The word


Last year’s word was expand, and I think i nailed it: everything got bigger in 2010 including my work, my dreams, my opportunities, my dress size, my family, my heart. A lot of growth has happened in the last twelve months, and I found myself yesterday, on the last day of 2010, feeling a bit worn out. I was trying to write this post, then thought i could do a review of the decade, and then i became very tired indeed, so I posted my favourite Polaroids of the year and closed my laptop, my word of the year ringing in my ears…

Compassion. Noun. sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

Com~passion. living life with passion, with vim, with delight. Welcoming passion back into my life. Passionate.

It’s time to send some compassion my way, instead of beating myself with a stick every time i don’t live up to my own standards. Time to become conscious of situations, expectations and moments that cause me distress or discomfort, and gently let them go. This isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card that let’s me off the hook: this year i fully intend to continue Doing The Work — the soul-work, the dream-work, the love-work — but if i can infuse some compassion into my life i believe i’ll not only be able to look after myself better, i’ll also be able to pass that self-care on to those i meet, whether it’s in an Unravelling group, my nephew and family, my friends, everyone.

The other side of my word is com-passion. With passion. I’m lucky to have a lot of love in my life, but you know what? I want more passion too. Continued passion for my work. Renewed passion for my body and health. And some new passion arriving from unexpected quarters… preferably in a six-foot tall, twinkly-eyed, cheeky-grinned package — bring it on!

The lovely Bridget asked us to pick a colour for 2011, and I immediately knew mine: RED. Lately I’ve been buying a lot of red, from the red leather cover for my Kindle (more on Kindles soon), my Moleskine pocket diary, a red dress, a red hoodie, a pretty red scarf… suddenly i can’t get enough of red, and wearing it makes me feel so much more energised and juicy. I’m under house arrest these days while i write write write (two months to go!) and infusing RED into my world is keeping me awake and inspired… can’t really describe it any better than that. Do you know what i mean? The lusciousness that is RED. The life-affirming, scorching, lick-your-lips hotness of RED. I want more of that.

After closing the laptop last night I prepared my dinner and lit a RED candle. The evening unfolded quietly, exactly as I’d planned, and I allowed myself to rest, rather than pick up a pen and continue writing. Sometimes it’s better to leave some space for the brain to reboot, deadlines or not. This evening I’ll be expanding on my word for 2011 using my Unravelling The Year Ahead worksheet — it’s the same one from last year but i found it so helpful i’ve updated it for 2011. If you know your word you might like to join me — you can download the worksheet >>> here. <<<

So tell me, what’s your word for 2011? Are you ready to set a few intentions for the year by candlelight tonight? x


59 responses
  1. Bridget

    My Color is RED too! And my word is Bell, as in
    clang-clang, check-it-out! Pay attention, get deep into the details
    of your awesome awesome life! YAY!

  2. kristen

    my word is grow, the perfect segue from blossom, (my 2010 word), and my color, which i wouldn’t have thought but came to me when my eyes were closed is white. i sort of like that – white mixes with every color doesn’t it? :0 xx

  3. kate

    My word in 2010 was EXPERIENCE. I wanted to live in the moment and really appreciate everything but in reality one single experience shook my world to it’s very core and everything I experienced from then on was tinged with bitterness.

    This year I am letting that bitterness go, and am choosing ACCEPTANCE. Acceptance of the situation I am in, accepting myself for who I now am and who I will become, accepting every opportunity that comes my way and allowing things to happen as fate intends, rather than trying to control everything.

    Thank you Susannah, for always being open and honest and sharing your heart with us, you continue to inspire me on so many levels. Good luck with everything you have planned for 2011, I’m sure it will be a fantastic year for you!


  4. rebecca

    Holy crap, my word for 2010 was expand as well!! Goodness I love it when that happens! Good on you for acknowledging that you need more compassion for yourself, its so hard to give sometimes, isnt it? My 2011 word/intention is “faith”, in me, my possibility and my power. :) I can’t wait for our course to begin! I shall wear red in your honor on Monday, my tribute to the PASSION you are spreading just by being you! ;)

  5. Brandi

    I’m coming a little late to the word party for 2010, and just picked it yesterday (at least I got it in during the year). Mine was “expand”, too, and the word I picked for 2011 was “savor”. I haven’t picked a color yet, but that intrigues me so much I just might have to.

