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Today’s Fabulous Friday Females are Samantha Manns and Virginia Booth

FFF Samantha Manns and Virginia BoothTeenagers often get a bad rap these days, so when I see one who is doing amazing inspiring things it warms my heart…and it makes me want to shout it from the rooftops!

So when I heard about the wonderful Facebook page that Samantha Manns set up in memory of her beloved “Jinjey’s life” I just had to share it with you.

Virginia Booth must have been an inspiring woman, because when she died at the age of 89 earlier this year her teenage grandaughter decided she wanted to do something special to honour her memory.

Being a huge fan of random acts of kindness and paying it forward myself I was deeply touched when I saw that Samantha has committed to doing 89 kind acts in honour of Jinjey’s memory and the 89 years she spent sharing kindness with others…and wants to inspire others to do the same.

You can follow Samantha’s journey here through her website, or on the Facebook page here.

A few of highlights from the acts performed so far:

Act 23; Wednesday, June 26, 2013: (It’s a LONG one, but I hope you’ll read it!) What do a sketchpad; pastel chalks; hand sanitizer; a washcloth shaped like a soccer ball; some grow-in-water miniatures of a castle, crown, and wand; a card with a United States Dollar; a wall cling that says, “Once upon a time, there was a princess…”; a necklace; and a bike helmet all have in common? They’re all on their way to Europe! I have been talking back and forth with a young lady from England who has just entered inpatient treatment for Anorexia Nervosa. For anyone who is not familiar with the disorder, those who suffer from Anorexia will characteristically starve themselves to a dangerously low weight. Anorexia effects both men and woman, young and old, rich and poor, traumatized and privileged, across all nations and countries. Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness; one in five people who suffer the disorder will die, either due to complications from malnutrition or suicide. As we were talking, it came about that she was feeling very lonely and wished someone would send her a card or a letter, so I asked for the address to mail her something. She said, “I’ve never gotten anything from America before,” and gave me the address of the clinic, along with her information on how to get it to her. Attached to each gift is a note, along with huge numbers saying, “OPEN ME FIRST”, “I COME SECOND,” and so one and so forth. The helmet is first. The note on it reads: “Brace yourself! The road to recovery isn’t always smooth sailing! But I know you can do it!” Next, the growing toys: “Sometimes in life, it is perfectly acceptable to imagine your own safe place or fairy tale land. Here are some tools to get you started!” After that is the soccer ball: “Remember, life is all about having a BALL!” Then comes the hand sanitizer: “Being clean on the outside can make you feel better on the inside. That, and it’s good to smell nice!” Fifth is the wall cling: “Because one day, Anorexia will be just once upon a time.” Next is the card with the dollar bill. The dollar is just a momento from America  But in the card, it says that the pastel chalks and the paper pad (specifically for pastel chalks) are to help her express herself. I talked about how art has really helped me in my recovery process, and how it’s important to find beauty in everything we see. I also included instructions for the necklace. The necklace was a gift to me from a lady when I first started 89 Acts of Kindness. It says on it, “I can inspire.” It has a heart pendant on it, too. Her instructions are to wear it as long as she needs it, but I would like for her to one day pass it on to someone who inspires her, and give them the same instructions. She has inspired me with her courage and her strength, and I feel the need to give this to her above all of the silly other things I put in there. It’s good to laugh! But I really hope that this can give her another push in the right direction. I will post a follow up when she receives the package!

 

Act One; Tuesday, February 19, 2012: I went through the McDonald’s drive-through and placed my order, then continued to the first window like normal. I paid for the woman behind me, too  When I watched her reaction upon receiving her paper instead of a receipt with a cost on it; she started to cry and smiled huge! It made me very happy to see her reaction

 

