IKIGAI; What is Your Purpose?

I read the most beautiful book this week.  It has helped me get my groove back.

I had decided last year as my business was failing that I would go back to school to be a chef (but it is hard to be a chef when you don’t use animal products and the busy catering description gave me anxiety).  So then I thought teaching.  I love teaching!  “What would you teach?” everyone asked.  Oh…anything.  Then I got the bill for the first semester and promptly dropped all classes.  I would be retired before I could pay off that degree.  I look around and I love and am fascinated by so much.  My friend is a surgical tech.  That sounds cool!  My friends are nurses.  I was a candy striper in high school.  I wanted to be a nurse.  I could maybe work somewhere or do something.  Anything.  But, I know my pattern.  I go get a job, become overwhelmed, am shocked at the measly paycheck, am behind on dishes for weeks, and then quit.  I am better at being an entrepreneur.  But that failed.  Again.  Last year.  And that is when I went off kilter.  I lost my purpose.  I was no longer a full time herbalist.  No longer a shop keeper.  No longer healing baby calves around the county that were sick because they just got picked up from auction.  Heck, I am not even in the country anymore.

And then my beloved aunt and grandma passed away, I became sick, I think my dear friend, Steve, in California killed himself, and I have been listless and depressed.  Which is not like me.  And something had to give.

It is amazing how a book can change your life.  So many books, so much literature, has changed my life.  And this week, this book, I am so grateful for.  I realized that everything I feel is stemmed from my losing my purpose.

IKIGAI; the Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles is a beautifully written and researched tome.  The authors delve into the science and stories behind longevity and happiness, primarily in Japan, where the most super centenarians reside (over 100 years old).  What do they do?  What do they eat?  What are their days like?  I adore research and am very interested in the longevity studies and other cultures.  They touch on diet (tons of fresh vegetables, soy, and fish), social networks (lots of valued friends, social get-togethers, small amount of alcohol daily), spiritual health (honoring all of the spirits and their ancestors), and exercise (they move, not more strenuously, but all the time, biking and walking everywhere).  But the main thing that keeps these folks so alive and well is purpose.  Their IKIGAI.  If they know what that is, they have reason to get up every morning.

What is it that makes you spring out of bed in the morning?  What would you do even without pay?  What is your passion?  What could you talk about without hesitation?  What do you do naturally?  My aunt gave me this picture for Christmas.  I guess she knew.

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I am a writer.  I never have to think about writing this blog.  In fact, it bothers me to take days off but I want to make sure y’all can catch up!  I love writing; books, poetry, articles, snippets of thoughts…I am a writer.  It is my IKIGAI.  I get a modest payment every month from Amazon and the local museum that carries my books.  It won’t support us, but that doesn’t matter.  I am also a gardener, a farmer, a lover of animals.  I need a greenhouse.  I need to be around plants, and I need to grow my own food, and I need to be around animals.  Sanctuary.

After reading this lovely little book I realized that I do not need to have any new degrees, careers, or paths.   I am on it.  If I write every day.  If I take care of my chickens.  If I get into the garden.  I will be okay.  That is my IKIGAI.  And with that knowledge, I am free.  I have purpose.  What is your IKIGAI?

Read it!  It is a lovely book.

Embracing Your Wild True Self

Today  is usually when I write about farming.  I will write about it tomorrow.  For this blog and lines of prose are written from my soul and much as a diary.  I am not afraid that the world knows about our ups and downs, about our work, our life, our children.  I write because every cell in my body prompts me to do so after half a cup of coffee.  If my words speak to someone then it was the day to write those words.  Today is not a day to write about watering more.  That can wait until tomorrow, for there is more on my heart today than hoses and rabbits eating the peas.

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No, today we are standing tall, pushing our chins up a bit higher, and embracing the miraculous gift of self.  And the bravery it takes to step out of the mainstream expectations of peers, friends, and society to really become one’s true self.

There will always be biting tongues when you decide to enter your own, to fulfill your destiny, for the mirrors of what could have been reflect and others get defensive.  People hide in their religions and contain themselves in their caves of denial and fear, or regret, and if someone is not just as they are, they must be working for the other side or must be unstable.

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Goodness, how does anyone ever get the nerve to stand up and embrace their destiny, their unexplainable gifts, their sides of enchantment and wild when there is someone in their family or friends ready to snap them back down to their cubicle, church pew, and norm?  This is detrimental to a soul that is traversing this land during this life with really only a handful of minutes finding and discovering their true essence, discovering frequencies above the norm, and seeing the immense beauty in the world that is unexplainable, magical, and beautiful.  Let folks be.  Embrace your own magic.

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There is great harm in not letting someone become their own true self.  There will be work undone, people and animals not helped, blind eyes turned.  But, one cannot convince another to open their eyes, their minds, or their hearts.  I can only speak to those of you that need courage to embrace and become your powerful and gifted self.  Creator by any other name is still Creator.  We are created to be so much more than destructive forces saving souls while killing spirits.

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When you decide to stand up and show your true colors, when you decide to accept your gifts to benefit mankind and the natural world, when you decide that you are pretty incredible, there will be those that do not understand your work.  They cannot fathom what you do.  They cannot see why you are different.  It doesn’t matter.  Stand tall and choose your tribe wisely.  This means that there will be family who are detrimental to your peace and will affect your work.  Release them.  Friends must be friends that accept you for who you are.  If not release them.  Even if you are left with five people, they are your tribe, your helpers in this life, the ones that allow you to be your true self.  We should no longer be afraid of what people think.

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Stand tall.  Embrace your true calling.  When you are doing the work that you were intended to do, every door will open so that you can be your highest self.  The world is really quite enchanting, today notice a few more things you didn’t before…and stand strong.  You are amazing.