The Holidays and Autism: Holding Fast and Letting Go

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By Theresa M Regan, Ph.D. and Theresa M Regan. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Join Dr. Regan for this episode on neurodiversity and holiday celebrations. Sometimes the most memorable moments come from holding tightly to our foundations and releasing other things that don't fit our season of life or individual needs.

Planning a Merry Holiday on the Autism Spectrum, podcast episode 2020

Dr. Regan's Resources

Course for Clinicians - Interventions in Autism: Helping Clients Stay Centered, Connect with Others, and Engage in Life

Course for Clinicians: ASD Differential Diagnoses and Associated Characteristics

Book: Understanding Autism in Adults and Aging Adults, 2nd ed

Audiobook

Book: Understanding Autistic Behaviors

Autism in the Adult website homepage

Website Resources for Clinicians

Read the transcript here:

1 00:00:03,870 --> 00:00:09,800 Hello and I'm glad you're joining me today for this episode of Autism in the Adult podcast.

2 00:00:09,810 --> 00:00:12,790 I am your podcast host,

3 00:00:12,800 --> 00:00:14,430 Dr Theresa Regan,

4 00:00:14,440 --> 00:00:16,530 a neuropsychologist.

5 00:00:16,540 --> 00:00:25,010 I am the founder and director of an autism diagnostic clinic in central Illinois for adolescents,

6 00:00:25,020 --> 00:00:27,830 adults and geriatric patients.

7 00:00:27,840 --> 00:00:32,780 I'm a certified autism specialist and the mother of a teen on the spectrum.

8 00:00:33,790 --> 00:00:37,770 Today we are going to talk about the holiday season.

9 00:00:37,780 --> 00:00:41,460 If you are listening to this shortly after its release,

10 00:00:41,470 --> 00:00:45,980 you may be within a holiday season as well.

11 00:00:45,990 --> 00:01:01,120 There are many different meaningful celebrations going on at this time of year across the world and those look different across families and countries and backgrounds and faith experiences.

12 00:01:01,470 --> 00:01:07,150 But many of us are celebrating a yearly,

13 00:01:07,160 --> 00:01:09,310 meaningful

14 00:01:09,320 --> 00:01:12,910 moment in our lives and that can get hectic.

15 00:01:12,920 --> 00:01:24,980 It can get exciting ... and we're going to talk about how to do that with intention and meaning and hopefully a bit more peace,

16 00:01:24,990 --> 00:01:33,490 particularly in light of the neuro diversity that may be within your home or your extended family.

17 00:01:34,960 --> 00:01:49,930 I published one other holiday episode two years ago and re ran that last year. I will link that in the show notes in case you're wanting even more ideas or information about holiday seasons.

18 00:01:51,580 --> 00:02:00,770 What I wanted to talk to you about today is really something that impacts everyone regardless of generation,

19 00:02:00,770 --> 00:02:06,720 regardless of region that you're from or what you're celebrating.

20 00:02:07,260 --> 00:02:26,270 It impacts those on the autism spectrum and impacts neurotypicals... it's something that also is not specific to holidays that really these are concepts I want to talk about related to anything that we celebrate and re celebrate,

21 00:02:26,270 --> 00:02:33,050 that we have some kind of tradition for ... this meaningful moment or life season.

22 00:02:33,510 --> 00:02:40,420 And this could pertain to how we celebrate birthdays or the birth of a child,

23 00:02:40,430 --> 00:02:42,290 the death of a family member,

24 00:02:42,300 --> 00:02:43,320 a wedding,

25 00:02:43,320 --> 00:02:44,570 a graduation.

26 00:02:44,580 --> 00:02:47,570 You know that in addition to holidays,

27 00:02:47,570 --> 00:02:52,450 these are events that often have some tradition to them.

28 00:02:52,450 --> 00:02:55,880 Like this is how we

29 00:02:55,890 --> 00:02:57,510 remember this person.

30 00:02:57,510 --> 00:02:59,590 This is how we celebrate this event.

31 00:02:59,600 --> 00:03:02,190 This is this is our tradition.

