Thou takest the pen – and the lines dance. Thou takest the flute – and the notes shimmer. Thou takes the brush – and the colors sing. So all things have meaning and beauty in that space beyond where Thou art. How, then, can I hold anything back from Thee."–Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings
I can't believe I've never run across this word in all my reading on vocation/personal growth/spiritual living. It's Japanese (don't they have some of the best words?) for "a reason for being." Some days I don't remember that I have a reason for being--for getting out of bed in the morning. I have a quiet--almost too quiet--life, but I've found a kind of peace that I've never known before . Yes, I could use some help around the house. I could use some regular routine and companionship, but I'm learning to make meaning of my days, as they pass. I don't know exactly what ikigai is for me, but maybe figuring that out is the reason I need to keep on keeping on. Do you ever feel as if there's no reason to keep going? Look for ikigai.
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The latest (3 January) issue of Forbes references a Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Laura L. Carstensen, professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University, on the semiotics of aging started me reflecting about what I want to be called, and what I do not want to be called, now that I am pushing 70. (I will be 69 in April of 2018.) Words matter. And – over time measured in multiple years – certain words / terms have become increasingly patronizing because I have, over that same interval of time, come to think of myself more and more, not as middle-aged, but simply as old. Prof. Carstensen is right: By failing to identify with “old,” the story about old people remains a dreary one about loss and decline. Language matters: We need a...