Recently I’ve been wanting to write on things more practical and focused, and also been doing a lot of soul searching on the topic of Freedom and Purpose. Ikigai has been written on extensively, but if you’ve never heard of it this sums it up quite beautifully:
This flower is a wonderful way of taking stock and organizing one’s life into one with more meaning. And this is not an exercise in self-discovery that is completed in one bout of reflection- it is an ongoing process. Perhaps we have a very clear foundation in what we are good at, and maybe moreso that this is what the world needs. However maybe there is more exploration to be done in the things we love to do. Another diagram may have plenty of Love and passion, but no idea how to get paid for these talents and skills. To refer to an earlier post on Spiral paths it may be that we continually circle around and deepen the respective colors on a path of ever deepening clarity on what makes life worth living. I know that this flower has illuminated deeper questions as to what the world really needs and what I can offer to it.
I want to stress this type of self-reflection work as key to healing as well. As it was so succinctly in a book called the Tenth Insight: we do not heal so that we can go back to watching TV. We heal so that we may live more of our purpose here on Earth, and you don’t have to be spiritual to see the implications of that truth. Our psyche sends signals to our bodies that we are miserable or going about our lives without much meaning or satisfaction. Our body begins to send us signals that it doesn’t like this type of life, and begins to break down even if all our physical needs are taken care of. The psyche needs to be continually renewed in the deep waters of purpose-and the best part is we get to decide what that is in part.
One of the biggest shifts for me this year is that the future is not written in stone. This is what the title means of ‘What can we write?’ First off, this is usually seen as common sense. Yet there is a huge difference between knowing that we can change the future, and feeling as if the future can be changed and that we want it to be elevated. In the former, we may know but at the same time resign ourselves to certain hands of Fate that are dealt. In the latter, it is a task of great responsibility to take aim at something higher than one’s self and move toward it.
But what can we write? To use the Ikigai diagram again, I know that I’d make an excellent actor (not that says much with how much talent there is in the field!) and would love to live a life that moves people emotionally on the stage of theatre. I could definitely get paid for it as well. Yet is that what the world needs? Is it really complete to my Ikigai to choose that path? Perhaps we do not have the freedom to choose how we will serve the world, as we certainly don’t get to choose our gifts.
Yet what I have learned about this process of “Life Design” and unfolding a better destiny for myself, is that it is not about deciding how our lives will look exactly or shaping our day to day in pleasant ways. The true beauty in the process is awakening to deeper levels of meaning in activities and work that honors more and more of who we are. This is what I mean by “What can we Do?” I want to highlight this importance of having roles and positions that actually offer something tangible and are of service to a greater picture. Which is the best way to get out of a Rut.
Maybe this type of self-reflection is all you need to get out of a Rut, and get back on track to the center of your Ikigai. However if the emotional motivation simply isn’t there, and the past is weighing you down heavily with anchors to ‘how terrible things have been’-then I suggest Volunteering as a means forward. The beauty of volunteering is there is always a demand for it, AND it anchors you to the future rather than the past. You are needed in the future, and your help matters in the places you offer it. Many of us are a lot more motivated to get out of bed for someone else rather than for our own selves to have a better day-is it not true? Another great thing about Volunteering is it is like having free job experience to truly learn what the multitude of our gifts are. Do we like working on tasks alone that need focus and are repetitive? Does working with less fortunate people enliven some compassion in our hearts? Maybe the community that goes out and cleans up parks reminds you that others love the outdoors to and share your vision for a more beautiful Planet.
Its not as if any of this post is particularly novel or perhaps exciting. All I can aim at is being able to say the right words at the right time-and that I may have highlighted some forgotten ideas in your minds. Wishing you an insightful day-may the next thing you choose to do be aligned with the future you want to Write!