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Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Elli Stassinopoulos

Elli Stassinopoulos Fabulous Friday Female Feminine 1stToday’s Fabulous Friday Female is Elli Stassinopoulos.

Now, being a woman who is constantly inspired by her mother, I have a deep appreciation and respect for other women who have the same sort of relationship.

Any mother / daughter relationship is special, but sometimes people express their love and respect for their mother in a way that is so eloquent that it just has to be shared.

…and that’s where today’s Fabulous Friday Female has come from.

So who is Elli Stassinopoulos?

The name probably doesn’t mean much to you…but she is the mother of Arianna Huffington, the editor-in-chief of the Huffington post.

…and when I heard Arianna’s story about her mother’s lessons, heartwarming ways and inspiring journey, I just had to share it.

Normally I would try to retell the story…but not today.  Arianna’s words about her mother Elli Stassinopoulos are too beautiful to change:

The first experience of fear I remember was a particularly strange one. I was 9 years old. Over dinner one night, my mother started telling my younger sister, Agapi, and me about the time during the Greek civil war, in the 1940s, when she fled to the mountains with two Jewish girls. As part of the Greek Red Cross, she was taking care of wounded soldiers and hiding the girls.

She described the night when German soldiers arrived at their cabin and started to shoot, threatening to kill everyone if the group did not surrender the Jews the Germans suspected (rightly) they were hiding. My mother, who spoke fluent German, stood up and told them categorically to put down their guns, that there were no Jews in their midst. And then she watched the German soldiers lower their guns and walk away. And just hearing it, I remember the fear rising inside me, not just fear for my mother and the danger she faced but fear for myself. How would I ever live up to this standard of fearlessness?

My mother did not let financial concerns stop her from leaving my father when I was 11-years-old. For my father, as for many Greek men of his generation, there was nothing wrong with extramarital affairs. “I don’t want you to interfere with my private life,” I remember him telling my mother when she complained. His marriage was part of his public life, his affairs part of his private life. But that was not okay for her, and even though she had no job and no obvious way to earn money, she took her two children and left, trusting that somehow she would make ends meet. And, somehow, she did.

My mother was the ultimate non-thing person. For instance, there was the time we tried to give her a second watch for her birthday, only to have her give it to someone else two days later. “I already have a watch,” she explained.

She told me once that she operated like the government: She first decided what it was that her children needed and then she set out to find the money. My mother was one of the original deficit financers. She made ends meet by borrowing or by selling her possessions, from a carpet brought by her parents from Russia to her last pair of gold earrings. My mother’s real wealth was the fact that she never made decisions from a place of lack. Even when she and my sister and I had to share a one-bedroom apartment in Athens, she always radiated abundance. When I said I wanted to go to Cambridge, she never said, “We don’t have the money.” (Which we didn’t). She was a dreamer and always believed that the universe would conspire to bring forward the resources to fulfill her dreams. Which in her case were all dreams for her daughters.

When I started making money — after my biography of Maria Callas became a big bestseller — my mother saw this financial success only as a passport to freedom, which for her meant never having to make decisions based simply on the price tag. She taught my sister and me all about abundance: that it has more to do with your state of mind than your actual bank balance. And she was constantly living in a state of offering. Food, of course, was her favorite thing to offer, but it was a metaphor for so much more. I’m convinced that she absolutely believed that something terrible would happen to her children — and her grandchildren and her friends — if they went 20 minutes without eating. Nobody could ring our doorbell, whether the Federal Express man or a parent dropping off a child for a play date, without being asked, indeed urged, to sit down and try whatever she was cooking in the kitchen. And nobody could leave our house without goody bags filled with food.

My mother took control of her own status and defined her own worth. So she was freed from the petty turf wars and ugly envy of the status game, freed from fear about how “they” ranked her and what privileges “they” would bestow on her. By deciding her own worth and radiating the confidence that comes with this, she was secure in her status regardless of her life’s circumstances. Getting rid of the fear that the status game generated allowed my mother to connect in a much deeper way with people at all levels of life.

She cut through hierarchies and showed everyone fortunate enough to come into contact with her that we’re all cut from the same cloth. She approached life by liking everybody, and because this feeling of trust and connection is contagious, everybody liked her right back.

So today I would like to thank Arianna, for sharing her mother’s beautiful story and I would like to ask you to join me in acknowledging and celebrating Elli for the inspiration that she brought to Arianna…which is in turn being passed on to millions through her work.

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)
  • Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her 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 who inspire YOU.

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

Claire x

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Johanna Lyman

Johanna Lyman, Fabulous Friday Female, Feminine 1st

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Johanna Lyman

Johanna Lyman is an internationally known speaker, author, and life coach. Her work has been called “life changing” and “powerfully transformational.”

