Sunday, October 07, 2007

Untying the Gordian Knot

One day, according to ancient Greek legend, a poor peasant called Gordius arrived with his wife in a public square of Phrygia in an ox cart. As chance would have it, so the legend continues, an oracle had previously informed the populace that their future king would come into town riding in a wagon. Seeing Gordius, therefore, the people made him king. In gratitude, Gordius dedicated his ox cart to Zeus, tying it up with a highly intricate knot - - the Gordian knot. Another oracle -- or maybe the same one, the legend is not specific, but oracles are plentiful in Greek mythology -- foretold that the person who untied the knot would rule all of Asia.
The problem of untying the Gordian knot resisted all attempted solutions until the year 333 B.C., when Alexander the Great -- not known for his lack of ambition when it came to ruling Asia -- cut through it with a sword. "Cheat!" you might cry. And although you might have been unwise to have pointed it out in Alexander's presence, his method did seem to go against the spirit of the problem. Surely, the challenge was to solve the puzzle solely by manipulating the knot, not by cutting it.

Keith Devlin, Mathematician

Silence numbs the small circle of women. Monica’s words have knocked the collective breath out of our flesh and bones. So many levels of pain, so many pieces of the puzzle added to the game board, so many familiar violations endured and described in one fell swoop. The words strike like a backdraft. Constantly deprived of being heard, oxygen to our souls, invisible to those who should care and with the results ending in a fatal explosion that burns everyone surrounding the fire lit by the perpetrator, the only one left standing and unharmed.

With each question TGD asks of the group members, the sadness and perverseness of what we have endured builds. “Who should bear the shame”? “Who should bear the blame”? “Certainly not the victim, but all those who took part in these heinous acts and those who stood by and let it happen.”

As TGD continues I try and concentrate on what she is proclaiming but a sorrow so deeply embedded transports me outside of myself once again and all I see before me is a circle not of women bound together, but of rope with knots representing each one of us. We are all tied together in combined terror. The only thing connecting us is the rope of our combined trauma, shame and fear . With each question TGD poses, the aggregated knots gets tighter and tighter, the silent pain being squeezed to death.
Where is my sense of humor now? Where is that escape I have used so often to disguise my real existence? As the knot gets tighter, less air and light enter and hope gives way to the encroaching darkness.
I then see my life as a succession of knots, many still intertwined around themselves, some cut off, some burned, and some festering. I am unable to get my fingers in between the thick tightly woven threads.

Someone has to help. Undo this mess, untie these knots loosen the grip that has forced me into this unyielding position I’ve gotten myself into. Whatever direction I turn, the knot gets tighter and tighter until I am paralyzed in place where it doesn’t hurt anymore. Just a chronic ache.

So I turn, in trust to TGD who has the nimble healing hands and delicate gentle fingers to help unravel these Gordian knots of 50+ years.



Blogger Terry Whitaker said...

tgd, with your permission, is loosening the knot in front of our very eyes.

5:07 PM  
Blogger kario said...

The metaphor of the knot is so appropriate here, Suze! Especially because even when the knot is undone, the rope will still bear the curves and kinks as evidence. Bravo to you for recognizing that you cannot untie these ropes yourself and allowing someone to help. I am so pleased that you can identify with these other people who have suffered and that you recognize you are worthy of having your knots untied.


12:44 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

"The words strike like a backdraft. Constantly deprived of being heard, oxygen to our souls, invisible to those who should care and with the results ending in a fatal explosion that burns everyone surrounding the fire lit by the perpetrator, the only one left standing and unharmed."

Wow Suzy! Some of your best here. Both the insight and the way you paint the picture.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Gordian Knot metaphor is very powerful and so fitting. I wish the knot could be swiftly cut, and all the mental torture that it causes be swept away and a healing light fill the heart and souls in that room. The courage to look at TGD, and begin to trust, is such a big step in the healing process. All of you in that room deserve peace and healing.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Jerri said...

LOVE the knot metaphor. LOVE TGD. LOVE you.

Always a pleasure to see you post. Especially when it's a good as this one.

You, my friend, are the real deal. Big time.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Shivery gorgeous writing. Your courage and determination are inspiring. I'm so glad you have TGD and that your heart is letting you trust her hands on your knots. Thrilled to see you back again so soon. Love and more love.

10:24 PM  
Blogger dgibbs said...

That was absolutely beautiful Suzy!


9:18 AM  
Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

Key-RIST! You have hit your stride, Suzster. You have it all going on in this piece. It doesn't get better than this. Dropping the humor is showing us your heart. What a privelege.


9:50 AM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

TGD is the midwife. You are the one bravely allowing the knots to come undone.

You are safe now.


9:52 AM  
Blogger Casdok said...

Yes a very powerful post.

3:51 AM  
Blogger Ziji Wangmo said...

I love your writing and the fact that you are so eloquently sharing - we have so much to learn through you. I think you are on your way to untying those suffocating knots!

1:51 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Wow. I am literally sitting here with my mouth open, stunned by the power and deep clarity of this piece. This metaphor of the rope and the simple, graceful way you have used it is one of the best descriptions of the longterm emotional effects of trauma that I have ever read. Period.

I am floored, Suzy! You are on FIRE--in a GOOD way!

8:08 AM  
Blogger riversgrace said...

What you all have in common, also, is the indomitable spirit that survived, the fire in your bright spirits that brought each and every woman together, and that carries her to that room even when she can barely imagine returning to do the work.

That spirit shines through the writing, Suzy.

1:39 PM  
Blogger grammer said...

Knots into poetry, into insight and pictures. You're doing amazing work in your writing, Suzy, and it is an honor to be along for the journey. xo t

10:30 PM  

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