Ikigai identified at last.

Summer and the Aloha Moon


June 17, 2015. Shadow Mountain

Checked my postings about this Japanese idea. Nothing ever resolved since I learned about it several years ago. What gets you up in the morning? What gives your life coherence? “…ikigai is a concept that has been rooted in the cultural fabric of Japan for centuries and simply means, “reason to live.” ikigai.com

After three empty days last week, days where I saw no one and learned the lesson of needing human contact again, I got to thinking about ikigai. What gets me up in the morning? What is my reason to live?

Thought back on the life review I did with the Ancient Brothers a few weeks ago.  A little too heady: justice, love, writing, learning. Things like that. Not at the core.

When I drove to Evergreen this morning, I focused on this question. Began to feel some urgency about it. Afternoons drag here without purpose. Makes me feel negligent, indulgent. Neither one a good German value. So there has to be something, right? A thread, a coming back to this sort of thing, more obvious when seen from the 8,800 feet view?

June, 2019

I think I found it. Here’s the phrase: Living well within and for nature. I could add a coda, seeking justice for all, but I think this phrase covers it. Living well equals the Greek idea of eudaimonia. So, another way of saying this: flourishing within and for nature. Goes back at least to that Garden Spider spinning its web on the kitchen window at 311 E. Monroe St., Alexandria, Indiana. My gentle mother and I engaged in wonder as the Spider spun its web, caught and cocooned its prey. Ate.

Ever since, or at least since then, maybe age 8 or 9, I’ve been a close observer of the natural world. (And, yes, I know there’s a sense in which it’s all natural, even human artifice, but I choose the narrower, folk understanding.) When I finished college, I wanted to move to a place with Lakes and Pine Trees. With four Seasons, a real Winter, not the icy, slushy mess of an Indiana January. Jack London inspired me.

So it was not, as I’ve always imagined when I considered a life purpose, college and the world of the mind that was my ikigai. No, that was an interesting and fun sidebar, but my life and my moves since then have involved getting closer and closer to the natural world on an everyday basis.

Ushuaia, Argentina 2011

Kate and I shared this ikigai, I believe. The gardens, the orchard, the bees, the dogs. Moving to the Rocky Mountains where Kate up to the end said happily, “I feel like I’m always on vacation.”

Now I’ve found my holy Valley and returned to hiking as an every week, usually twice a week, event. Today the holy Valley had the sweet smell of Pine Resin, the splash of color from many Wild Flowers, the sound of peace from Kate’s Creek.

The Green Man, Andover

Of course I have other interests. But the guiding core of my life has been seeking a place where wildness was part of the every day. Shadow Mountain is such a place. And I feel happy here. Don’t need more.

Have you found your ikigai?


This entry was posted in Feelings, Fourth Phase, Garden, Great Wheel, Hawai'i, Mountains, Plants, Shadow Mountain. Bookmark the permalink.

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