A letter to Julia Louis-Dreyfus: 3 keys to beating the breast cancer blues

Dear Julia,

I’m a huge fan of yours and I send my heartfelt wishes for good health and a complete recovery.  I myself just finished up surgery, chemo, radiation and reconstruction after the positive diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. I’m sure the irony is not lost on you that our diagnosis could be associated with the word “positive.” Nevertheless, there is light at the end of the tunnel, in the tunnel and before the tunnel, if you can learn to adjust your thinking. I hope you are helped by the following “happiness tips” from someone who’s been there/done that, and who was brought onto  RWJBarnabus Health System’s “Women’s Health Initiative” as their optimist expert. 

The very first thing I struggled with when the docs told me I had breast cancer was figuring out where to put my mind. I was frightened, upset, disoriented, sad, overwhelmed, and I couldn’t seem to think straight.

I’m trained as an attorney; that was a weird mental space.

A brilliant man once told me that he doesn’t like to think too much, because when he does, he goes behind enemy lines. That’s just not me. I am by nature a happy person. I call myself a non-recovering laughaholic. I didn’t want that to change. I was terrified it would.  My dear father used to joke that “everything in life is mind over matter. I don’t mind and it don’t matter.” This time, however, things really did matter.

I knew that the key to mentally surviving this ordeal was to find a way to change my perspective about what was happening to me from something negative to something positive.  I might still mind, it might still matter, but I was going to have to “give a shift.”

KEY ONE: Give yourself permission to be happy!  I realized that even though I was given a life-threatening diagnosis, if I let cancer steal my joy… then I’ve died while I’m still alive! And I didn’t want to die while I was still alive. If I lost my happiness mojo, that’s exactly what would  have happened. I’m allowed to be happy! I’m allowed to laugh. I’m  still alive! And while I’m still alive, I’m going to be alive! I came back to this thought a lot.  It always helped me when fear gripped my innards and twisted me inside out. I won’t let cancer steal my joy. 

But you say, Princess Diane Von Brainisfried, how can I be happy when  no-one can give me a guarantee that I’m safe, that I’ll be cured? That’s what I was thinking, until it dawned on me that in asking the universe (and the doctors) for a guarantee that I would live, I was asking for something that didn’t exist…for anyone! No-one has a lockdown on tomorrow.  The proverbial car crashing, the errant branch falling, the glamorous elephant stampeding, there are a thousand ways to check out unexpectedly. Guarantees are for April Fools.  

It dawned on me that even with my diagnosis, I still have everything everyone else has. I have this moment. Nothing less, nothing more. Wait, I have more! I have a new reality that has seeped into my head and my heart. I understand on a profound level what it means that time is seriously precious, and that I truly must make my moments and my relationships count.

KEY TWO: Give yourself permission to be healthy.  I’ve always been a healthy person. I eat well, exercise, and keep a positive attitude.  So when this cancer thing came along, I didn’t know how to view myself. For me, the paradigm of a cancer patient was someone who is sick.   But by the grace of G-d I didn’t feel sick, I didn’t look sick, and I didn’t want to “be” sick.  My brain was having major cognitive dissonance.  I decided that I was still going to consider myself a healthy person. 

It took some mindful moxie to call myself healthy, especially after I started chemo.  My “monkey mind” was taunting me, asking me how could I possibly consider myself healthy, when I had more ports than a horny sailor, one to deliver the Red Devil and two for expanders.  How could I call myself healthy when my bald head made me a dead ringer for Elmer Fudd, and my once voluptuous chest had been reduced to a short stack.   I’ll tell you how I called myself healthy; I gave myself permission!  

The first step was to recognize that other than cancer, I was healthy.  I was “otherwise” healthy.  This line of thinking gave me a laugh. It reminded me of that old riff, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”  Truth is, other than cancer, I am healthy.  When I get a cold, I don’t see myself as a sick person, I see myself as a healthy person with a cold. When I had IBS in college, every emergency trip to the loo didn’t make me think of myself as a sick person. I saw myself as a healthy person who had these inconvenient incidents.  I decided to view cancer the same way. Thus, I learned not to say that I have breast cancer. Instead, I say that I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer.   Don’t claim it. Don’t own it.   