  6. Celina Wyss

    I will have to think on the color. I believe my word is: Laughter. I’m ready to let it out this year. To live with joy and have fun! Happy New Year!

  7. Melanie

    Love your word and certainly something most of us should embrace more towards ourselves.

    Hope you have a compassionate year.

  8. angie

    You are rockin’ the red! And you totally deserve some red hot passion/compassion too xx

    PS – My word is going to be ACTION; less thinking, more doing.

  9. Debi

    I am still drawn to dusty shadowy blues, the color of the water of lakes in this area, but not the surface – the cooler water below. Although, I admit, I find myself lately wanting the color of butter around. That cool yellow. My word? Soften.

  10. jane

    thank you for your generous gift… i am going to share it with my friends this morning in our circle of goodness – what a way to start 2011 x
    ps my word is courage

  11. ginger

    hii! i just wanna thank you for everything and let you know you’re someone who really inspires me to get off my butt and express myself how i really want. through my photos, through sewing, through the writing that i initially had no interest in but now i couldn’t live without.

    this year my word will be acceptance bc i am sooo hard on myself and need way more of it. im trying to accept everyday’s little bummers and really see and be ok with each moment. unraveling helped me take the time to see that the imperfections and mistakes in my life were just as nice as those i can appreciate in others’.

    my color this year is soft light..a lighter yellow. i think i’m going to keep this color in mind when i work through unraveling again this year.

    thanks so much! <3

  12. Jennifer Louden

    That was so fun, picking a color! I choose this one – I named it tangelo hope!

  13. Debby

    My word for 2011 is commitment. I need to commit to the
    things I put my mind to and also actually DO them

  14. Bekka

    Firstly I wanted to wish you a very happy new year, full of love laughter, passion and all things red!

    Thank you for all the inspiration you share – I really appreciate it.

    2011 is the first time I have had a word for the year – I am quite excited about it! Last year was a bit of a fug for me and I kinda lost sight of who I am and who I want to be, everything else kinda went out of focus then too. I am ready for this to change.

    So my word for 2011 is Invigorate

    I look forward to following your adventures during your passionate red year


  15. Barbara

    My word for 2010 was openess, didn’t think much about it until the last term of the year i started letting go of so many things emotinally and objects, suddenly after a not very easy time i then started to open to more things and i got to just started to see how it started to unfold!
    My word for 2011 is love!
    Love your word and wish You a very com~passion year!

  16. Tess The Bold Life

    My mom died in December. In honor of her memory my word is love.

  17. Meghan

    Love your word and color, Sus! My word for 2011 is *creativity* and I want to embody it in every way I can.

  18. Charlane Killough Griffith

    i just bought a red purse! :)

    my word is acceptance

  19. susannah

    That’s beautiful, Tess xo

  20. sas

    baby whenever you need a shot of red, just call me :) so
    excited to see your giving back to yourself, the thing you give so
    well to others xxx

  21. wildish

    My word for 2011 is soul. :)

  22. Sandie Cottee

    Loved this post Susannah. You are so inspiring. It is
    important to have compassion for oneself, and something we all need
    to remind ourselves of regularly. My word for 2011 is INTUITION.
    This is the first time I have chosen a word but it feels right.
    This is something else I have to remind myself, and when I am open
    it is trustworthy. Like last night. I went to bed trying to think
    of someones surname. It is not a name I use but was told it once, a
    long time ago. I trusted that the name would come to me if I
    stopped trying to think about it, and low and hold, I suddenly woke
    during the night with the name shouting at me. I have just followed
    your link to Pick a Colour for 2011. Before following the
    instructions I immediatly chose green. And guess what? My colour
    given was green and EXACTLY he shade and hue I would have picked,
    if I had a paint chart in from of me. So INTUITION has to be my
    word for the coming year. Enjoy red – and whatever 2011 brings you.
    And I hope that is everything you wish for. x

  23. Cheri Andrews

    May your 2011 be filled with compassion! My word for 2011
    is “happy”!

