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Untying The Knots That Bind Us

Ball of Fear

Knots are the worst, particularly when you’re dealing with a big ball of them – think about the last time you had a mess of wires or string you were trying to undo. Frustrating.

Life ties us up in knots. Unhelpful habits, worn out mindsets, unfulfilling jobs or stalled relationships – these are the kind of life knots that tire the hell out of us. The fatigue is both in the creation of that ball – it creates no redeeming energy when we are living out of an unhelpful routine – and in the way we become entangled in it. The fatigue deepens as we try to pull on the chords with the same force that created them – the knots tighten, the ball gets harder to unravel, and yet, we keep on pulling in the same direction with even greater force. You can see these knotting patterns in people’s lives, in bureaucratic systems or even in the political sphere.

For those that feel like they’re staring at a big ball of yarn, the task of undoing it all can feel overwhelming. I dislike my job, I dislike my partner, I dislike myself, the world is a mess – where to begin?

Anyone who has ever undone a big mess of string knows that in that mess there is some strange order, even though it may be hard to see at first glance. There are typically 1 or 2 interactions in that ball that if you get to them early, the ball starts to unravel more quickly and easily. The same is true on the opposite end of the spectrum. Pull on the wrong strings and the mess gets messier, the knots tighten.

If you’re looking for which strings to pull on in your own life, look no further then the string that is colored with the most fear. In the ball of ‘life unfulfilled’, loosening the fear string enables the untangling process to accelerate. The kicker is that it is also the string that is most difficult for us to reach out and grab. It’s uninviting, and we’ve developed all kinds of other stringy habits to avoid it.

Fear is the source of that knotting. Fear is the agent that binds that ball of string together. The thing that has us stuck in patterns of avoidance, anger, sadness, hesitation, and apathy. If you’re looking for where to start, start there. Start in that place that says: “you can’t”, “it’s too hard”, “you’re not good enough”. That is where your greatest power resides. Those are the knots that are suffocating your potential and the ties that are holding your messy ball of string together. Tug compassionately and with care and you’ll start to unfurl the pattern, loosen the knots and create all kinds of meaningful expansion in your life. Fear is not the opposite of freedom. It’s the winding path that leads to it.

Join us in our Growth Mindset community on Huddol and share ways that you are working through your own fears.

Written by
Mark Stolow