Got the holiday blues? If so, you are not alone.
You might be surprised to know how many people are feeling down at this time of year, even if it’s not always obvious. Nonetheless, it is still far too easy to become isolated in a world that has seemingly gone temporarily insane with holiday gladness and cheer!
Life-changing loss of any kind can rob you of the ability to experience and enjoy even the most simple pleasures of the season.
Ongoing grief, whether it began within the last year or within the last decade, can cast a shadow over even the brightest holiday lights.
And if you feel gripped with sorrow because of lingering regrets, it can seem impossible to enjoy the moment at hand.
When you can’t get off what I call the “woulda-shoulda-coulda train,” you’re stuck in the past. In essence, it’s that simple. But there is a way to get off that train. And it’s surprisingly simple, even if it isn’t always easy.
The trick is to learn how to balance the past with the present.
You don’t have to completely push away the past; you just have to hold it a bit differently inside yourself. You don’t have to do it perfectly (no one can do it perfectly!). It’s a kind of balancing act. And you can learn how to do it.
It’s all about letting go.
“Letting go” is a pretty misunderstood concept. But once you have a better idea of what it does and does not mean, you’re halfway there. To let go, in essence, is to accept the present moment, as it is, right now, one breath at a time, one moment at a time.
Whether you lost something you wanted to keep, walked away from something you now miss, or just feel caught up in the crazy push-pull of change (chosen or not), it is possible to honor all of your feelings while also allowing yourself to experience the pleasures, great and small, that are right in front of you in the present moment. And wouldn’t it be nice to suffer a little less and enjoy yourself a little more, even given the heaviness in your heart?
“Anything I even let go of had claw marks all over it.”
A friend of mine once spoke this phrase and I have never forgotten it. Can you relate? I certainly can. I really do “get it” about how hard it is. And these practices I teach to clients and students are the very same ones that have saved me more than once and made all the difference between misery and tranquility when the going gets tough.
Sometimes, honoring the very fact of your mixed feelings is all that’s required to soften your grief, lift your spirit, and grant you serenity.
At a particularly tender change point in my own life, I was caught up in the power of the ambivalence I was feeling and wrote a song about what “letting go” was feeling like to me in the experience I was having. I added some of my photographs and created a simple slideshow to go with it.
I hope it helps you to let go a little more easily.