The third Tuesday of every month is open mic night at the Paint Box Bistro. Toronto-based band Unbuttoned acts as musical accompaniment and two weeks ago I got the chance to perform one of my new poems with them. As cool as that was, it wasn’t the most memorable part of my night.
A real soulful-sounding dude named Erik Schramek sang one of his songs and had the crowd swaying their heads and singing along. When Erik got on stage he said that the song was so new he hadn’t even conceived a name for it yet and asked the crowd for suggestions. One line stuck with me throughout the entire performance:
“I’ve been up all night with thoughts / unwinding the knots”
At the end of the night Erik and I spoke and I pitched the name “unwinding the knots.” To me, it felt like the whole message of the song was about releasing yourself from a negative cycle or head space that you’ve put yourself in. I also suggested that title because naming a song after the most repeated word or song is so basic.
Erik dug it.
He said that the line actually came to him as an afterthought. He’d realized he’d got himself in a rut by repeating the same bad habits over and over again. “For every knot you make, you have one more knot to unwind,” Erik explained.
That stuck with me. I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves in a habit loop of bad decisions and Einstein did say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Everyone has their own knots that the create for themselves either consciously or unconsciously. What’s important is to identify those knots and what caused them to happen then make your way through them.them. I’ve become aware of a few of mine recently and I’m figuring out ways to avoid them in the future.
Making knots is a quick fix to problems one is experiencing without fixing the problem much like making a knot in a shoelace is not the same as tying your shoe. Sure, both keep shoes on your feet but one strangles the foot and the other feels natural to it. To get a knotted shoe off your foot you have to wiggle and fight just to get your foot back and not without some degree of pain or discomfort when really none of it would be necessary if you didn’t make the knot in the first place.
Plus you can’t go around making knots all your life, eventually you’ll need to learn to tie shoes the right way, may as well start learning now.