Act 19; Sunday, May 12, 2013: Wow! What a day! I can honestly say that today has been one of the best days of my life!!! Delivering 89 roses to the staff, patients, and visitors at both the OSU Medical Center and the Adena Medical Center was such an uplifting experience! It took nearly three hours (plus one hour of driving), but the time really seemed to fly. One of my favorite patients looked, sounded, and acted exactly like Jinjey. I asked her if she wanted a rose and she said, “Oh, honey, I’d love one, but I don’t have anything to put it in.” I then told her, “I’ll be right back,” and snuck off to the nurses’ station where a nurse gave me a large plastic container to put the rose in with some water in it. The patient was so thrilled! Another woman looked at me and said, “This is the first Mother’s Day rose I’ve gotten in years,” smiling at me, alone in her room. She’d not had any visitors for her stay, either, and said that this act of kindness certainly brightened her day! On another floor, some little children came up to me and wanted to know if they could have a rose for their mom, who was having surgery. Of course I said yes! I didn’t get to see her reaction, but I’m sure she loved it! One nurse asked if she could have four roses: one for her, one for her mom, and two for the Jesus statuette she had in her home to honor her grandmothers. A few people asked me, “Who are you with?” I just responded, “… Myself,” chuckled, and told them about the 89 Acts of Kindness. The reaction was the same all across the board: “Wow! That’s so nice of you to think of other people as a way to remember your great-grandma!” But if there’s one thing the acts thus far have taught me, it’s that I’m really no different than anyone else. I’m a little under 1/4 of the way through the acts, and I’ve got to say that I have already learned so much about myself, humanity, and what it means to be a truly caring person. It’s not about how much money you can give, nor is it about how much time or sympathy you offer. True kindness is recognizing the human in everyone, and offering your humanity, your heart, and your most caring self to them. Whether you are holding the door open for someone or paying for their dinner; helping an old lady cross the street or paying for her groceries; playing with puppies at the local shelter or giving 89 roses away to people stuck in hospitals on Mother’s Day; no matter what you are doing, if you are operating from a position of pure, true kindness, you’ll find that the happiness you provide for them WILL rub off on you, and you will learn more and more about yourself with every act you do 

So today I would like you to join me in acknowledging and celebrating Samantha for her beautiful tribute to Jinjey, and also to acknowledge the incredible example that Virginia Booth lived which inspired Samanthat to honour her in this way.  I hope their example inspires many others….

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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

How often do you thank YOU?

How often do you thank you?So it’s that time of year when whether you’re in the United States or not, you can’t help but notice a focus on gratitude spreading throughout the online and offline world….as people take the time to say Thank you.

Yes, unless you’re a turkey it’s all been about giving thanks as our friends in the US celebrated thanks giving last week.

This time last year I shared all about the attitude of gratitude and how important it is to our daily lives.

We say thank you about so many things in our lives….

When we think about the things that we’re grateful and say thank you for we usually have quite a significant list.

Our family, our friends, our health, our fortune to live in an area of the world where freedom and basic civil liberties aren’t in question.  Something we’ve done, somewhere we’ve been, someone we know.  Nature, music, dance, smiles, hugs, rainbows….or something as simple as being alive.

I’m lucky to spend a lot of my time around a fantastic collection of people (something I’m very grateful for) who talk about gratitude on a regular basis…it’s a regular topic of conversation and we often share the things that we say thank you for.

But today something occurred to me; in all of the times I’ve heard people share about gratitude and in particular what they want to say thank you for…I don’t think they’ve ever simply said “Me”.

How many times a day do we say Thank you?  To friends, family even people we don’t know.

In 2011, the Mail Online reported that the Brits say thank you about 5, 000 times per year, which equates to between 13 and 14 times a day.

So between thirteen and fourteen times every single day we take the time to thank someone else.

But how often do you take the time to actually thank YOU?

Think about it.

You do so much for yourself….without you, you’d never do anything, go anywhere, meet anyone or have any of the fantastic experiences that you’re grateful for.

You’re the reason you get up in the morning, and the person responsible for every achievement you’ve ever had.

You’re amazing….and if I was a betting person, I’d put money on the fact that you don’t take the time very often to just stop and acknowledge that by saying thank you to yourself.

So today I want to share with you 8 things to say thank you to yourself for, to inspire you to get started with thanking yourself:

 

