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Essence of January: Discernment

My dear friend Laura Lavigne is the founder of the Center for Happiness in Anacortes, Washington. I was extremely blessed to spend six weeks near the end of 2018 living with her in Anacortes and helping out in small ways at the Center. One of the first things Laura taught me was about Essence. You can learn more about Essence here.

While living in Washington, I often found myself and my friends declaring an Essence for the day like “playfulness” or “connection” or “adventure.” The idea of beginning a morning with an intention not of what I wanted to accomplish, but of the things I wanted to feel was new and exciting.

A mutual friend of Laura and I was chatting with us about Essences when he mentioned wanting to focus on an Essence each month of 2019. Enchanted with the idea, I asked Laura to share with me a list of Essences. I didn’t need to look at the list for more than a moment when the obvious choice jumped out.

January 2019: Discernment

Google gives me two definitions for the word, the first being the ability to judge well. The second definition says, “(in Christian contexts) perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding.”

Lord knows I could use some understanding. I was talking to my childhood best friend around the New Year, telling her that I had never gone into a year with more uncertainty. I am choosing to see this as a blessing.

Three years ago, I had just graduated from university and accidentally moved to New York City. I didn’t know how to ride the subway, where I was going to live, or what I was going to do.

My first few weeks in New York City in 2016 were full of discernment, trying to figure out what the future held one day at a time. It was scary and at times stressful, but it was perhaps the greatest of adventures. I learned through every mistake.

My wish for this month, January 2019, is to focus on quiet meditation, to think clearly and confidently about what might come next. I don’t know what that is right now and heck, it will probably take more than one month to figure it out. But I am declaring my Essence of the Month to be discernment.

I got back to New York City a few days ago after a few months of back and forth travel and even though I’m not certain where I want to live or what I want to do, at least I know how the subway works.

Love always,


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