As a participant in the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’m writing a manifesto of what I believe and what delights me, based on unusual words. Today’s container is the letter i, and I’ve chosen a Japanese word ikigai.
Ikigai – (n) a reason for being; the thing that gets you up in the morning.
Ever since I discovered this word I’ve been captivated by it. The Japanese culture is fascinating to me in so many ways, but particularly because they seem so able to both hold the very precise AND the very ephemeral simultaneously in ways I certainly don’t see in my American culture.
As I’ve research ikigai, I’ve often found the definition paired with an a diagram. You can find an example here on Wikipedia. But basically its an illustration of overlapping circles – a Venn diagram – where ikigai is the overlapping point between:
passion (what you love and what you are good at)
mission (what you love and what the world needs)
vocation (what the world needs and what you can be paid for)
profession (what you can be paid for and what you are good at)
It’s really fun to be in that very dynamic place where you can’t wait to get up in the morning – you awake with a sense of excitement and almost urgency to get started. I often feel that way when I’m working on a project I’m totally psyched about, and my brain is in that creative mode where idea after idea, connection after connection, is being revealed and I can’t wait to fall down the day’s rabbit hole.
But it’s also lovely to be in that quieter more refined space what isn’t quite so energetically active. This is the state I’ve been trying to consciously attune to as I imagine what the world would look like if we were all moving through the world aware of and accommodating our particular ikigai. Imagine how different things might be.
I believe my ikigai is to radiate my soul’s energy signature as clearly and purely as I can in every moment, finding ways to express that delight me, and always moving forward towards ever-increasing awareness, wholeness, and joy.
What about you? What’s your ikigai? Are you committed to having it a priority in your life? Have a favorite word from another language/culture that delights you or stretches your thinking? Do tell – you know I love to hear.