KEY THREE: Give yourself permission to see this as an adventure! The philosopher Goethe famously stated, “The journey of discovery is not going to new places, but seeing with new eyes.”   A yoga teacher of mine once said, “It’s not what’s happening to you that’s important, it’s what you tell yourself is happening.”  Positive psychologists talk about reframing.  I searched my mind to find a way to look at the situation with new eyes and to reframe what was happening to me in a positive way. I decided to look at it as an adventure!

An adventure carries with it the possibility of excitement! What was I going to find out about myself on this new journey?  What wonderful people would I meet? What new experiences would I encounter? Seeing my circumstances as an adventure and not a curse immediately shifted me from a victim to a victor mentality.  It changed my energy.  Hopeful! Expectant! It was a chance to up my learning curve and go up the next rung of my evolutionary path, which, by the way, I’m farther along than most people, having never received my wisdom teeth. But I do have an L-6, which is kind of akin to a tail. So that’s a wash.

By seeing my breast cancer diagnosis as an adventure, I was borrowing a page from Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning by finding meaning and purpose in the ordeal.  I was also ripping a page from Pollyanna’s playbook and doing her “Glad Game.” I was in good company with these two.

I now look upon breast cancer as a beautiful gift bequeathed to me from the universe. Through it, I’ve been graced with the opportunity to help others find a positive and optimistic way of adjusting and coping with breast cancer.  I’ve had the gift of modeling for my kids that life can hand you a curve ball and you don’t have to fall to pieces. I’ve felt the love and caring of family and friends.  I’ve learned, like the line in the beautiful poem Alicante  by Jacques Prevert, “the present of the present.”  I’ve learned to savor moments deeply. I’ve learned the sustaining nature of passionate dreams and goals. I’ve learned the depth and breadth of my resilience, and the understanding that no matter what comes at me in the future, I’m gonna deal. And so will you! Cause that’s just how the girls in our club roll!

To our health!  To life! To the gift!                                                 XOXOXO,

Princess Diane Von Brainisfried

If you don’t take it on the chin, you’ll get it up the arse.                                       – Princess Diane Von Brainisfried

 

 

YOU ARE RELATED TO ROYALTY & WHY IT MATTERS

Dear Royal Friends,                                                         Did you know you are related to royalty?  Yes it’s true! You may have seen me advocate this principle before, but it’s so important, I want to make sure my new royal friends receive this information and my long-standing fans don’t forget. 

According to my theory,”The Sixth Degree Princess,illustrated below beautifully by my son, Prince Max, and recently proven at the Royal Academy of Brainiacs and Quacks, one way or another we’re all descended from a royal bloodline.  Right side or left, you know who you are. 

 

Why is this theory so important? There’s a magical transformation that takes place when you realize you’re a real princess, as authentic as the kind who wears  a diamond encrusted tiara or sleeps on a mile-high mattress with a little pea. (That’s spelled correctly.) The kind who knows Compassion and Kindness are her middle names. Mine is also Frances. The kind who’s proactively pursuing her bold destiny and carrying out her royal duty to use her gifts and talents to make the world a better place. The kind who knows the power of a smile to brighten the world and gladden a stranger’s heart.

When a person understands that there really is a tiara in her closet, and that her royal roots are not something she acquired at her hair dresser’s, she holds her head higher and walks more assuredly as she moves toward manifesting her destiny.  She awakens to the power of her birthright that is bound up in her sacred duty to explore, unearth and utilize her special gifts and talents to help make her kingdom a more wonderful place in her own, uniquely fabulous way.

So like I’m always hocking you, “Put a tiara in your closet!” Go out there and be the bold and beautiful princess you are!

I’d love to hear what putting a tiara in your closet means to you!  Leave your comments below, princess!

 

XOXOXO,

PRINCESS DIANE  VON BRAINISFRIED

 “Live your royally happy life!™”

 

The Most French Girl Thing About French Girls

Dear Royal Friends,                                                                                              

I love being a bit like a French Girl. It gives a princess a certain air, a certain mystery, a certain feminine style with a powerful stance.  

