: the basic nature of a thing : the quality or qualities that make a thing what it is
There was a smell along the Camino that would waft in and out of our awareness. It was a rather strange aroma and quite unique, a combination of semi-fermented apples, manure, and freshly cut hay. It was at times pleasant to me and at other times unpleasant, depending on which elements were prevailing and, frankly, whether there was a lot of moisture in the air. In the morning when it was damp and foggy and mist was in the air, I found the aroma a bit offensive. On the other hand, I found it very agreeable in the afternoons when the air was drier. My companions had different reactions to this mysterious aroma. Some enjoyed the smell, particularly when the apple aroma dominated while others abhorred it regardless. But it was at all times unmistakable. We dubbed it the “Essence of Galicia.”
The double meaning of the word “essence” did not strike me until later. That aroma, or “essence,” came from the essential part, or “essence” of the area through which we were walking. The Camino took us through some absolutely beautiful rural areas. We walked right through farms. The cows used the same paths as did we. Fields were being harvested, and the hay was being stored right beside our trail. There were lots of orchards, and the farmers were picking the ripe apples. In acts of incredible generosity, these farmers offered the freshly picked apples to the pilgrims who walked by.
That got me to thinking about what my “essence” is and how that impacts others. My unique interests and strengths define my essence, and this combination will have differing effects on various individuals, often depending on their own unique needs. It will be agreeable to some others all the time; disagreeable to some all of the time; but agreeable or disagreeable to most depending on the circumstances. And that is OK. By really Knowing Myself, I will learn to distinguish those circumstances where my unique interests and strengths are likely to be of most service to the most people. I can learn to identify others who might enjoy what I have to give. I can thus improve the “essence” others experience from my “essence.”
– Enjoy the Journey!
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