YOUR ESSENCE ~ YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF
is Your "Essence?"
Essence is like a multifaceted diamond. Each facet reflects
one of your innate qualities. Your Essence is who you are
when you are without pain or fear, in peace, feeling truly
safe to be your authentic self. What are your innate Essence
qualities? These aspects of yourself often get buried
as we grow up, but they never disappear. As we uncover
our innate Essence qualities, we automatically begin to tap
into our intuition.
of us creates our own form of emotional protection in order
to fit the best we can into our family and cultural structure.
These layers of protection served us well as children, but
they can hinder us as adults. The following fable may help
clarify the way you protected and comforted your Essence along
Princess and the Pea (revisited)
"The Princess and The Pea" a tale written by Hans
Christian Anderson, a waif is revealed to be a princess because
she can feel a tiny pea hidden under 20 mattresses and 20
down comforters. Let's revisit this story from a new perspective.
Imagine that the waif represents you. In your mind, climb
to the top of the pile of mattresses covering the pea. Lie
down and snuggle comfortably under the layers of soft, white,
billowy, down comforters. Now imagine the pea is a metaphor
for your Essence.
In your imagination, return to yourself as a baby. Imagine
yourself as fully integrated with your Essence. During your
childhood you began to feel that when you displayed some of
your Essence qualities, you felt rejected or unloved.
You decided you needed to hide parts of your Essence in order
to fit. You placed a mattress over your Essence (over
that pea) in order to feel safe. As you grew, more and
more of your Essence qualities seemed to bring you pain.
Through the years you laid more and more mattresses over your
pea. Each mattress was manifested when you perceived and then
believed that you needed to push away an element of yourself
in order to fit into you family and environment.
The mattresses represent perceptions and beliefs you adopted
in order to cover up your Essence so you could thrive, or
perhaps even survive, during your childhood.
As your Essence became buried layer by layer (mattress upon
mattress), your Essence qualities may have been gradually
lost to your conscious memory. Your mattresses, instead of
your Essence, began to dictate your responses to life. You
went on "emotional automatic pilot," reacting
to events in your life in habitual ways, instead of listening
to your Essence. Somewhere along the line you learned how
to tune your true self out.
an effort to comfort yourself along the way you began collecting
"comforters." Comforters can be material possessions,
or a job that looks good from the outside, or "trophy"
people, or in some cases drugs, alcohol, or food. Comforters
bring instant relief from the stress of your buried Essence.
Yet, the relief does not last long. As the anesthetic effect
of the comforter wears off, you find yourself seeking more
and/or different comforters. No matter what comforters
you choose, the result is the same. You end up feeling as
if something is missing in your life.
You have created a major dilemma. You will never have enough
of any of these comforters if you depend primarily on them
to bring you meaning, harmony, passion, or peace in your life.
Do you have a fear of losing your comforters? If the answer
is yes, you have traded parts of your Essence for your comforters.
As long as you keep looking for external sources of "comfort"
in your life, you will continue to feel, "There must
be something more." Guess what? There is!
When you allow yourself to feel the discomfort of the "pea"
(there must be something more) it is a signal from your Essence.
That signal means that the suppressed parts of your Essence
are longing to be brought to the surface. Your mattresses
and comforters are no longer serving you, and in some cases,
they are smothering you. As an adult you have the opportunity
to evaluate and transform these mattresses and comforters.
Adulthood is your time to be who you are and create the life
you want to live. Are you ready to listen to the call
from your Essence? Are you willing to answer the call?
Is it time to create conscious intent to uncover and embrace
your Essence? Yes? Then you can allow it to be
When you answer your "Call to Essence," you can
keep your comforters or throw them away. If you keep a comforter
just recognize it as a comforter ~ as something you choose
(not need) to have in your life.
Your Essence Qualities
following exercise is designed to put you in touch with your
Essence. Don't think too much while you are doing it. Just
give your first reaction.
of a dear friend or loved one. Write down the name of first
person that comes to mind in the space below. Under his/her
name write the qualities you most admire (i.e. honesty, integrity,
joyful, compassionate). Please don't confuse qualities with
characteristics (a great golfer, a good teacher, a successful
businessman, etc.). Qualities are not learned; they are natural
attributes. Do this now before you read any further.
that you've identified these qualities in someone else, know
that these are your natural qualities! That is why you are
so attracted to them. You have just discovered some the qualities
that make up your Essence. This is who you really are. Some
of these qualities surface often, others only come up occasionally,
and some you only allow yourself to experience when you feel
safe. Some of these qualities may be so buried that they have
not consciously registered with you in a long time. You may
not even remember you had them.
Next, think of a mentor or someone you consider a hero. You
may or may not know him/her personally. Write his/her name
down and make a list of his/her admired qualities. This time
you know that these qualities are all a part of your Essence.
After you identify them, allow yourself to embrace them as
Now think of one more person you look up to and their special
qualities. Each time you write down a quality, know deep within
yourself that it is yours as well. Own it!
Review the qualities listed for the three people above. You
have just described your own Essence. You are all these things.
If you have any doubts that these qualities are who you really
are, ask someone with whom you feel safe and who loves you
to list your qualities for you. My experience with this
exercise has shown me that there is a remarkably high consistency
between the qualities you admire in other people and the qualities
that your loved ones see and admire in you. Sit with
this awareness for a moment and allow yourself to welcome
this as a rediscovered part of yourself.
the space below write, "I am" and complete the sentence
with one of your Essence qualities. Below that write,
"I am" and add another Essence quality. Continue
until you have listed all of the identified qualities of your
Essence. You can continue to add to this list as other Essence
qualities come to your awareness.
yourself to know and accept your authentic Essence. Stop reading
for a while and sit with this truth. Notice what happens to
your physical body when you embody your Essence. Notice
that you begin to relax. Most people experience a peaceful
sense of calm. Some folks even feel like crying. How
do you feel emotionally and mentally? Do you feel a shift
of well-being for the better?
reawakening your Essence, you will begin to tap into your
intuition and bring ease to your life. Choices become clear
when they are made from your Essence rather than by the many
conflicting messages all around you. There's no more guesswork
about what will make you happy. You'll have the ability to
feel whether a certain path will make you happy before you
travel it and achieve the reward at the end of it. You'll
become more confident as you realize you don't need outward
approval for your life.
find the courage to make life-transforming decisions. You'll
find it easier and easier to live the life you were meant
to live rather than the one people expect you to lead.
You can find happiness and purpose by living from your innate
Essence. Your Essence is who you are at the core of your spiritual
being. Your Essence embodies the qualities you were born with.
Allow yourself to begin sharing the real you with others.
Take baby steps if that feels the safest way for you!
it to be easy!