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 was away last week, meeting my brand new grandson. My middle daughter had a beautiful baby boy and I am in love. After eight days spent with their family, it was difficult to leave. My arms ache to hold him again already; I miss our quiet morning snuggles when I would let his parents sleep a bit. I miss my daughter. I find myself longing for the simplicity of older times, when families almost always lived very close. But I encouraged all three of my daughters to follow their dreams, and this daughter’s dreams have taken her out of state for now, a nine hours drive away.

About halfway along our route to meet our new grandson, my husband and I stopped overnight in the Finger Lakes of New York. We stayed in a castle-like hotel, a quirky old place with giant doors and high ceilings and a spiral staircase leading down to the bathroom, a room with no door.

I was nearly asleep at 11p.m. when my cell phone rang. It was a call from a private number. Typically, I would ignore a call like this, but because my daughter was still in the hospital, I quickly decided it was best to take the call just in case…

An eerie, raspy voice on the other end said, “This is your mother”.

I hung up.

I would certainly chalk this up to a wrong number or a prank call. And normally, I would have at least responded with “You have the wrong number” before hanging up.

But I am in the process of having my memoir published – my memoir that is about my alienation from my now dead mother. So I was a little spooked.

Life is spooky sometimes. My childhood was spooky. When your loving mother disappears without a trace, it’s weird, confusing, scary. When something so enormous happens, so life-altering, you may even spend a good part of your life seeking answers, or writing about it.

And much of your life may still be beautiful, with love and purpose and work; perhaps with children and grandchildren of your own and getting to witness the unfolding of their own precious lives; with sunshine and boat rides and birthday cakes and long walks and long hugs; with meaningful conversation and special dinners and tears and stressors and pure joy. All of that and so much more.

But through all of it, something will keep calling you back to the seeking and the writing and the Truth. For me, that something is my mother.

“This is your mother”, said the voice on the phone.

And so it is.

Minimal Monday

Linda Cliatt-Wayman is a successful leader in education and is powered by her belief in the potential of all children. Her love, passion and unwavering focus on improving the future of children living in poverty is admirable and inspiring. I am not sure how I missed her acclaimed Ted Talk in 2015, but I am glad that I came across it this year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe2nlti47kA.

She invoked powerful methods to transform a Philadelphia school and there were no tasks too big or too trivial on her watch. First and foremost, she made the school a safer place. Everyone knows children cannot learn while they are scared, uncared for and unloved. In addition, she upgraded the aesthetics of the school by recycling or discarding unused furniture and materials. The school went from chaotic and filthy to organized, orderly and colorful.

Doesn’t everyone deserve an environment that is safe and pleasing? How wise to recognize the importance of the physical environment in showing students – or anyone- that they are worthy human beings.

What a remarkable leader. If you have not yet seen her Ted Talk, I invite you to watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe2nlti47kA

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

I have been very fortunate in motherhood with three wonderful, grown daughters whom I adore. Mother’s Day is a happy, celebratory occasion for me.

But last night as I was going to bed, I was thinking of all the moms who have been alienated from their children after a contentious divorce, as my mother had been when I was just four years old (the topic of my memoir-in-progress). I personally know a few of these mothers, and occasionally hear from others whom I’ve never met. They are loving, kind, deeply saddened mothers who desperately want to reconnect with the stolen hearts of their children.

I will not go into detail about ‘attachment-based parental-alienation’ because it is beyond the scope of this blog post (*It happens to dads too). But what I do want to tell you is that last night, without overthinking it or even pre-planning it, I reached out to a large number of these parents on a private online group, and shared my heartfelt thoughts with them. I just couldn’t let Mother’s Day go by without offering my understanding, empathy, and love. And they deeply, sincerely appreciated it.

What does this have to do with decluttering or minimalism? When we are doing our best to get rid of all that does not serve our best lives, including old beliefs, fear, and overthinking our heart’s desires and impulses, often what comes through are the most natural, aligned and effortless words and deeds.

Love isn’t hard.

Minimal Monday

Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for a podcast about healing. This particular episode was about the ways in which decluttering can be a tool for healing. I can easily talk about simplifying as a means to free up your space, mind, calendar and creativity. I am a fervent proponent of the many benefits; the freedom, the momentum, the lightness….

