Minimal Monday

I have just finished reading The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks. It is not the first time I’ve read this book, but it is the first time I can truly say it feels like Hendrick’s theory will stick.

His theory is this: We all inherited a limit in childhood for happiness, success, love, and abundance. This settling point became our belief about how much good we could have or feel in our life. According to Hendricks, this leaves most of us with an Upper Limit Problem. When we begin to exceed our own expectations, we will do something to sabotage that. The ways in which we sabotage are many, too many for the scope of this blog post.

Once we become conscious of this Upper Limit Problem, and change our beliefs about what we are really capable and worthy of, life becomes more fulfilling, abundant, and exciting. After reading his book three times, at three different stages of life, I can finally say I get it now. I’m a believer.

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

Whether we are talking about a project, a routine, or a whole life, there is something very satisfying about a reset. To stop and capture the status of our situation and regroup before reengaging, in my opinion, is a worthwhile pause. Sometimes this looks like brainstorming, journaling, or rewriting a task list. Other times, it may look like cancelling plans, clearing out a garage or office or pantry. A fresh list, outline, or shelf can go hand in hand with a fresh outlook. Spring is just around the corner. What will your reset be?

Minimal 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

Happy Monday!

Minimal Monday

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┬álife 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

Minimal Monday

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.

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

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

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 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!