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Anatomy of an unfurling

It begins when it is time, not before.  You’ve rested enough to be restored, nourished, prepared.  You can throw off the covers now; you’re ready to wake up and start the day.

Unfurling is the exquisite process of growing into ourselves.  We unfurl again and again, in each of the corners of our lives.  We unfurl our creative selves.  We unfurl our sensuality.  We unfurl into new versions of ourselves as leaders and teachers.  Unfurling grows us from one stage of maturity to the next.  We choose to unfurl when we have outgrown one skin and are ready to inhabit a new one.

While unfurling is intentional, it will not be orchestrated by your thinking brain.  When you’re in alignment — meaning your heart is open and leading the way with integrity — you find yourself unfurling into a form that serves your process.  Don’t worry, it will happen to you too.  It’s part of being human.  Your only job is to sharpen your listening skills so you can hear your inner wisdom, and then do your best to remove the unhelpful barriers that try to prevent the unfurling.

These barriers are the old stand-bys of fear, doubt and insecurity.  And the way to cut through them is through fierce self-compassion.  Honestly, you can love them away.  In the face of self-love, they don’t stand a chance.

Stage one: the fiddlehead

You’ve got to start somewhere, so your unfurling has its roots as a small, well protected early-stage version of you.  This may be you in a job you have outgrown, in a relationship gone stale, in a dream you have idly cultivated in your mind.  Things aren’t necessarily at a crisis point, but you’re restless because you know that you want more.  Key needs aren’t being met.  You avoid conflict, but in keeping the peace you keep yourself very small.  In the fiddlehead cocoon there’s not alot of vibrancy; it’s more about stasis.

The fiddlehead is part of a fern, one of those giant leafy plants with a collection of arms growing upward in a cluster.  At the beginning of the season it has several leftover ferns from last year standing tall, plus a whole bunch of coiled-up fiddleheads nestled together at the base of the plant.

Cue sunshine, rain and longer days.

Stage two:  slow growth

The way the fern grows is by uncoiling the fiddleheads upward toward the sky.  But, like you, the fern is guided by an inner wisdom that determines which of its arms will uncoil first, and which will rest a bit longer.  For you, one of your fiddleheads is ready to bust out.  Which one is it?  What’s calling you right now?  How will you answer the call?

Feelings of restlessness can lead you to action.  But inspired action – action aligned with your calling – is what differentiates unfurling from making changes in your life based on shoulds, ego or fear.  Fear-based changes are generally what we do in response to something we don’t like.  We run away from jobs, relationships and situations.  In order to unfurl, you must encourage the initial burst from your cocoon by facing yourself toward the sun.  Your sun.  Find what is calling you, and allow it to draw you forward.  Unfurl into yourself, rather than running away from yourself.

Stage three: focus

It’s unlikely you’ll unfurl more than one of your fiddleheads at a time.  And it can be quite a ride, so give yourself over to the process of unfurling and allow it to work its magic in the part of you ready to transform.  Allies and guides will show up to help you, and you’ll be given opportunities to test various paths.  Plunge into your unfurling with all of your focus, remembering that your job is not to orchestrate, but to facilitate.  Focus on how you are evolving and what you are learning, and make adjustments based on what you find.  Come back to your calling and allow it lead you forward.  If you stay true to yourself, you’ll find a path that gets you where you want to go, and you’ll return to self-love, clarity and commitment again and again.

Stage four: transformation

The magic of unfurling is that it steadily takes you from one form to another.  Your old skin will fall away, and you will gift the world with a more truthful and empowered version of yourself.  This is what the world wants of you.  We’re ready to greet the woman who claims her place at the table.  We want the fully upright fern.


Are you in the process of unfurling?  How do you stay out of your own way?  What are you learning about yourself?  Who are you becoming?


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