What’s Your Ikigai?

The people on the island of Okinawa, Japan are some of the oldest, healthiest and most content people on the planet. What is their secret? Ikigai! (pronounced icky guy) Ikigai translates as “a reason to wake up each morning.” Do you have a reason for waking up each morning? Or do you reluctantly drag yourself out of bed each day thinking, “Another day to get through” or “Is it Friday yet?”. Can you imagine waking up ready and eager for a new day of life? It is possible! This is what an ikigai is: it’s waking up each day with a purpose  or direction. You know where you are going. An ikigai is something you love to do, want to do, and that makes you feel alive. It can be a specific goal, ambition or dream or it can also be something as simple as setting an intention for a new way of expressing yourselves or interacting with others. For example, some people find depth of meaning in cooking and caring for their family. Other people find it through genuine and sincere … [Read more...]

Lessons Learned When It Wasn’t About Me

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. The art of reading between the lines is a life long quest of the wise.” ― Shannon L. Alder Almost everyone today has someone, or knows of someone, going through the experience of cancer or a life threatening illness. I am no different. In 2009, my sister was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and my world turned upside down for a while. When I was first told about the diagnosis, I went through a period of shock and disbelief, before anger and deep sadness took over. At the time, the question I asked was the same one many others have asked, “Why?” Cancer is a word none of us want to hear. But we do! I had only been back in Canada for 5 months, after an absence of 26 years. During that time, I had lived and worked overseas and visited my family for a month of more, every couple of years. I do not believe it was a coincidence that I was pulled me back to my homeland at this particular … [Read more...]

Are you building walls saying NO? Ready for YES?

  Are your thoughts creating wall and barriers preventing you from experiencing more of life? Mine were! Does this sound like you? A friend calls you up or texts with a suggestion to go out for lunch. You pause! Your mind is frantically searching for the right answer. Should I go, shouldn’t I? If I don’t go what excuse can I use? I have so much to do right now. I don’t know! I have to pick up the kids? The litany goes on. I know this all too well. I went for a period when I built walls around myself and fended off almost all invitations, making up all sorts of reasons why I didn’t want to or I couldn’t. Often after I turned down an invitation I would spend hours thinking that maybe I was missing out, maybe I should have gone, why didn’t I say yes. Ah, the thought games we play! When I realized I sitting home alone far too often and was receiving fewer and fewer invitations even to me my excuses sounded lame. I decided ENOUGH. I saw that it was only my thoughts … [Read more...]

Is this my dream?

You sit, hands clasped around a cup tea, staring out the window and wonder what happened. Is this really your dream life? You went to college, landed a great job, got married, had kids, have all the outer trappings of material success, BUT feel empty. You did what your family and society expected of you. You did what everyone else was doing. Was it right or wrong? Neither, it just was. You made those choices based on who you were and what you knew at that moment. They were the best decisions for that time. Now you are living this dream. There was a time, I too sat starring out the window wondering if this was all life had to offer. Then I became aware that my life was my dream, my choice and it had been perfect for me. Mine dream included university, a short marriage, no kids, a 25 year career as an educator, a life of constant change and movement, no permanent fix address and sense of adventure that leads me on. This was my dream and it was/is right for me. The … [Read more...]