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March 2011
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how to live your life like a princess (or prince)



"They can't order me to stop dreaming." 

I have to admit it -- I'm a bit jealous of Kate Middleton right now. Today she is living out a dream so many little girls have; she is marrying a prince. Growing up just a year younger than Prince William, like many young women my age I've romanced the notion of one day becoming a princess. As a child, I had the vague notion that I'd meet him during a fabulous trip to London and he'd fall head-over-heels in love with the crazy, very un-British American girl that I am. As I got older, I imagined that my troubled teen self would be shipped off to some British boarding school where the royal Prince would find me simply irresistable. Luckily for Kate, neither of those situations happened and now she's the one about to celebrate her all-eyes-on-her wedding day.
Celebrity-lover that I am (yes, I know, it's not a trait I'm particularly fond of), I've been keeping tabs on all of the wedding details, and I am thrilled at the idea of watching it on television despite the super early hour here on the east coast. I consider myself somewhat of a princess expert (though only of the fictional variety, having written my Master's thesis about the roles of love and gender in the lives of Disney's princesses), and, like so many women, I've wondered more than once what it would be like to be a real life princess.
And, lately, watching all of the specials and made-for-TV movies about the upcoming royal nuptials has made me think, "Hey! I wanna be a princess!" Nevermind that I don't have the slightest idea about what being a princess really entails. In my mind, it's all glamour and glitz and fabulousness. Ballgowns and tiaras and glass slippers. Of course that's not reality, but daydreaming about a princess-like life has made me think about what being a princess really means -- and how I can make living like a princess (somewhat of) a reality in my own life. Silly as it might sound, living like a princess is a possibility. Your reality is what you make it! Here are my thoughts on how to live life just like a princess (or prince)...

9 Ways to Live Like a Princess

1. Handle irritations with grace. Princesses know how to deal with difficultly. A truly great princess will look at the bright side of things and try to make the most of bad situations. She will not let herself get ruffled by minor irritations and when such irritations do find her, she will handle them with grace. 

2. Surround yourself with beautiful things. You don't have to be an actual princess to surround yourself with beautiful things. You should always find ways to bring a little joy into your life. Keep your favorite things, your favorite colors, etc. around you at all times -- just like a princess would! 

3. Find mentors to look up to. All the princesses I know (okay, have read about or watched on TV) have a good mentor, someone that they can look to for guidance. I think, princess or not, we can all use that. Someone that provides us with a great foundation and lots of inspiration -- that's what everyone needs! 

4. Be inspiring to others. A true princess is an inspiration to others. She knows she is gifted with a special position in life (as all of us are!) and she uses it for good. A good princess does what she can to inspire other people not only with her words, but with her actions as well. 

5. Find ways to make the world better. One of the best ways to be a great royal figure is to make the world a better place. Even if you aren't an actual royal, you can always do your part to make the world better. Even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference. 

6. Treat others with fairness. Princesses should act with fairness. Whether you're balancing a tiara on your head or not, it can be very difficult to treat everyone fairly, but it's a truly dignified way to act. No matter who you interact with, treat them with kindness and fairness. 

7. Give loved ones the royal treatment. While being a princess does mean receiving the royal treatment from time to time (and, yes, you should treat yourself sometimes!), it also means being giving and gracious. A princess with a good heart will never hesitate to give to others -- and neither should you. 

8. Keep an open mind. Just like a regular person, any princess will benefit from an open mind. As a political figure and inspiration to her people, a princess should be open-minded and supportive of others' ideas. It's a hard thing for anyone to do, but keeping an open mind is an amazing way to act princess-like. 

9. Stay true to your values. A princess should have a strong sense of self and she should stay true to what she believes in no matter what she encounters. I'm sure there are many temptations for a princess to stray from what is true to her, but a true princess will always honor herself and her beliefs. 

