Not another knot??!!

I worked at an upscale gallery for nearly 23 years and while we sold all contemporary handcrafted pottery and glass and wood and metal, what many people came for was the jewelry…all hand made and everything beautiful. No matter how much care an artist put into packing their items to ship them to the shore, inevitably a necklace would arrive to the shop in knots…sometimes one big knot ball of sterling silver mess and sometimes one intricately twisted knot ball of gold and every time my boss would look at me with pleading eyes to get the knot out. “Not another knot??!!” She would exclaim, as she hated trying to get them out, but I would just calmly get a push pin or a safety pin and take it to my stool behind the counter and begin. I would take the tip of the pin and just start in anywhere to see what I was in for. If you have never tried to get a knot out of a necklace then count yourself lucky. Knots in boat lines, knots in hair, knots in toddler’s sneaker laces, I have been a person who does not mind untangling knots for all of my adult life, and here is something you may not know about knots, the kind of knots that tangle up your life, the knots in your stomach when you are anxious or unnerved, are just as easy to untie, if you don’t rush, you take the time to find the way that they twist and turn and where the end piece is…marriage knots, teenage angst knots, romantic knots, infidelity knots, addiction knots, break-up knots, sick in the body knots, sick in the head knots, they are all the same…it’s just a mess that needs to be unraveled and untangled, and you have to know it will take time. More importantly, you have to simply begin…

It is so easy, too easy perhaps, to be consumed with worry or grief or anger and just let it eat at you and sit within you. Knots form rather quickly when you aren’t paying attention. If you find a knot in your neck or your necklace, and you try to ignore it, it won’t magically come undone. AND worse, if you just set it aside, it’s still there when you go back to it, no matter how long you tried to forget it was there…The kind of knots that tangle up your life are not much different than the kind that you get when you are out on a motorcycle or a boat and forgot to braid your hair…if you ignore them when they are small they will get so big that they are nearly impossible to fix and you will just want to grab the sharpest scissors and cut it out! Sure, you can just snip it right out of your head, that gets rid of a knot pretty fast, but you will be happier, in the end, if you take the slow and steady approach…you see life knots are the kind of knots that we don’t just want to cut out and toss like a mangled glob of hair, they have to be addressed with care, with attention, with intention.

I don’t know about you, but I am now of the age where if I move oddly when I sneeze I could get a knot in my shoulder blades or when I lift something heavy and I am not paying enough attention to my task at hand the knot that forms in my neck feels like it actually might kill me. You can’t ignore a knot. No, when you have a knot you have to notice it and decide what you are going to do about it. A literal knot might need a heating pad after work, it might need a really hot shower, it might need some Tiger Balm, and do please remember to wash your hands so very well after applying!! …but a life knot, the figurative kind of knot, neither shower nor salve can help, no, a life knot needs deliberate action, but more than anything, one must find the source…deeply look into the knot, where does it begin?? can you see the end loop or twist?? can you tell where it started to form?? …like in a handmade delicate chain necklace, back in 1985, at that gallery I called my other home for more than twenty years, you have to find out where the end piece is, and you have to find your way through the tangles, it’s the only success you are looking for…you have to find the end and you have to work at all the unraveling until you get to the last twist, the last turn, and delicately, like with the tip of a push pin, gently pull the last twist around and lift it out of the mess that it once was…

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