“Ikigai” is the Japanese “Reason for Being”... Your Life’s Purpose.
I’ve never felt it as strongly as I did six months ago today.
The guys and I went our separate ways, with them heading off to what they loved (A Stars Wars Convention just a walk away from our flat) and me towards what I loved (the art gallery). All the planning and the fundraising, all the moments and the miles, all lead up to that one moment. Handing my suitcase of art to the curators felt so right, almost holy. Even though, yes, it’s all about the show itself, THAT moment was actually the turning point, the pinnacle of the journey.
I felt that again today, but in a totally different way.
I had a bad morning. Nothing earth shattering, just out of sync.
At my J.O.B. I have a relatively easy task that crops up every few weeks. Easy Peasy. Except for the fact that I have this THING for making simple mistakes. Nothing that a little bit more care could fix, but every time an email comes with “you missed this” and “this is wrong” my heart just sinks.
All these childhood feelings come up, spoiling the day. Whenever I messed up as a child, my mom would swoop in to “fix it”. Feelings of inadequacy lead to anger and resentment. It just kept reinforcing this belief that I was the Disappointment in the family.
As an adult, I can push that aside and do what needs to get done, but it’s those moments that are just not aligned with my purpose. They need it (check!) and I’m getting paid for it (double check!), but the love and skill just aren’t there (waaah waaaah!)
I **WILL** absolutely get it right going forward, because that’s not who am I… but I can’t guarantee I’m going to love it, because that’s also not who I am.
So, my Joy-O-Meter was at a low point by midday and I trudged through the afternoon carefully. I was ready to call it a day, when I reminded myself of a cartoon of mine. How do you deal with a really bad day? Just have a really great night.
I went back to what I’m good at. A friend recently lost her dog, and I knew that a pet portrait would ease some pain.
I sat down to draw “Andy Dufresne” and just poured every ounce of love into each pen stroke.
Gotta say, it turned out great!! It’s going to be one of my favorites, for sure.
It also landed as intended… tenderly, with gratitude and solace.
Another friend even remarked, “When you do stuff like this, it’s more than art. It’s a sacred calling.”
It is. It’s my Ikigai.