32 00:03:02,190 --> 00:03:10,420 And what happens in these moments is that we have reproducible

33 00:03:10,430 --> 00:03:13,290 items to how we approach this season.

34 00:03:13,290 --> 00:03:17,340 So we reproduce the birthday celebration.

35 00:03:17,340 --> 00:03:22,740 We reproduce the holiday celebration... that this is what we do every year.

36 00:03:22,740 --> 00:03:24,050 This is our tradition.

37 00:03:24,050 --> 00:03:35,950 This is our expression of joy or meaning or sorrow in the celebration in addition to having a lot of reproduced elements.

38 00:03:35,960 --> 00:03:47,990 These are also times with heightened emotion and intensity and whether those emotions are joyous or sorrowful or complicated,

39 00:03:48,000 --> 00:03:53,010 they are there and particularly for the holiday season,

40 00:03:53,020 --> 00:03:57,700 I think a lot of times there's this feeling of "This year,

41 00:03:57,700 --> 00:03:59,920 we're going to heighten that excitement.

42 00:03:59,930 --> 00:04:05,240 We're going to heighten the anticipation and it will be the best holiday ever!"

43 00:04:05,250 --> 00:04:14,580 And whether we're doing that for ourselves or for kiddos in our household or why we're doing it ... a lot of times.

44 00:04:14,580 --> 00:04:23,330 there's this quest to reproduce and one-up the last time we celebrated these things.

45 00:04:25,050 --> 00:04:39,440 It's important to understand that the same adrenaline that feels exciting to many people during these events can also feel overwhelming.

46 00:04:39,450 --> 00:04:48,360 Adrenaline can feel like anxiety to someone particularly with a sensitive nervous system.

47 00:04:48,360 --> 00:04:53,940 So someone on the autism spectrum may experience that anticipation,

48 00:04:53,940 --> 00:04:54,890 the unknown,

49 00:04:54,890 --> 00:04:56,580 the surprises...

51 00:04:57,670 --> 00:05:03,690 and this heightened emotion and intense schedule as pretty overwhelming.

52 00:05:03,690 --> 00:05:05,190 Whereas someone else might say,

53 00:05:05,200 --> 00:05:05,700 oh,

54 00:05:05,710 --> 00:05:06,590 I love it.

55 00:05:06,600 --> 00:05:09,910 It's this anticipation,

56 00:05:09,920 --> 00:05:11,440 the emotion in the air,

57 00:05:11,440 --> 00:05:14,720 all the memories... I dive in.

58 00:05:14,730 --> 00:05:16,840 It's one of my favorite things.

59 00:05:16,850 --> 00:05:27,540 So here we see that different nervous systems are going to process these moments and celebrations and meaningful events differently.

60 00:05:27,550 --> 00:05:31,050 And that's one of the things we'll talk about today.

61 00:05:34,130 --> 00:05:36,330 I'm going to talk about some things that

62 00:05:36,340 --> 00:05:56,420 I'll invite you to try this holiday season ... or next birthday or next graduation celebration. And one is that I'd really like to invite you to pause and become really psychologically present.

63 00:05:56,930 --> 00:06:04,280 I think one thing that can happen particularly with the holidays that there is this momentum that comes,

64 00:06:04,290 --> 00:06:18,100 it's almost like a tidal wave or a tsunami of events and all of a sudden you are kind of just automatically riding this wave of things that are coming at you.

65 00:06:18,640 --> 00:06:20,080 Again,

66 00:06:20,080 --> 00:06:21,500 they may be fun things.

67 00:06:21,500 --> 00:06:22,820 They may be exciting things,

68 00:06:22,820 --> 00:06:26,230 but often there's really no moment to say,

69 00:06:26,240 --> 00:06:26,800 okay,

70 00:06:26,800 --> 00:06:31,240 let's pause and think about what's going on,

71 00:06:31,250 --> 00:06:32,300 what we need,

72 00:06:32,300 --> 00:06:33,570 what we'd like to do.

73 00:06:33,580 --> 00:06:34,110 Um,

74 00:06:34,120 --> 00:06:39,040 It's just kind of seeing what's coming at us next and riding the wave...

