“Unfurl”. My word for 2021.


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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?

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.


17 thoughts on “UNFURL

    • Yes. In my gratitude yesterday Lisa, I wrote of how I was so grateful for my writer’s circle meeting last night on Zoom. We are 6 women – 5 American, me the Canadian. We talked about what we needed to release before we began writing and we all agreed – sadness.
      At the end of the evening, what I carried with me was ‘hope’.
      Such a powerful word.
      Many hugs my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love this word. It has found its way into many of my poems. Thank you for holding a space of love and compassion for all. Violence is never the answer. I have great faith in the love that is working in around us. Sending you wishes of wellness and many more deep clean breathes.❤️☮️

    Liked by 1 person

    • And to you Ali — it is a powerful word for me — it has been appearing in my writing for some months, but it wasn’t until I listened for my word for 2021 that it became heard in all its depth and nuance and beauty.

      Many hugs Ali. Deep cleansing breaths. Much peace and love. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I try to do what you so eloquently describe here, Louise – but I’m afraid I am not always able to unfurl the knots in my heart, the solid stones in my stomach, the anxiety streams running through my body…. MY go to word is PEACE – always, HOPE is rightfully another one, and the one I probably whispered more often than any other is KINDNESS. With this trio and ppl like you I manage, sometimes ‘just’, but hey ho, nobody needs to be perfect, right!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Unfurl, an interesting choice. You have chosen the positive aspect of its meaning, one that most would immediately lean towards. Allow me to take another approach. Unfurl as to open, unleash pent up anger, irrational behaviour, frustration. Are the protests of January 6 just the beginning of yet another downward spiral to an infinite black hole? Or, were sufficient “brakes” applied to halt, temporarily I opine, of a movement that began decades ago as described by former CBC correspondent, Keith Pogue, this morning. I am leaning towards your positivity, yet my analytical mind fears that it must remain “open” to a possibility that the next 14 days may take the USA down further into a rabbit hole of the unknown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It chose me Iwona — 🙂 It is possible your analytical mind’s fears are the immediate path — and even in that rabbit hole I shall continue to look for miracles. it’s so much more comforting and hopeful than the alternative.

      Not in a ‘bury my head in the sand’ kind of a way but in a “if all I can offer is my thoughts, than let my thoughts seek the miracles.” kind of possibility.

      Hugs my friend.


    • Such an interesting question — the first thought that popped into my head is… hmmmm… if I’m not sitting in love and compassion, what am I sitting in? And, if the alternative is to sit in the turmoil and that too is a thought what do I choose? … I’ll choose the thought for the space of love and compassion — again and again — as sometimes, I do forget and find myself in the turmoil and must choose, again and again.

      Thank you for inspiring me Vivianne. ❤


  4. What a post, Louise! I followed along and it was like your thoughts and words could have come directly from my mind! I hate that day…and I, too, don’t know if I can come to the miracle place where I offer all involved my sincere…LOVE. But then, I have to look at love and wonder if all I do is offer my love to the people and things that are easy…? Is it not within me to be able to offer my love to all…to everything…HMMMMM….maybe one day. At least you opened the dialogue and I can peer inside to see where I am at.
    Much love to you…I hope that you are well. Stay safe ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh Lorrie — I am grateful for your comment today — that painting hangs in my studio, where it will hang all year, as a reminder to constantly ‘unfurl’. It is also a reminder that to unfurl is not to unleash or unburden – it is to commit to the peaceful, loving path with all my heart and soul engaged in compassionate engagement.
      And when I forget, my unfurling becomes disjointed or discordant to remember to unfurl myself back to where I remember, as it is written in the Bhagavad Gita, “Curving back within myself, I begin again and again.”

      Much love to you dear Lorrie — we are well. Quietly waiting for March 15 when we can book our vaccinations! Quietly living each moment with grace, kindness and love as our companions. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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