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 acts of kindness towards others, or it could be setting a mindset to open up to all new possibilities so that you let in a limitless amount of spontaneous and life-changing opportunities.
The basis of an ikigai is that it’s something that you enjoy and makes you feel vibrant and alive. As you grow and expand into your ikigai, you will also enhance other people’s lives through your vitality and energy.
It is about finding value in something that you love doing while mastering and developing talents and skills to ensure that it is sustainable.
My ikigai is to live each day as fully as possible and help others do the same.
There is a wonderful passage from “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll that give an indication as to why as ikigai is important.
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
“Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” was his response.
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter?”
Each of us has a choice, we can live our lives by default or we can live by intention. If you are happy with your life, great! But if you have a niggling thought that maybe there is something more, missing, or that you’re stuck, then perhaps you need a ikigai.
You can continue repeating the same patterns in your life or you can take steps toward that something that keeps tugging at you. In stillness if you listen to those yearning tugs you will hear what is calling. Your inner wisdom knows what you might fear to acknowledge.
You can take baby steps towards that longing without dismantling your life. Your first step could be to create an ikigai card which you place by your beside to read each morning to give your day purpose. Then do something each day with your purpose in mind. Each action will anchor your ikigai.
A joyful, peaceful and fulfilling life in your birthright.
Now is the time to reclaim it.