Colin and I always discuss possible newsletter topics for the upcoming month and this time we found our common ground with The Little Book of Ikigai, by Ken Mogi

It had us really curious and the more we explored ikigai and how this relates to our own lives and the Beyond Thinking program, the more we knew it would gracefully influence us all over the next few months as we went deeper into the topics of purpose, passion, meaning and a general sense for the joy of being.

Mogi, is a celebrity neuroscientist with a doctorate in physics from the University of Tokyo, postdoctoral studies at Cambridge and many books to his name, introduces the reader to the five pillars of ikigai which help one make the most of each day and to being your most authentic self.  They are as follows:-

  • starting small – focus on the details
  • releasing yourself- accept who you are
  • harmony and sustainability – rely on others
  • the joy of little things – appreciate sensory pleasure
  • being in the here and now – find your flow

Quite literally, ikigai can be found in small moments: the morning air, a cup of coffee, a compliment, a conversation, general daily activities, a hobby. It can also be deep convictions: a fulfilling job, creative expressions, lasting friendships, balanced health and wellbeing. Whether big or small, your ikigai is the path to success and happiness in your life. The interesting thing though is success does not necessarily bring a sense of ikigai. But ikigai will bring about a sense of success.

In the introduction I mention Joie de vivre. Robert’s Dictionnaire says joie is sentiment exaltant ressenti par toute la conscience, that is, it involves one’s whole being. The distinction I make is that this is not a giddy, loud, rambunctious joy but it appears that an inner state of quiet joy permeates all 5 of the pillars.

And so I became enraptured with exploring ikigai as I have found this year more so than ever, to be one of continually checking in on my own levels of authentic living and joy. This process includes an expanded awareness of the importance of appreciation, gratitude and giving thanks for what currently is and can be. Of consciously choosing new experiences and noticing incremental change. There’s no fanfare to accompany new beginnings and rather an awareness slowly creeps up and reinforces the already-held intuition, that change is gradual and modest, like life itself.

This month in particular has been about turning up the what, where, when, how joy emerges in my life and integrating instinctive nudges with logic-driven thinking which as life coach Melody Wilding states in her blog on ikigai, can lead to a deeper, more coherent sense of purpose. For those wanting to take a deeper look, you will find her article to be very useful and jam packed with all sorts of tools for inner enquiry and greater awareness.

It would appear that no matter what happens, so long as you have ikigai, you can muddle through difficult periods of your life and know you have this safe haven, from where you start your life’s adventures all over again.

Again, this month’s topic has pushed my boundaries way out there and further afield than before. A super rewarding experience because as we embark on these monthly adventures within, we literally live them and for this opportunity I consider myself hugely blessed. I was once asked ‘what is it that I have, which is worth living for?’ a beautiful question to never be answered and only sensed and lived.

It starts with You!


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