The past few days I’ve been tied in knots, consumed with worry and anxiety. This is uncharacteristic for me, but it happens sometimes. The worry had taken over my mind to the point I couldn’t even meditate, which is generally the best tool in my sanity toolbox. I had temporarily lost my center, that clear connection to my higher self and my inner peace.
Last night I realized I have been so overwhelmed I’ve neglected my usual exercise routine and my daily walk. Austin is a wonderful town for walking; there are hike and bike trails, wonderful parks and public spaces all over the city. From September through April, it’s outdoor heaven. The rest of the year, however, not so much. It’s been over one hundred degrees this week, and it’s still May (which doesn’t bode well for the upcoming summer). In weather like this, early is best. So this morning, I set out walking about half past six.
There was a lovely breeze blowing through the trees and the flowers were all in bloom. The squirrels were foraging and the birds singing at full volume. As I walked, I could feel the tension in my body begin to release, just a bit. I started to pray.
I grew up Catholic, so I think in terms of “prayer” and “God.” But God, or the Universe, or the First Cause, or a Higher Power – however you conceive of whatever is out there – is too big to label and put in a box. So, as you read this, please understand I’m just describing my process, offering you my ideas to consider and, if you find them helpful, to modify for yourself.
Sometimes when my mind is knotted up, it helps me to use the formal, rote prayers. I began with a rosary, which consists of groups (or decades) of ten Hail Marys, interspersed with the Lord’s Prayer and a Gloria. On each decade, I kept my thoughts on a prayer intention, one of the several things that are of current concern to me. As I prayed and walked, I could feel the worry ease a little.
Then I did the Ho’oponno prayer: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you. As I repeat those phrases, I am acknowledging that I and everyone else in my life, are connected through our unity with God. If something is not working in my life, or in my relationships, or in the life of another person in my awareness, I am somehow part of the problem. And I can heal the situation by healing myself and sending healing energy through the prayer.
As I said the phrases, I kept in mind the things I feel need healing. I began, of course, with my own personal issues. In addition to those issues, at the moment I am having a disruption in my relationship with an old friend. She’s going through some troubles of her own, and she’s withdrawn from me. I think I’ve unwittingly offended her, or at least somehow prodded her in a tender area. I’ve reached out and done all I can do on a “real world” level, several times. Now it’s her decision whether or not to engage again with me. So my job at this point is to send healing to myself and to her, and to release and accept what is and whatever will be as the situation unfolds. I felt that knot begin to untie.
Several people in my family are going through challenges. I’ve given the support I can on a practical and emotional level, and I know any further steps are theirs. What I can do is hold the picture of a good outcome for them, and release my own anxiety. As I used the four phrases, I felt those knots relax and loosen.
In the midst of this processing, I became aware of the anger I’ve been holding toward the surgeon who worked on my knee last year. My knee is much, much better. A year ago I was using a cane. Now I can walk an hour with only an occasional twinge, and that’s huge progress. But I can’t run (not that I’ve ever been much of a runner), and negotiating stairs is still painful and slow.
He promised me a return to full function in my knee, and it hasn’t happened. His surgical assistant promised me I’d be 100% recovered within two months, and that was not true. I’ve resumed my physical therapy exercises, and I’m using some non-traditional approaches to the problem, but on the walk, it occurred to me my knee may not heal until I completely forgive, release my anger, and surrender to what is. That knot got a little looser.
I haven’t yet returned to a state of joy, but I’m moving back in that direction.
How do you untie your knots?