76 00:06:40,000 --> 00:06:46,120 So I do want to invite us to pause and realize,

77 00:06:46,130 --> 00:06:48,130 kind of what season we're in,

78 00:06:48,340 --> 00:06:51,030 what our celebration is about.

79 00:06:51,040 --> 00:06:53,830 And as we're pausing,

80 00:06:53,830 --> 00:06:57,430 I would like you to think about ...

81 00:06:58,350 --> 00:07:02,230 what the season is this year.

82 00:07:02,240 --> 00:07:24,080 One of the best things that I learned at a time in my life that I guess I needed to hear it was that it's okay for every holiday season to be different ... because it will be we reproduce these events and that's fine.

83 00:07:24,080 --> 00:07:26,550 But everything won't be reproducible.

84 00:07:26,560 --> 00:07:37,680 And so one person or family may have a different holiday season this year because they've lost a family member or they've gained family members.

85 00:07:37,690 --> 00:07:42,510 It may be different for health reasons or financial reasons.

86 00:07:42,520 --> 00:07:47,280 And sometimes it's not even an individual difference.

87 00:07:47,290 --> 00:07:47,840 It's

89 00:07:48,450 --> 00:07:50,290 throughout the whole world,

90 00:07:50,290 --> 00:07:50,640 you know...

92 00:07:51,020 --> 00:07:58,370 when we were in the midst of covid and that really just impacted

93 00:07:58,380 --> 00:07:59,190 everyone.

94 00:07:59,200 --> 00:08:28,990 And so we have this ability to then pause and become a bit more self aware of what is happening this season that may be a bit different ... and to realize that it's okay to give space to that and to think about how we might want to engage a bit differently this year given these circumstances.

96 00:08:30,690 --> 00:08:48,590 I think that the intense desire to reproduce and to one-up the greatness and happiness of past holiday seasons can again be the only driving force.

97 00:08:48,600 --> 00:08:51,770 So if we take a moment and pause and think,

98 00:08:51,770 --> 00:08:55,660 what is this holiday season going to be like?

99 00:08:55,660 --> 00:08:59,260 What's what's the reality like in my household,

100 00:08:59,270 --> 00:09:00,450 in my personal life,

101 00:09:00,450 --> 00:09:03,180 my work life, in our region,

102 00:09:03,190 --> 00:09:07,350 in my faith system, in the country...

103 00:09:07,360 --> 00:09:11,320 And let me become aware of that for a moment.

105 00:09:15,230 --> 00:09:27,680 in addition to noticing that the seasons of life change... and that there may be different ways that we want to engage in the holiday season.

106 00:09:27,690 --> 00:09:28,200 (again,

107 00:09:28,210 --> 00:09:29,510 other birthdays,

108 00:09:29,510 --> 00:09:30,310 anniversaries,

109 00:09:30,310 --> 00:09:31,160 etcetera)

110 00:09:31,810 --> 00:09:45,270 there are also differences in people... that one person in your household is going to need something different than another person.

111 00:09:45,620 --> 00:09:49,470 And pausing and thinking about that can be really helpful.

112 00:09:49,470 --> 00:09:49,850 Again,

113 00:09:49,850 --> 00:09:59,700 the drive to reproduce all of these elements the same way the same year for all people around you...

114 00:09:59,700 --> 00:10:01,460 That's really difficult.

115 00:10:01,470 --> 00:10:05,630 And it often doesn't make this season as meaningful.

116 00:10:06,830 --> 00:10:09,180 So for example,

117 00:10:09,180 --> 00:10:10,650 one person,

118 00:10:10,660 --> 00:10:19,480 like we said in the beginning may love surprises and that may be the best part of the holiday season,

119 00:10:19,480 --> 00:10:25,670 that there are all these little surprises and gifts and wow moments like,

120 00:10:25,680 --> 00:10:29,610 oh look at this recipe that this person made,

121 00:10:29,610 --> 00:10:31,010 how new,

122 00:10:31,010 --> 00:10:32,000 how interesting,

123 00:10:32,000 --> 00:10:43,750 how exciting ...another person may really want peace and maybe internal introspection or alone time.

