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first published in August 2010

This is the time of a Great Undoing. And this scares many people to their core, so much so that denial, adamant pushing ahead, forcing things to be as they've always been, pushing to do things as they've always been done, can produce crazed, anxious patterns that end up crashing and burning in the end. Understanding that times of Great Undoings are necessary and beneficial can go a long way to helping you ease through tough times with grace and peace. Collectively, we have gotten ourselves into many knotted up patterns that are not sustainable for the human family as well as the plant and animal families, let alone all of the other interdependent eco-systems on earth. We know this. We KNOW this, yes? But what do we do with the seemingly insurmountable number of things that need to be fixed in order to be sustainable and functional?

I've found that understanding how to heal huge systemic problems is much easier when there is a simple metaphor that can be used to grasp the nuance, the symbolic message, from the macro to the micro. So here's one for you: What do you do when you find your favorite shoes have somehow sprouted large entangled knots in their shoelaces seemingly overnight? If your shoes are going to continue to be functional to you, you are going to have to do the work of a Great Undoing. Of course, you can sit and ask forever "How did this happen?" "How did all of these problems/knots come to be?" Asking this may be useful for the future in order to prevent future Big Knots, but sitting and fretting just uses up time you could be using to start the Great Undoing. You may be tempted to just cut the laces off and buy new ones. But we can't really do that with humanity and planet earth. Throw it away and start over? Nope, not an option. We are here. The planet is here. Denying the Big Knots isn't going to work.

For the present time and the present situation, the only thing that's going to work is simply doing the work of untying the knots. Untying Big Knots can be slow going, frustrating work. I've found that it takes a lot of patience and focus. Tracking each curve of lace through every twist and turn and gradually untangling the stuckness. Being the expert knot-untier of the family, which probably goes with being "the mom", I've also found that once I've worked on a knot for a certain period of time, all-at-once the knot completely untangles the rest of the way easily and effortlessly. It's like the knot simply "dissolves."

This is the potential benefit of a Great Undoing. By tracking where and how our own energy is knotted up and begin the untying process, we can free up an amazing amount of energy that allows us to be in greater alignment with the Flow of Love-purpose in the divine unfolding of the universe. The greatest benefit to the Universe is for you to look within (first) and see where there is stuckness and begin to untangle, dissolve, and free your energy in that area. Then you will see clearly and passionately where you can be an instrument of divine benefit to healing the world.

The steps?

1. Set your intention to find where you are knotted (blocked) in your own life so that you can set yourself free.

2. Focus your attention on the knots/blocks looking at it from all sorts of angles, to find the source or core of it. It is usually a fear-based emotion attached to a limiting belief.

3. Affirm and feel your loving compassion for yourself in this area.

4. Take a tiny step of action to demonstrate your new unlimited belief and unfettered love about yourself and the world.

When we heal ourselves, we automatically help to heal the world. If you have any questions, have any comments, or want more info, let me know!

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Are you interested in a women's weekend away with Writing, Reiki, and Recreation? Take my quick 2 question survey here.

Introducing Sacred Circle Reiki!

At this beautiful retreat center on the Hood Canal (reservation pending), I'll teach my new Sacred Circle Reiki for the first time. In this workshop, you will learn 8 new symbols, be attuned to the new energies, learn the meaning of each, and have the opportunity to share these new energies with each other. The manual and You are Light book are included in the retreat fees.

In addition to sharing lots of wonderful Reiki healing energies, we'll have ample time to write, to meditate, to enjoy the gardens, beach, trails, and labyrinth nearby. With a 5-star spa just down the road that includes booking massages, boat tours, or renting kayaks, this will be a wonderful opportunity to rest, re-create, and recharge! If you are new to Reiki, you are welcome at this retreat!

I will need 12 commitments of a 50% deposit within 2 weeks. If you're interested in reserving your spot, email Monica here Registration coming soon!

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How to get the most from asking Why!

There are empowering questions and then there are disempowering questions. The questions we ask contain assumptions, so carefully attending to what questions you are asking yourself and how you phrase your questions

is vital to getting answers that will benefit you.

For example, if we ask, “Why did this happen to me?” that question assumes the energy of victimhood—of powerlessness.

However, if we ask, “Why NOT me?” that question assumes we are active agents in the events that happen to us and around us. It assumes agency. Therefore, it assumes we have gifts, abilities, and insights that will move us and/or our society forward when we choose and act on the options available to us after reflecting on this question.

With one question, you’re doomed and stuck with the situation. With another question, you’re propelled forward into new possibilities.

There are other ways to use Why questions as well. A Japanese business model from Toyoda, the founder of Toyota, uses “5 Whys” to examine their processes to create better workflow and improve efficiency. For example, if they continue to have a product or a system break down, they’ll ask 1 Why. Why did this happen? Then once they’ve discovered the answer, they’ll ask another “And why did that happen?” and so forth until they’ve gotten to the root of the issue and solved it once and for all. They’ve found that 5 Whys are the most that’s needed to get to the root of an issue and solve it there.

I’ve discovered this 5 Whys useful for spiritual and energy work. If I look at an energy issue in somebody’s biofield that doesn’t want to clear, I’ll ask why. Then I’ll ask another why, “Why is it there?” and then I’ll ask again, “And why did that happen?” and so forth, until I’ve found all the layers that are the root of how this energy pattern started.

The same is true for any inner process work. Here’s something I might have a conversation with myself with 5 whys:

I might ask, “Why am I sad?”

I realize I’ve heard some news that impacted me emotionally—the death of a friend.

Then my 2nd why, “Why is that causing me sadness?”

Because I will miss her.

My 3rd why, “Why will I miss her?”

Because she brought a lot of kindness into my life at a time when I really needed it and has been a true friend since then.

My 4th why, “Why am I grieving these gifts she brought me?

I’m afraid of the loss of my connection to her and these gifts.

And finally, my 5th why, “Why do I fear this loss?”

Oh, I see, the fear is not truly true. I am still connected to her in Spirit, always will be, and am always connected to universal kindness. I have lost only my physical connection to her. I can bless her soul’s journey, and remain connected to her in a new way, while I grieve the loss of my physical connection.

It is important to ask these 5 whys gently and from a place of curiosity, rather than harsh investigation. Gentle curiosity opens the energies up to reveal their source.

Play with empowering why questions and ask curious 5 Why questions to see if you can find the roots of any place where you’re stuck. Let me know how it goes!


copyright © Monica McDowell 2022

If you are so moved and are able, please consider supporting my writing by making a donation (PayPal Donate button on bottom of every page) or buying one of my books. Thank you!

Monica McDowell is a dynamic speaker, author, and practitioner in alternative wellness and spirituality. Find her on Thought Catalog here. She is the author of The Oracle of Devor, The Girl with a Gift, Confessions of a Mystic Soccer Mom, You are Light (internationally published by 6th Books in over 14 countries) and My Karma Ran Over My Dogma, and has the distinction of being the first ordained minister in America granted civil rights by a federal ruling. She lives in Seattle, Washington, USA, and can be reached at

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