  1. Say thank you for an achievement – Think of an achievement you’re really proud of…something that took some real effort to do…without you being committed to it and putting in your time and focus you’d never have achieved it!
  2. Say thank you for a relationship with someone you care about – Contrary to popular belief, relationships aren’t easy.  They take hard work, effort, time and thought in order to work.  If you have a relationship with anyone that you care about, then you can thank yourself for putting in the effort to cultivate that relationship in whichever way you do.  It could be with a family member, a friend, an intimate partner, even a pet.  They all take effort and you’re the reason that you have that relationship.
  3. Say thank you for something you have – If you have something that you have treated yourself to that you are grateful for…whether that be a little token that makes you laugh, something that makes you smile, or something that you have worked hard to be able to afford.
  4. Say thank you for an experience – If you have ever had an experience that you’ve enjoyed…then you’re the one to thank for it…after all, if it wasn’t for you, you’d never have had it!
  5. Say thank you for something you do – Everything you do is completely and totally down to you…so whether you’re grateful for something that you do for yourself like having a bit of a pamper, taking a walk or making time to read…or doing something for others, take the time to say thank YOU for doing it.
  6. Say thank you for going somewhere you enjoy – If you’ve ever been to a place that you really liked, whether that’s a park, a beach, a city, a country or an event, then you’ve guessed it, you’re the one to thank! Without you, going there wouldn’t have been possible.
  7. Say thank you for reading this blog – This blog is all about helping women (primarily, though I know we have a few regular male readers too!) to get the most out of life, to enjoy themselves, look after themselves, and to generally feel more fulfilled….so if you’re reading it now, that’s definitely something to thank yourself for.
  8. Say thank you for being you – Quite simply, thank you for being you.  You’re completely unique, totally amazing and perfectly imperfect…all great reasons to be grateful to you.

This list is by no means exhaustive…but it’s definitely a good place to start.

Maybe you’ll choose one of these, maybe you’ll choose them all….but either way I encourage you to think of at least one thing today that you can say thank you to yourself for, and take a moment to acknowledge that in some way.

You can write yourself a short note to say how much you appreciate yourself, tell yourself face to face in the mirror, or just take a quiet moment to close your eyes, stop and say thank you.

Whichever way you choose to say thank you, allow yourself to enjoy it, allow yourself to receive it, and remember to do it again whenever you get the chance.

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

Do you know how to let go?

It’s so easy in life to become attached to how things are going to work out. Not just the ‘what’, the outcome that you’re after, but the ‘how’ it’s going to appear.

We’re so used to these busy lives in which we plan everything in minute detail, that we expect to be able to plan everything, and for life to follow that plan.

The trouble with this is that it’s very easy to become disappointed when things don’t appear to be following the idea you have in your mind about how something is going to work out.

In short, we like to be in control.

The trouble with control is that it is an illusion…it doesn’t really exist. The only things that are really within our control are what we do, how we think and how we respond to life outside of ourselves.

But in trying to keep control we step into a very tense, masculine space.

Control is not a feminine quality.

In fact, the opposite of control is where the feminine flourishes…in the space of surrender…of letting go.

The thing is, letting go can be scary….it takes us into the unknown…but it also takes us into possibility.

When we let go, we allow things to happen in ways that we’ve not considered…and in doing so we remove the limits that we put upon them.

Last weekend I had an experience of this that was incredibly powerful.

If you’re not aware, last weekend I was celebrating Feminine 1st’s first birthday in central London. I had a great day planned.

As I’m not going to be in the UK for my personal birthday this year, I decided that what more fabulous way to celebrate than combining celebrating my birthday with celebrating the first birthday of Feminine 1st?

…and to make it a really fabulous, but also fulfilling, day (see what I did there? 😉 ) the main theme of the day was giving.

The plan was to bring into London with me at least 33 cards and gifts written and wrapped up and to spend the afternoon having fun around London giving them out to strangers.

THEN…to celebrate the first birthday of Feminine 1st I wanted to find a way to gift a pair of fabulous pink heels to a stranger to help spread some feminine love in the city of London.

So we arranged to meet at a London festive institution, the Winter Wonderland area that gets created every year in Hyde Park, in order to have some festive fun while giving the gifts out.

The morning of the celebrations I got numerous texts, emails and calls to say that the seasonal flu virus was doing the rounds and that a lot of people couldn’t make it.

So I headed into the city with bundles of bags filled to the brim with cards and presents for unsuspecting strangers…in fact I didn’t even arrive at Hyde Park before I’d given out my first gift.

Claire Brummell, Birthday Gift Giving

A small boy on the train had kept me entertained the whole way up with his numerous questions, including, “Daddy, are all those trains there because that’s where they sleep?” I couldn’t resist and handed his Dad a colouring set to give to him.

So I hopped on the tube, and made my way over to the park and started looking for the entrance to the Winter Wonderland.

Houston, we had a problem.

As I wasn’t used to celebrating my birthday so early, it didn’t occur to me that the Winter Wonderland wouldn’t be open yet…and in the craziness of returning from the US I forgot to check the details.

So, no Winter Wonderland.

The other challenge was that with the various bugs that were doing the rounds, most of the people who were due to join us during the day weren’t able to make it.