124 00:10:43,750 --> 00:10:51,110 And maybe they want the "silent night" of the Christmas carol ... or

125 00:10:51,120 --> 00:10:57,320 they want to know ahead of time what will happen because they enjoy the experience

126 00:10:57,330 --> 00:11:01,080 but they don't like the excitement or the surprise,

127 00:11:01,090 --> 00:11:05,720 They want to calm down that intensity and that's where the autism piece comes in,

128 00:11:05,980 --> 00:11:17,910 that someone with a heightened neurology or a different neurology may have different desires and needs and to reproduce everything the same year and

129 00:11:17,920 --> 00:11:20,200 for every different person,

130 00:11:20,210 --> 00:11:26,970 I think that takes away some of the real meaning and good memories that we could have.

131 00:11:29,070 --> 00:11:36,290 What I'd like to invite you to do is to think about what your reality is this year.

132 00:11:36,300 --> 00:11:39,710 What has gone on this year in your personal life,

133 00:11:39,710 --> 00:11:40,680 your family life,

134 00:11:40,680 --> 00:11:44,070 what's the reality for people in your home?

135 00:11:45,080 --> 00:11:53,630 And I'd also like you to take a personal inventory and to check in with the people that you're closest with,

136 00:11:53,640 --> 00:12:08,910 that you will be doing the holidays with, and see where they're at and what they need and to take this intentional pause and to ask for everybody's individual needs.

137 00:12:08,920 --> 00:12:18,740 ... I think really helps the holiday season run more smoothly and helps for better connection and more meaning.

138 00:12:21,910 --> 00:12:34,120 Part of the way that an individual is going to respond will be based on their neurologic makeup and part will be based on their own life story this year,

139 00:12:35,900 --> 00:12:45,790 invite people to pick 1, 2, ... 3 things that really are the most meaningful for them during a holiday season.

140 00:12:45,800 --> 00:12:55,390 So you could conceptualize it as what do you want to hold tightly to and what could you hold loosely,

141 00:12:56,140 --> 00:13:02,900 what do you want to be your foundational holiday experience like ...this is meaningful,

142 00:13:02,900 --> 00:13:03,840 I love this.

143 00:13:03,840 --> 00:13:07,400 I look forward to this every year... and what could be,

144 00:13:07,410 --> 00:13:08,420 you know,

145 00:13:08,420 --> 00:13:10,580 something you enjoy and you've done,

146 00:13:10,580 --> 00:13:13,040 but you could hold loosely to it...

147 00:13:13,050 --> 00:13:26,770 you could release it this year and still feel OK. And when everyone has those one or two things and is able to come together,

148 00:13:26,930 --> 00:13:41,160 I would invite you to share that together and see what kinds of things come up that are most meaningful and important to people in this framework.

149 00:13:41,670 --> 00:14:05,400 There is a need to be able to release some things and I think if we are holding on to every reproducible piece of every holiday season tightly because we don't want to miss out or we don't want the kids to miss out or it wouldn't be Christmas without everything going on or Hanukkah,

150 00:14:05,410 --> 00:14:10,540 ... it wouldn't be a birthday if we didn't do this again,

151 00:14:10,540 --> 00:14:21,880 I'd invite you to pause and think about whether we're doing all of those things out of fear that people will miss out on something.

152 00:14:22,460 --> 00:14:31,100 And if so maybe we could release that this year and maybe we could pause and make a few more meaningful choices.

153 00:14:32,500 --> 00:14:45,060 I cannot tell you the number of times I've talked to families in crisis who have a neuro diverse family ... and they're in crisis because you know,

154 00:14:45,070 --> 00:14:51,190 one or more of them is really having a lot more meltdowns and anxiety. And yet when they leave,

155 00:14:51,190 --> 00:14:52,170 they talk about

156 00:14:52,180 --> 00:14:57,900 "oh and we're going to this concert and we're going out of state to visit this relative and we're..."

