IKIGAI

           
Hello again!
This is our second blog post (exciting!) and I’d like to talk about a concept I really like:
Ikigai
(n.) org Japanese.
A reason for being; the thing that gets you up in the morning.
 
A friend of mine, who lives in Sweden, told me about it last year. I hadn’t heard the word before but as soon as he explained it a little bit to me, we where talking about it for a long time…
Afterwards, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.
I did some research: apparently Okinawa (in Japan) is home to some of the oldest people on the planet and this is not thanks to medication but to a mixture of a healthy life style, community spirit, love for what you do and spirituality. This mixture allows you to find the perfect balance to create a meanigful life, full of satisfaction.
There isn’t a set formula though, it is a personal self-developing concept that needs to flow and grow within each individual on a daily basis starting from taking pleasure in doing the smallest most mundane activities around you, to bigger more important tasks.
They don’t retire from work because they are happy when they are busy doing what they love.
I suppose some lucky people find their Ikigai early in life and follow its flow until they die and it’s all very straight forward.
Others may know what their Ikigai is but think of it more as a dream than a reality they can achieve at that particular moment in time. Some may even have more than one reason for being; something that evolves and changes, like their life.
In my case, it was thanks to being stuck at home during lockdown that I actually thought about it in earnest. I have been thinking about my life and what I do, its purpose, and if that could be (or is) my Ikigai…
Well, I do art.
I draw, I do printmaking and I tattoo. I can’t really think of myself not doing those things but as a mum and as a grown up woman I used to fret and stress about it not being a proper job and undermine myself because I could be (and should be) doing something more meaningful, more profitable, more relevant and more important.
The breakthrough, I believe, was being forced to stay at home for an undetermined period of time. The world changed completely, life slowed down, I re-learned enjoying the flow of the mundane, simple things in life with my family, and realised that in order to be a good person and a good mum, who does meaningful, profitable and relevant things in life, it wasn’t my art, my drawing, my printmaking or any of those things that I needed to change, it was only the approach.
Not to over-analise and stress about the impostor-syndrome some creative people suffer from but to embrace it, grow and share with others.
I have taken part in some very succesful events in the past few months with my work raising funds to thank or help others, so I have discovered that art is actually important…
I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people I love and who love me back.
This is who I am and, to be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
It makes me happy and it makes me who I am.
I have an ikigai.
How about you. Do you have an Ikigai? Do you follow it?