Creative Path to Purposeful Unraveling
“I am unraveling!” she said. The tone in her voice was tense and laced with angst. It was as if she feared that the unraveling would destroy her. That maybe unraveling was something she could never come back from. “What if unraveling is exactly what you need?” I asked. She looked at me with confusion as tears welled up in her eyes. “How?” she asked. “Well,” I said, “what if unraveling is the path to letting your true self emerge? To ridding yourself of old stories and all this emotional junk?”
The concept of unraveling, or coming/falling apart, is one that often frightens and overwhelms us. We truly can’t imagine that we could come back from something so intensely painful and unnerving, much less come back stronger and fiercer, more connected to who we are. It is something that we look at as negative or bad so it’s no wonder that we fear it. But, what if unraveling is good for you?
We commonly work really hard at “holding it together”, meaning, presenting a persona to the world that is of near perfection. A persona that tells the world that we either have no problems, OR that if we do, we’re unphased by them. We fear showing the world our fear and sadness and pain. We work hard at presenting ourselves as stoic and contained. We mistakenly confuse strength and courage with “holding it together.”
One dictionary definition of the word ‘unravel’ is: to free from complication or difficulty, make plain or clear; to solve. So what if we began to look at our emotional unraveling as freeing ourselves from old, complicated, difficult harmful material? What if through the unraveling, things can become clearer? What if things can get SOLVED?
A metaphoric visual I have come up with around humans unraveling is of a tightly bound rope. The rope represents our persona, or the person we thought we had to become to be accepted, loved, seen. The human, like the rope, is bound up so tight that there is no room for air or openness or just [human] being. It is hard to breathe when you are bound up this tightly. It feels imprisoning, restrictive. But slowly, as one thread loosens, then the next thread, then the next one, the true essence of the person can emerge. The unraveling itself opens up an opportunity to break free, to expand and let your arms reach out, to breathe deeply. It also offers an opportunity to rebuild, start again, create a new story, and connect to your most authentic self more deeply.
And here is where creativity can come in and help. When I first came up with this visual of the rope unthreading, I quickly grabbed a piece of paper and began sketching. As I connected more with the experience of unraveling, with my heart, body, and spirit, the visual began to take life. Once completed, I stood back and took it in and I felt lighter and stronger all at the same time. I felt like I could be free from old stories that were holding me back and explode into who I truly am at my core. The visual of the rope unthreading then became the inspiration for my logo.
It can feel scary to watch those rope threads slowly come apart as we have gotten so accustomed to, and comfortable with, the restriction of the rope/persona. We fear letting go of those old stories and ways of being, as if we can’t live without them. Well, you can. You really can. And, underneath all that old rope, is the gem that is YOU. You may feel uncertain at first, we all can when we first meet someone new. But if you choose to venture on the path of courage, battling your fear along the way, you just might discover that this beautiful, sparkly gem that is you, can hold and protect you in ways you never thought possible. And, that you can actually relax into just being….YOU.