157 00:14:57,910 --> 00:15:00,090 and I kind of think,

158 00:15:00,850 --> 00:15:01,690 you know,

159 00:15:01,690 --> 00:15:06,660 I think that's an example of where we don't even kind of stop to think like,

160 00:15:06,660 --> 00:15:11,850 does that match where we're at this year in this family unit?

161 00:15:11,850 --> 00:15:17,190 And does it match the nervous system for people who are in the family?

162 00:15:21,510 --> 00:15:33,510 I want to give you an example of a family that went on this journey just to make it come alive and give you some ideas and encouragement to

163 00:15:33,520 --> 00:15:39,350 focus on this pause and intentionality this year in some way,

164 00:15:40,730 --> 00:15:46,320 This is a family with a couple who have been married 20 plus years.

165 00:15:46,330 --> 00:15:48,610 They are now empty nesters.

166 00:15:48,610 --> 00:15:58,570 They have three young adult Children and one of their adults kids is not going to be home for the holidays this year,

167 00:15:58,570 --> 00:15:59,430 which is different.

168 00:15:59,430 --> 00:16:03,450 So that's a piece of their life that is in transition.

169 00:16:03,460 --> 00:16:05,780 What is this holiday to them?

170 00:16:05,780 --> 00:16:05,980 Well,

171 00:16:05,980 --> 00:16:08,470 one of their loved ones won't be there...

173 00:16:09,740 --> 00:16:14,770 the gentleman in this couple lost his mother this year,

174 00:16:14,770 --> 00:16:16,110 she passed away.

175 00:16:16,700 --> 00:16:17,240 Um,

176 00:16:17,250 --> 00:16:24,110 they each work and they each have had some personal struggles and challenges at work.

177 00:16:24,120 --> 00:16:26,530 They've had some financial changes.

178 00:16:26,540 --> 00:16:28,190 Um,

179 00:16:28,200 --> 00:16:41,030 one of the two kids who is going to be home for the holiday season is doing really well and another of their adult kids whose coming home is struggling,

180 00:16:42,110 --> 00:16:44,320 their family is neuro diverse.

181 00:16:44,330 --> 00:17:08,970 And the gentleman in the couple has been diagnosed on the spectrum for a couple of years and the one individual who is actually doing well and really in a good place is also on the spectrum and they have extended family members that they suspect to have qualities or perhaps undiagnosed autism.

182 00:17:10,490 --> 00:17:21,770 So one of the things that they were invited to do as a couple that started off with the couple kind of focusing on the holiday season,

183 00:17:21,780 --> 00:17:28,340 They were invited to have this pause and awareness of what's going on in the family.

184 00:17:29,000 --> 00:17:35,860 What's the context for this year's holiday season and to become more aware of that.

185 00:17:35,870 --> 00:17:43,100 And they were invited to do this within the context of counseling because they really had had just um,

186 00:17:43,110 --> 00:17:48,100 about a rough year and a half of relationship issues.

187 00:17:48,110 --> 00:17:49,290 Um,

188 00:17:49,300 --> 00:17:50,590 it was complex,

189 00:17:50,590 --> 00:17:55,640 some of it had to do with empty nest issues and,

190 00:17:55,650 --> 00:17:58,370 and now that they didn't have the kids there,

191 00:17:58,370 --> 00:18:03,270 they wanted to rely on each other more for emotional support and companionship.

192 00:18:03,270 --> 00:18:04,340 And uh,

193 00:18:04,350 --> 00:18:06,730 there were some rough spots there,

194 00:18:06,740 --> 00:18:09,520 they had each had their own stressors.

195 00:18:09,520 --> 00:18:13,060 And so that impacted their ability to connect as well.

196 00:18:14,260 --> 00:18:22,730 So they were really hurting in their relationship and that was why they went to counseling and that is why the counselor brought up,

197 00:18:22,740 --> 00:18:32,950 what is this holiday season for you guys where you at in your life and how might the holiday season connect with all of this complexity.

198 00:18:33,680 --> 00:18:38,010 And that ended up being a really good pause for them.