But when asked to speak of decluttering as a practice for healing, I have to take a deep breath. The topic goes straight to my heart and conjures up the experience of navigating my own core wound. Indeed, I do believe that decluttering is a tool for allowing and uncovering what needs our attention. Freed from distractions and clutter, we are left to face ourselves, to come home to ourselves.

The conversation took that deeper dive, and if I had to summarize it in one passage, it would be this:

If there is too much inner and outer extraneous matter, we will avoid – or never find – the way to healing. On the contrary, it is hard to be uncluttered and remain lost, because the way forward is revealed in the open spaces. Clarity will lead you home every time.

THE UNCLUTTERED MOTHER: Free Up Your Space, Mind & Heart

Minimal Monday

The wound is the place where the light enters you.” -Rumi

This morning I awoke feeling especially committed to finishing and seeking publication for my memoir. It is my writing project that requires the most vulnerability, risk, and the biggest investment of time and heart and mental strength.

Several years ago, I took first place at Boston MOTH live storytelling event while performing a piece from my memoir-in-progress. I was recently able to obtain a recording of this event, although I haven’t played it yet. I had been very encouraged after that night at the MOTH – elated even- and I had high hopes for my memoir. But then everyday life and fear and the distractions of other projects kicked in and it was just so easy to deny how much time was slipping by without making a lot of progress. I had excerpts published here and there, but too often I let the work go untouched for weeks, and often months, at a time. Those months turned into years of a project that rarely saw the light of day. I was moving it forward, but at a snails pace.

I guess it has taken me until now to finally give myself the permission that is required to complete such a thing. I think that permission has been building, coming from many sources, both internal and external, but the bottom line is that I finally accept that this book is part of my purpose.

Shining a light on our wounds while also showing how we are transformed by the wisdom that is granted, or the knowledge, or healing or forgiveness, is the gift of memoir. It is one way, my way, of being of service and finding meaning in a world where suffering happens.

Perhaps I’ve been a slow learner, or a fearful participant, and am finally embracing the work is that is mine to do. I am grateful to be all-in on this project once again, and this time to see it all the way through to the light.

Happy Monday!

***

I write a bit about healing old wounds in my book, The Uncluttered Mother.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875169163/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_NF90YHKDCJ2K3WSGB0VF

If you have read and enjoyed this book, please consider leaving me a reviewIt would be greatly appreciated. I want to share my book with hardworking, overwhelmed moms far and wide. Reviews are an important part of making this happen. Thank you!

Review here: http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=0875169163

Childhood Trauma and Adult Health

pexels-photo-264889.jpegChildhood trauma, if not healed and released, is very likely to lead to significant health issues in adulthood.  It is time to call BS on the beliefs that keep us from healing, such as:

Time heals all wounds.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.

Leave the past in the past.

The past can’t hurt you anymore.

Groundbreaking research in neuroscience, psychology and medicine tells us that childhood trauma shapes our biology– our brains and our immune system- in ways that predetermine our adult health. The more adverse experiences, the higher our chances of developing heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, alcoholism, depression, etc.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences quiz consists of ten questions regarding childhood traumas such as:
*Being verbally put down & humiliated

*Being emotionally or physically neglected

*Being physically or sexually abused

*Witnessing one’s mother being abused

*Living w/ a parent who is depressed, mentally ill or addicted to alcohol or other substance

*Losing a parent to separation or divorce

You can find the quiz here:  ACE quiz

The higher one’s ACE score, the greater the risk of disease. According to research, scoring 4 or higher can shorten your life span by 20 years!

 How Do We Heal?

Education:

Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Running on Empty by Jonice Webb, PhD

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Trauma Release Process by David Berceli

Mind & Body:

Healthy Diet

Exercise (including Trauma Release Exercises)

Yoga

Energy Healing

Meditation

Mindfulness

Expressing and Connecting:

Talk therapy, speak about the secrets, tell your story

Write, draw, art therapy

Eventual forgiveness

Awareness and education are the first steps along the path to healing. No one wants to live in the past, but the truth is that the past is living within us.  Until we address our histories and then commit to healing trauma, we are essentially neglecting ourselves, mind, body, and spirit. Time does not heal all wounds. But courage does.