There’s one aspect of being a bit like a French Girl that I’d like to suggest you adopt, because when I do it (and I do it every morning and throughout the day) it has a very uplifting effect on my spirits.  Can you guess what it is?  I’ll give you a hint: It’s one of The Most French Things about a French Girl.

When we think about what is The Most French Thing about French Girls, we might conjure up some cliche images like a jaunty girl in a beret, smiling as she pedals a bicycle with her long crusty baguette and a small round cheese wheel jostling around in the bicyle’s front basket along with a bottle of red. Perhaps she’s wearing a blue and white horizontally striped sweater. Or a striped something.  Possibly she’s sporting chin length fashionable hair.  Always fashionable hair.  But something would be missing from that scene.  What’s something you will never see on a French girl…but bet your bottom Euro, she’s always wearing ( besides pretty, sexy and pretty sexy undies?) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…..perfume! 

To illustrate how obsessed  French Girls are with their perfume, I recently went to a wedding in New York.  Seated next to me was a quasi-relative French Girl traveling from Paris who exuded a luxurious fragrant presence.  Yes, she had chin length hair. I asked her what fragrance she was wearing.  I figured she’s just gonna tell me, but no, she proceeds to Show & Tell me in the most astoundingly French Girl way.  

She opened her teeny weenie purse that was in the shape of a small orange.  More of a pouch than a purse, really. This purse looked large enough to hold maybe a driver’s license, a piece of bubble gum, and either a pencil stub or a tampon, but not both.   She  proceeded to pull out of this walnut of a thing, a full-sized bottle of Pamplelune by Guerlain. Not a sample, not a travel size, but a big, full size bottle.  I couldn’t have been more surprised  had she produced a full-sized rabbit. Wearing a beret. And a blue and white striped sweater.

Think about it. Perfume must have been so important to my relative, that she handicapped herself with a full, heavy bottle of the stuff, thereby displacing other important cargo…like say…her wallet and her phone!  But to a French Girl, it made perfect “sense.”  She’s French. I remembered how  a few years before the wedding this quasi relative  was visiting for another occasion. As she passed by the stairs in the house we were visiting, I breathed the trail of a beautiful scent just as deliciously divine as the one she wore at the wedding.  I also asked then what she was wearing. It was Prada’s Infusion d’Iris.   Her nose knows what she wears, and she takes shhhpritzing seriously. 

Another truly elegant and stylish French Girl friend of mine who, when I first met her,  always smelled like Caleche by Hermes. Years later she always smelled like 24 Faubourg by Hermes. She never didn’t smell great, just like my French relative.  

How do these French Girls do it? Waft around in their perfume clouds?

The secret is: “spray well and often.”  Have perfume will carry. None of this spray to last to the end of the day. If you want to be French-Girl worthy, you gotta cultivate Fragrance Vigilance. Perfume Priority. Spray and Stay.

So what’s on my dressing table? I have a number of perfumes that I wear from time to time, but right now I have three go-to’s that I wear most often to “Channel” my inner French Girl.   Chanel No 5 Eau Premier;  Hermes un Jardin en Mediterranee; and  Hypnotic Poison by Christian Dior. 

Learn to channel your inner French Girl to start your day sweetly. Find a perfume that you love, that makes you happy, that uplifts your spirits, then spray well and often.  That way, wherever you go, there you smell. 

QUESTION: WHAT’S ONE THING YOU DO THAT CHANNELS YOUR INNER FRENCH GIRL? I’D LOVE TO KNOW! PLEASE TELL US BELOW!

XOXOXOXX,

Princess Diane Von Brainisfried

“LIVE YOUR ROYALLY HAPPY LIFE!™”

 

 

 

 

 

Top 3 transformational happiness concepts – I promise to share my takeaway from WOHASU

Dear Princess,

As many of you know I’ve been invited to be a facilitator at next week’s World Happiness Summit in Miami, where I will be schmoozing and elbow bruising with some of the world’s most extraordinary thinkers and happiness experts dedicated to promoting a happier world.

