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 August: Adventure
I think I confidently could have chosen “Adventure” as my Essence for any month this year. Perhaps January, when I was moving back to New York City after two months in Washington state without a formal job plan. Or June, as I was again leaving New York City for three months of travel with camp. But I didn’t feel ready to truly embrace Adventure until now.
All summer, I’ve known that August 10th will be a big day. My fourth and final camp of the summer ends on August 10th and, as I jokingly shrugged to my relatives at a recent family wedding, who knows what’ll happen on August 11th.
I used to be really afraid of that – the idea of “not knowing.” I always wanted to have everything lined up and figured out.
Then I moved to New York City. Shrug. That city has a way of helping you live.
It was during my first few months in New York City that a conversation with my brother shifted things. I had started working for two nonprofits and was in the process of interviewing for a year-long volunteer corps program that would start around the same time my contracted roles at the nonprofits ended.
“That’s perfect!” I remember myself saying. “I can work at these nonprofits for eight months and then when those jobs end, I’ll already have something great lined up to start a week later!”
My brother shook his head. He told me a lot could happen in eight months. Why was I trying to plan that far ahead? Did I really want to take the volunteer program or did I just like the security of knowing I had a plan?
Sometimes siblings hit you with the truth you didn’t know you needed. The volunteer program was undoubtedly cool, but he was right. I was more enticed by the promise that I would then have an exact plan of what I was going to do all the way through one year and eight months from now. I liked the program enough, but I loved the assurance of the plan more.
I ultimately turned down the volunteer program and spent the next however many months we’re at now living and loving New York City. A lot can happen in eight months.
I’m choosing Adventure for August because I truly have no idea what is going to happen on August 11th and I can’t wait. I don’t need to have it all planned out. I don’t want to have it all planned out. Trusting my heart this month and eager to see where it leads me.
Essence of January: Discernment
Essence of February: Trust
Essence of March: Expansiveness
Essence of April: Vision
Essence of May: Freedom
Essence of June: Connection
Essence of July: Creativity
Essence of August: Adventure
(Pictured: my brother and I sitting on a roof in New York City).