Ikigai is a concept originating from the Japanese Island of Okinawa, who have the largest population of centenarians in the world.
Iki – meaning life and gai meaning value or worth. Ikigai is essentially about finding your purpose in life, or a “ reason for being”, what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? It could also be the secret of longevity, so finding your true purpose can make you live happier, longer lives and with more direction.
Ikigai is an attitude towards life, a way of finding happiness, of always being busy both professionally and in our personal life. It’s the passion and talents that we have that gives meaning to our days and inspires us to share the best of ourselves with the world.
It makes sense that finding our “purpose in action” our reason for being can lead to a sense of well being, joy and longevity. Being in a state of flow where you are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter, the experience is so enjoyable that many people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it. I can definitely relate to that, being so engrossed in creating a piece of work that I forget everything around me.
So, when I came across this concept it resonated deeply with me as an artist because it made me re-evaluate and think about what is important to me as a creative person, what is my purpose? Why am I doing what I’m doing creatively? Finding my reason for being gives me a focus, and a purpose in action. In understanding what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs from you, what you can be paid for what you create, it helps define your self worth and value.
By asking myself those questions, I understand that my works of cut paper art continue to evolve because its a continuous journey of improvement, exploration, and passionately expressing my way of seeing things through my eyes and feeling joyful when a new work evolves into something that I am proud of and want to share with others. I realise how much joy and a sense of fulfilment I feel by creating new works of art that make people feel happy and smile because they connect with my work.
So, if you can find pleasure and satisfaction in what you do and you’re good at it, congratulations you have found your Ikigai, your reason for being.