Why do I get up every morning? This is a question we all ponder at points in our lives. We may have work and family obligations, we may just not need any more sleep! But, where is that passion in your gut, the fire in your heart, the sparkle in your eye, that brings you forward into the day.
This is something I have always pondered, but took as my mission almost 10 years ago. To find my purpose, or as the Japanese call is, my Ikigai consumed me as I searched for why I got up every morning, why I went to work, why I exercised, why I was drawn to the same hobbies my whole life and why certain studies drew me in. The search began one morning when I woke up, drove to work and realized my life had become very routine. Sleep – work – sleep during the week, errands and such on the weekends. It was a lifestyle that suddenly became unsustainable. There was a voice inside me that was growing louder and louder, more insistent I ask the question “why?”.
Ikigai is, simply put, the reason we get up in the morning. It is about finding passion and purpose, and practicality at the same time. Ikigai is your reason to live, your purpose from a spiritual perspective but grounded in everyday life.
While I believe we all have a purpose here, I also believe it is not necessarily in the label to we assign to ourselves (wife, mother, lawyer, doctor, nurse, etc). But rather, it is how we show up in the world. As energetic, spiritual beings, what essence do we bring forth? And how do we do that in a practical, grounded way?
When I realized that it wasn’t what I did at my job that I enjoyed but rather HOW I did my job, how I led and inspired others, the mentoring and coaching for staff members and colleagues, that the pieces started to fall together. The famous quote “people will not remember what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel”. This.
How do we get there? It is a process, one that I have been working through for years and continues to unfold. With each step, a bit clearer. Many techniques and practices contribute to the unfolding. Mindfulness, meditation, conscious awareness and self-compassion all supported by modalities that bring us closer to our authentic selves, our essence, our soul. Practices that ebb and flow with time. Constant learning and self-discovery and approaching my day with curiosity and openness.
This is the work that fulfills me, not only the work with myself but with all of my clients. There is a common thread, we are all seeking meaning and purpose. It does not have to be grand, but we all search for meaning to carry us through the times in our lives when we need to dive deep and keep going, and the times that are full of joy and hope. Finding your ikigai takes honesty, courage, patience and awareness. It is the journey of our lives, the breath of our soul.