How to let go of holiday expectations


Remember those old-school merry-go-rounds on the playground? The ones that were just a spinning disc with bars you could grasp to push it around, or hang onto? Remember the pleasure of holding on, holding on, holding on…and then letting go and flying off into the dirt? Were you like me, seeing how high you could swing, and then letting go to fly and just praying you didn’t break any bones when you landed? (I never did! Amazing!) Letting go of holiday expectations is like this.

Yes, letting go is risky and that’s part of the thrill. Letting go can be fun as well, and that’s a good thing because it’s a necessary part of life. However, there are a whole bunch of embodied steps that come first, steps that provide us with the sense of stability and strength that supports release. Physical release also has emotional ramifications.


Letting go of expectations can be so freeing for ourselves and those we love, but it can also bring grief and disappointment. O well! What if it was OK that we were sad during the holiday, or happy even thought others have it worse than us? If we are happy, we can bring a good energy to folks that are struggling. If we are sad, we can be honest and receive comfort.

Ruella Frank is one of the first therapists to propose a somatic and developmental approach to psychology. She places “letting go” at the end of her elegant framework for the preverbal communication that is co-created by a baby and its caregivers, 6 fundamental movements:

  1. Yield (into support)
  2. Push (against support)
  3. Reach (away from your base and connection to the earth)
  4. Grasp (something outside yourself)
  5. Pull (towards yourself or in a direction you want something to go)
  6. Release (release always takes you back to yield, eventually!)

What’s most important to me here is that you can’t let go if you don’t have support to yield into, push against, use as a support for reaching out, etc.

So this holiday, try to find at least one person that you can really lean into – tell them the truth about what’s up with you. You don’t have to tell everybody, but having one true support, one person who you’ve made full and honest contact with can get you through a lot!


I want to let go of any expectations for this holiday season so that I can be fully present for what’s actually happening. That means accepting me myself, my friends, my loved ones and family. Accepting the weather, COVID, my holiday spending plan, my energy levels. Ah, sweet relief! 

We can let go of what we think we know about each other, too. What is it like to consider the people you know and love as if you had never met them before? What if you could see them with fresh eyes, hear them with open ears, and release them from having to be who you thought they were in the past?

May you have an ordinary, amazing, real holiday rest period, no matter what or how you celebrate. Thank you for sticking with me through this past year. If you want to dance your way through the 6 fundamental movements, come to my Mobile Body Alignment Dance Class in 2022!

Peace, love, and learning,


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