HERE’S MY PROMISE TO YOU: I intend to share with you the next best thing to a free ticket…my takeaway on what I consider the TOP 3 TRANSFORMATIONAL  happiness concepts that I spot at the event!

Do YOU have any positive transformations coming up? I’d LOVE to hear in your COMMENTS BELOW!

XOXOXOX, 

PRINCESS DIANE VON BRAINISFRIED

If you like….please LIKE me of Face book, and if you’re in the sharing mood, please be a princess and SHARE!

                  “Live your royally happy life!™”

Debbie Rosas of NIA is Awakening Worldwide a New Feminine Spirit!

 Dear Royal Friends, 

Have you ever met someone whom you instantly realize is so compelling, so compassionate, so insightful, so grounded in their own essence, so inspiring and visionary,  you know they could change the world if they wanted to?  I met such a person. Her name is Debbie Rosas, and I’m honored to count her among my friends in the kingdom of Von Brainisfried.  Debbie’s a co-creator of the famed and celebrated NIA practice  that combines dance, martial arts and mindfulness.

When I recently heard about Debbie’s latest body of work, “THE AWAKENING PROJECT,” I was blown away.   According to Debbie, the project is, “A call to compassion and transformation… It’s all about “awakening the feminine spirit to create peace and harmony. Better people and a better world.”  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Awakening Project is a 13-MONTH ONLINE COURSE available to everyone no matter what their financial situation!  Debbie explains, “Once registered, every participant will receive a beautifully illustrated guidebook each month filled with poetry, symbols, sacred geometry, poetic voices, art projects, energy exercises, my honest and deeply personal awakening stories, and journaling questions to help them to awaken their Feminine Spirit. Participants will also receive monthly audiotaped guided meditations, an agenda and the month’s videotaped workshop. The Awakening Project is designed for individuals to work alone or in groups. Participants will also receive a monthly invitation to join the Facebook LIVE event.”

 At the end, PARTICIPANTS will create the FIRST EVER “AWAKENING THE NEW FEMININE SPIRIT” community-based GLOBAL ART SHOW, curated from the art of the participants! 

Is this a huge vision or what! How exciting it would be to be part of this totally princess-worthy WORLD WIDE FEMININE SPIRIT PROJECT!  I heartily encourage you to check out the link, Awakening the New Feminine Spirit to see if you’d like to be part of Debbie’s Global movement Awakening the New Feminine Spirit.

XOXOXXO,

PRINCESS DIANE VON BRAINISFRIED

“LIVE YOUR ROYALLY HAPPY LIFE!™”

Breast Cancer-Tip For Finding A Positive Attitude

Dear Royal Friends,

Life isn’t always a bed of roses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a sweet-smelling garden!  I’m so excited to reveal something to you today….

something very personal,  because if I can help just one of my royal friends face a difficult challenge like breast cancer with greater positivity, then I’ll be happier than a pig in a kosher kitchen. CLICK HERE FOR SHORT VIDEO where I bequeath to you a game-changer of a princess-worthy tip on how to face difficult challenges like breast cancer with a positive attitude.   Cause face it. In life’s garden, nobody escapes the weeds. It’s up to us to learn how to deal with them. 

If you don’t want to miss more on this and other info about living your royally happy life, subscribe above! 

Please SHARE and LIKE if you liked!

XOXOXO, 

Princess Diane Von Brainisfried

“LIVE YOUR ROYALLY HAPPY LIFE!™”

 

 

 

https://youtu.be/4AY0YEY1fBk

There’s a big chunk o’ greatness inside of you!

Dear Princess~                                                                                        Did you know that the magnificent, breathtaking and awe-inspiring statue of David already existed beneath the giant chunk of marble, even before it was created?

