Ikigai 生き甲斐 (pronounced Eek-ee-guy):
One’s reason for being Bise Village, located in Okinawa, Japan is home to the world’s largest population of centenarians. This is attributed to the notion that finding one’s purpose in life will ultimately lead to longevity. Ikigai exists at the intersection of what we love doing, and where we find our greatest strengths. Life is weird, ever-changing, and oh so uncertain. Once we truly embrace the fact that everything is impermanent, we begin to live each day with greater intention. This intention leads us to no longer settle for what doesn’t best serve our souls. As many of us currently find ourselves at a proverbial crossroads in life, we can welcome this beautiful gift of the pause. We can reevaluate and work into self-inquiry....
1. What do I love? (This can be the purity of a passion, or simply something that brings you joy)
2. What am I good at? (This doesn’t require that you receive formal accolades, but rather something with which you feel at ease doing)
3. How can this translate to making a living? (This step isn’t always essential. And often times, by living what you love this will fall right into your lap without even seeking it)
4. WHAT DOES THE WORLD NEED? (Zeitgeist: “Spirit of the times.” Look to the current state of the world. Look at the current circumstances within your own community. How can your talents and passions best serve in these times?)
I visited Bise Village in the Spring of 2019. We rode bicycles through the vibrant backdrop of the countless Fukugi trees lining the tiny dirt roads. The main road was lined with small cafes, and the homes were adorned with Shisa of all types (a traditional Ryukyuan cultural artifact and decoration derived from Chinese guardian lions).