But as incredible as Johanna’s professional accolades are…that’s not the reason that she’s this week’s Fabulous Friday Female.

You see Johanna has become an integral part of my close network of feminine leaders over the last few months, and I was luck enough to meet her during my trip to San Francisco in October.

I have been incredibly inspired, moved and honoured to have had Johanna Lyman as a part of my own personal journey…and to have seen her share her gifts with others on numerous occasions.

I know from seeing Johanna in action that she is what I call a “gardener of transformation”. She plants the seeds, provides the nourishment and nurturing that is required and then holds space for the transformation to burst through and blossom.

Her insight and wisdom are second to none and she has the most beautiful way of helping you to discover and honour your vulnerability in a way that is truly empowering.

She has such compassion and love for the people she works with that allows you to own and recognise elements of yourself that you previously wanted to deny or hide away from… and to turn them into your greatest strengths.

She has recently synthesized over a decade of research on abundance, relationships and sexuality into ground-breaking work, Decoding Shame…helping women to release one of the most debilitating and destructive forces in their lives.

Johanna has taken her own experiences around shame and the power of identifying being able to shift out of her own “Shame story” and is now helping other women to do the same…and next week she is offering a powerful free call to help other women take their first steps on this journey.

If you would like to join Johanna for her free Decoding Shame call on Wednesday December 12th at noon PST then you can find out all the details here: http://tiny.cc/johannashame

So please join me today in acknowledging Johanna and celebrating her courage in facing and releasing her own shame, and now in helping others to do the same x

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

So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)

Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)

A photo or link to a picture of her 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 who inspire YOU.

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

Claire

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is the beautiful Teal Barns

Fabulous Friday Female Teal Barns and her Mum SuzanneToday’s Fabulous Friday Female is the beautiful Teal Barns.

As I mentioned when I started doing the Fabulous Friday Female, this project is a group effort and I wanted to acknowledge and celebrate not just the women who inspire me, but also those who inspire YOU.

So a huge thanks goes out to Jessica Libbey who stepped forward and asked me to feature her friend and mine, Teal Barns, as one of our Fabulous Friday Females.

Here’s what Jessica had to say about Teal Barns:

Why is Teal Barns a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU?

In a few short months, Teal Barns became one of the most inspirational women I’ve known. Teal synchronistically entered my life after the serendipitous afternoon I spent with her amazing mom at a nearby hot springs. She quickly joined our tribe of conscious women and became a part of our behind-the-scenes leadership team in Tribal Truth. It all felt so incredibly meant to be.

I remember meeting Teal for the first time in person, after having spoken on the phone several times. She showed up to her first Tribal Truth gathering so fully, so enthusiastically and with such a bright spirit. Her joy, curiosity and passion were like a breath of fresh air. A couple weeks later, we gathered as a tribe to share about our dreams and when it came to be Teal’s turn, she instantly welled up with tears. You could’ve heard a pin drop, as we all sat there in a silent circle, tuned into her and the beautiful energy in the room as she spoke.

Teal shared that her tears were born from the immense gratitude she had for simply being in the presence of such amazing women. She was just so grateful and happy to be right where she was in that moment, having landed in this group of women who had big dreams of changing the world. She had found her people. And she had touched us all.

Teal went on to reveal that her big dream was to become a powerful healer. As we listened to her, we felt it in our hearts and in our bones–that was what Teal was meant to be. It felt like the beginning of something… though none of us knew what that meant at the time.

Just a few weeks later at the age of 22, Teal had two sudden and unexplainable cardiac arrests and after 6 days in a coma, her life on this earth came to a end. It was a complete shock, to say the least. How could someone so young and vibrant leave us so quickly and unexpectedly? Yet in the darkness of her passing, there has been light. Teal’s powerful, bright energy has stayed as strong as ever. We’ve all felt her shining spirit, still with us, still impacting us, still supporting us.

It is through her death that I came to see that Teal has been a healer all along… and she will continue to be. As many hearts have felt broken to pieces by her passing, our hearts now all have the opportunity to heal and to grow and to be grateful for life and for having the chance to connect with such a beautiful soul like Teal’s.

Though I didn’t get to know her long, Teal impacted me greatly. She had a zest for life, and it has been absolutely amazing to learn of all the things I didn’t know that she packed into an incredible 22 years on this planet. She traveled across the world by herself, visiting many countries and making friends around the globe. She had the most gorgeous singing voice and sang with friends on street corners, in living rooms, in bands and on stages everywhere she went. She took boxing classes at the gym (so awesome!). She loved food–most especially dessert! And she was an incredible daughter, sister, friend and all-around human being.

