Are you feeling tense, tied up in a knot?  Me too!  We live in tense times and it seems that most of the population is living with some degree of anxiety. It’s not only experienced individually, our society and the business environment is manifesting levels of tension as well.

A primary cause of this tension is the adversarial climate that has been heating up over the last few years, which is now at a boiling point. We have divisions along party lines, race, economic status, religion and so many other lines we choose to divide over.  We even find reasons to divide over the type of trucks we drive (Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge). It’s silly and it’s dangerous. The tension created by these forces pulling against each other will ultimately tear the fabric of our society.

It’s like a rope with a knot; the tighter we pull in opposite directions, the tighter the knot gets.  The tighter the knot gets, the more difficult it will be to remove it. The solution to untying a knot is to stop pulling the opposite ends of the rope and work both ends toward each other, focusing on the knot. Once the knot is loose enough, both ends of the knot must engage the knot, passing through it, sometimes many times.  It takes awareness and it takes cooperation. More importantly, we must realize that, like the rope, both ends are part of the same rope and we are part of the same humanity trying to survive and thrive.

Where is tension showing up in your life? Is there a knot of conflict? Is there a knot of resentment?  Perhaps there is a knot of trying to measure up to an impossible standard. Do you have more than one knot?  Most of us have many; some bigger than others.

If we examine the knot, we will likely discover an opposing force we are pulling against that is creating tension. Why are we pulling? Is it ego or the need to be right?  Is it a deeply held enculturated belief? Is it possible to leave an entrenched position long enough to visit and examine the opposite side?  Doing so will allow a measure of empathy to develop and in so doing, tension is eliminated.

This is a simplified metaphorical example.  In reality, we are dealing with many “ropes” with many “knots”, all heaped in a pile.  The “knots” were created over a long period of time and it will take patience and a lot of cooperation to untie them.  Best to start with our own.

Where is a place we can begin to see with empathy and understanding?  Where do we need to stop pulling in opposition? Where can we pull together to create a powerful change?