According to the artist it did!  Michelangelo said of his statue, ”The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there. I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” 

If you’ve let life blow you hither, thither and yon (locations without GPS coordinates,) and you haven’t gotten a foothold into some big, bold, princess-worthy dreams, and you’re beginning to doubt that greatness is even there, rest assured that like the sculptor’s enormous  slab of marble, there is greatness within you!  And the most exciting news is, it’s your own unique, very special brand of greatness.                                                                                              

It’s time to start the excavation!  Go digging for that buried treasure inside of you! Starting NOW is  better than starting never.  We need every princess to contribute her own unique brand of talent!  Now is the best time to enrich yourself and by doing so, enrich the world.

Inspire us…. Let us know what you find on your excavation!

XOXOXOX,

PRINCESS DIANE VON BRAINISFRIED

“Live your royally happy life!™”

How to give a million-dollar holiday gift for free

Dear Royal Friends,

This holiday season, wanna know how to take something worth more than a million dollars, not pay a dime for it, and give it to more than a million people? 

The next time you are:

…in back of a mile-long line in your neighborhood’s shrine to organic food, sweating up a storm in your sub-zero rated down parka, and the cashier (along with her customers) is angrier than a swarm of hornets and slower than a herd of turtles — when it’s finally your turn to pay, you…..;  

or the next time you are:

…in a high falutin’ boutique and make a beeline for the sales rack, ask the snobby sales associate the price of those diamond-studded cowboy boots, and you get the obnoxious “eye roll”  and invisible quote bubble popping out of her perfectly coiffed head that reads, “if you have to ask you can’t afford it,” you….;

or the next time you are:

…walking down the street and a sad stranger catches your eye, you… smile.

And because of you, the cashier snaps out of her funk, smiles back, and passes it on.  And because of you, the snobby sales associate snaps out of her cloud, smiles back, and passes it on. And because of you, the sad stranger decides not to take all those pills, goes home and hugs her mom. And passes it on.

The butterfly flaps its wings in New York. The breeze is felt in Paris. And the world says, “Thank you!”

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES! WISHING YOU HAPPINESS AND HEALTH!  

XOXOXOX,  

PRINCESS DIANE VON BRAINISFRIED

                       Live your royally happy life!

 

 

 

Seven Little Known Secrets For Coping With Fear, Anxiety, & Worry

Dear Royal Friends,

Life has a way of scaring the living crap out of us. Sometimes it’s self-inflicted, like when we ruminate in the Trifecta of Troublesome Thoughts (Fear, Worry & Anxiety).  Sometimes we blow up a small problem bigger than Puff The Magic Dragon — the old ‘Mountains out of Molehills thing. Sometimes the goblins are totally real…like the passionate frog you kissed (etc.) and thought was Prince Charming, turned out to be a run-of-the-pond “horny” toad. Literally. 

"When Prince Charming turns out to be Pond Scum.'

“When Prince Charming turns out to be Pond Scum.’

I may be a princess pundit of positivity, but I’m not immune from getting into a tizzy by life’s slings and arrows.  But I do have a rather large bag of tricks up my princess puffy sleeves to deal with them.  I’ve accumulated an arsenal of handy dandy worry circuit breakers which I keep readily available in my “Coping” Cabana drawer located on the left side of my brain.  In the bag are thoughts and exercises that calm my mind when it’s twirling around, as the Queen Mum says, “like a fart in beet soup.”  Or maybe someone’s bubbe said that. 

Here are seven excellent coping tricks I use that are quite unusual, but incredibly effective:

1.  Remember you have to learn how to comfort yourself, then visualize being in two big hands full of light. – Fanny Trueherz;

2. Say to yourself, “Let go, be loving, and let the divine swirl move you.”  – Princess Diane Von Brainsfried;

3. Calming breath exercise: “Smell the flowers, blow out the candles.”  Technique: Breathe in slowly through your nose on “smell the flowers,” breathe out more quickly through your mouth on “blow out the candles.”   – Intensive Care Unit at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ;

4. Say to yourself, “Leave the thinking to the horses; they’ve got bigger heads”  – Fanny Trueherz;

5. Become like a chiropractor of your brain and make an attitude adjustment – Princess Diane Von Brainisfried

6.  Say to yourself, “It’s all mind over matter. I don’t mind, and it don’t matter.” – my dad, Dr. Irving Young;

7. LAUGH. Find some funny videos on Youtube or Facebook, or watch a funny movie.  “The World is full of horrible things that will eventually get you and everything you care about. Laughter is a universal way to lift your head up and say: ‘Not today, you bastards!'” – Anthony Jeselnik  

I invite you to get yourself a big ole’ Bag o’ Coping Tricks too. Steal these from me with my blessing.  Store your bag wherever you like, but keep it handy dandy. And yes, we have to learn how to comfort ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a little help from our royal friends.  I’m here for you.  

