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. These are my reflections.
Essence of May: Freedom
I knew I was an extrovert. But after working fully remote I’ve realized that boy, am I an extrovert. There are so many incredible benefits to working from home. I can work in my pajamas. I can go running in the afternoon. I can go to the doctors during normal business hours and not have to stress about missing work.
There is also, I’m learning, an extreme discipline that comes with this. Outside of the Smile Project road trip, I have never experienced this much freedom. I am in charge of my schedule and my hours. As long as I get my work done, there is flexibility. Learning myself in this way has been fascinating.
I’ve found myself creating subtle routines, systems and patterns to keep myself organized and together – especially as three of the organizations I am working for right now are based on the West Coast and I’m forever a New York City girl.
The other week, I managed my time poorly and found myself up late on a weekend night, finishing a couple projects and wondering how I had gotten there. This naturally lead to frustration with myself and the spiral began. Freedom of choice still requires discipline of action.
This month, I am focused on embracing this freedom. I am reminding myself that I have the ultimate choice over every decision I make. I am reminding myself that if I don’t like the situation I am in, I can walk away. I am focused on appreciating my autonomy and learning how to live with myself in a productive, thoughtful, and genuine way.
Essence of January: Discernment
Essence of February: Trust
Essence of March: Expansiveness
Essence of April: Vision
Essence of May: Freedom