How to negotiate the everlasting nature of a knot.

to understand the inner workings of the knows we form in our lives is to truly embrace the old adage: joy shared is doubled, problems halved.

When entangling ourselves with another causes sensations of freedom and exhilaration to arise, we know we’ve found our knot.

To tie ourselves to another—another someone, another perspective, another project or belief, any other other—requires a new set of beliefs, a new understanding of identity, and a heap of trust.

But also, constant testing. For this paradox to remain possible, to remain free despite being tied to an outside force, to allow our freedom to be called in different directions, to feel an increase in freedom as we surrender that freedom, the knot we tie ourselves to must not only endure constant work, and strengthen and increase the capacity of the knot.

But this does not mean we surrender our identities. As we are joined together, equally important to the strength of this knot are the points of contact and separation, the structure of the knot. We must remain conscious of how we work within the knot, where we are exposed, where we are concealed, where we touch, and how we distribute the work.

Nowhere is this more important than within a family or relationship with more than two people. The more people involved in the tying of knots, the more knots we naturally have to negotiate. To pay particular attention to how we’re tying ourselves to others and the way we’ll pull on each other, the way other’s needs will pull us from each other, the way our own knots will pull us and our loved ones from their knots, this awareness is essential.

To understand the inner workings of the knots we form in our lives is to truly embrace the old adage: joy shared is doubled, problems halved.

Just now, my daughter came to me with a knot: a hair band that was knotted up in her hair. She tried to untie it, mom tried to untie it, then I untied it, successfully extracting the hair band from the hair. Three of us knots working within our family knot to untie a knot so we could each carry on with accomplishing our daily tasks with the goal of reuniting around the dinner table. There is a permanence to the way we are tied together, and the way we influence the knots of each others’ lives.

This isn't to say some knots can't or won’t be undone.

Some knots may expire. Some may need to loosen. Some may need to create more slack and distance. The balance of work within the knot may shift, or the demands of one piece of a knot may exceed the capacity of the knot, requiring us to untie and retie the knot.

However long we stay tied to each other, how the needs of the knots in our lives evolve over time, the imprint of every knot we’ve ever known remains. Regardless of the time spent together, once knotted, the remnants of its force and our time spent locked in this embrace will stay with us. We will experience an ongoing ebb and flow of forces that lead to a desire and a need to tie ourselves to one another.

But if we tie ourselves to a partner—someone we trust, someone we support, someone we communicate well with, someone who puts us at ease and allows us to be ourselves and allows space to evolve and change—we won’t mind the enduring imprint.