Find Your Essence—Find Your Essential You!

By Heath and Nicole Reed
[Savvy Self-Care]

Essence is the essential you, and we see exploring essence as a critical part of self-care. Essence is defined as “the most significant element, quality, or aspect of a thing or person.”1 We experience essence as our ability to resonate with our most essential nature or core self.
Acting and making choices in alignment with the essential you creates a life path of less resistance and greater availability to live on purpose. Living in alignment with what is essential to you releases unnecessary effort and tension, creates possibilities, and generates maximum fulfillment, contentment, and impact! Living into your own essence is the hallmark to a “happy life.”
Essence goes beyond superficial observation. You’re not going to be able to tabulate your (or someone else’s) essence through a social media feed, bank account, grade, title, or shopping habits. Rather, to access and activate essence qualities, we need to dig deep and go beyond our assumptions, judgments, and identifications to arrive at the ineffable, the unshakable, the essential you. Do you know what your essence qualities are? Are you living into your essence?
“There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”—Fred Rogers

We Are Human Beings, Not Human Doings

When we travel to foreign countries and meet new people, very rarely do new acquaintances ask, “What do you do?” And yet, in the US, it’s often the preliminary line of questioning people begin with upon a first meeting. Is what you do who you are? Maybe yes, and partly no. At home, I’m unlikely massaging people after a full day of sessions. Rather, I’m preparing a meal, walking my dog, watching TV, and/or enjoying a great conversation with my beloved. But these activities are not who I am either. What I’m up to in my personal or professional life is informed by my essence, although these activities do not define the essential nature of my beingness.
All kinds of confusion and frustration arise when we over-identify with external images of who we are supposed to be. If I rely on marketing campaigns constantly competing for my attention, I would act as though purchasing and consuming were the only ways to feel happy. If I align my self-esteem on the messaging broadcasted by social media, celebrities, and so-called reality programs, I’m setting myself up for cycles of inadequacy, drama, and self-inflicted loathing. If I attempt to keep up with the frenetic pacing of rushing to get ahead and the cultural perpetuation of time urgency, I’m likely to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, or have an accident and hurt myself. Instead, essence is a path of self-discovery—revealing what things, places, and people most amplify our personal happiness, create harmonious relationships, and grow a foundation of appreciation and self-love.

Moving at Your Essence Pace

Think of the last time you gave a session, and you felt like you were running out of time. How did your body respond when you told yourself to hurry up?
Time urgency and identifying with clock consciousness can be a constant stress and results from moving out of pace and out of sync with your own essence. Rushing often adds unnecessary effort, tension, and pain in our mind, body, and heart. Researchers call time urgency a hidden driver of stress and demonstrate that it plays a major role in heart attacks, feeling distracted, indecisiveness, irritability, and the inability to connect and feel connected.2 When we race against the clock, we know who is going to win every time.
Unfortunately, our intrinsic timing and the natural pace of moving through life has been—and may still be—routinely disrupted from the outside. As children, the adults around us would demand we “hurry up,” “settle down,” “slow down,” and “stop fidgeting.” As adults, not much has changed. There are now deadlines to meet, bills to pay, and mouths to feed, possibly creating the feeling of not having enough time.
When was the last time you remember moving at your own natural pace without feeling rushed? It’s probably been a while. To remedy this situation, try asking yourself these questions: What would it feel like to move at the pace of my own essence? How would it feel to work on projects or errands as though time didn’t matter? If time didn’t matter, how quickly (or slowly) would I move around the table doing bodywork? How long would I linger in different places on the body? How would moving at my own pace change how I practice and experience giving bodywork? A lot to consider, right?
Our essence contains multitudes! When we wonder, explore, and grow into our vastness, our relationship with our essence—and our proximity to it—evolves and changes. Notice the open space you create, the ease and flow you invoke, and the greater freedom you uncover when you think, feel, and act from the core of your most intrinsic, uninhibited being. We invite you to invest your attention in exploring your essence, so you continue to live in alignment with the most fundamental core aspects of you and enjoy all the bonus features of living in the playground of your essence.
There are many pathways in which we can discover, reveal, and amplify our own essential nature. Get curious and discover something new about yourself and who you are, so you continue to nurture, share, and express into the world the amazing, unique being you are. As one of our favorite teachers, Mr. Rogers, says, “There’s no person in the whole world like you.” And being you is greatest legacy you can share with the world.

The Essence Interview

In an effort to assist in the amplification of your essence, we have provided questions inspired by the work of the Foundation of Conscious Living. You can write your answers down or float the answers in the space around and within you. Feel free to include loved ones in this exploration as well. Enjoy—be playful and light!
To begin: Open to your breath, scan, and feel your body sensations as you occupy a clear space at the center of you. Breathe into the possibility of being surprised and delighted by your own responses.
Now, consider:
• What colors/textures support you?
• What movements delight you?
• What do you most appreciate about yourself in this moment?
• What most nourishes you?
• What are your favorite action verbs?
• What can you do now to support your most natural self?
• How do you most like to play?
• What’s your ideal flow of a day?
• Where do you most like to be?
• If you were to make the shape of your inner essence with your body posture right now, what would it look like?
• What is your experience of moving at your perfect pace?


1. Merriam-Webster, “Essence,” accessed September 2019,
2. The Hendricks Institute & The Foundation for Conscious Living, “Moving into Essence,” July 13, 2019, accessed October 2019,

Heath and Nicole Reed are co-founders of Living Metta (living “loving kindness”) and want everyone in the world to enjoy the experience of befriending their body. The Reeds lead workshops and retreats across the country and overseas, including Thailand, Hawaii, and France, and have been team-teaching touch and movement therapy for 16 years. In addition to live classes, the Reeds offer massage therapy and self-care videos, DVDs, and online trainings, which may be found at