Loosening the Knot

Paintings by Lisa Marie Jakab

You rush towards the situation. You rush to help, to fix the thing you just ruined. For some reason, now that it’s all in ashes, you are comfortable picking up the singed pieces, eager to put them back together, to erase the holes in your gut. Wash away the discomfort and smooth everything over, make it all good once again. “Let’s just drop it,” you think.

Only after the explosion comes do you feel comfortable dropping it. Comfortable, yet still reluctant to admit your own inadequacies and still in search of validation of what you fiercely feel to be true. Just give me a nod! That’s all we want in the end anyway right? A nod, a hello, a smile; a measure and recognition of our own existence and way of seeing things.

You can always feel it coming. The pressure forms a tangled-up ball in your stomach. Like the gnarled roots of a swamp tree, sturdy and entrenched in their own mess. Each misspoken word to yourself or someone you love makes the ball more compact. With an intensity you know well, one that feels at home. You know you should release the resentment, the petty feelings, the anger you are holding onto. But you don’t know how. Or at least that’s how it feels. Because you do know how. It’s easy — you just drop it.

You let the roots spread out instead of doubling up on themselves. It would be so freeing to just let it go. But the moment comes, and no, no you can’t. Something in you grips tighter. And before you know it, it’s too late. A situation has been ruined, crumbling before your eyes from hurtful words that escape like green ether.Lisa Marie Jakab_Abstract Beauty_Amsterdam Art_Pittsburgh Artists

In the end, we must release the pressure from ourselves. The pressure to figure ourselves out then and there, here and now. The pressure to change overnight. The pressure to condemn every failed attempt, action or word. Releasing the pressure first requires a deep understanding of it. What does it look like? How does it feel?

Like a stretch that washes, tingling through your entire body, activating emotions and feelings you had no idea were stored in your cells. The physical release tells us what it is not. Yes, maybe that’s the place to start. The source of the tension, held in your very body.

It’s an issue of the heart and physical self, with the mind interfering, busy interpreting and connecting the signals, stifling the real truth that exists within. The truth that needs no interpretation or questioning of if it’s accurate or not. The pressure dissipates from an acceptance of what is.

It’s a never-ending process of unfolding, of unwinding, of searching for peace while harboring desires that are quick to flame and stubborn to ember. You smolder and when you are ready to pick up the ashes, you reprimand yourself: “Never again.” And then, when you find that unequivocal stretch, your toil and fire evaporate like dew on a sunny morning. You realize that it’s not about “never again” but about keeping a piece of that feeling with you.

You try to bottle up that quieting vapor and keep it in your core. Tap into it when the flames return and do everything you can to breathe its effusive nature. This is the liberation we find when all the nonessentials fall away. When we can admit the truth to ourselves and do everything we can to lighten our load. To not take it all so seriously.

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