I needed something to read with my morning coffee the other morning so I listened to the audiobook by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles: The Book of Ichigo Ichie: The Art of Making the Most of Every Moment, the Japanese Way.
Shortly, ichigo ichie is about being present in every moment and understanding it happens only once. The book gives examples of everyday rituals and making most of them using our all senses and generally appreciating and celebrating the beauty of life. I had a calming morning listening to the book and as I already had the previous book by the same authors in my bookshelf and loved how pretty it was I decided to have a physical copy (translated in Finnish) of their second book as well.
These are not utterly deep books at all. They are simple and small yet surprisingly calming and inspirational and I enjoyed reading them both and feel now quite peaceful and want to read more about the topics like the Japanese tea ceremony.
Below my old notes I wrote after reading Ikigai (also by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles):
According to this Japanese concept everyone has their own ikigai: a reason for living, a reason to wake up in the morning. Finding our own ikigai means learning to know ourselves by asking the four important questions: what is what we love to do, what is what we are good at, what we can be paid for and what the world needs us to do, ikigai being in the intersection of our passion, profession, vocation and mission.
According to older studies people living in so called Blue Zones (a term loosely used to describe the areas with the longest lifetime expectancy in the world) have many similarities in their life style. Staying active and having a sense of purpose in life throughout the senior years is one of them.
In their book Garcia and Miralles focus on the residents of the Japanese village Okinawa, describe the local life style and explain how finding a purpose and remaining active, maybe not even retiring at all, can lead to a long, happy and satisfying life.
Like all Blue Zone people also the residents of Okinawa follow a healthy diet. The food is nutritious and mainly vegetarian but most importantly, people eat only until they are 80 % full. They exercise regularly but not too much and walk and garden daily.
During their visit to Okinawa Garcia and Miralles interviewed more than a hundred local seniors trying to find out their secrets. The answers make sense and sound rational. Don’t worry too much. Have routines in your life. Cherish important relationships. Be mindful, be optimistic. Smile. Celebrate. Be passionate and find your purpose. Don’t take life too seriously.
In Okinawa music, singing and dancing is a part of people’s normal daily life. As one of the leading factors for longevity Garcia and Miralles mention social support groups known as moais. People help and support each other socially and even financially. For many senior citizens voluntary work becomes a new ikigai.
Sounds tempting, doesn’t it. Finding and maintaining an active life style that can help us to live a long and happy life.