Ikigai Studies was never meant to go on forever. And at 35 days, I think I have come to the end of the illustrated studies, to focus on The Great Big Namit Food Trip paintings.
I say the end of only the illustrated studies because ikigai has always been on my mind — my own ikigai, my own life purpose, and that of others’. And I doubt I will ever stop thinking about it, although these studies have definitely helped me in approaching the concept with more lightness, less pressure.
So what have I learned?
I’ve learned that ikigai mostly lies in the small things and the attention we give them. That cup of coffee that goes with the stillness of the morning, that smell after the rain, those tiny fingertips on your face. Small things that we often take for granted, but actually hold so much wonder and hope, and provide relief from the stresses of everyday.
I’ve learned that small things when done with much care and thought, not only give us a reason to live, but serve as climbing holds for us to slowly and incrementally push ourselves up and keep going, especially when the going gets tough.
I’ve learned that instead of chasing my ‘big’ ikigai or life purpose, my days are much brighter and lighter — and my head clearer — when I do the small things that give me profound joy. Ikigai is achieved more easily through feeling than thinking.
And I’ve learned that the things that give me profound joy are the ones that mean something beyond myself and my world, ones that hopefully give the same joy to others. One’s reason for living is not one’s self alone, but other people and non-human life in the universe. And I know now that my ‘big’ ikigai is somewhere amidst my ‘small’ joys, and that one day, it’ll all make sense.
I’ve learned that ikigai is a choice to be made everyday. A state of mind, an awareness of the self, a generosity towards one’s self, others, and the world.
I’ve learned that the power of ikigai is not in knowing our singular Life Purpose or our ‘bigger’ ikigai. The power of ikigai is in finding our reason for living in the small things, seeing the big answers in the small questions, and gleaning the meaning of life in the tiniest of dew drops.