OK, so, Iki-what? Ikigai is the new buzzword which, much like hygge, has everyone talking. But what is Ikigai and how do you go about finding yours? We’re glad you asked!
The Japanese island of Okinawa is home to the world’s oldest, healthiest and most content people on the planet. What’s their secret? Well, it’s Ikigai.
This ancient Japanese philosophy simply translates as “a reason for being.” The word encapsulates the importance of living a life of purpose. What makes your life worth living? Are you excited when the alarm clock wakes you up each morning? Or, do you reluctantly drag yourself out of bed thinking, “Another day to get through” or “Is it Friday yet?”
Can you imagine waking up ready and eager for every new day? It’s possible!
Everyone has Ikigai; it’s that sweet spot where your passion, mission, vocation and profession meet, and having a strong sense of what this is, makes every day meaningful. It’s about staying true to yourself, to the things that are important to you, and spending time doing the things that makes your soul sing daily. The key word here is daily; it’s not about the grand or the extraordinary, it’s about the little things that gives you pleasure and purpose – walking the dog, or, maybe making the best cup of tea every morning.
Sure, the Japanese island lifestyle might not be all that easy to replicate for fast-paced South Africans, but adding a little Ikigai to each day is definitely possible. However, finding your reason to get up in the morning, is a notoriously fiddly concept. Thing is, each of us have a choice, we can live our lives by default or we can live by intention. So, if you’re happy with your life, great! But if you have a niggling thought that maybe there is something more, or that you’re stuck, then perhaps you need an Ikigai.
Here are the rules to finding your Ikigai:
Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise.
Smile and acknowledge the people around you; nurture friendships and relationships.
Adapt a slower pace of life and reconnect with nature.
Make time for the small joys in your life and give thanks to anything that brightens your day and makes you feel alive.
Live in the moment.
The secret to a long and happy life is not to live in the hope of a great life tomorrow. It is to live with intention today. So, in the words of mythologist and author, Joseph Campbell, “Find your bliss and don’t be afraid to follow it every day.”
So, amidst the multi-layered pressures of our modern world, isn’t it time to peel back those layers and discover why we are really here? What is the one simple thing that you could do today that would be an expression of your reason for living?
May 2018 be the year you discover the peace of finding your Ikigai.
Source: Fair Lady Magazine January 2018, www.dailymail.co.uk, www.livinglifeinjoy.com, www.forbes.com, www.smithamurthy.com, theviewinside.me, theculturetrip.com, good.co, emiliefrances.com, upliftconnect.com, www.weforum.org, www.thetimes.co.uk
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