“Unfurl”. My word for 2021.
un·furl /ˌənˈfərl/ Learn to pronounce verb past tense: unfurled; past participle: unfurled make or become spread out from a rolled or folded state, especially in order to be open to the wind. "a man was unfurling a sail"
It arrived quietly on a gentle wave full of self-compassion flowing with possibility, desire, anticipation.
Yes. My heart said. I see you. I feel you. I know you. You mean something to me.
It felt hopeful. Full of spreading wings and dreams unfolding on flights of fancy as I leapt into unknown skies and dove into creative seas yet to be explored.
“Let your sparkle out.” was the tagline that appeared to go with my word.
I sprinkled gold and silver glitter dust onto the still wet canvas.
It was fun. Expressive. Concrete with dollops of whimsy.
I wanted my painting to represent the unfurling of unlimited creative expression, freedom from self-criticism and fear of ‘looking ridiculous’. I wanted it to be a statement of my fearless pursuit of living embodied in the present moment, passionate, alive, unlimited.
And then Washington happened and I felt the weightiness and the precision of that word cut deep into my body.
Can you unfurl compassion amidst the fear, the horror, the confusion you feel watching these events, the word seemed to be asking as I poured paint onto the canvas.
Can you hold those who dissent in the same space as those who are in accord with your truth?
I had to stop and breathe into that one.
Could I let go of seeing the perpetrators of yesterday’s events through the lens of right and wrong and hold all who participated in the same space of compassion as those who were tormented by their assault?
I didn’t want to.
And a tiny voice from deep within my belly rose up and whispered into my heart, “It would take a miracle.”
And that’s when truth shimmered like the sparkling dust on my painting.
Perhaps, yesterday’s events were the miracle.
Yes. What happened was horrific. And for one woman and those who know and love her, tragically final. Her death could have been avoided. The events of yesterday could have been redirected.
But it wasn’t. And they weren’t.
It is impossible to change the events that lead to yesterday.
It is possible to change what happens next.
Violence does not create harmony. It does not open the door to peaceful coexistence.
But, in the horror of all that transpired yesterday, there were those who have stayed silent who spoke up. There were those who had acquiesced to the subversion of due process through their sitting on the sidelines, who stood up and held themselves accountable.
Can I see the miracle in that?
I am struggling to be in this space of compassion. To simply hold myself accountable to breathing without my mind tearing into words of condemnation of all those would tear apart a country I love as my neighbour.
I struggle yet know, to be a voice of calm, to be a space of compassion, anger, criticism, calling people names, deriding their politics does not create the more of what I want to have in the world.
It does not create peace. Harmony. Joy. Dignity. Equality. Love.
And so, I allow myself to unfurl in compassion.
I breathe into the miracle that appeared within the words of those who had once stridently spoken out against due process as they stood down and held up their hand in accord.
I breathe into the miracle of unity that appeared within the discord.
And with each breath, compassion unfurls and my heart opens up.
I do not believe violence is the answer. Meeting violence with violence isn’t either.
I believe we, the people of this planet we all call our home, have the power to find answers that celebrate and nurture and promote our humanity. We have the power to bring light to the darkness, and peace to every heart.
And I believe, it starts with a miracle.
And so, I hold onto the miracle and let my heart unfurl in the possibility of more.