We begin our lives with knotted little fists, holding air but furiously empty.
As we grow, so do our knots. Over time, our knots move from our hands to our forehead to stomach, to tongue, to soul. Pain becomes larger and deeper.
Our very lives can feel like one knot after another.Pains from childhood. Fear of rejection, ridicule, separation. Quiet isolation. Wanting to be right, do well, not make mistakes, not disappoint. Having enough. Being enough. Fearing silence. Craving numbness, and distraction.
Sometimes we cherish our knots. We hold knotted pains in knotted fists. As if control and containing may bring the peace that we desire. But our knottedness craves knowing not knowing control. Control distracts, much like too much wine or too much sugar. Knotted fists cannot calm our knotted pains.
When we hold our knots with tight fists, they give birth. Despite our best efforts to fix, figure out or find a way. Knotted fists move from the quiet places inside and sprout into a life awash with “Nots…” “Cannots,” “Mustnots,” and “Willnots.”
The thing about knots is that they don’t ask to become unknotted, undone. Some knots will never heal, never stop their knotting. Often what knots need is the fresh air of open hands: accepting, willing, trusting and being with others who have open hands. For pain is not carried so much in the knots, but in the alone-knots. Aloneness is pain unresolved.
It is in the presence of open hands – and other’s hands that our pain heals, our knots become less fused. Life may not make sense, but sense will make our lives.
Our minds feverish, fear that open hands will tear away our trust, our security, our selves. But as we open our hands, the knotted pain does not like a balloon rush to escape. Open hands allow you to feel where your knotted places are. Open hands allow us to feel. Open hands are knowing hands – seen, held, heard.
Our knots want to be see, hands work best when they open and breathe. Knots yield to the grace of being seen. Being known. Being loved.
Open hands hold and let go. They love and let be. They own and give away. They make and then be remade, again. Open hands open our knots. Open hands become “Whynots” instead of “Cannots.”
Some knots we carry and other knots carry us.
Each day, we have a choice.
Knotted fists and a mind full of “Nots.” Knotted fists, knotted heart. Or open hands, knots resting gently. Life, our life, grows and enriches and finds more pain along with joy and even grace. Open hands, open world. Our world expands beyond our “Nots.”
Each day I open my hands. They open easier now. Open hands remind me to open my heart, my eyes. Seeing, I see my knots. Seeing, I can love and be loved and beloved.
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I write articles that talk about the kind of changes I am trying to make in my own life. I hope that my writing also helps you. My topics include addiction and mental health recovery, relationships, and personal growth. I work as an Addiction Therapist, an Editor for the Good Men Project and freelance writer, and Adjunct Professor at City University, Edmonton. But what is most important is that I have a family and I am in recovery from depression and anxiety. My mental health experiences are part of my personal University degree, but they do not define me.
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