Bisous et tra la la,

XOXOXOXO,

Princess Diane Von Brainisfried 

“LIVE YOUR ROYALLY HAPPY LIFE!”

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One princess’s pudding is another’s poison

Dear Royal Friends~

You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression,  “one man’s poison is another man’s pudding.”  

"You don't like puddin'? Then more for me!"

“You don’t like puddin’? Then more for me!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For example, staying on a “roll” with the food theme, I am not a big fan of pig roasts.  It pains me to see these sad-eyed  little critters crammed all whole and real on a serving platter, their last Wil(bur) and testament being a parsley-plattered  laurel, a sad irony considering it’s certainly not the pig’s victory.  And, good lord, what they do to that poor apple!

Pig roasts, as you might have guessed, are my poison. But some princesses love pig roasts. To them,  it’s their pudding.

And so I was reminded of this pudding/poison axiom as I was strolling through New York City’s Central Park just the other day, when  grey, threatening skies loomed sooner than predicted.  The clouds were not supposed to open up into wetness until evening. But you know what they say, “Man plans, G-d laughs”  and the skies had another idea.  Almost without warning, we in the park got dumped on by a torrent that soon soaked our clothes and packages, and made our sneakers and jellies squeak.  

Many scurried and many scowled, and most did both, harassed by this lapse in weatherman judgement.   I ran under the nearest broad-limbed tree, but the droplets were like heat seeking missiles that found their way through the feathery leaves.   I spied  a table umbrella at a vacant table by a little park cafe and made a bee-line for better cover.

As I stood waiting out the downpour,  feeling slightly grumbly,  I saw a sight that shifted my perception of the unexpected storm.  

You see, running down the hill outside the little park cafe was a young man pushing a baby carriage  in the pouring rain.  He was shouting  “wheeeeeee” “wheeeeee” at the top of his lungs,  and his rain-streaked face sported a smile so brilliant, it was a near match for the absent sun.   Inside the carriage was a golden-haired angel, maybe two or three years old, soaked curls matted against her head,  head tilted up to the sky to receive this gift, giggling and laughing in wild abandon.  Both of her chubby little  arms were outstretched high into the air in order to grasp the raindrops as they whizzed by her in the carriage.

  I will never forget the expression on that little girl’s face. If joy had a face, she was IT.

In that moment I realized that this downpour, this “poison” that was responsible for so many scowls on so many faces, was quintessential pudding to this little girl!  Forget pudding; this was an Eiffel tower-sized  ice cream sundae with rainbow shhhprinkels!  This was  a giant stuffed teddy bear won at a Six Flags roulette wheel.  This was an “I bought you a puppy” even though mommy said “no.”

Suddenly, at the sight of this little cherub’s amazingly happy face, I broke into a Cheshire Cat grin. Her exuberant squeals of delight tickled me princess pink, and what was a moment ago my poison, became instantly my pudding. (Not to be confused with instant pudding.) Right then and there I made a vow  to remember the expression on that little girl’s face forever. To remember the sound of her unfettered and spontaneous glee.  To remember her father’s indulgently playful “wheeeeeee” “wheeeee” all the way home. I shall use these as my shield against the onslaughts of daily little poisons.

And when they assault me, and they will, I will  remember this little girl and her father, and then this little princess will go “wheeee” “wheeee” all the way home to the palace. 

TTFN, P! (Ta Ta For Now, Princess)  

hearts-673345_640 pixabay

 

 

PRINCESS DIANE VON BRAINISFRIED

“Live Your Royally Happy Life!™”