199 00:18:38,020 --> 00:18:39,170 Um,

200 00:18:39,180 --> 00:18:51,340 and they were able to review all of these life events and to think about this concept of whether everything needed to be reproduced um,

201 00:18:51,350 --> 00:18:54,590 in their life this year again for the holidays.

202 00:18:54,590 --> 00:18:57,260 They were very active people.

203 00:18:57,270 --> 00:19:00,070 They both worked full time.

204 00:19:00,080 --> 00:19:04,900 They there were various volunteer things they did over the holiday season.

205 00:19:04,910 --> 00:19:14,780 They also hosted more than one holiday gathering at their home for extended family and also for a community organization.

206 00:19:15,260 --> 00:19:16,000 Uh,

207 00:19:16,010 --> 00:19:16,800 they just,

208 00:19:16,810 --> 00:19:18,170 they were busy people.

209 00:19:18,170 --> 00:19:19,850 They decorated their house.

210 00:19:19,860 --> 00:19:23,780 So kind of a lot of the normal stuff in there.

211 00:19:23,790 --> 00:19:24,460 Um,

212 00:19:24,470 --> 00:19:32,390 geographic region they participated in when they became more self aware,

213 00:19:32,390 --> 00:19:41,120 they tried to go through this process of what do I want to hold tightly to and what can I hold loosely?

214 00:19:41,130 --> 00:19:43,790 And they did have this initial reaction like,

215 00:19:43,800 --> 00:19:44,060 oh,

216 00:19:44,060 --> 00:19:46,120 I don't want to give this part up.

217 00:19:46,130 --> 00:19:46,790 Um,

218 00:19:46,790 --> 00:20:04,090 and they felt increased pressure to make it the best holiday ever because they were struggling that that almost made it more dire for them to make this wonderful.

219 00:20:04,280 --> 00:20:11,730 And there was the voice in the back of their head that felt like if we can't even make the holidays work.

220 00:20:11,740 --> 00:20:12,920 Uh,

221 00:20:12,930 --> 00:20:13,400 you know,

222 00:20:13,400 --> 00:20:15,450 is there hope for our relationship,

223 00:20:15,450 --> 00:20:20,830 Can we make other things work if we can't do this kind of very reproducible,

224 00:20:20,830 --> 00:20:22,760 happy kind of celebration.

225 00:20:23,780 --> 00:20:26,270 So they thought about that for a while.

226 00:20:26,280 --> 00:20:33,140 Um and they had a whole list of things they didn't feel like they could release,

227 00:20:33,660 --> 00:20:36,360 but then you know,

228 00:20:36,360 --> 00:20:37,670 with a bit more pause,

229 00:20:37,670 --> 00:20:40,300 they decided that this year they would try it,

230 00:20:40,310 --> 00:20:45,660 they would try to see and if next year they wanted to do the whole shebang,

231 00:20:45,660 --> 00:20:47,180 they really could do that.

232 00:20:49,930 --> 00:20:58,360 An interesting thing for them as a couple to was that they had recently had a really nice personal moments.

233 00:20:58,370 --> 00:21:05,840 Um they lived in a warm climate and they had this kind of slider um,

234 00:21:05,850 --> 00:21:07,790 it's kind of like a porch swing,

235 00:21:07,790 --> 00:21:31,150 but I guess it was on a slider kind of mechanism and they would be in the backyard in that slider swing kind of thing and they've had some nice conversations out there and that was not always the case for them in the season of their life and they both said those were moments recently that were really good.

236 00:21:32,400 --> 00:21:48,570 Now interestingly the therapist in working with them could see that the gentleman on the spectrum really sought a lot of the stimulator input and that is movement input and that was calming and regulating to his nervous system.

237 00:21:48,580 --> 00:21:52,210 He was an avid long distance cycler.

238 00:21:52,220 --> 00:22:17,880 Um he had done other things like downhill skiing and he was really drawn toward movement to feel centered and this was a way that he could get some gentle rocking input while having a conversation that had the potential to have kind of an emotional elevation or difficulty.

239 00:22:18,810 --> 00:22:35,870 Another thing that the therapist notice that probably made that swing a nice place for them to talk and connect was that there is not a social expectation that you're going to face each other and have this long extended eye contact.

