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 December: Vitality
The other day, I slept through my alarm. I slept through breakfast. I slept through lunch. I slept through dinner. I stayed awake long enough to make a “Happiness is” and then I was back to sleep. The next morning, I slept through my alarm again. But this time, I woke up in time for lunch.
As I prepare to flip my calendar month for the last time in 2019, it was time to pick one last monthly Essence. I thought back on my year and on each of the Essences I had chosen.
I spent January in Discernment, trying to figure out what should come next. I spent February Trusting that even though I had no idea where I was going, it would be beautiful. In March, I allowed my horizons to Expand beyond what I previously would have thought possible. April had me Visualizing what could be and May gave me the Freedom to embrace that. In June I fostered new Connections that will last a lifetime and I spent July tapping into my own quiet Creativity. In August, I chose Adventure, a decision that will forever be my favorite. In September, I found myself searching for Acceptance and hoped to renew my focus when I chose Intention for October. Last month was all about Worthiness and Fun and as I sit here with my Essence list in front of me I realize there is only one choice for December.
Vitality: the state of being strong; active; energy
On a personal note, this year has taken me from euphoric highs to some of the most painful lows. I haven’t always wanted to Trust or to Connect or to do any of the things a more ambitious version of myself had proclaimed or written about.
But there was something that always kept me going, something that made sure I didn’t give up before I had begun. Vitality.
The last month of the year can quickly puddle into beautiful chaos and this year, I want to revel in that.
I want to squeeze every last hour of sunshine from my days. I want to walk in the park with a scarf up to my eyes just so I can remember how sweet it feels to have the wind temporarily dye my cheeks pink. I want to watch the sunrise behind a cup of herbal tea and a new library book. Most importantly, I want to write.
There are many things I could focus on with an Essence like Vitality. I could talk about the 30-day push-up challenge I’m currently in with my friend or how I’ve been really enjoying HIIT workouts or how I’ve finally readjusted to running on the hills of Western Pennsylvania.
But there is a different kind of Vitality that has nothing to do with physical strength and everything to do with the power behind waking up each morning and facing the uncertainties of a new day.
There is Vitality in writing through a clouded mind and pushing out the words that are difficult to say out loud.
There is Vitality in calling someone to apologize for unkind actions or being on the receiving end and accepting with grace.
There is Vitality in being brave enough to love someone and receive that love in return.
There is a kind of Heart Vitality that I am choosing to give my energy to this month. I’m not sure what it will look like yet, but I have a feeling if I do it right, it just might change everything.
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
Essence of September: Acceptance
Essence of October: Intention
Essence of November: Worthiness & Fun
Essence of December: Vitality