One Crazy Idea to guarantee a deeper connection for your family at the holidaysDec 13, 2019
Throw a group of people together into one space, add sugar and alcohol, stress from daily life, worry about the state of the world, and plenty of passion and opinions about how to fix things. Now stir in family history and family dynamics with decades of patterning and you’ve created the perfect environment for misinterpretation, tension, stress, pretense, survival, and blow-ups. It’s a miracle we still expect to leave our holiday gatherings feeling connected and restored! Yet, most of us continue to have high hopes (often forgetting how last year ended up) and look forward to our time with family.
Whether this explains your family to a tee, or you are one of the unique situations where your family gets along swimmingly, here’s a bold idea that will help create another level of intimacy and nourishment for all.
Set the communication stage!
Start out with a family meeting (could be an email announcement/invitation or even a sign on the door) upon arrival and set some ground rules for your gathering:
This is about setting the container for effective connection, leaving people with the experience of being heard, connected and fulfilled from their time together.
State your intention to everyone present: do you want people to have a deeper connection when they leave? Know each other better? Deepen the family ties? Use your own words here. “I want everyone to leave feeling more connected and to learn one new thing about each other.”
If you want to go big, and help everyone drop into feeling present, do a little meditation or just pause for a moment and ask them to notice what’s happening in their “space” and invite an exhale together.
Now set the ground rules:
- Be curious about each other
- Listen and reflect before speaking
- When you speak, share your experience rather than offering an opinion, (opinion is one of the lowest forms of dialogue) and be vulnerable (people can handle it and in fact they want it from you)
- Don’t try to convince others of anything
- Taboo topics like money, politics, religion, mental health etc. are what are on peoples’ minds. With these ground rules, it’s possible to allow some movement in relationship and conversation instead of squashing communication with pretense and rules around what cannot be discussed.
So...as I’ve been thinking of writing this, I can hear the pushback.
“That sounds awkward”
“I can’t tell people how to act”
“Who am I to direct their communication?”
But notice - we are directing our family throughout the entire season - offering gift suggestions, coordinating food contributions, directing traffic, and even in some cases asking people to wear specific clothing items/colors and/or take their shoes off at our front door.
Why not set up some guidelines around communication and make your 2019 Holiday stand out from the rest by creating more connection? Crazy right?
Our hope for you is that your holiday is better than ever because with more honest conversation and less pretense, family time can be nourishing instead of stress creating.
Happy Holidays from the SpiralMethod Team!
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