Minimal Monday

A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!

I have the great privilege of being the mother to three wonderful adult daughters. I share a little bit about those years in my first book, The Uncluttered Mother Motherhood has been my greatest joy and endeavor in life. No matter what else I may fail or succeed at, it will pale in comparison to the value I have put on raising and loving human beings.

Two of my daughters are (fabulous!) mothers themselves now, while they simultaneously juggle artistic and career endeavors. Having more little children to love and watch grow fills my heart to overflowing. They are each precious, unique individuals who have come here to fulfill their own destinies, to follow their curiosities, to hopefully become more and more of themselves.

Caregivers are crucial in this whole process of unfolding a human being, this metamorphosis. And treating children like complete human beings, validating their feelings and experiences, shaping their habits (because habits make up a life), guiding and loving them, is no small task. It’s huge.

So my wish is that rather than just giving lip service to mothers on Mother’s Day about how much we value that role, society supports mothers with action.

What would that look like?

It would look like less pressure on young woman to treat motherhood like some little side gig while they are fulfilling their other roles, especially in the workplace.

It would look like longer maternity leave, and better and more affordable childcare.

It would look like more extensive follow-up for the physical and mental well-being of the moms- not just the infants- postpartum.

And it would look like longer paternity leave and more support for dads who are trying to be involved fathers, or equal participants in the massive job of child-rearing.

It would look like treating early childhood like the crucial and sacred stage of life that it is instead of some stage to pass through to get the “important ones”.

It would look like protecting children from trauma.


Before I go, I want to give a special shout-out to alienated moms, the mothers who were unjustifiably cut out of their child’s life after divorce. Because of my own experience of being alienated from my loving mother when I was four years old, I have come to know many alienated parents, and have heard too many heart wrenching stories. For any of you reading this, I see you, I honor you, and my greatest hope for you is that your children make their way back home to you.

Minimal Monday

I was listening to The Mel Robbin’s podcast episode #58 on making your home and your mind clutter-free and I thought I’d share my takeaways with you. Of course, if you get a chance to listen to the episode yourself, you might find it useful and inspiring, so here it is

Otherwise, read on for a few simple nuggets from Mel’s guest, Dana K. White, founder of the blog A Slob Comes Clean and author of How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind:

#1. Declutter before organizing. If your stuff does not fit well within its containers, closet, room, or home, there is too much of it. When you declutter first, there is less stuff for you to organize.

#2. Start with throwing away any trash, then move on to easy-to-donate items. When you start with the easy stuff, you will gain momentum, clarity, and proof of progress before you get to the more difficult items. This will make going through the more sentimental items easier, because you will already be experiencing the payoff of clearer space.

#3. Put things away or in trash/recycle/donation bags as your are organizing; don’t create piles that you need to come back to deal with.

Of course they covered much more in the podcast episode, but that is my minimal recap! Everyone deserves a peaceful, well organized home because it means less stress, more clarity, space, energy, and even more time to spend on all that is meaningful to you.

Minimal Monday

We live in such a cerebral culture that I find myself wondering if at some point we collectively left our bodies to hang out mostly in our heads. I was reading about the people of Sardinia who grow their own food and live by the rhythms of the earth and their own circadian rhythms. They are generally very healthy and happy and many of them to live to be 100 and beyond.

Most of us are not going to move to an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea, yet I think that many of us are practicing certain habits in order to come back to the present, to the body. Yoga, meditation, and even stopping to take few deep breaths can help silence the mind chatter that is our nemesis. Exercise, a healthy diet, getting still and allowing feelings to flow through us, goes a long way to embodying our best lives.

Trauma, societal pressure, well-worn habits, and the examples that were set before us can all contribute to us leaving our bodies, repressing (let me count thy ways!) and over-thinking (a real addiction!)

Of course using our mind is important and cherished, but it is so easy to forget that our best thoughts, ideas and solutions come to us – through us – when we are not stuck in our heads.

We are human beings, not machines, and our bodies hold our memories, messages, intuition. It takes a conscious effort, a daily choice on my part, to remember this and to try to live accordingly. I am so very far from mastering it, but I am recommitting to trying my best. I do believe that a continual coming back to the body, where the heart dwells, holds the key to clarity, wholeness, to nearly everything.

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

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

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

One of my favorite and most challenging areas to simplify is my writing life. My memoir coach, the talented and magnificent Marion Roach Smith, has told me that every scene should move the story forward. (You can find Marion here:

The writing advice that we should kill our darlings, a phrase coined by William Faulkner, is ever-present in my mind these days. It means that writers “must ruthlessly eliminate any words, characters, side plots or turns of phrase that we personally love but that do nothing for the story.” Memoir should not be a recounting of everything we remember. It needs a theme, and the particular scenes that support that theme. Everything else needs to go.

Rather than calling it killing my darlings though, I prefer to say clearing out my writing clutter. It suits me better. And a major part of my revision process has been to do just that. Chapter by chapter, I am applying my love for decluttering, clarity and simplicity, so that every scene is poignant and nearly every word is necessary. Who would’ve thought my passion for decluttering and organizing would serve me so well in writing? I think Marion will be proud.