  24. Francesca

    Gosh, I hadn’t even thought of choosing a word or colour
    until I read this post! The colour I knew immediately – buttercup
    yellow for me. And a word? I think I’m going to take Angie’s lead
    and go with Action. Less dreaming and wondering – more Action, in
    my work-life, creative-life and love-life! xo

  25. Roxanne

    My word for 2011 is acceptance. My colour is pink.

  26. Jill Kane

    Love this post – I’m with you, bring on the colors of a new
    year! My word for 2011 is SOCIAL. I’m all about bringing being
    social back into my life (as a goal, it left a few years ago). Now
    is the time to bring it back, in fantastic style :)

  27. elizabeth

    RED + COMPASSION- woman, put some clean sheets on the bed cause your 6 foot, twinkly-eyed, hunka hunka burning love is ON.HIS.WAY. to you now. Of this, I have no doubt. Happiest of new years to YOU<–! xo, E

  28. Catherine Denton

    I love this post! Hmmm, never thought to have a word for the year OR a color. I’ll have to think on it…

  29. beth

    i did the word thing again, too….my 4th year in a row and this year, it’s SAVOR. i posted about it today and asked lots of readers to join me and boy did they….come on over if you have time :)

  30. Krista

    my 2011 word: resurrect

    so much of me died this year as i swam in the dregs of grief. and all i want next year is to feel alive in every way again.

  31. kathleen

    Happy New Year Susannah – may it bring passion, joy and plenty of red!
    My word is JOY – cultivating it, feeling it, and sharing it.
    My colour is RED too. Love it.


    loving the red! i am finding myself drawn to orange (and
    pink together…and i am NOT a pink girl!) my word this year is
    gratitude. buon anno, susannah

  33. Delia

    I am so excited for you about the love affair you’re having
    with yourself, your life & this man who is about to arrive
    on your doorstep. Just like any relationship, I know this all takes
    work but look at you go! Your honesty, tenderness & ability
    to work through & into solitude have inspired me (more than
    you know) during my own new experiences with being solo. The word
    I’ve chosen for 2011 is yes. It follows my 2010 word of
    freedom–which I needed at the time, getting free of old
    things…and, I think, invites more play & adventure into
    my life. I never considered a color before, but red is delicious
    for you. Big love to you, Susannah… Delia xoxoxo

  34. christine

    My word this year is Love.

  35. Gina

    Beautiful post! Last year the color turquoise started
    popping up everywhere for me, so I went with it. So I’m waiting for
    a new color to pick me in 2011. My word for the new year is FOCUS.
    (And I have a new camera that will help me, I hope)

  36. Danielle

    My word is momentum. Last year it was beginnings &
    I want to keep the growth that I experienced going. Love the color
    you chose!

  37. mindy

    my word this year is love. which goes along perfectly with
    red… but surprise! my color is lime green. happy, bright, glowing
    lime green. with the word love i am hoping to infuse my life with
    lots of unconditional love. towards my boys, my hubby and myself.
    and on the spicy side of things… i want to become a sexual being
    this year! really turn it on for hubby… my weight has always held
    me back, but i’ve decided that unconditional love extends towards
    my extra pounds as well and it’s all in how i see it. right? if i
    see myself as sexy so will handsome hubby ;)

  38. Laura

    I love what you have to say about compassion and it’s dual
    meaning! Your words are so true and important to keep in mind when
    we’re thinking about how the previous year played out and what to
    do differently in the coming one. Happy New Year! Looking forward
    to 2011’s posts!

  39. Renee

    My word(s) are Balance (1/2 red, 1/2 yellow) and Love (in
    orange) with the word love perpendicular to the L in balance. As
    for a color … orange. Balance, when it’s all worked out with love
    should be orange. Well, at least it is in my mind.