In the end there were only three, plus me.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I thought it would be great to have a nice big group of friends all running around doing good deeds for strangers…but with all of the coughs, colds and flu viruses bouncing around London it wasn’t meant to be.

So having connected with the friends that were still able to make it we headed to Covent Garden to do our gift giving.

We found our base (at the cupcake shop of course!) and had a cup of tea (and a couple of their best cupcakes) while we prepared to find some people to share some gifts and smiles with.

We then spent the next few hours running around Covent Garden with presents and cards, surprising and sharing with complete strangers.

Claire Brummell, Birthday Gift Giving

The reactions were fantastic, from surprise to disbelief and everything in between.

During the course of the afternoon we even found four people who were out celebrating their birthdays to give gifts and cards to.

As we walked to the restaurant to meet everyone else for the evening I had a sudden realisation.

If we had had more people who had joined us then the whole afternoon would have been complete and total chaos. It was hard enough keeping track of the people who made it while we gave the gifts out to people around the square.

In addition, if we’d tried to do the gift giving at Winter Wonderland, with the music, crowds and funfair it would have been even harder to keep everyone together.

…and when it came to approaching total strangers, a group of three was probably the maximum you could manage without scaring people off completely.

The afternoon had been completely different to what I’d planned or expected.

…and it had been completely and totally perfect.

I left the day feeling absolutely fill to the brim with love and gratitude. I’d met so many lovely people and had seen so many strangers with huge smiles on their faces…it was everything I could have wanted and more.

I could have spent the afternoon worrying about the fact that it hadn’t worked out as I’d planned…and if I had, I’d have missed out on one of the most enjoyable and rewarding afternoons I’ve ever had.

The moment I let go of my expectations and surrendered to the knowledge that it was all working out exactly as it was supposed to I opened myself up to having this fantastic celebration.

I couldn’t have felt happier, I couldn’t have felt more feminine, I couldn’t have had a bigger smile on my face.

So…this week I encourage you to let go of your expectations, and to surrender to the possibility of what might be…

…you never know where it might lead you.

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

Today’s Fabulous Friday Female is the lovely Catherine Ryan Hyde!

Fabulous Friday Female - Catherine Ryan HydeToday’s Fabulous Friday Female is the lovely Catherine Ryan Hyde!

Catherine is the amazing woman whose book “Pay it Forward” has sparked a revolution of kindness that is spreading across the world.

First came the book, then the Oscar winning movie, and from there this idea has inspired millions with the birth of the Pay it Forward Foundation (a non-profit organization that leads a worldwide movement committed to inspiring, recognizing, and celebrating the kindness and gratitude of individuals who simply choose to pay it forward) and the Pay it Forward experience…spreading the word of Pay it Forward around the world, one kind act at a time.

So what is “Pay it Forward?”

Pay It Forward is about the exponential growth of kindness.

If one person does a random act of kindness for 3 people and each of those commit to pay it forward to 3 more people and each of those pay it forward to 3 more people, after 2 weeks, over 4.7 million people will have been impacted by those initial acts of kindness.

Here is the story of how one random act of kindness sparked Catherine’s initial idea which is now inspiring the world to Pay it Forward:

The year was 1978. I was driving my car, an aging, miserably-maintained Datsun (translation, for younger people: Nissan) in a bad neighborhood at night. I was alone.

Not a great idea, I know, but I lived in that bad neighborhood, which narrowed my options considerably.

I was young in 1978. I had this theory when I was young. I thought it was cheaper just to drive your car and not take it to the mechanic. People laugh, but it made perfect sense to me. Mechanics cost money. You don’t go, you save money. Right? It’s one of those theories that works until the day it doesn’t.

This was that day.

I reached the stop sign at the end of the freeway ramp, put my foot on the brake. The engine stalled. But the engine always stalled when I took my foot off the gas. That happens when you never take your car to the mechanic.

Then all the electricity on my car died. Headlights, dash lights…out.

That’s when I noticed the smoke curling up from underneath the dashboard. It didn’t take an expensive mechanic to figure out it was coming through the firewall from the engine compartment, and would soon fill the passenger area where I sat.

When you’re in a bad neighborhood late at night, you feel a powerful incentive to stay in your car with the doors locked. Until the car fills up with smoke. This might very well be the textbook definition of “between a rock and a hard place.”

I jumped out.

I looked up to see two men, two total strangers, running in my direction. One was carrying a blanket.