Teal Barns was a woman who lived a very full and complete life. As her incredible mother, Suzanne Falter, has written in numerous powerful blog posts since Teal’s death, Teal’s life was not cut short. It is not that she “should’ve” had more time with us. Teal lived a more rich and well-lived life than many people who’ve been on this earth 4 times as long. It did not matter how many years she lived. What matters is that she was courageous enough to follow her passion and live her joy. How many people can say they’ve truly lived like this? Can you?

The outpouring of love since her passing has been proof of the impact she had on the many of us she left behind. All of us coming together in that outpouring of love is what Teal wanted most–not for her, but for us.

Not only did she want love as the foundation of everything, she was here to serve us with it–for us to truly get that life is about unifying in love–unconditional love. That is the message she left us with. And in the end, she gave her life in order for us to heal by opening to that love ever more deeply. Teal fully surrendered to her message in the way her soul could most deeply serve the consciousness of the world.

I feel so blessed to have been touched by Teal’s presence, her brilliance and her light. I can still feel her graceful, joyful and wise spirit and her pure message of unconditional love.

I am committed to living this message, both in honor of Teal and in honor of what she would’ve wanted, which is to live it for ourselves–and to enjoy it!

I invite you to do the same.

Thank you, Teal, from the bottom of my heart. Your message lives on and you are forever loved.

To get a touch of Teal and a taste of her gorgeous voice, you can visit her myspace music page to listen to some of her beautiful songs. http://www.myspace.com/tealbarns

In addition to Jessica’s beautiful tribute to Teal I also wanted to include here the message that her mother Suzanne posted the day after Teal’s death.

A message from Suzanne Falter, Teal Barns’s mother

Here’s to our beautiful Teal… one of the most vibrant, free spirited souls I will ever know. Teal, I was so blessed to know you in this lifetime — your compassion, courage and just plain old sense of fun were extraordinary. And to be your mother … well, that was just an amazing, amazing privilege. I am so proud of you!

Every day of our lives together I learned something more … about life, love and how to be a better person. (I can still hear Teal saying, “Mom … PLEASE don’t interrupt!”) Her pace was a little slower than mine, and her sensitivity towards others absolute. So she literally did guide me on how to move through the world with more grace, sensitivity, and far deeper loving kindness. What a great thing to learn from your child. When she passed away last night, about six hours after we took her off of life support, so many nurses came to us with tears in their eyes, moved by Teal. Even the Chief of Neurology teared up when he told us what an ‘amazing family’ we are. And we felt it … and continue to feel it. And that has a lot to do with Teal’s deep desire for peace and love as she has walked through this world.

This is something Teal says is ‘the unified field of love’ … all of us coming together in grief, comfort, Spirit and trying to understand. There is only one message, according to Teal. And that is Love and Happiness. So I am not suffering as much as you’d think right now. Instead, I am feeling a profound sense of peace, and even gratitude for this experience, with occasional bursts of sobbing and grief. The ground of being now is one of love — for what else can one take from this?

Going through Teal’s end of life — from the call that she had suffered a cardiac arrest and was in critical condition — to her final hours and the decision to donate her organs, was the most profoundly spiritual experience I have ever had.

Thank you, dear friends, for all of this love and compassion. The three of us truly appreciate your outreach, though we are not so able to speak or communicate with everyone right now. Know that we know you’re there, you’re sending us love, and it’s really helping!

In such a short time Teal touched so many lives and hearts, so please join me today in acknowledging and celebrating Teal’s life, her love and her inspiration which lives on in the hearts of everyone who knew her.

x

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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women who have inspired you as well. So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:

  • Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)
  • Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)
  • A photo or link to a picture of her 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 who inspire YOU.

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

Claire x

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Alanis Morissette!

Fabulous Friday Female, Alanis MorissetteI’m always a big supporter of anyone, male or female, who does their part to raise the profile of challenges and imbalances that the world is facing regarding masculinity and femininity.

…and I’m especially pleased when they acknowledge and share that everyone has both masculine and feminine inside them and it’s finding the balance that’s important!

…and earlier this month Alanis Morissette did exactly that in a fantastic article that blends her own story with her views on how embracing the feminine could be the answer to a lot of challenges that we are facing.

So I wanted to share the essence of the article through some powerful excerpts.

It is a brave act indeed for both men and women to embrace, rather than shame or attempt to eradicate the feminine.

The ideal vision, in theory, would be to find the delicate and meaningful blend of both the masculine and feminine, and the acceptance of the fact that we all fall somewhere unique on this continuum … and that it is a continuum.

