Minimal Monday

I’ve been collecting blurbs for my upcoming memoir. In addition, one writer pulled out some lines from my book that he liked a lot. I am sharing these lines below.


• I’ve become the best-behaved little girl, but my hair is still unruly.

• She will tuck our mother back into the past, not worthy of any more effort, and I will do the same.

• Once Catholics, we had stopped going to church several years ago, jumped right off the moving sidewalk of sacraments before her Confirmation.

• I can feel her regret that is so vast it could swallow her; I think her grief might turn her to particles, to the dust in the desert she lives in.

• In this moment, the art is everything.

Happy Monday and Happy Creating!

Minimal Monday

It is just over three months away from the publication date of my upcoming book, You-Know-Who: An Alienated Daughter’s Memoir.

Here are just a few things that are happening in preparation for that:

* I have begun to ask for comments on my book to use for back cover blurbs, press releases and my webpage.

* Awaiting the digital galley of my book and will soon be rereading it to look for any edits the publisher or I may have missed.

* Planning my trip to Athens, Greece where I will speak at the International Conference on Shared Parenting, an event very relevant to the topic of my memoir.

I have worked on my memoir for so long that you’d think I’d be ready to have it out in the world by now. And I am, sort of. But there are moments when I feel like I need another year, another decade, a lifetime. There are some things we have to do before we feel ready, because feeling completely ready may never come.

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

Each year I reread one of Don Miguel Ruiz’s books, and this year I’ve chosen The Four Agreements Companion Book.

Ruiz’s books are full of great wisdom and insight, but I want to share part of a passage that I think is pure gold in its simplicity.

In Chapter Seven, Ruiz writes about seeing through our old beliefs that we adopted from others in order to get to our authentic truth. He acknowledges that this can be very difficult because the belief system that breaks our integrity has our loyalty. So how do we know what is true?

“Go inside and listen to your body because your body will never lie to you. Your mind will play tricks, but the way you feel in your heart, in your gut, is the truth.”

(Ruiz, 2000, p.152)

Isn’t this reason enough to live in our bodies? To take great care of our vessels? To get out of our heads, and to experience the richness of life, including truths that are beautiful and those that are painful, is truly living.

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

With each new year comes the rewarding and fun task of choosing a fresh planner. As I’ve already written about, I love using Cal Newport’s Time-Block Planner to schedule chunks of time to work on writing projects https://danalaquidara.com/2022/08/08/minimal-monday-25/ . But I use a separate tool, an agenda, for my weekly and monthly calendar and to-do list, and I think I think I’ve outdone myself with my choice for 2023. I purchased the Dreambook + Planner which includes far more prompts for hashing out your life dreams, goals and values than any planner should. It also costs as much as a fancy lunch for two, but hey, it lasts all year. https://dreambook.vision/

I ordered this Dreambook + Planner just before life got so “lifey” for me, and then I hesitated to crack it open on January 1st. What was I thinking when I chose such an in-depth planner? Who has time to reflect and journal on things like Am I trustworthy to myself and Am I focusing on the right things? I could feel my eyes rolling at How do I feel in my body when I wake up in the morning and Three Questions for Healing and Evolution. I began to have some buyer’s remorse.

I’ve got a lot on my plate this year and perhaps I should’ve gone with my typical, good ole simple planner. But here’s the thing – When I did finally get myself to sit down with this spiral bound beauty, I felt optimistic, and peaceful, like I might actually benefit from it. When stressful life events come knocking, reminders like How can I reframe something stressful and What does it feel like to take a deep breath and Rituals to thrive are not at all bad. What are you procrastinating? What are you wasting energy on? And a built in Habit Tracker– who can’t benefit from that? My healthy habits keep me grounded and calm. Anything that helps me to stick to them is a good thing.

Sometimes we need simplicity, like a basic calendar. Other times, life calls for a deeper dive, and a lot more thoughtfulness. Perhaps this is my year for the planner that is like a calendar, journal, guide and motivator all in one. I’m taking a deep breath and diving in.

Happy New Year!

Minimal Monday

We are just six days away from the new year and many of us are thinking about new goals, old habits, and what we want 2023 to look like. The fact that next year will bring plenty that I have no control over, is reason enough to do my best at what I can control.

For these things, I have made a short list:

  • My Thoughts Years of consistent meditation has helped me to be in charge of my own mind and I am going to need this skill more than ever.
  • My Beliefs Aren’t beliefs the thoughts that we think over and over? Beliefs were mostly planted by others when we were children, but now we get to consciously choose them. I want to choose wisely and strategically.
  • My Habits My daily habits seriously make or break me. The seemingly small things I do or don’t do each day determine if I am in the flow of life or not and this makes all the difference. One thing I know I need less of in 2023 is making exceptions for overriding good habits; It’s a special occasion, just for today, I’ll get back to it tomorrow, this won’t matter much are all phrases I want to leave behind. They are a slippery slope because life hands us too many excuses for exceptions. What I want more of is planning for success, making good habits easier, automatic, and immediately rewarding.
  • My Environment Last but never least, the environment we create for ourselves either nurtures or hinders everything else. It affects our thoughts, beliefs, habits and energy – how we feel.

Perhaps the golden question for the new year should be How Do You Want to Feel? Then let your answer guide you.

