December 14, 2014

Not Holding On -- Just Letting Go

We're in the thick of the holiday season, which seemed to have started somewhere around October 1st this year...always earlier and earlier. The hustle and bustle that come with November and now December can make it easy to lose focus on what really matters.

To be completely honest, I struggle to maintain healthy perspective. One minute, my eyes are glazed over at the sight of bright and shiny things on display in my favorite department store window...the next minute, I'm crying about a story of a family spending the holiday season in a local mission.

Do you ever have trouble finding a balance between all the extremes we're faced with on a daily basis? I have rich friends and poor friends, but all have a story and not always with a happy ending. Life never stops, not even for Christmas, a day for many folks that's simply known as Thursday.

It sort of tends to shine a big spotlight on things or at least that's how it feels. Things that we've basically accepted as the norm the rest of the year can feel larger than life at Christmas. Family strife, relationship woes, estranged friends, lost love. Misunderstandings, hurt feelings, resentment, and just being plain old mad at the world.

I've got just as much of that stuff as anyone and sometimes it really brings me down.

But no matter what, the scale is always tipped in my favor. I've got so much to be thankful for and I don't mean that in a trite or cliche way. So much. And yet I still manage to hang onto the past hurts that really weigh on me.

Holding on is hard. Remember the monkey bars on the school playground of your childhood? Even though I'd start out strong, I could never make it all the way across. A couple bars in, I'd find myself just hanging there, holding on as tight as I could. But alas I wasn't very athletic and instead of holding on any longer, I'd let go and drop to the ground so the next person could take his or her turn.

Could letting go be that easy? For so many of us (myself included), we keep hanging on...and often to things that don't serve our best interests. What would happen if we just let go?

I've mentioned before that I'm attending a yoga class and it has really stretched me (literally and figuratively) outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes the teacher will instruct us to do a pose and I think my body just won't move in that way. And then I'm surprised when it does. When I first do a posture, it feels sort of uncomfortable. But then my teacher will tell us to really sink into the stretch, and what felt nearly impossible a few minutes before starts to get easier.

Maybe letting go isn't so easy after all. Or maybe it gets easier as we practice it, sinking in a little more each go around. I guess it just depends on what we're holding onto.

I wish for you the same thing I wish for myself not just during the holidays but all the time...perspective to see clearly what truly matters and courage to let go of things that don't.