Seperating the knots.

Life right now is different. Each day brings highs and lows.

I began to reflect and came up with an image that helped me process all the experiences and emotions each day would serve.
The picture in my mind was one of a ball of Christmas tree lights. You know what it looks like, a tangled mess full of beautiful colors that you look forward to seeing on your tree. Yet if you plugged in the ball, it may light up, or it may not.

You are then faced with a choice you can throw the lights away and go out and buy new lights, or you can choose to untangle them, string by string until you have one straight line.
This is the exercise I did. My ball of lights was my thoughts, opinions, likes, and dislikes. By laying each one out, it helped me to process and move forward healthily.
Knot one- What do I think of COVID life? Do I miss my old way of life?

I don’t miss waking up a 4:30 am to get out the door by 6 am. Hitting my desk at 6:45 am and leaving the office at 5:00 pm to fight through an hour and a half of traffic.
I enjoy waking up without an alarm. My body clock still wakes me up at 4:30-5:30, but I don’t have to rush. I make coffee for my wife, my wife makes oatmeal, I put berries in my oatmeal, and I sit and eat it. In fact, that’s all I do, I don’t check emails, I don’t send texts, I don’t plan the day. I look at my oatmeal, and I gaze at the berries, and I think this is good for my body.
I worked from home for five years before heading back to a sight-based position last year, so one part of me is happy to be in this position.
Then comes the next knot. It is hard to enjoy it. The world gives me so much anxiety. The noise is coming from so many directions. Questions with no answers, just opinions that can be received as directives. Once we were unified and stayed home to flatten the curve, now in California our governor is a tyrant because people can’t go to the beach, people are carrying guns into statehouses, and the noise gets louder and louder,

I feel the anxiety in my body. I turn off the news, I stop reading the newspaper.
I want comfort- So instead of the news, I watch the Flintstones, I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I buy a set of LEGO’s not for my son but for me. I can go back to my youth to a
a time where there wasn’t COVID or a 24-hour news cycle.

So now what does all this mean, as the strings are laid out, I see my creative life which I enjoy, my family and friends, whom I like. I am even irritated not by Zoom but by people who are saying how they are bothered by zoom. I want to scream at that I have been using Zoom for multiple years, and I rarely have said jeez I am sick of Zoom. I love the mute button, so when someone is talking I can yell across the room when someone says something I don’t enjoy, I can speak to my wife, I can turn off my video and go to the bathroom. I can do work on another screen. I can turn people off. These things at hard to do in a physical space. I can make my own coffee, use my own bathroom, I can edit a video on my phone while watching a documentary or listening to music. I can walk into my son’s room and check on him. I can get curious about my wife and her day today.

Once all the strings are laid out, the natural question is, what’s next? What decisions do I need to make? Once I plug in the lights, what will come on?
I decide not to plug in the lights. I am just going to look at all the choices, and just enjoy the next month, day by day. I am sure some will feature joy, others’ pain, and most days both. There is room for my hands to hold both pleasure and pain while continuing to move forward. I will be content to go for walks. Take pictures of flowers and share them.


2 thoughts on “Seperating the knots.

  1. Ah, Steven, I can resonate with what you write here and I love how you have likened it to unraveling the knot of those christmas tree lights. I like that you are not going to plug in the lights just yet.
    As you say there is both pleasure and pain in this moment in history and there is much to be gained from just being in it. As a fellow flower photographer on my walks, I like what you’ve done with the picture here.

  2. I love your use of the word hold at the end of this post — our ability to hold the good and the hard and the painful and the beautiful, all of it. That is the lesson to learn in life, isn’t it?

    I appreciated the Christmas tree light metaphor. It made me think about the knotted strands in my own head. I think this is an exercise that would benefit me too.

    Thank you for sharing this reflection. I really enjoyed it.

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