240 00:22:35,880 --> 00:22:39,260 So when you're in this kind of swing mechanism,

241 00:22:39,270 --> 00:22:50,950 it's expected that you'll sit side to side and for him that was enough to reduce some of the intensity of the experience to a point where he felt more regulated.

242 00:22:50,960 --> 00:22:54,140 So this was actually a good place for them.

243 00:22:54,140 --> 00:23:01,120 And even though there's no reason they can't have a conversation in the house getting away from the house,

244 00:23:01,120 --> 00:23:08,740 psychologically felt like they were kind of leaving behind and and coming away together.

245 00:23:08,940 --> 00:23:09,760 Um,

246 00:23:09,770 --> 00:23:16,520 so that felt like a separating a part that was good for them to have those conversations.

247 00:23:16,530 --> 00:23:30,180 They also had a pagoda type set up in the backyard with comfy chairs and that was also just a nice place of respite for them both individually and as a couple.

248 00:23:31,380 --> 00:23:42,380 So in talking through what was going on in their life and what was most meaningful to them that they wanted to hold onto during the holiday season.

249 00:23:42,390 --> 00:23:43,020 Uh,

250 00:23:43,030 --> 00:23:54,510 the wife said that lights were really part of the holiday that brought her the most joy and she wouldn't want to not have lights in the house or christmas,

251 00:23:54,510 --> 00:24:02,530 lights in in what they were doing and so what they decided to do was not to decorate the whole house,

252 00:24:02,540 --> 00:24:07,570 they decided to put white lights all over the pagoda,

253 00:24:07,580 --> 00:24:23,360 all over the um swing mechanism chair and to have a little festive area in the back that they could retreat to and kind of connect in that space.

254 00:24:23,370 --> 00:24:27,270 And that ended up being um,

255 00:24:28,000 --> 00:24:32,650 both a really nice celebration of the holiday.

256 00:24:32,660 --> 00:24:35,150 It ended up bringing them together.

257 00:24:35,160 --> 00:24:45,610 So they worked together to create this space that was meaningful and pleasant and they were able to protect that space where they could communicate.

258 00:24:45,620 --> 00:24:51,560 And so that felt like a good exchange that a lot of the decorations were released,

259 00:24:51,570 --> 00:24:57,510 but they did focus on this nice space and on the lights that were important to her.

260 00:24:59,590 --> 00:25:12,090 Now the husband said that one of the things that was most important to him about the holidays that he wouldn't want to release is he had a whole list of dishes.

261 00:25:12,100 --> 00:25:16,840 Uh he liked to cook and she was never the cook in the home.

262 00:25:16,840 --> 00:25:17,330 He,

263 00:25:17,340 --> 00:25:26,920 he was always the cook and he really liked to reproduce uh family dishes and traditional dishes during the holiday season.

264 00:25:27,250 --> 00:25:35,700 The difficult thing about that though is that oftentimes because of the way the holiday schedule works.

265 00:25:35,710 --> 00:25:36,350 You know,

266 00:25:36,350 --> 00:25:42,080 you end up having to produce all this food in a very short period of time.

267 00:25:42,090 --> 00:25:43,490 You're having guests,

268 00:25:43,490 --> 00:25:46,780 you're having a celebration on a particular day.

269 00:25:47,300 --> 00:25:53,030 So what he held onto were 10 of those dishes?

270 00:25:53,550 --> 00:26:03,580 Uh he let some go and then he also released having to have these nice meals on a particular day.

271 00:26:03,590 --> 00:26:09,450 So what they did is they took Multiple weeks out of the season.

272 00:26:09,450 --> 00:26:21,730 So prior to their thanksgiving that they were celebrating through the Christmas season through the new year and they made 1-2 of those important dishes every week.

273 00:26:22,380 --> 00:26:25,810 And what they did was they also made them together.

274 00:26:25,820 --> 00:26:27,720 So now that the kids were gone,

275 00:26:27,720 --> 00:26:34,160 she actually was interested in learning not to cook mundane meals,

276 00:26:34,160 --> 00:26:34,680 but she,

277 00:26:34,690 --> 00:26:38,700 she kind of really did want to get in there and learn some fun stuff.

