Knots

KnotsI have a friend who is reading a book about healing old psychological wounds, and considering, with trepidation, entering therapy.

“But what,” she wonders, “will I find?” She’s worried that the knot of tension and worry that is locked up tight in the chronic tension of her shoulders or the ache in her gut, is something she’s just not ready to face. She’s afraid that if she’s unhappy now, she’ll be devastated by what she encounters in therapy.

So I was thinking about knots, and realized that untangling knots is actually something I’m rather good at.

Knots are knots. In your necklace or your heart, they are still knots. So maybe … maybe what I know about knots is useful? Here it is:

You can’t be sure, when you start, where exactly to coax the knot — and coax you must. No shoving or pulling, or you’ll make everything worse.

You start, very tentatively, tugging on the middle of an arc. And you see if it gives a bit. You may try to imagine which way it might go, inside. Or you might not. But mainly, you just kind of test all the places that you can get hold of, gently.

When you find one that gives the tiniest bit, you can tug on it, and loosen it. If your fingernails get sore, you take a break or try a different bit. If it’s a really hard, old knot, it may take some time. Maybe even a lot of time.

But after a while, that first little bit will come free, and the knot will open up, and you can see more of it. And you just keep doing that, patiently, interestedly, quietly. Until, at last, it comes free, uncoiled, beautiful, and serpentine.

So I told her: finish the book, start therapy, see what opens up. As my Quaker family says, “Way Will Open.”

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