A Japanese word explained by a Belgian guy who is looking for his Indian roots… Funny 🙂
I like to travel, I like to discover other countries and cultures. That’s how I found the book “Ikigai” – when I was wandering on the streets in Mumbai. It was during a warm late night in December last year (2019). Looking for something to eat, but still sneaking around in all these small shops on the street. People trying to sell books, clothing, spices, statues, …
As if I was desperately looking for that abundance of wisdom, two books caught my attention:
Ikigai and Life’s Amazing Secrets. I will elaborate more on Life’s Amazing Secrets in another post. Hang on 🙂
For now, Ikigai is on my mind again the past weeks.
What is Ikigai?
In Wikipedia you will find the following plausible explanation:
“The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life”.
The book Ikigai refers to research in blue zones. Blue zones are regions like Okinawa (Japan), Ikaria (Greece), Sardinia (Italy) where inhabitants get to an average age of 90-100 years.
I recommend to read the book Ikigai from Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia to fully grasp the concept, research findings and interesting learnings for yourself.
In summary, living your Ikigai would imply:
“do the things you like to do, you are good at, get compensated for
and which help to build a better world”.
So, how about my Ikigai?
I have grown into a career of consulting – which I like a lot. My passion is to help people and organisations to improve the way they operate, change their organisation structure, processes and help facilitate technology improvements.
I’m good at it – check.
I like to do it – check.
I can finance my life and loved ones (including a teenager, a dog, horse, cat, rabbit, 🙂 – check.
But does it help to build a better world? Probably not. People I work with, typically get energised, get more value add out of their work, grow in their job and skill set – but still within a context of making profit or reducing costs.
No sustainability, climate change, reducing the gap between poor and rich, improving health or other more impactful resolutions…
Don’t get me wrong. I still love my consulting jobs and I will for sure still be of assistance to organisations and people that want to improve.
But there is more in life I would think.
More than 10 years ago, I started discovering Chi-energy in my body and got fascinated by Tai Chi and Qi Gong. I was about to understand that there would be more in life than work hard, play hard, …
I also got intrigued by Reiki and Shiatsu and learned to give body massages in these ancient and amazing two disciplines. However, I did decide to continue focusing my efforts on my consulting career. I wasn’t ready yet to make life changing shifts. Today, I still help companies with their organisation challenges, performance and change management – and I enjoy it to the fullest.
What did change?
Despite of (or rather thanks to) all the emotions about losing my adoption mum and a promising summer love last year, I made a step change… I became aware of my primal wound – which was caused by the separation from my birth mother. I’m learning to accept that separation, but in return,
I would like to discover my past and origins. In my search for my past and authentic self, other adoptees are crossing my path. I even found adoptees from my own orphanage and from the same time period. We were bonding almost like sisters and brothers in these hard times 40 years ago.
I now feel a new Ikigai is being presented to me with two dimensions:
- Continue looking for my past, character traits inherited from my biological parents, my real roots, my authentic self,…
- Bonding with other people looking for their past and authentic self. While I’m healing from past separations, I feel more and more equipped to help others with similar challenges.
I hope this post helped you to understand the concept of Ikigai and encourages you to find your Ikigai – your purpose in life.