08/09/2012 05:25 EDT | Updated 10/09/2012 05:12 EDT

10 Tips for Epic Family Bonding on Vacation


Are you heading out on vacation soon? Do you want a little family bonding to occur while you are away? Bonding (coming together, connecting) requires something that seems to be the opposite of requires a "letting go" -- letting go of control, letting go of expectations, letting go of limiting beliefs, letting go of those things that prevent...well, bonding.

I just got back from vacation, and while I was away I noticed that some things definitely contributed to the kind of solid family bonding I desired. Try these 10 tips -- which just happen to fit the word "Relinquish":

Release Judgement -- of yourself, your children, your spouse, your dog (or whoever else is with you); judgement shuts down fresh possibility.

Engage Fully -- when someone speaks to you, drop everything else (the really good book you are reading, the cocktail you are holding... maybe not the expensive fishing rod until you can reel it in...) and focus on that person; look him or her directly in the eye.

Listen Closely -- I will bet that if you really listen to your family members, you'll discover all sorts of things about them (and yourself) that you never knew... this is guaranteed, especially if you release judgement and engage fully.

Invite Musings -- help others to learn about you by sharing your inner thoughts and musings about life. (Why do I like fishing so much, while I cannot stand touching the fish or even keeping it once it is caught?)

Nurture Positivity -- focus hard on those positive moments of laughter and connection as they occur, and appreciate them (writing them down can help them 'grow').

Quit Feeding Limiting Expectations -- allow yourself to stop expecting others to be anything but what and who they are -- and your expectations (and experience) will magically change (for the better).

Understand Uniqueness -- remember that being on vacation means different things to different people (for example, your husband might want to take a vacation from things like showering and shaving while you are at the cottage... hypothetically speaking, of course).

Ignite Energy -- Jump in and try something new, and notice the neurons firing in your brain as you do (yup, that sound you can hear over your screaming is firing neurons!).

Say 'Thank You' -- regularly let the people around you know that you are grateful they are there (even if they give you a strange look when you do... "are you sick or something, mom?").

Have a Mindful Vacation -- be present; savour the sights, sounds, and feelings available to you each and every moment you are together...they pass quickly.