278 00:26:38,710 --> 00:26:42,330 So this became a good um,

279 00:26:42,340 --> 00:26:52,140 couples moment as well and they also had a nice time just having a calm meal together,

280 00:26:52,350 --> 00:27:00,550 having some of these fun traditional dishes and it offered them the opportunity to reminisce as well.

281 00:27:00,560 --> 00:27:05,360 And so he could tell his stories again about childhood and this is grandma,

282 00:27:05,360 --> 00:27:05,630 so,

283 00:27:05,630 --> 00:27:08,550 and so's recipe and um,

284 00:27:08,560 --> 00:27:09,800 some of these facts,

285 00:27:09,800 --> 00:27:14,350 she knew before and some were new and that felt like a meaningful,

286 00:27:14,350 --> 00:27:17,380 enjoyable thing that they did.

287 00:27:17,380 --> 00:27:19,640 And for some of these dishes,

288 00:27:19,650 --> 00:27:22,020 um their kids were home,

289 00:27:22,020 --> 00:27:26,670 the two kids and they were able to kind of have that family moment as well.

290 00:27:28,380 --> 00:27:33,680 So there were other things that they did things that each of their kids wanted or needed.

291 00:27:33,690 --> 00:27:40,800 But this story I think highlights the potential of a couple of things.

292 00:27:40,800 --> 00:27:44,090 One is realizing what the,

293 00:27:44,100 --> 00:27:50,320 the life season is for you during a particular birthday season,

294 00:27:50,320 --> 00:27:51,840 holiday season.

295 00:27:51,850 --> 00:27:53,990 What is your life season?

296 00:27:53,990 --> 00:28:14,390 How does that connect also who are the individuals that are in the celebration or this meaningful, reproduced event and what are their specific needs ... and that may be related to their age,

297 00:28:14,390 --> 00:28:16,050 to their neurology.

298 00:28:16,060 --> 00:28:20,550 Um lots of different things can impact what a person needs.

299 00:28:21,710 --> 00:28:27,340 Having this self awareness and pause of those two elements,

300 00:28:27,350 --> 00:28:31,910 the life season and the individuals that's really helpful.

301 00:28:33,440 --> 00:28:41,190 It also teaches us to have increased self awareness a lot of times.

302 00:28:41,190 --> 00:28:41,800 As I said,

303 00:28:41,800 --> 00:28:46,280 there's this tidal wave about this is what the season is,

304 00:28:46,280 --> 00:28:51,040 regardless and it it teaches us to be more aware of what we need.

305 00:28:51,050 --> 00:28:58,500 It encourages people around us to be aware of what they need and to communicate that that's huge.

306 00:28:58,500 --> 00:29:00,130 We can use that every day.

307 00:29:00,330 --> 00:29:03,290 This is a household where people have different needs,

308 00:29:03,300 --> 00:29:15,600 what do you need and let me tell you what I need and how can we bring together a moment and a celebration and a season that is life giving for the people in this home.

309 00:29:17,300 --> 00:29:29,330 It does require us to hold fast and strong to some foundational things and to release things and the releasing can feel hard,

310 00:29:29,340 --> 00:29:36,850 but I challenge you to do that this season and to see if there's joy and peace that comes from this.

311 00:29:36,860 --> 00:29:39,280 Um in a meaningful way.

312 00:29:39,900 --> 00:29:42,030 Every season can be different.

313 00:29:42,040 --> 00:29:44,600 You can go back to the whole shebang,

314 00:29:44,610 --> 00:29:53,900 You can pick different things next season but never feel that you have to go along with the tidal wave just because it's there.

315 00:29:55,120 --> 00:30:15,520 I hope you have a blessed and meaningful holiday season if you are in the midst of one and that all of your life moments that you celebrate and you pause to add meaning to that these come together to really be a calm and peaceful place in relationship building.

316 00:30:16,420 --> 00:30:23,700 I'm going to take the rest of the holiday season off and I will see you again for the next episode in january.

46 episodes