My memoir is “in production” as the publishers say, which means it is well past time for me to wake up to the fact that This Is Really Happening. In fact, it is ahead of schedule now and due to be published on March 21st, just three weeks away! So without further ado, here is one more endorsement that I received from a very gracious reader:
“This book is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the experience of Parental Alienation from the perspective of the child. The author’s first-hand account of how manipulation can be used by adults to undeservedly turn a child against a parent they love and intentionally sever familial bonds eliminates any doubt that Parental Alienation is a form of emotional child abuse with life-long impact. I’m grateful this book has been written, because the best chance parents and children affected by alienation have of finding their way back to each other is when those who once had no choice and no voice speak up.“
— Doris Newlun, child advocate and targeted parent
See you next Monday!
I’ve spent a fair amount of time lately getting various things in order so that I can fully focus on my memoir revisions. There is something about having my home, calendar and to-do list in good order that frees up my mind to write.
Doing deep work requires we stay in the moment. I don’t know about you, but loose ends tend to pull me right out of the moment. I feel fully prepared for this week of diving right in and doing the work to the best of my ability.
Last week I shared a blurb written for my book https://danalaquidara.com/2023/02/13/minimal-monday-46/
And as promised, here is another one:
“Dana’s book is a moving story of alienation from the child’s point of view. It is heartbreaking to see her try to make sense of the trauma she was subjected to as a girl. Everyone who works with children of divorce should read this book so they understand why a child may not “admit” to wanting to see a beloved parent and how loyalty conflicts can last well into adulthood.”
–Ginger Gentile, Director of the Erasing Family Documentary and Creator of Reversing Parental Alienation Consulting
In another month or so, I will be getting my manuscript back from the publisher and will have a week to make the requested changes. During that week, I imagine myself hiding away in order to fully concentrate on the revisions. That act of complete focus on one project is a luxury and a gift in modern times. I somehow feel both intimidated by the task and elated at the thought of it. Do you know what I mean?
In the meantime, each week I will share one the blurbs I’ve received for my memoir, YOU-KNOW-WHO. Here’s the first one:
Family custody stories invariably focus on the dramas surrounding real-time battles over children, the tug-of-war syndrome. But what of the long-term effects? And how those effects shape those same children long into adulthood? In YOU-KNOW-WHO, Dana Laquidara chronicles a different kind of trauma, the time-released microbursts that continue to resonate not for years but for decades. The author’s mother was exiled from her life when she was just four years old (and the child’s life was “cleaved into before and after,” as Laquidara so searingly writes), long before academic and legal studies into Parental Alienation had gained traction. It has taken the author a lifetime to process, to understand, to heal. Her journey is one that she recounts with skill and compassion and boundless love.
–William J. McGee, author of HALF THE CHILD, a novel about child custody and abduction
There are several different types of clutter, and one that we don’t talk a lot about is emotional clutter.
Emotional energy is designed to move through the body, and with light emotions like joy, peace, and love, they do. Those feelings are easy to feel, so there is no reason to supress them.
But we tend to want to avoid or suppress the denser, heavier emotions of fear, grief, anger, or other unpleasant feelings, some of them being a result of trauma. Where do those emotions go if we consciously or unconsciously deny them? They settle into the body of course.
I cringe to think of all the things that are said to prevent people from feeling their feelings, such as Be a big boy (or girl) and don’t cry, Leave the past behind (without processing it), Don’t be so sensitive, Distract yourself with this, and Stay silent (this one isn’t said outright, but is communicated covertly). It’s no wonder there are a lot of clogged up humans walking around.
Emotional clutter compromises our energy, our happiness, and our physical and mental health. I cannot think of a worse kind of clutter to have. So while we are clean -eating and clean-sweeping, and clearing our calendars, we can’t forget to breath, get out of our heads, resist all the available distractions, and allow all the feels to come through.
Sometimes doing our best means having a day in which we make great strides on a personal or work project, or help someone else out, or simply stick to our new improved routine and habits.
Other times, doing our best may mean simply prioritizing one thing, and doing that.
Today was a “one thing” day for me. After a lengthy, unpleasant morning appointment, all I wanted to do was go home and rest for the remainder of the day. And I did rest. But at some point, I started to feel like I would regret doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. Doing just one thing felt doable and sensible.
So I brought my laptop to the couch where I’d been having my do nothing day. I organized some book edits. That felt good, productive, painless. It was just one thing. But it led to another. And another. Now here I am writing this blog post, because it’s Monday after all.
When we feel like doing nothing, sometimes that is what we need. And having too many things to do can be overwhelming. But I find if I pick just one thing, and do that, it starts a momentum, and other things follow.
Everyone can do just one thing, even on a bad day.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.