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You have a contribution to make
Artist: Jordi Feliu
In Japanese culture there is a concept called ikigai and you have one. Your ikigai is the sense that you have a contribution to make and that the actions you take throughout the day matter. It's the feeling of being useful, not only to others but to the industry of your own self.
When you engage with ikigai you can feel it in your limbs, in your eyes, and in your words. It's the opposite of ennui; ikigai wants nothing to do with apathy. Essentially, your ikigai is your reason for getting out of bed in the morning and it will paw at you like a dog until you take it for a walk.
There are similar words to ikigai. Words like vocation, calling, purpose. These are all beautiful words but I like ikigai the most because its meaning is shaped like a diamond with many facets, just like you.
Your ikigai is not only about work, rather it encompasses relationships, play, spirituality, and hobbies and it requires both curiosity and courage to interpret. To understand your ikigai you must seek, explore, ask, listen, learn, engage and reflect.
This is not something you can outsource. You will be called to go out into the world and discover where your hands can best meet the earth. It's a noble quest and it's never-ending while you still have air blooming in your lungs.
Your ikigai will change over time, just as you do. This does not mean that you are lost or indecisive. It means that you are growing and evolving. In certain chapters of your life, your ikigai may ask you to care for a loved one, go to school, build a business, travel, become an activist. Your task is to answer the call, step up, show up and engage in the magic that is inherently yours.
You possess a wild and unique array of skills and passions. These are made manifest through your hands, your eyes, your words, and your self each and every day. You were not created to just go through the motions in this lifetime. Your presence is needed. Your ikigai is important.
Pay attention to those times when you felt a deep sense of connection; a sense of immersion and flow. That is ikigai. What were you doing? Where were you? Who were you with? Don't become discouraged if it doesn't feel easy. Deep effort is often required and you will want to give it all you've got.
When you truly embrace your ikigai you will become intimate with the word No so that you can say Yes with your whole heart. Ikigai doesn't mess around. Your ikigai will implore you to give your energy to that which is meant for you. It will ask you (is asking you right now) to stand up for yourself and your own joy, to make time for what truly matters within the bustling hours of your complex and important life. The path will be full of thorns and roses and acorns to trip over. This is natural. Fall down. Scrape a knee. Bleed a little. Get back up.
You have a contribution to make.