  40. Zarina Ávila

    My word is “Sara” the name of my little 5 month baby!!!
    She´s everything for me! My color….I don´t know..maybe black ;)
    My pant still no fit me and black is the best color for while… I
    will work out in my fitness this year: a lot of exercise and
    healthy food for me!!

  41. Rhiannon

    Happy New Year – Thanks for the worksheet – it helped me
    put a bit of structure around my word – Flourish ! Wishing you a
    wonderful 2011 !

  42. Melissa

    I didn’t think I would have a word, and then it came to me
    after I read your post! My word is “open” and colour is pale aqua –
    unusual for me but I think it fits my word. I blogged about it and
    now feel very open and exposed, but that’s how we move forward
    right? :) mj. x

  43. Kim

    Just want to tell you that I am a new follower and am really enjoying your site. I used to do a lot of SX-70 work until I dropped the camera and it ‘s never been the same since. :)

    My word for last year was compassion and I love your take on it. This year my word is fearless, which I saw in your pile of books.

    I wish everyone a year of living in intention.

  44. julie

    thanks for the worksheet ~ i think it will be very helpful much appreciated :)

  45. Thea

    Red for me too!

    The word is perfect for you darling and I am also picking Com~passion. Everything you said resonates. Wonderfully. xo.

  46. Tina

    Happy New Year Susannah, may 2011 be full of compassion for you, you deserve it! xo.

    My word for 2011 is Nurture, I need to spend some serious time on me; getting my health in order, reconnecting with who I am and sharing life with the people I love. You helped to start this process, thank you!

    All the best to you! xo.

  47. Debra

    Susannah, this is lovely. i wish you much passion and
    compassion for yourself in 2011! I picked red as my colour as well.
    To me it fits well with “open”, which I chose as my word. I’m ready
    in 2011 to open my [red] heart and invite love in.

  48. LisaR

    My word for 2010 was NEW. My word for 2011 is TRANSFORM. I
    had tons of new stuff come into my life in 2010, but this year is
    about transformation, which is also about new-ness, but the kind
    that comes from changing internally and the the external world
    changes follow. My color is purple, that started last year, seems
    to be continuing.

  49. laurie

    My word is “breakthrough”… I’m ready to break through the
    stagnation resulting from a pile of events (midlife, divorce,
    deaths, job losses…) and create a renewed life in place of the
    old one. My color is white, because it signifies a blank canvas
    with a fresh start… what I am right now.

  50. Yvonne

    My colour is lemon and my word for 2011 is Raw….raw
    emotion, raw loving, raw food, raw openess and raw

  51. Catalina

    Thank you for the worksheet Susannah! so useful!

    I have to work on it because I have to take again all my last year resolutions…but beginnings are just great, isn’t?

    I have to choose a “leit motiv” and then everything will follow

    Happy New Year to you! (special kisses to Noah)


  52. kelly Nolan

    My words are A Hop, Skip and a Jump Literally because I
    hope to be doing those things soon. Figuratively, because I am just
    a Hop, Skip and a Jump from a healed ankle, a job I love and a
    better situation. VIdeo :

  53. bénédicte motte

    et pour toi et pour tous : Liberté, gaieté &
    légèreté pour 2011 !

  54. Aggie

    Thank you!!! Unravelling filters in my days even after the
    actual courses, themselves. That is just plain wonderful. I figured
    out that mine is DISCOVER for 2011:

  55. Phoe

    My word is grace but so far I am not living up to

  56. leslie

    Susannah, I just stumbled upon your blog and I have been
    completely engrossed in it for the past hour or so. Lovely
    photographs, great info on Poloroids. My word for the year is
    INTENTIONAL. Looking forward to keeping up with this blog.

  57. gioia

    my word for 2011 is Prosperity, and the color is light

  58. jacqueline

    My word for 2011 is FEARLESS! My color is HOT

  59. RedRedCompletelyRed

    So proud of your colour choice! Wish I wasn’t feeling so GREY myself.

Comments are closed.