When studying the relationship between health and happiness I came across a Japanese word that struck a cord within me. IKIGAI.
Where researchers studied longevity and healthy ageing they found certain ‘Blue Zones’ around the world. The people living in these areas not only had a significantly longer life span, they reached their old age of sometimes a 110+ years with a ‘joy the vivre’ that was outstanding.
By now you may all have heard about the benefits of foods rich in anti-oxidants, green and white tea, Omega 3 fatty acids in fish (oil), seaweed, and a colorful plant-rich diet with plenty of fibers. Eating habits in which the 80% rule of never eating too much is dominant adds to this.
You may also have heard you should have a daily routine in which at least 30 minutes of light exercises are included.
What you may not know yet is that these centennials all had very strong social connections in which they felt part of a bigger tribe, or family. And with this tribe, or Moai in Japan, there is plenty of celebrating going on, on whatever can be celebrated in life.
Playing active games is a vital part within these groups and during celebrations. Many of the centennials are growing their own vegetable and fruit garden, which adds to their daily physical activity. They live long, and die quickly, mostly in their sleep, and often after just having had sex.
But what makes the biggest distinction?
What gives them this joy for life and zest to go on, way after 100?
It is what the Japanese call Ikigai: What makes you get out of bed in the morning, your deeper purpose or calling.
What brings meaning in your life or feels like a necessity for you to live for?
The people that know their Ikigai, have found their unique gift and passion in life and are happy to live it. Someones ikigai can be Motherhood, being a Master in Karate or being a fisherman.
Your Ikigai is totally unique to you.
It is what brings you your deepest joy. It fulfills your need to sustain yourself. It brings out your talents and gifts and adds something to the world that you feel is deeply needed.
Where these 4 merge there is IKIGAI.
Where IKIGAI is being lived, there is a natural tendency to experience moments of ‘Flow’ or wholeness more often, and a deeper feeling of fulfillment in life. It has been called ‘the process of allowing the self’s possibilities to blossom’.
And one writer, Kobayashi Tsukasa, summarizes it as:
‘People can feel real ikigai only when, on the basis of personal maturity, the satisfaction of various desires, love and happiness, encounters with others, and a sense of the value of life, they proceed toward self-realization’.
No matter how lucky enough you are, wether or not you live a life that has evolved in such a way that you have time to ponder these questions, it can be interesting, or even necessary to dive in and find your Ikigai.
Ikigai may seem a luxury. But ‘the world needs that special gift that only you have’ (Marie Forleo) and so do you, if you like to make it in good vitality, beyond a hundred years of age.
So how to start?
Maybe you know instinctively what it is.
Whenever you are having a spare moment, or a saturday morning with nothing to do, you find yourself just doing this. Or reading books about a certain subject. Or browsing the internet like looking at pictures of it at Pinterest, or daydreaming about it.
So those can be your first hints.
Together we create a lovely world and a celebrative community here at the 5 Elements Wisdom Academy. Feel welcomed to be part of our ‘Tribe’.
Please share your insights in the comments below or on social media. Tag us at @5elementswisdom using #ikigai and #5elementswisdom
We would love to celebrate your insights with you!
Do you want to take this journey to the next level?
Free Facebook Live online Training: Discover your Ikigai
Join us on September 24th – 17:00 hrs Europe time during a very special FREE Facebook Live training!
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You will instantely have access to all the pre-training material. You will also receive a reminder before the Live as well as the link to the recording of the training afterwards.
MD-Acupuncturist, Integral Health and Fertility Specialist
Nienke Stoop passionately combines her knowledge of Western medicine with Eastern Healing traditions, insights from integral psychology and shamanism. Her work centers around Fertility, Pregnancy care and the Birthing of new life on earth. Besides assisting you in finding your Soul’s Purpose.
Nienke is one of the Co-founders and creators of the 5 Elements Wisdom Academy. Read more ..
Would you like to join the Ikigai and Power of the Heart Retreat? Read on here…