The embodiment of the empowered feminine and masculine, in theory, would “show up” in people who possess varying degrees of both qualities. The most important part being that what we had on our hands was less a gender war, and more of a resistance to the masculine or feminine within each of us.

So it becomes less about “men hating women/women hating men” and becomes more about the fear and loathing of the feminine within our own hearts and minds, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Importantly and secondarily, it’s the disempowerment of both the masculine and the feminine that is also the culprit here.

What has been grossly overlooked throughout age immemorial is that both aspects need each other for wholeness! And that unification of both, in all its forms, (meaning peace, connection, healing, inspiration, prosperity of all kinds) is our birthright.

So the idea of true partnership and connection (inner and outer)—which so many are saying is the way of the future and will ultimately stave off the destruction of our planet—requires an empowered version of both the masculine (action, generosity, solution, confidence, boldness, industry, strength etc.) and the feminine (vulnerability, tenderness, yielding, humility, grace, intuition, heart, etc.) aspects to come together, seeing the need for the other. And that this unification and complement will show up in every area of our lives: work, romance, family, health, business, art, and even politics.

So as it turns out, it’s the disempowerment of the masculine and the fear of the feminine in us that is patriarchy. The fear of this delicate and fierce feminine has more to do with our fear of being vulnerable again, getting hurt again, than it does by our actual distaste for the beauty of the feminine and Her qualities. But our avoidance and resistance to Her is torturing men and women alike, and tearing apart the fabric of what could be a very harmonious society.

Liberation is only possible with the integration of these two aspects, equally respected for their unique and powerful contribution. Not in evidencing these qualities equally every day by homogenizing and overriding our unique essential temperaments (not possible!) and contexts, but rather simply accepting these parts, even loving them, in ourselves, and in others.

Creating inner partnership between both the masculine and feminine would render us all humanists, life-ists, and wholeness-ists, rather than patriarch-ists or feminists/matriarchists.

And so, by accepting and embracing the feminine within us, and flying in the face of an overly masculinized (of the disempowered variety) society (with all of its disconnected and lonely results), we support this empowered and connected brave new world we all dream of, and, allow this union to serve as a direct portal to the Divine.

…and I encourage you to read the full article here, it’s a very interesting read.

So please join me today in acknowledging Alanis and celebrating her courage in using her voice to share how important embracing and finding our own unique balance of the feminine and masculine is to us and our future x

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

So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)

Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)

A photo or link to a picture of her 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 who inspire YOU.

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

Claire

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is Oprah…and even better, this weekend two Fabulous Friday Females unite!

Fabulous Friday Female, Oprah WinfreyToday’s Fabulous Friday Female needs little introduction.

In fact, I struggled to know what to write in here.

Entrepreneur, Actress, Philanthropist, Inspirational Leader…these words don’t do this remarkable woman justice.

She has changed lives and inspired millions through her own story and her desire to help women to “Live your best life” any way she can.

This video just shows the tip of the iceberg in terms of the difference that Oprah has made in the world:

 

Oprah Winfrey could be Fabulous Friday Female every week (and twice at Christmas!), but the reason that I wanted to celebrate her in particular this week is her unwavering desire to share not just her own wisdom with the world…but to use her ‘stage’ (for want of a better word) to celebrate and share the wisdom of others.

 

This week, on Super Soul Sunday she will be bringing together what she calls “The New Breed of Spiritual Thought Leaders”…one of whom is no stranger to us here at Feminine 1st…in fact she was our very own Fabulous Friday Female just last month…the awesome Marie Forleo!

 

Marie will be joining Mastin Kipp and Gabrielle Bernstein for a very special edition of Super Soul Sunday this weekend…and as Oprah herself says, quite simply, “What they have to say [is] going to inspire you”…

 

 

Check out Oprah and the Next Generation Sunday at 11 a.m. ET/PT on OWN. You can also log on to their worldwide simulcast on Oprah.com or Facebook.com/supersoulsunday so you can join them from anywhere in the world!

 

So please join me today in celebrating Oprah and her incredible work today, inspiring people all over the world not only through her own story and successes, but through sharing, celebrating and supporting others.  To me there is no greater demonstration of true authentic leadership.  If you feel the same way, then please share this article…the more we can do to support our female leaders, the better!  x
 
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As you know, I would love to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the women who have inspired you as well.
 
So if there is someone that you believe should feature as a Fabulous Friday Female, then send me an email (claire@feminine1st.com) with 3 simple details:Who is your Fabulous Friday Female? (Her name and location in the world)
 
Why is she a Fabulous Friday Female to YOU? (How do you know her? What does she do? In what way is she inspiring?)
 
A photo or link to a picture of her 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 who inspire YOU.
 
…and remember, as always, to Stay Fabulous too!
 
Claire