What is essential?

Lakehouse Sunset

We’re sitting outside overlooking a beautiful lake, the wind moving through the trees that line the shore at my friend’s Minnesota cabin, conversation and laughter rising up in the peacefulness of the evening to meet the sunset’s rainbow of colors. This place, these friends invite leaving behind all but what is essential. A calling to let go of all that lingers in the usual moving through the days.

I feel myself open to the light, the beauty of nature, the purity of this time. There is a one-ness to this place. It speaks of wholeness and calls out: See the richness and texture of the light, hear the loons and wrens, and the little motors of fishing boats, their riders, too, seeking a solitude only found deep inside. Smell the fresh infusion of life in the gentle breeze rising off the water, feel the air tickle your skin, and breathe.

BREATHE it all in.

Essential Quote

It is easy here to recognize what is essential. Not what we do or what happens, but who we are.

BEING. Being who we are.

Accepting ourselves without judgment.

Opening ourselves to each other with a deep caring and true listening.

Taking in all that’s around us and how in each moment we’re co-creating our individual lives and our collective experience, and touching life in some way that reverberates far beyond us.

I find myself filling with questions:

  • What is essential?
  • What is it that I honor and value most?
  • What can I let go of?

I find I keep looking for – and finding little bits and pieces – of the essence of who I am … in my seeking, I sometimes find what’s essential.

I long to take home with me some of this precious peace. How to bring this simplicity and clarity into daily living? Information and people and tasks needing our attention come at us in such abundance that it seems increasingly impossible to respond to it all. How to seize the infinite opportunities that each moment brings, to choose what we want to create? To live our lives from the heart to be the person we are…what an invitation.

Questions overflowing:

  • How often am I running on autopilot, following what’s urgent versus what’s essential or really important?
  • When do I find myself wishing I had responded differently, thinking if only I had been more present and tuned in to what I wanted or was creating for myself or someone else?
  • What does it take for me to choose the things that make me feel good, whole, fulfilled and filled with purpose?

Weaving a Work
By Pamela Cranston

Pay attention to the ones
who find happiness in their work,
who know how to sift pure gold
from the slag-heap of days,
who work with a purpose,
and without haste –
like the diligent spider
who slips along her slender thread,
spooled from the cave
of her dexterous body. See
how she casts her gossamer
and dangerous net
into her ocean of sky, weaving
a work as if she had but one day
to live – and as if she had
a thousand years.

* Photo taken on Koronis Lake, Paynesville, MN


Author: Vicki L Flaherty

I am most alive when I am creating, whether through writing, gardening, photography, cooking, crafting, sewing... Running and yoga enrich my being. I am happiest when I’m with my husband Jim. Travel opens me to new possibilities and greater awareness. I find a special joy when I’ve helped someone see their brilliance and express their full potential. As I've focused on living more mindfully, I've found special joy in expressing myself through poetry and photography, and in truly being in relationship with those I meet along my journey.

8 thoughts on “What is essential?”

  1. Wonderful piece of writing! It reminds me of Stephen Covey’s Time Management Grid – figuring out what is Urgent (or not), and Important (or not), and planning how we spend our time. So often it is the Urgent/Not Important that takes up space, pushing aside the Not Urgent/Important that really fills our soul and spirit. Thank you for the reminder and sharing such beautiful words !

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