Friday, April 22, 2016

Ikigai





Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning a purpose for being or "a reason to get up in the morning."

Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding this deep meaning, this purpose in life can vary for all of us and it can change as we journey through life. But it usually requires a deep and often lengthy search into one's self. And like all journeys, in the very end, it is often that journey that is more significant than anything, or everything one may do, or accomplish, or even achieve in their lives.

For the journey can often be the purpose. It can be the meaning and the reason for getting up every single day and allowing the spirit of wonder and expectation to enter. To focus the energy of being, the spirit of wanting to learn, to know, and to grow to enter. And then to access that deep inner energy, that drive, that creative impulse to center and to ground to become one with that purpose.

                                                                "Uh key gay I"

For me, my 'Ikigai' has always been about using my gifts..physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally....in service to the greater self. And the greater self for me, is expressed in helping others. Sometimes, it has been someone I already know and care about. And sometimes it has not. Sometimes, people are directed into my path or found along my journey. Sometimes our meeting is for a reason, or a season, or a lifetime. I never know which until the path unfolds.

This journey has always been a challenging one for me. I always know what I had to offer and it can vary from day to day. I always know what I want to give, to do, and to be in a greater sense.  But that has so very often conflicted with what I had to do, or to give, or to be in order to fulfill this purpose, this meaning, this greater destiny of spirit catalyzed into action here on earth.

The word "ikigai" is usually used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. Secondly, the word is used to to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. It is this combination that creates the spiritual impetus for doing good for doing that deeper spiritual impulse's purpose in this life, through love and not ego.
The term "ikigai" is composed of two Chinese characters : iki and kai. Iki refers to life and kai is a suffix meaning roughly "the realization of what one expects and hopes for."

As we mature, as we realize our own courage, our own deep need and our abilities to survive beyond all that which we think we are capable of, all that we think we can achieve, and are often surprised to discover that it might not have been what we originally thought we were meant to do, to give, and to be in this lifetime.

And so today, I share my doing, my passion, my being, in one tiny little form..creating from fabric and bringing forth the manifestation of a greater gift..the gift of love, of giving, of doing and creating. Not just for myself, but through myself for others. My reason to get up in the morning.

So, today on "Earth Day" , I ground myself, my purpose, and my spirit with ikigai. I finish this little embellished art quilt begun a very long time ago when my mother was still alive. My mother who loved all things Japanese, all things with deeper meaning, never knowing that one day, her own family, my own family with have members of Japanese descent that we love dearly marry into our family and begin the process and finalization of the healing of many wounds from World War II. A war that cost one of the five members of my Alaskan family his life by the hands of one once seen as the enemy but now seen as part of ourselves, our family, our earth, our humankind.

I honor that journey, this earth, and the grounding that I find along the way... that balances the darker shadows of life and its challenges as I always do...with the brilliance of the light within...the desire to do more, be more, and give more.

Ikigai.

shown above:
Linking up http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com/2016/04/wip-angst-monets-door-off-wall-friday.html?m=1#

Showing one of my many small embellished art quilts along with my 1962 Singer Featherweight. One of those things in life that never fails to give me joy..creating.  This little quilt was begun during my work with the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and my caring for my parents in my childhood home on Douglas Island, Alaska. And while I have created many similar little quilts, I have never shared a photo of this one. I treasure that journey of its purpose and its creation and I bring those energies into my new day. Quilting with grace.

A journey and a process and a joy created with love with my heart and with my hands.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

5 comments:

  1. I hadn't heard of ikigai before. It is a great concept. How wonderful that you have Japanese members in your family.

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  2. Ikigai is new to me, thank you for writing about it. And thanks for the link to Nina-Marie's blog. Love finding out about more creative women. Have a blessed day Michele.

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  3. This is so beautifully written - I had never heard of the word either but it makes so much sense.. and thank you for sharing the beautiful little art quilt. It is stunning. Your words are always so deep and thoughtful and make me pause and think alot about my life and the journey I am on.

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  4. You sincerely rock, Michele :)

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.