Monday, September 29, 2014

Know your Ikigai ...

Movement, like any action taken to create change first needs a purpose to begin. 

Have you ever committed to a twelve week challenge to improve your health, or losing 5 kg before a wedding; or going the other way and building muscle mass for a body building competition?  - habits which end as abruptly as they begin once the purpose of the activity has been met, followed often by feelings of disappointment when the short term gains erode and sense of purpose is lost.

Dan Beuttner, researcher and author of Blue Zones, identified that Okinawan’s in Japan who live to be 100 years and beyond achieve this partly to a practice known as Ikigai. Ikigai is the concept of understanding your reason for being. Ikigai is knowing your purpose.

Identifying your Ikigai comes easy to the young and to the old.  For those of us in the middle the muddle of life can create chaos and confusion and without making time and space for 'self' Ikigai remains an illusive and misunderstood concept.

I was talking about life with my 6 year old the other day, which is how we got onto the Ikigai 'thing'.  Telling me he didn't want to die, stumped as to how I was going to manage this conversation we ended up talking about his ageing great grandma and the difference in their years, and then we talked about the things that helped her to get there.  We talked about her Ikigai.

The most amazing part of this conversation was when I asked my two boys if they knew what their Ikigai was.  To my surprise, they both said yes, instantly.  For my 7 year old it is drawing that makes him feel the best, and for my 6 year old it is games!!   And as I observed them each engaged in their individual ikigai tasks, purposeful movement becomes apparent.  Even with a broken arm this week, Mister 6 is playing games!!

I believe it is more than the busy-ness of our lives that keeps the knowing of our own Ikigai at bay.  It could be the clutter of negative and demanding self talk in our head.  It could be the relentless pursuit of success on someone else's terms.  It could be the cumulative effects of stress in our world that ultimately erodes health and wellbeing and as those that know pain understand, through pain it is difficult to know very much else at all.

Understanding movement and its purpose is a vital piece of the puzzle that helps us to understand ourselves.

For the curious among you, on October 18 we will be exploring this and more at the movement cODe workshop with Ian O'Dwyer, Lachlan Boyd and myself.  There are a still a few spots available .... jump online and book today at  

No comments:

Post a Comment