You want to be a princess or a prince? You might not be able to get the title (who needs that!), but you can certainly live a life fit for a royal. After all, there's no need to wait for a prince -- or wish one had been born into a royal family -- to start living like a princess. If I've learned anything from watching all of these pre-wedding specials, it's that being royalty has much more to do with character than it has to do with fancy events and sparkly jewels. A true princess is someone who is an inspiration to others, who inspires herself, and who knows how to make the most of the life she's been given.


5 ways to stay present in challenging times


Staypositive ()

Today's post was written by Henri Junttila. Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud, where he covers topics such as 33 Powerful Ways of Overcoming Fear. He also has a free eCourse that teaches you how to find your passion in 5 days or less. Be sure to stop by his site and check it out! 


Everyone goes through challenging times, but most people don’t know how to deal with them. They end up digging themselves into a hole of negativity that they cannot get out of. For many this leads to relentless self-sabotage. The good news is that there are ways to deal with negativity through increasing the time you spend in the present moment. It’s not easy, and it’s not an overnight fix, but it works, and it will transform your life if you let it. Here’s how you do it …


5 Ways to Stay Present in Challenging Times


1. Curiosity

When you run into challenges, your mind will start racing. It will start looking at all the things that are going wrong, and all the things that can go wrong. This is when you have to become curious. Notice how your mind is getting out of control. Observe the feelings that you are experiencing without judgment. Become the watcher of your inner space, and remember that you are not your thoughts. We have a tendency to get immersed in our thoughts and believe that they are real, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You are the watcher behind your thoughts.


2. Mindset

My mindset has always helped me get through tough times, because every challenge I face I see as an opportunity for personal development. It’s easier said than done, I know, but even a small shift in perspective makes a big difference in how you feel and how well you cope with what is happening. Life is an adventure full of ups and downs. You will never get rid of negativity altogether, so you might as well accept it and use those challenges to grow.


3. Awareness

Without a doubt, one of the most important parts of staying present during challenging times is your awareness. Awareness allows me to keep watching my thoughts even as I am writing this. It allows me to feel my fingers type and my muscle move. It will help you notice whenever negative thoughts emerge. A sure-fire sign that you’ve got intruders (negative thoughts) inside is when you start feeling bad. Thoughts precede feelings. When you feel bad, go inside and notice what thoughts are causing it, and get curious about them. Look at what the thoughts are about, notice how the feeling feels, and how it acts. Stay in the now, and allow your thoughts and feelings to be where they are.

4. Meditation

Meditation is a powerful ally. Simply sitting down, closing your eyes, and breathing for 10 minutes can help you accept what you’re going through. It will calm you down, increase your awareness and infuse your life with happiness. It’s not going to transform your life in an instant. It is a practice that needs to be used consistently, but even small amounts of it can go a long way. If you feel yourself slipping out of the now and drowning in negativity, take a time out, sit down, take five deep breaths, close your eyes, and focus all your attention on your breath for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can focus your attention on your heart, or you can simply observe your thoughts and feeling rush by, like fish in a stream. Everything will pass sooner or later. Thoughts come and go. People come and go, and we come and go.

5. Passion

I know passion is kind of weird to throw in here, but hear me out …You see, when you’re living a life full of passion, you will have a much easier time staying present and tackling the challenges that come up. Years ago, when I was a professional poker player, the challenges I ran into devastated me. Each small thing was like being punched in the stomach by Mike Tyson. It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly wasn’t fun. When I finally let go and summoned enough courage to go after my passion, things started going much more smoothly. Challenges still happen, but I am more motivated than ever to get through them. They help me grow, and my passion helps me stay in the present moment.


When you are in the now, you automatically accept what is going on. When challenges pop up, we tend to spin negative stories in our heads, which only make everything worse. Be aware of what goes on inside, accept it, and stay with it. Become a child when it comes to your negative emotions … explore them, play with them, and embrace them unconditionally.

This post was written by Henri Junttila, author of Wake Up Cloud. As I mentioned, he also has a free eCourse that teaches you how to find your passion in 5 days or less. If you're struggling to fin your passion in life, don’t miss it!


stop and smell the roses: 5 ways to be present now


"Don't hurry. Don't worry.
You're only here for a short visit.
So don't forget to stop and smell the roses."