Many thoughts danced in my head. The first? I never made out a will. Then I realized it didn’t matter, because I had nothing to leave to anybody anyway. Except the car. Which was on fire. Probably other thoughts danced as well. One thought I’m sure did not dance: the crazy idea that they might be coming to my rescue was nowhere on the list.

The men opened my hood, and one put out the fire using only the blanket and his bare hands.
A pause for emphasis. His bare hands. My fire. Isn’t that a fascinating combination between total strangers? I thought so, too.

Right around the time they got the fire out, the fire department showed up. I have no idea who called them. Apparently someone going by on the freeway behind us had seen the trouble I was in.
Now, I would call the fire department for a stranger. I hope most of us would. But would I lean my upper body into their flaming engine compartment? Put out their fire with my bare hands?

That, of course, is the $64 question.

There wasn’t much left for the firefighters to do. They showed me how the fire started (not interesting) and explained what would have happened if it hadn’t been put out (not happy, but interesting).

Though we don’t like to think in these terms as we drive, a car is much like a Molotov cocktail. It’s container of flammable liquid, with a fuse (fuel line). The only real difference is that you don’t pick up the car and throw it.
That’s when I realized those men might’ve saved more than just my car, and might’ve put their own lives at risk to do so.
I turned to thank them, but they’d already packed up and driven away. In the confusion of talking to the fire department, they’d left.

What do you do with a favor that big if you can’t pay it back?

I’ve had people ask, “So, if they hadn’t stopped that night, the whole Pay It Forward thing never would have happened?”

I’ll take it a step further. If they hadn’t left without saying goodbye, there never would have been a Pay It Forward novel. And without the novel there wouldn’t have been the movie, the foundation, the movement. If they’d stayed around, I would’ve gotten their names and sent them a Christmas card every year for the rest of our natural lives. And that might have felt like enough.

But they left.

Amazingly, I was able to get the car fixed. And I went back to driving the freeways. But something had changed.

Me.

Suddenly I had one eye on the side of the road, looking for someone broken down, knowing that when I saw such a person I would stop.

That act of kindness changed me.

So what would I say to those two men if I could?

A simple message: “Look what you started.”

Kindness is contagious. Let’s start something.

Here is a short video explaining about Pay it Forward and the impact that it can have:

Please take a moment to visit the pay it forward experience website and find out more about how you can get involved:http://www.pifexperience.org/and join me today in acknowledging and celebrating Catherine and her work which has inspired literally millions of people across the planet. Help us to spread the word of the kindness revolution…Pay it Forward today 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 the wonderful Madison “Peach” Steiner

Madison "Peach" SteinerToday’s Fabulous Friday Female is the wonderful Madison “Peach” Steiner!

A friend of mine brought Madison to my attention this week and as soon as I heard her story I knew she was going to be this week’s Fabulous Friday Female.

Madison is the founder of “Peach’s Neet Feet” (PNF), which is a grassroots custom shoe donation project. She hand paints and donates canvas shoes for children battling cancer, serious illness, and lifelong disabilities.

Watch this short, incredibly heartwarming and inspiring video to see the amazing work she does and how it transforms the lives of the families that her kindness touches…

Here is the message that Madison shares from her site:

I am the founding artist and I have three other guest artists. We customize each shoe to complement the deserving child’s life, interests, and courageous fight! Most of the art used is original and we are open to all ideas and themes.

As a young girl, I have always been driven to help others, to make a difference in the world some way. I truly enjoy art and what it does for the soul. It can bring joy to those who do it, and to those who look at it. With Peachs’ Neet Feet, something as small as a pair of shoes painted with a child’s name and interests can bring a smile to their face and it gives them something that is theirs and only theirs.

PNF is spreading inspiration, smiles and creativity. My passion is art, and the art of giving. -Peach

Madison has brought together two of my absolute favourite things in life…shoes and kindness to others…so I would like for you to join me today in acknowledging and celebrating her amazing mission, and beautiful heart.

Please take a moment to visit her website and find out more about what she does and how you can support her: http://peachsneetfeet.com/

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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

Thank you to the stranger on the train…

TearsYesterday was not a good day for me.

In fact, being honest, it was really awful.

It’s not very often that you’ll hear me say something like that…but in this case there’s no other way to put it!

I got some news which was very upsetting, and which caught me completely by surprise.

