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77 weeks | How to untangle your knots | no. 0071
It’s really early in the morning. I feel like I am racing against the munchkin’s wake-up clock. I have so much other work to do today for the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop members. I need to write this week’s Wednesday’s Bloom and then move on. Sometimes I let it linger in my head, the ideas gathering like a tumbleweed, and then in the last hour of the day I write them all down. But today I feel like I need this personal obligation to my practice to be just be done. I don’t know if that means what I say will be less than stellar. The ritual will be complete though. Some days, that’s what matters most.
I realize the title of this post is rather misleading. I can’t tell you how to untangle your emotional knots. I am working with this idea of emotional knots as an alternative language to the popularly felt phenomenon of “writer’s block.” I think the word block is too hard, too immobile. Instead, a knot invites possibilities, encourages the option of movement, of change. This is one of the key components of the Workshop, the idea that our emotional overlaps, buried feelings, repressed truths, and silenced needs all conspire to create these magnificent knots that we would like to believe are blocks that require beating and breaking to get through. But it’s actually quite the opposite.
When we untangle a knot we are not trying to eradicate anything. There’s an implicit value to the whole, and so our work of recovery is also one of preservation. All that history living deep inside our knots is not something to just discard. We actually are creating access to source material we can use in our writing, our creative practices, our relationships with others. Once the knot is opened and we can identify our parts, there is a new power. So many of think we are burdened because we feel we don’t know all we need to know. Really, though, the burden is in not being able to touch the bounty of who we are with our own hands. Feeling desperately that we must rely on some external thing or person to create that access on our behalf. But no one, can unravel us back to our beginnings. That is a work we must do for ourselves.
How does it happen? That’s an individual discovery. For me, I spend a lot of time combing through my past, connecting the dots to decision patterns, exploring the what ifs and should haves with my characters, talking through the hard parts out loud with people I can trust. This is why I am wary of any spiritual/life/philosophical practice that preaches about “leaving the past in the past.” That seems so contrary to my intuition. Why would I shed my lessons before I had learned them?
It has taken me a long time to accept my process. Especially in my 20s, I was wandering, taking on other people’s ways thinking it would help me identify my own. And even though that was not the ideal, I did grow, and stumble–often badly and painfully–into my own understanding of things. For so long I wrestled with feeling like I was supposed to just throw out my memories because they were in the past. But it felt so wrong, and I wasted a lot of energy trying to convince myself that whole parts of my life were trash that was just weighing me down.
I can’t isolate just one incident where I finally stopped denying my authentic self. It was a series of awakenings, some subtle, some profound. All these years of experimenting have led me to this process of untangling emotional knots as a more relevant path to tapping deeper into my creativity.
I understand that some people will be grossly turned off by my approach. I have come to make peace with that. That’s why there’s so many people on the planet anyway. I don’t think we’re intended to design our lives in a uniform way. But I do believe that of the 7+ billion humans breathing with me, some of them will feel at home in my words, will feel safe to begin the arduous and scary work of unpacking their own stories, will find a value in cultivating a vibrant emotional intelligence.
This is why I don’t just write these thoughts in a jounal that stays tucked away in a drawer in my room. I know there are others listening for a reminder, waiting for an invitation to rejoin themselves at the altar of their truths. It may sound like a whisper at first, but eventually there comes an undeniable roar in the soul, and that calling to tell your story grows into a life of its own.
The munchkin, my first born, was born on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy is an ongoing multi-media documentary project about my process as a mother. Today’s story is a part of Volume 1, 73 consecutive weeks of posts, spanning about the first year and a half of the munchkin’s life. Each episode explores my weekly discoveries, challenges, questions, and hopes as a mother. I also facilitate the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop for all mothers and women active in their mothering work who are excited about cultivating their own writing practices.