For years, people have been searching for the key to a long and happy life. A few years back, it was the Danish word hygge that took the world by storm. It conveyed an appreciation of everything warm, snuggly and homely, emphasising the need to slow down and be present.
Then, came the Japanese word, Ikigai that nudged us to think about our goal and purpose in life—leading us to question our passion and our mission, and suggesting that we align it closely with our vocation and ultimately, our chosen profession to lead us towards a meaningful life.
In other words, Ikigai made us think of where we are headed and if at all, we are headed in the right direction.
A couple of years back, when I chanced upon a copy of Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles’ best seller, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, I found myself ruminating on many of the issues that the book had nudged its’ readers to work on. I should say it was a good starting point for me as I pondered over existential questions —Who was I really? And what were my passions? What were the things that gave me Joy? What fueled me to work and Where should I be expending my energy in order to find my Ikigai.
The questions were many, the answers but a few. For months, I had only a vague idea of where I could possibly find my Ikigai and then, as I began to delve deeper, and retrospect over the things that I did, over a period of time, I could see a few strands emerge, which eventually led me to my Ikigai.
For the past few years, life has been rather challenging and often, when I find myself confronting situations that thwart my joy and take away all those wonderful things that fill me up with a deep sense of contentment and satisfaction, I know how much they mean to me. It took me years to truly gauge the depth of my love for writing and art. Over time, this love for writing only grew stronger. I woke up on a quiet morning, deeply grateful to the Universe for granting me the skill and the opportunity to share my thoughts through the written word. What a blessing it was! That was possibly the time when I realised what the word Ikigai truly meant.
I now know that writing was always meant to be so—just that, the realisation took me some time but I knew instinctively, it was always that one thing that made me jump out of bed every morning these past seven years, no matter how bleak the day. I’ve always loved the fact that I write—it gives me boundless joy to realise that I’m able to express myself through my writing and that no matter how good or bad a writer I happen to be, my love for the written word will never be replaced by anything else in this lifetime.
There’s solace and a deep sense of comfort in knowing that. But it also leaves me with the key questions of how to turn that into a vocation or how to earn money from it. A few things that need to be worked on, but at least, now I have a sense of direction. I know where I’m headed, never mind the path that forks out into many a crossroad as I keep advancing further, leading me to an overwhelming question—Do I really know where my destination lies?
I have no answer to that but I know this is one journey that I’d love to take, because this is where my heart lies, in the truest sense of the word. Now, that I’m on the road, it remains to be seen what I make of it. That’s for the future to tell.
For now, that’s all I know about my Ikigai. I’m working on mine and I’ll be sharing my journey as I go along. But, tell me, what’s yours? Are you one of those who have got it all sorted out? Perhaps, you have the answers already? Or perhaps, you are working on it and might have some interesting things to share with the rest of us. Do share your thoughts. I’d love to know more.
As they say, it’s not about the destination always, the journey matters as much, right?
As I wrap up this Soulful Sunday session, I wish you more happiness, more joy and abundance in all that you’re striving and hoping for. Have a blessed weekend, everyone.
Wishing each one of you, much love, light and laughter!