If you want to know the full story, you can find it in today’s newsletter (You can sign up here if you haven’t yet: http://feminine1st.com/free-gift/)

I was in London at a meeting when it happened, and so on my journey home it all started to sink in…and the next thing I know I’m sitting on a South Eastern train with tears streaming down my face.

It was one of those “once the flood gates are open” moments.

Once I started, I just couldn’t stop.

I was very aware of the fact that I was on a public train, surrounded by people, but it didn’t matter. I was feeling very upset, and at that moment I needed to let it out.

The guy with the drinks trolley went past and very kindly handed me a couple of napkins as he went.

But then something interesting happened.

A guy who was sat a little further up the train walked up to me and said “I’m really sorry, I’m not trying to hit on you, but I can’t just sit there and watch you cry….would you like to split a beer? Or I could just sit here and talk random rubbish at you for the rest of your journey?”

Now, a few years ago, if this had happened my instinctive response would be to say “It’s OK, I’m fine”.

Not yesterday.

I looked up at him and said “You know what, that would be really great”.

So he sat down and we started chatting.

Not the stuff of great conversations that will go down in history, just random chat to pass the time.

It was just what I needed…a little random kindness from a stranger.

What was really interesting is that had the situation been reversed and I’d seen someone crying on the train, I’d have done exactly what he did.

When I told him this and said how grateful I was for the random stranger who came and talked random stuff at me to pass the journey…he simply replied, “Ah, but it wasn’t random”.

It was really reassuring to know that what you put out in the world, does come back…sometimes unexpectedly, sometimes randomly…but often when it’s most needed.

I’ve mentioned the concept of paying it forward on here a few times, and my last post about it was on remembering to receive it forward as well.

Well, yesterday I got the chance…and it felt good to receive.

So thank you to the stranger on the train who helped me to dry my tears and made me smile.

The next time you see someone who you think could use cheering up, don’t be afraid to say hello…it doesn’t cost anything and it might just make all the difference to someone’s day.

…and the next time someone offers you a kindness at a time when you really need it…allow yourself to receive it. It might not take away the sadness or whatever it is that you’re feeling…but it certainly does help.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

What stops us from receiving?

Woman Saying NoAs you probably know by now, on Wednesday the 28th of March I took part in the global Pay it Forward Flashmob here in London.

The day was fantastic…it was gorgeous sunshine, I was with a group of fantastic people and we were passing on random acts of kindness…what more could you ask for on a Wednesday afternoon?

On the whole, the experience was incredibly positive. There were some lovely stories about people who seemed genuinely touched by the concept and were keen to continue it onward.

But today I wanted to share something that really saddened me about the experience.

Because there I was, in the middle of London, wanting to do something small, random and kind for a stranger…but many of the strangers who I came across quite simply didn’t want to know.

As anyone who knows me knows…I’m not exactly a scary person. It’s very rare that I don’t have a smile on my face, and (as my sister will testify) people have a tendency of starting random conversations with me when I’m out and about (probably because they know that I’ll talk back to them!)

But as soon as you even appeared to move in the general direction of a stranger in London, something very peculiar happens.

Sometimes without looking at you, always without listening to you and occasionally with a hand being put up in front of you…you are instantly dismissed.

In this situation, there are several things that take place.

All of these people avoid eye contact with you.

Some just say “No”

Some are kind enough to add a “Thank you” at the end.

Some actively run away.

Some even swear at you (as was the experience of one person in our group).

It never occurred to me that doing something nice for another human being could be so challenging!

Everyone was looking for the catch, the sale, the pitch.

What was sad was that there wasn’t one….and those people ended up missing out on something potentially life-changing because they assumed that it wasn’t for them.

Well as my Dad always used to say to me, to Assume is to make an “Ass” of “u” & “me”…

The Pay It Forward experience is a fantastic idea….it’s all about spreading a ripple of genuine human kindness around the world, expecting nothing in return other than for the recipient to pass it on to another.

But if people aren’t prepared to receive, then how can it work?

…and what’s sad is that this doesn’t just apply to strangers on the street.

How many times do we say “I’m fine” when someone offers us help? How often do we refuse to ask for help because we want to prove that we can do it all ourselves?

As women we are so good at giving to the people around us…but we aren’t quite so good at receiving in return.

Femininity is all about flow. It’s about giving AND receiving…and if you block yourself from receiving, you’re blocking this flow.

The thing is, if we react and say ‘no’ before we’ve even stopped to hear what the other person has to say, we’ll never get the opportunity to receive.

