There was an interesting show on Oprah last Monday called: Stripped Down with Peter Walsh. Peter is a life organization expert and best selling author with some wonderful ideas on how to strengthen your family and live a better life. The premise behind the show was that the typical American family has become disconnected from each other due to all the “stuff” in their lives that overwhelms them. In particular, this “stuff” manifests itself in the form of television, cell phones, YouTube, PDAs, laptops, video games, Facebook, ipods, texting, etc. I really appreciate this concept. So often we allow our “stuff” (and by the way it’s all important stuff isn’t it?) to get in the way of our relationships and prevent us from living our best life.

Peter invited a family to accept a week long intensive challenge to help them reconnect with each other. The challenge was based on adhering to the following 5 rules: 1) eliminate all use of cell phones and texting; 2) discontinue use of computers, email, television, computer games, ipods, and electronics; 3) prepare and eat healthy meals together; 4) clean and organize your house; 5) hug and say I love you to each member of your family each day.

He also gave the family two Stripped Down assignments: 1) organize and carry out a fun family activity; 2) wash and put away all the laundry in the house. I thought the laundry challenge was interesting in that this type of physical disarray in our homes can bring about emotional disarray and tension with each other. Peter encouraged the audience to strip away the physical clutter in life so you may begin clearing the emotional clutter in your relationships.

I agree with this idea in that I feel that often we find ourselves trying to cover up that emotional awkwardness or fear by focusing our time and energy on all our precious gadgets and “stuff”. What might happen if we redirected that energy onto better understanding each other, addressing our fears, improving our lives, and connecting with each other? An honest disclosure of concerns, fears, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses to a partner who is seeking to better understand you, can work wonders in bringing a married couple closer together and reunite them on the same page.

What might you be hiding behind that is preventing you from “living your best life?” Try shutting off the distractions of technology, clutter, and convenience, and begin connecting with your loved ones again. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you are connected with others or even living a fulfilling life. Fill your life with goodness, not distractions.

If Peter’s original 5 rules seem a bit too harsh or unrealistic to thrust on your family, try the practical revisions he gave that can (and dare I say should) be followed by most families:

1) No cell phones or texting in the evenings between 6 and 9pm
2) No television or computer play before school or during meals
3) As a family prepare and eat at least 3 healthy dinners together each week
4) Work together as a family to have a regular Saturday morning clean up of the house
5) Continue to hug and express your love to each member of your family each day.
6) Schedule a weekly family night and monthly date night for the couple

He concluded the show with the following statement. “As you spend time together, are more active, and eat more healthy, you will start to transform your life in every way.” Give it a try for yourself!

For more information on this show check out: Oprah