Read any good books lately? I love this question. It’s more interesting than “What are you binge watching lately?” It’s through these lovely creatures I call books that I learn new words, new methods, and even bring old methods back to life. Each day for this year I want to focus on these new words as they pertain to our health journey. A year of words…one word a day.
The first word is Ikigai. It’s an Okinawan word pronounced “icky guy.” And it means “the reason you get up in the morning.” The first time I saw this word it was while I was reading the book The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha. Ikigai is the word used by Okinawan people in place of the word retirement, which does not exist in their language.
It’s common knowledge now that people in Okinawa live longer than any other people on earth. It’s because they don’t retire. They keep working. They keep moving. They keep doing what they do. They have a purpose. They don’t save up their earnings to sit and wait for death. They keep doing. Okinawans have a reason to wake up in the morning. They have a purpose. It’s that thing they do that drives them!
Some reasons to get up in the morning could be because you have little ones and they depend on you. Taking care of others is a high purpose. Throughout every stage of life our Ikigai will change. It might also change if we have a big goal we want to achieve.
Pasricha’s book gives the instructions on how to make an Ikigai card. I’ve made this card but I’ve put 12 lines for each month to coincide with my goals for that month.
Ikigai relates to health.
Having a purpose or reason you get up in the morning is the best way to start your day. It helps your mind to engage and helps you focus on being healthy because you have a purpose in life. You know that opposite feeling if you’ve ever lost a job or gone through a difficult time in your life. You just want to wallow under the covers and not even peak your head out…this is the start of a deep depression.
Ikigai helps you from falling into a depression, it gives you a cause or reason to be engaged in your life.
Words are precious in life. Some words don’t mean what you think they do. Some words when translated from other languages have an entirely different meaning. Words can make us or break us. It’s up to us to choose our words wisely so we uplift each other and motivate each other to do better and be better. I hope this year of words uplifts, motivates, and change your life as they are changing mine.
Do you have Ikigai?
There are some important steps to visualizing what we need to see to help us grow forward and be prosperous in the world. But we’re not taught these skills in school; they are lessons learned throughout our life. In fact we’re taught just the opposite. “Get your head out of the clouds!” “Stop daydreaming!” “You can’t believe a hunch!” But sometimes we’re told that certain aspects of the visualizing tools are useful like “a mother’s intuition” or “that gut feeling.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could use these valid tools to transform our all the facets of our lives? How would our health be different if we used these tools? Well we can and many people already do. We too can learn to use these tools that will help in visualizing our dream!
Visualizing our dreams makes me think of Adam Sandler’s character in Bedtime Stories. His niece and nephew would implant suggestions before going to sleep and their dreams would come true. This is what we do when we visualize. But in order to visualize our dreams we need to change the paradigms or examples that we carry with us.
Here are six areas that need to change in order for our paradigms to change:
- Perception: How you perceive the world around you makes a big impact on how you perceive and visualize your dream. If your perception is based on the premise that everyone is out to get you, then you will not be able to visualize your dream because you will constantly be thinking that someone might take your dream away from you, or someone might be better at what you want to accomplish than you. There will always be someone who’s better than you. Your competition should be with yourself, trying to be a better you instead of competing with others is a healthier perception than always trying to compete with other people.
- Will: Do you have the will to move forward and achieve that with which you visualize? If your will or desire does not match your dream visually, then you will not only have a difficult time when you visualize but you will also have a difficult time following through to the end result. You’re either ready of you’re not. You either have a deep desire or will to change or you don’t. You can’t visualize your dream while sitting on the fence. You can’t try to be healthy one day and then destructive the next and expect to healthy the rest of your life.
- Imagination: Do you have the creative ability to carry a mental image of your dream with you at all times? If you can use your imagination to create solutions to problems not yet seen then you can use it to visualize how your dreams can become a reality. Get your head back into those clouds and find your imagination again. Use it to bring your dream to life, give it a form, a shape. Only you can bring it to life, you can’t rely on your spouse, your parents, or your friends. It’s your dream, not theirs.
- Memory: Can you remember details about your dream so you can trudge through the difficult areas of life and still maintain your dream? What do I mean by this? Making your dream a reality is not all roses and glory. It’s going to require that you do things you don’t like to do, and things that are just plain menial. But they need to get done so your dream can become a reality. Our memory of what we hold in our minds eye helps use move forward by motivating us to make changes in our paradigm so they’re congruent with the visualization of our dreams.
- Intuition: Our intuition balances us. It’s what we think about even when we think we’re doing something where we’re focusing solely on what we’re doing. Have you ever been doing something that needed your undivided attention but in the back of your mind you were thinking something totally congruent to what you were doing? Have you ever just known something didn’t feel right about a situation or a place you were at? This is your intuition at work. How do you use your intuition to help you in visualizing your dream? It’s simple start listening to it. Stop listening to the inner critic that keeps playing in your head, whether the words come from a negative spouse, parent, friend, or even yourself. Stop those words. Stop ridiculing yourself. Write out your thoughts about your dream, about the people in your dream and every other aspect of your dream. Instead of living by your emotions as you do this little exercise every day, your emotions will now be on paper and won’t be holding you back from accomplishing what you have set out to do.
- Reason: Can you think logically through a set of steps to work out a problem? While visualizing our dream may include a lot of our own personal emotions that tie us to the dream, we need to get away from the emotions and learn to reason through some points to make our dreams a reality. We have to be able to use sound reasoning skills and prudent judgments when necessary to plow through roadblocks that may come up in the pursuit of our dreams.
I’ve just scratched the surface of these tools and how they are all interconnected with each other and our dreams. Being aware of them is the first step in using them in visualizing what we want in life. Using these tools to change our paradigms will help us in visualizing our dreams and propelling us forward in our health and in our life.
Where do you want your dreams to take you?