Ikigai is a Japanese concept for “a reason for being,” it’s a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical. In a nutshell, what gets you up in the morning besides your alarm clock, what are you passionate about? With the current state of the world, it’s hard to get excited about anything. Quite frankly, it’s fucking depressing. I can’t help but wonder if the universe isn’t waving its finger at all of us, sending us a clear message to slow down. Life as we know it has come to a grinding halt. We’re forced to take precautionary measures, distancing ourselves, staying close to home, and scrubbing our hands raw after touching basically everything.
Yes, our world is in chaos, but the question of “what gets you excited” in my mind, even today, still seems plausible. Honestly, a good cup of coffee in the morning gets me fired up, even though I wake up hoping Covid19 was a nightmare. We’re in a society that has known freedom, this virus has single-handedly taken it away, making this a teachable moment for all of us to slow down and enjoy life. As we hunker down, self-isolating ourselves from the “enemy”, we need to appreciate those little things or moments we once took for granted.
I’m optimistic that this too shall pass, but it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. Watching the news 24/7 will only cause stress and anxiety, I’m taking it one day at a time if just for my sanity. Our lives once filled with busy schedules have become simplified, that’s not to say it’s a bad thing. In fact, this brings me back to the original question, “what gets you up in the morning besides your alarm clock, your ikigai?” Activities allowing us to feel ikigai are often spontaneous, never forced, and are always done willingly or naturally, giving us the satisfaction and a sense of purpose. During times like these, our ikigai may be different from our normal, although, I’m clear on what gets me excited or gives me a sense of purpose.
Your “ikigai” is an essential ingredient for healthy aging…
Without sounding like a cliché, I love life. I’m that girl who learned to appreciate the outdoors, it didn’t come naturally for me. And yes, I admit to saying “the outdoors are totally overrated,” lol…that must have been my inside voice creeping out. Sheesh! These days I can’t seem to get enough of the outdoors. A walk through the forest or on the beach clears my head and keeps me calm. Ikigai is about finding joy, fulfilment, and balance in the daily routine of life. If you’re unsure what this might be, make three lists, your values, things you like to do, and things you’re good at. At the moment we’re living extenuating circumstances, so finding balance is vital to our health, thus our survival.
For inspiration, Authors Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles know a lot about The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
As detailed in their book, the 10 rules that can help anyone find their Ikigai;
- Stay active, don’t retire
- Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
- Only eat until your 80 per cent full
- Surround yourself with good friends
- Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
- Smile and acknowledge people around you
- Reconnect with nature
- Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive
- Live in the moment
- Follow your Ikigai
What is the one simple thing that would be an expression of your Ikigai? Find it and pursue it with all you have, anything less would be a waste of your time.
Overcoming this current pandemic together is the first step in staying together.