Minimal Monday

I am having a bit of trouble with deciding how to end my book and I think I know why. Life is fluid, always changing, and I believe it is good to allow ourselves to change too. Limiting a story- and in the case of a memoir, half a lifetime – to the finite, physical containment of a book feels a bit confining. Today’s ending may not be tomorrow’s ending; there is always more to come.

I have never been a particularly nostalgic person and I think it is because I want to believe the best is yet to come. I want to feel like I am growing, changing for the better, and open to what is ahead. I don’t ever want to feel stuck or like I am clinging too tightly to what is or what was.

My memoir will have its ending like all books do. My story, on the other hand, will never be bound to the pages. The true ending will always be unwritten.

Happy Monday evening!

Minimal Monday

If you believe that everything is connected, then it makes perfect sense that doing even one small thing can improve everything else.

Let’s just take the example of our home or work environment. If it is messy, chaotic or disorganized, it tends to make us feel lazy, lethargic or overwhelmed. Cleaning it up leads to clarity, and calm. If we feel peaceful and clear-headed, we do better work, make better choices, perhaps even eat better. We feel better.

While working to meet my writing deadline, I’ve let some other things go for a while; seemingly less important things like chores and organizing my workspace. I noticed this was fine for a few days in a row, but then I’d hit a wall. I needed to simply give time to the tasks I’d fallen behind on in order to have clarity of thought and continue being productive. Doing so felt like a shot of good energy to my creative brain. It was so worth the time it took to rewrite my writing task list, clean off my desk, put the laundry away, update my calendar and return the pertinent emails or calls.

Taking fifteen minutes, an hour or even a day to regroup can really recharge our mindsets, our energy, our motivation; it’s all connected.

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

I wanted a book cover that depicted the main challenge in my story and I think this does. The child (me) has the fading memories of a mom (You-Know-Who) who seems to have disappeared. I’ve been reluctant to share my cover because it represents the realness of having my story published, and out into the world. Although I am immensely grateful for this, and have high hopes for it to serve the greater good, it is more out of my comfort zone that anything I have ever done before.

My intention is that my story will help shed light on the pathology of attachment-based parental alienation, and give voice to the alienated children and parents going through this today. My words are meant to inform and heal.

I asked a memoir coach recently, Does the cover look too spooky?

Her response: No. Your story IS spooky. What happened is spooky. Own it.

So here it is. I am sharing it here first, and owning it.

*If anyone is interested in being a beta reader, reading an early copy and sharing your feedback with me, please use the contact form to let me know! (or simply email danalaq@gmail.com). I could send it to you on November 21st and would need it back two weeks later, on December 5th.

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

I must admit, in light of Elon Musk’s recent shenanigans, I was happy to have the perfect excuse to ditch Twitter. It’s not as though I really needed an excuse, but until the quit-twitter bandwagon, I had been letting inertia keep me there. I was an inactive user (wait, is that an oximoron?) I had created the account long ago, back when I thought I had to do All the Things, and then I felt inadequate because I was too overwhelmed and inconsistent to actually partake in any meaningful way. I do appreciate that many people will miss the old Twitter; I am just not one of them.

I don’t want to do All the Things. I want to do a couple things well. I want to be happy with how my memoir is turning out, and once it’s published I want to do my part to get it in the right readers’ hands, those who will benefit from my story. I want to do this mindfully.

At a time when writers and other artists and entrepreneurs are being told to be heard, play big, and be seen, be everywhere, all I want to do is the opposite of that. More and more, I just want to be quiet. I want to keep writing and sharing my writing, but beyond that I want to be still. I crave to be in nature, and cook creative and healthy meals, and, borrowing from James Taylor, to shower the people I love with love.

It must be the act of writing memoir, the calling forth of my memories, regrets, and truth that is causing me to feel, I don’t know, reverent? Humble? I am at peace with the process but I require a lot of reflection, presence, and solitude to nurture this process and to allow the right words to come through me. And I am beginning to trust that this is enough for now, and that things are going to unfold as they should. I believe that my story will shed light, educate, and offer hope. I believe it so much that I don’t want to shout it. I want to whisper with my whole heart.

Or maybe I’m just lazy. But I don’t think so.

Perhaps it is partly due to the stage of writing that I am in, or my age, but I think it’s more than that, and I am curious to find out where this feeling takes me.

I know I am not the only one tired of all that steals our attention when we just need to be still. We are all finding our way to our balance, our sweet spot, the outer reflection of our inner worlds. It looks different for each person and it is never a linear path, is it?

Minimal Monday

I have been thinking about the ways in which we do or do not honor our commitments to ourselves. I think this is an area that I sometimes struggle with. I am great at honoring my commitments to others. If I say I am going to do something, you can bet I will follow through. But although I keep some commitments to myself, I have broken others on many occasions.

Why is that? Why is my word to others more important than my word to myself? This is something I am working on changing right now. I believe that this one skill- prioritizing our own commitments to things we say we want to do for our own lives- is a meta skill that can uplevel our whole lives.

Exercising this skill builds a sense of self-trust which is so important, but what if the habit of putting others’ wants, needs, or expectations above our own is so ingrained, so seemingly natural, that it is hard to change?

Here is an empowering thought that I feel is helping me:

Every time I make a choice to honor my own purpose, health or wellbeing, and then follow through, I am ultimately adding light to the world. And every choice that stifles or limits my potential denies those benefits to others as well.

Honor yourself first and see how your light expands.

Happy Monday!