Walter Hagen

It seems to be this way every year -- one morning I wake up and it's suddenly spring. Trees are blooming, flowers are poking their sleepy heads out of the ground, and birds are chirping excitedly at all hours of the day. It's impressive, the way nature just bursts into bloom so brilliantly every year, surprising me every time. No matter how many times I experience it, spring is always a welcome relief to the cold drudgery of winter. Everything seems once again alive, moving, relieved as I am for the sunshine and the cleansing of the April rain. 

As I was walking my little pup, Bella, this morning it occurred to me that, as much as I think I'm enjoying the springtime, I haven't really been taking advantage of it the way I should be. I haven't been embracing the moment. Before I know it, it will be the way-too-hot summer and I'll be complaining about the ungodly heat so I know it's in my best interest to enjoy these pleasantly warm, flower-bursting days while I can. At this very moment, Bella is out on the balcony, nose in the air, taking in all the scents and sounds of springtime while I am sitting here, indoors, writing.

I'm missing something. I'm not enjoying the beautiful spring days the way I should and, though I've been vaguely aware of that fact for the past few weeks, I still find myself inside participating in activities much more suited to the winter months -- watching movies, baking, spending hours on the computer. It's not that these things don't have value -- they do! -- but it's time for me to stop thinking about the beauty of spring and start actually enjoying it. Here's what I'm going to do to start stopping and smelling those roses. 

5 Ways to Be Present This Spring

1. Go outside as often as possible. This can be a tough one for me, as I love being on the computer. (I'm still not sure why they haven't fixed the glare issue on laptops and iPads so I can take them outdoors and actually see them.) However, being on the computer outside isn't really being present in the spring moment, and I'm going to make a big effort this spring -- starting today! -- to spend as much time outdoors as I can. 

2. Pay attention to the little things. When I'm outdoors, I'm going to make an extra special effort to pay attention to the little things. I'm already pretty good at this -- noticing the new buds on plants, spotting an unusual flower or insect -- but this year I'm going to pay attention even more to the small things around me. I'm a big fan of using my visual sense, but I'm going to start paying attention with all five senses to really get in touch with the season of spring. 

3. Stop rushing and slow down. One of the reasons I struggle to enjoy the season is because I'm often in a rush. I have work, plans, things to cross off of my to-do list. Even on the weekends, I'm often "busy" with something I feel I must get done. If I really want to enjoy this spring, I realize that I must slow down and stop rushing. I need to take my dog on longer walks. I need to take the long way from the parking lot to my office. I need to stop rushing and start slowing down. 

4. Learn the names of plants/animals. It's occurred to me more than once that I have no idea what some of the plants or animals are around my building. I've lived in the same zip code for most of my life and yet I don't know the names of some of the trees I see every single day. I always say I should learn what they are, but I never have. This spring I'm going to finally figure it out. Going through the process of learning more about my environment will certainly help me to be more present 

5. Bring the spring indoors. I cannot tell you how many times my mom has come over to my apartment and said to me, "Why don't you open those windows? Get some fresh air in here!" I usually shake my head and tell her defiantly that I don't want fresh air. But why? Fresh air is probably the very thing I need and there are so few days (when it's not way too hot or way too cold) that I can actually open the windows and let the air in. This spring I'm going to start opening windows, start letting the sounds and smells and sights of spring indoors. 


Being present at any time of year is a struggle for me (which is the very reason I started this site!), but it's a skill I'm striving to improve. Every year, I look back on the perfect months that fall between the most aggressive seasons of summer and winter and wonder why I didn't do more to enjoy them. When winter comes around again (or even the sweltering summer heat), I don't want to find myself once again wishing that I'd enjoyed the mellow months more. This year I'm going to make much more of an effort to take part in the spring festivities going on outside in nature -- and I'm going to start by spending the rest of today outdoors! 

How do you enjoy the spring months? 
What advice do you have for someone striving
to be present this spring?