they need to be able to process their emotions and move on.

So how can you help?

Well the first thing you can do to help a friend who is going through a tough time is allow them to be where they are.

Rather than trying to pick them up and help them feel better…allow them to be where they’re at, allow them to feel how they feel, and to express it. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to just allow them to fully express how they’re feeling, and ‘get it all out’.

By doing this, we’re not just allowing them to go through their process, but you’re actually helping them to do it by fully feeling their emotions in order to move through them.

If they’re wallowing as opposed to processing (if you’re not sure the difference between wallowing in your emotions and processing them then check out this post here: http://feminine1st.com/emotions/whats-difference-feeling-emotions-wallowing/) then by all means feel free to give them a nudge so that they don’t stay somewhere that isn’t serving them, but if they’re just being in their emotions so that they can process them then sometimes the best thing you can do is just allow them to be there.

Allow them to be in their yucky stuff…allow them to be in their pain….and just be there with them.

When one of my closest female friends was going through a tough time a few months ago the hardest thing was the fact that we don’t live in the same country. We both said the same thing…if we’d been in the same town, we’d have spent a weekend curled up on a sofa under a duvet allowing her to be in her stuff, but having me there to support her while she needed to go through it. Not to do anything, or say anything….just to be there.

When we’re going through a tough time, the hardest thing can be feeling like you’re doing it ‘alone’…so having someone to be there with you when you’re going through the toughest times can make all the difference.

I was visiting another friend about 18 months ago, when she was going through a very difficult time. In spite of the difficult time, she was feeling the need to put a ‘brave face’ on things, and not to give in to how she was feeling. One afternoon while I was sorting out a few things in my room she came to the door and simply asked, “Can I talk to you?”

We sat crossed legged opposite each other on the bed and over the next half an hour I sat and listened and held her hands as she crumbled in front of me. I barely said anything, I just sat and held space for her. I listened. I reached out to her. I let her be exactly where she needed to be…in order to choose to deal with her situation differently.

Rather than running around all evening meeting up with people and doing stuff to keep the people around her happy…she realised that she needed to take care of herself. The two of us went to a restorative yoga class that afternoon followed by a mediation centre in the evening. The difference in her was amazing, and it was all because she’d been allowed to just go through her process.

So when you find yourself in a situation like this I encourage you to ask just one of two simple questions: “How can I best help you right now?” or “What do you need from me right now?”. Maybe even offering “I can just listen, or just be here if that’s what you need”.

…and the key with answering those questions is to not be attached to them answering in any particular way…allow them to tell you what they want and need, and then be there to give it to them.

Sometimes the best help doesn’t look like help at all. It’s just a friend standing by another friend, being there for them.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

The Feel Good Jar - Claire Brummell, Feminine 1st

My confession about the feel good jar…

The Feel Good Jar - Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stThis time last year, I shared a video with you about how to feel more feminine in 2013, and in I talked to you about the concept of the feel good jar.

The feel good jar is basically a jar which sits somewhere prominent in your home and when something that you’re grateful for, or want to celebrate, or just simply makes you feel good happens, you write it on a little note and put it into the feel good jar.

Throughout the year the notes stack up, and then at the end of the year (or the beginning of the next) you get to open up the jar, and read, relive and enjoy all of the best moments from the previous year.

So I wanted to share with you today my experience of the feel good jar over the last year…including a confession which actually turned out to be very revealing…

If you are already a Feminine 1st Family Member of Bronze Level or above, click here to see the full video

So how did my feel good jar experiment work out?

I would love to share more with you about this and so many incredible topics, and so I’d like to invite you today to join the Feminine 1st Family as a Bronze Member or to become a Free Member to enjoy over 80 Free Videos.

What does Bronze Membership Give Me? Well in addition to all of the features of our Free Membership (including the “First Steps to Femininity” MP3 and over 80 free videos), you will also get access to all future premium Feminine 1st videos for the duration of your membership. You will also have the opportunity to submit requests for topics to be covered or questions to be answered in these weekly videos.

So click here to find out my feel good jar confession!

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

fff Savannah Hensley

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Savannah Hensley

fff Savannah HensleyNeeding to call an ambulance because you have intense chest pains and can’t breathe is a pretty scary experience.

…even more so when you’ve just sat down to read your 5 year old daughter her bedtime story.

But that was the situation that Frank Hensley found himself in.

By the time the dispatcher got on the phone, Frank was no longer able to speak, so he did the only thing he could…he passed the phone to his daughter.

A lot of children might have panicked, or frozen, but not Savannah Hensley.

In fact the calm way she deal with the situation is not only adorable, but probably saved her father’s life.

I highly encourage you to watch the video below where you hear excerpts of the 911 call…including Savannah’s concern about being in her ‘jammies’ when the paramedics are on their way:

So I’d like you to join me today in celebrating Savannah’s ability to keep cool in a crisis and helping the paramedics to save her father’s life (and yes, even her jammies too!).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women and men who have inspired you as well.

So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female (or Fellow!), then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow? (Her / his name and location in the world)
  • Why is she / he a Fabulous Friday Female / Fellow to YOU? (How do you know her / him? What does she / he do? In what way is she / he inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her / him online (if there is a reason that you would prefer not to include a photo, just let me know)

So help me to share with all of our lovely ladies the real women and men who inspire YOU.

…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!

Claire x

Thursday Thought Quote: Being Anti-Men is not Pro-Women. Being Anti-anyone means everyone loses

This Week’s Thursday Thought: Being Anti-Men is not Pro-Women. Being Anti-anyone means everyone loses

This week’s Thursday Thought:

Being Anti-Men is not Pro-Women. Being Anti-anyone means everyone loses

Thursday Thought Quote: Being Anti-Men is  not Pro-Women. Being Anti-anyone means everyone loses