Untangled

I’m trying to unpack this metaphor.

We had another amazing Thanksgiving with 28 at the tables (three – all in the dining room) on Thursday and 25 at my sister’s on Friday. I have the most amazing extended family that a woman could ask for.

On Sunday my uncle’s flight back to South Dakota was in the late evening, so we went to my sister’s for an early dinner and to say goodbye to Mom who was staying there (and flying out Tuesday).  The girls and I would drop my uncle at the airport and head home.  My sister had a delicious dinner ready, and before dinner Mom asked me to go get a box from her room that had some tangled necklaces that needed untangling. These are all pieces that a dear friend made, tourmalines, turquoisite and cast silver.

This is my talent.

I have always been able to unknot or untangle even the finest chains.  I need reading glasses to do it now, but I  have always had an odd facility at this. It is really about touch – what does the tangle feel like, where are the tightest spots, is there any any give anywhere – and vision – what is wrapped around or over what.  Essentially, it is an unbraiding.

The tangle above was the essential knot.  I easily unpacked the first chains, the ones that clung to the outside, easily wrapped and unwrapped.  But this knot proved a bit trickier.

I looked at it a while and then began to unbraid it. There was one chain that bound all the rest into it. It was actually two short chains to the cast silver cartouche.  Once it was free, the rest of the chains gave way in a dance of unweaving – over, under, left, right, one chain at a time, one layer at a time, one movement.

I am sure that this is a larger metaphor for our lives, for the days that frustrate us, for the knots we tie ourselves into.  Last night, exhausted and sad, I pulled out my copy of the I Ching, a wonderful translation by Brian Browne Walker, and threw a hexagram. So many changing lines – but the essence of the mediation was, as it often is with this translation, to move my ego aside and get back to the path of the sage.  Kuan – Contemplation changing to Wei Chi – Before Completion. Essentially – Think before you act.

Like unbraiding the chain knot. Look first. Get a sense of the knot. And then strand by strand move toward simplicity.

I guess that’s the metaphor.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Liz says:

    I think it was 26 on Friday because Emily’s friend came!

    Yes, our lives are a lot like chains. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes tangled, sometimes knotted, & sometimes broken, but always best when linked arm and arm together.

    Hugs and love you!

  2. Kate Tabor says:

    I think it was 26. Our lives are surely twined in each other – but problems are like knots as well. The hard part is sometimes seeing where the places are that allow solutions. Sometimes it feels forever knotted up. But often there is a way to untwist it.

    Hugs and love right back –

  3. Paul C says:

    Oh, the knots we can get ourselves into, like several strings of holiday lights I had to untie last week. I marvel at your skill.

    1. Kate Tabor says:

      Hello, Paul!
      I will be untangling those lights later this week. I’m the knot whisperer!

  4. Sharon says:

    Made me want to pull out my runes and see what they can tell me.

    I did stop to wonder – exhausted and sad because the holidays are over or something deeper? And in any case to send some healing vibes your way.

    1. Kate Tabor says:

      Sharon, thank you! And I send rest and healing vibes back at you.

      I have been working on a long term project outside of my usual employment – and it is finished. I delivered the final report Tuesday night, I’d had a tense exchange with my husband, my lovely daughters had nested in the living room leaving a trail of dishes in their wake, and a migraine was lurking. It was a confluence of feelings. I should have been elated – project done, and I get paid. But it seemed anti-climactic. Even frustrating.

      Migraine medication, straight talk with the family, and a good night’s sleep helped.
      Thanks –

      1. Sharon says:

        That explains it – thank you for letting me be inquiring.

        I know the feeling – not only are they not celebrating your joy at finishing the project, they don’t know and don’t care. (stating it a bit strongly I know) And then there is the anticlimax after the project. All adds up to not happy.

        Glad you were able to work through it and untie the knot.

        1. Kate Tabor says:

          You didn’t state it too strongly – they didn’t know and they didn’t care. And as follow up, after being in frequent communication with the people that the project was for, to not even hear a “Got the report, all looks good, Woot!” is a bit disconcerting as well. I know they loved the final product (a website) but the report is critical for grant reimbursement, and I wish I knew if there were changes needed.

          Thanks for asking – and the knot is mostly untied and I have (mostly) found my equipoise.

  5. Sharon says:

    Cindy Toy – you may know her as @fairiesnest – finished a commissioned work for someone recently and after making numerous adjustments, etc., to get it right, got an “It will do” from them. Hard to know who to relate that comment to all the work and communication that took place to get it there.

    Sounds like your experience was much the same.

    And too bad for that customer, in the long term.

    1. Kate Tabor says:

      Finally heard from them – one said, “Excellent!” and then today’s was a “very good report.” Don’t know what that means, bu if I don’t need to revise, then I am happy.

      A disconnect for sure. They are already talking about next iteration and growing the content, and I say – respectfully, “Not it.”

      Have a great weekend. We expect SNOW.

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