The Spirituality of a Knotted Ball of Yarn


This is literally the knotted ball of yarn that is in my hand.  Please don’t ask me to share how it got this bad.  It had something to do with me (as my kitting-expert daughter said) “not respecting the yarn.” And it might have also had something to do with me yanking on one end out of frustration (I searched google for the best way to untangle knotted yarn, and the article I found said: Whatever you do, don’t pull.  Oops).  The result is the worst tangled web of gorgeous handmade yarn perhaps in the history of string.

Now, this yarn was expensive… for yarn.  But not expensive for my life.  So, why oh why have I spent countless hours slowly following the loose end through each twisted lock only to be (again according to the knitting expert) half-way through?  Well, I’m not sure if my obsession about this little project of mine is 100% healthy, but I am not giving up.  I’m not sure what it is, but I must be getting something out of working through this labyrinth.

I think part of the attraction has been the hope that the next achievement would lead to a big reward of loosened material.  But, of course, one knot seems to lead straight to another with minimal freedom.  Just like life, right?  Bam!  We hit a road block and we have to choose whether to go around it or try to push ourselves through.  Whichever we choose, bam!  Another road block waiting for us on the other side.  Now which way do we go??

My yarn didn’t have to be such a nightmare.  I’m the one who made it worse by trying to shake it and pull it and find a simple way out instead of doing the painstaking work of following the path before me.  Don’t we do the same when we hit those road blocks?  We try to ram our way through a problem or toward wealth or fame rather than take one step at a time with grace and finesse?  I know I have!

So maybe my attraction to solving my yarn puzzle is part of a wish I could go back and undo some of the choices I have made when I stumbled along the way.  Maybe it’s to undo some of my wrongs.  Maybe it’s to prove to myself that when I hit my next life-snag there will be a path to peace. Maybe it’s to show myself that there is always a solution when the world seems like it’s out of solutions.  Maybe it’s to prove that life is a labyrinth.

Rabbi Marshal Klavin asked a group whether or not they see their lives as mazes or labyrinths.  Interesting, the younger set saw their lives as mazes, as a set of twist and turns where they could get stuck and never make it to their goals.  The older set saw their lives as labyrinths, as paths so wrapped around themselves one could feel lost but also know that, in the end, we all get where we need to go.

May we all think of our lives as labyrinths, all of us on the way to where we need to go even if it seems frightening and far away, and let’s try to remember not take one end of the labyrinth and pull like I did.  That’s the only way to get stuck.

And may I finally finish this stupid yard!!!!!  🙂


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