Instantly saying no is a habit that we’ve adopted over time…and it’s one that would benefit us to break.

So the next someone approaches you to offer something (whether that’s on the street, at work or in your personal life), I implore you to remember to be a S.T.A.R.

– S top – Stop before you react to the situation.
– T hink – Think about what they’ve said and how you would like to respond.
– A cknowledge – Acknowledge what they’ve said.
– R espond – Respond to what they’ve said.

If what they are speaking about is genuinely not of interest to you, simply say something along the lines of “I appreciate what you’re doing, but I’m not interested thank you”. If you’ve listened to what they had to say and are completely honest, that’s the end of the conversation…but at least you’ve been polite about it.

Remember to be kind. They might be doing what they’re doing because it’s their job. They might want to share something with you that is of great importance to them, and so they think if might be of importance to you too. They might have a gift to give you.

If you don’t stop for a moment and listen, not only might you miss out on something great, but you might also stop someone else from being able to share a gift.

…and trust me, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to do something nice for someone else, and being rebuffed without even being heard.

If you are interested, then allow yourself to receive graciously…you’ll feel better for it, and you’ll allow someone else the pleasure of giving something to you.

Tomorrow is international Pay it forward day…so let’s make Paying it Forward a happier experience, together.

Pay It Forward is a really special idea…

…But in order for Pay It Forward to work….we must also be prepared to Receive It Forward too.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

My Second Pay It Forward Experiment – Pay Forward a Pound to Save Lynne’s Life

So yesterday I shared my first Pay It Forward Experiment….today I’m sharing the second.  This is not any old experiment.  This has the potential to save a human life.

I have a question for you.

If you could save a human life right now with just £1…would you do it?

£1 is less than the price of a loaf of bread.

But £1 from you, plus three simple posts on either Facebook or Twitter is all it will take to save a life.

Lynne HazeldenA friend of mine, Lynne Hazelden, is battling breast cancer….having already lost her mother to cancer at just 12 years old.

She has already had a mastectomy, but has discovered a lump in her reconstructed breast…something that is quite rare.

Unfortunately, due to chemical sensitivities she is unable to undergo the usual treatment, available here in the UK, to tackle this disease.

In spite of her own ill health, Lynne is using her rare situation to help raise awareness and support for others who urgently need to find alternative cancer therapies which are not widely available.

There is hope for Lynne.

There is a treatment available in Israel that could save her life.

But in order to begin her treatment, Lynne needs to raise £30,000 in the next three weeks ….she then has to raise the funds to complete the therapy which could save her life.

The total amount to raise is £100,000.

With your help, she can get it.

(Click here to read more about Lynne’s story: http://kindercancerchoices.me/lynnes-story/)

Pay It ForwardThrough some inspiration from a few amazing friends (thank you to each and every one of you, you know who you are)…I realised that this target is not only possible, but through pay it forward it could be done in just 12 days!

As you probably know by now, Pay It Forward is about the exponential growth of kindness.

You do one kind thing for 3 people…asking them to each do something kind for 3 other people…and on it spreads.

So my new experiment is about “Paying Forward a Pound”.

The idea is very simple.

  • You donate £1 to Lynne’s treatment fund.
  • You pass on the message to 3 friends, asking them to each “Pay Forward a Pound” for Lynne
  • Each of them pass on the message to 3 friends….who pass on the message to 3 friends…and the ripple spreads…
  • In 12 days Lynne will reach her target and will be able to begin her lifesaving treatment.

So how do you “Pay Forward a Pound” for Lynne?

It’s easy.

There are just 2 simple steps.

1. Donate £1 now via the Just Giving website or Text donations:

2. Send the message about Pay Forward a Pound to 3 friends now, by just copying and pasting the text below:

  • Facebook / Google +  / Email  – Would you like to save a life today?  Pay forward just £1 now and in 3 weeks we will have saved the life of an incredible lady who is battling breast cancer – Visit here to learn about Paying Forward a Pound for Lynne: http://feminine1st.com/pay-forward-a-pound-for-lynne/. #PayItForward
  • Twitter / Text Message – Please pay forward a Pound now to save @LynneHazelden ‘s life clicky.me/72oz #PayItForward

As you know, feminine women are all about collaborating, working together, supporting each other, and emotionally connecting with others.  I say let’s tap into these natural gifts and use them to help save an amazing lady’s life.

