How to Let Go of the Pony

© Kathleen Struckle | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Many years ago a friend of mine told me the reason the holidays can be so difficult for many of us is because we are waiting for the pony. I struggled with the holidays for years, starting in September and through to January. I would agonize before, in anticipation of my angst, suffer during and overindulge in too much sugar, wine, or shopping, and regret after, hungover on many levels.

Now I know I was waiting for the pony! Some big, special, extravagant, surprise to fill me up just like the commercials promised, with a shiny red car, or a sparkly diamond or exotic vacation. Even if we got the car or jewelry, it would not fill us up because more things or trips are not what we really want. What we really want is a sense of peace and purpose and meaning, and this yearning seems to be magnified this time of year.

These feelings of peace and purpose already reside in us, we just forget. When we let go of the pony, in the form of expectations, disappointments, resentments, and frustrations, we make room for new experiences, feelings, sensations, and thoughts to come in.

Letting go practices are powerful anytime, but especially during the holidays. Even if you aren’t waiting for the pony, others still may be, and times can be tense when everyone is overstressed and under-rested. See what you can let go of that isn’t serving you, like:

  • Your expectations that it has to be perfect
  • How it was last year, (the good, the bad, the ugly)
  • Your tendency to overdo—decorating, baking, buying, or eating
  • Parties, traditions, or commitments that have lost meaning
  • The wisecrack at dinner about your career, boyfriend, or haircut
  • Your uncle’s drinking problem
  • Anything else not serving you

Letting go sounds so easy, but we need lots of practice. Try this simple letting go activity you can say to yourself or out loud. You can practice in the moment of the experience or visualize what you want to let go of:

Inhale and say “let”

Exhale and say “go”

Inhale and say “let”

Exhale and say “go”

With each exhale visualize whatever you are letting go of floating further and further away. Continue as long and as often as necessary! This works well in traffic, in long store lines with screaming children, and at big dinner tables with screaming adults.

What pony could you let go of this holiday?

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