By acting now, we will give Lynne the gift of her future.

Please, do your part to make this experiment a success.

Remember to Pay it Forward…

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

My First Pay It Forward Experiment…

If you saw the previous post about “Can YOU make a difference” you’ll know that last Wednesday was the global Pay It Forward Flashmob…and what an experience it was!

There were over 70 locations around the world involved, including London, Koh Samui, Sao Paulo, Cape Town, Chicago, LA, Belfast, Copenhagen, Brisbane and Auckland.

The idea was that you take a book that had inspired or moved you in some way, and “Pay it Forward” to a total stranger, giving with it a leaflet explaining about how Pay it Forward works and asking them to continue the ripple.

It was a fantastic day. The sun was shining we had around 150-200 people taking part and we were passing on random acts of kindness…what more could a girl want on a Wednesday afternoon?

Well…I decided as part of the day that I would do a little experiment.

Claire Brummell Paying Forward The Feminine EvolutionYou see, as well as Paying Forward a book that had inspired me, I also paid forward one of my “The Feminine Evolution” CD Audio programs.

But this wasn’t just any ordinary Pay it Forward…oh no.

I wanted to see if I could encourage the recipient to pay the CD forward…and also to get the next recipient to let me know who they are and more importantly where they are in the world, so that I can track the journey my little CD takes as it bounces around the world inspiring women as it goes.

So I’ve written a message in the CD case that reads something like this:

Dear Friend,

You have received this CD from someone who wishes to share a little inspiration with you.

This is part of an experiment to see how far and wide this little CD can travel!

So when you receive it, I ask you kindly to please do 3 things:

  1. Listen to the CD and Enjoy it! 🙂
  2. Take a picture of yourself with the CD and send it with an email telling me who you are, where in the world you are, when you received it and when you passed it on: claire@feminine1st.com.
  3. Pass it on to someone else and ask them to follow these three steps too!

Thank you for being a part of this little CD’s journey to inspire people around the world!

   

…and I’ve set up a page here on the Feminine 1st site to track it’s progress…so watch this space to see where the CD pops up next: http://feminine1st.com/cdtravels/

Here is the lovely lady I paid it forward to, hopefully this is the beginning of an interesting journey for the Feminine Evolution…! 🙂

…and if you don’t want to wait for the CD to find it’s way to you on it’s travels then you can pick up your own copy here: http://feminine1st.com/store/

Come back tomorrow to hear about my SECOND pay it forward experiment…which is even MORE exciting! 🙂

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

Can YOU Make a difference?

Feminine women are all about nurturing, collaborating and contributing.

It’s in our DNA.

It’s who we are.

So, by doing what comes naturally, what if you could start a ripple which would touch £4.7million people’s lives in just two weeks?

What if this ripple could be started with just 3 simple random acts of kindness?

3 thoughts.

3 simple actions.

That’s it.

I wanted to share this with you today, because as women we tend to feel like we’re constantly doing everything for everyone else…but we don’t necessarily realise the impact that we have on other people’s lives.

We may not always get a thank you.

We may not feel that our efforts are acknowledged.

We may think from time to time ‘why do I bother?’

This is why.

We make a difference to other people’s lives.

…and together we can make an even bigger difference.

You see, I’ve spoken a lot lately about collaboration with regards to how it can help us in business…but collaboration and community is they key to enhancing almost anything we do.

That’s what Pay it Forward is about.

It is about people all over the world coming together to spread the exponential growth of kindness.

If one person does a random act of kindness for 3 people and each of those commit to pay it forward to 3 more people and each of those pay it forward to 3 more people, after 2 weeks, over 4.7 million people will have been impacted by those initial acts of kindness.

In 2006, Charley Johnson created the PIF bracelet as a physical reminder to do good, but also as a baton to pass to others when you do a random act of kindness for them. There are now over a million bracelets in 115 countries. Without it ever having been advertised.

Next week, on  March 28th at 4pm (local time) there is a globally-coordinated flashmob event which I am taking part in.

Currently the flashmob will be taking place in around 70 locations worldwide, including London, Koh Samui, Sao Paulo, Cape Town, Chicago, LA, Belfast, Copenhagen, Brisbane and Auckland)

Check out this video which tells you all about it:

So get involved.

Take Action.

Do something today.

Find your local flashmob to join.

Or just make the decision to start paying it forward.

This is a ripple of kindness that will be felt around the world…do you want to be a part of it?

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x