It’s time to unbecome...
Ikigai is a concept that is very much integral to Japanese culture and roughly translates to your 'reason for being' or 'purpose' but is not the 'Venn Diagram'. More on Ikigai's authentic definition can be explored here.
While Ikigai is essential to one's well-being, the true beauty is that it does not have a fixed equation and can change over time.
At Mogami, we have been exploring this nuance with our 'Ikigai Spotlight Series' to our newsletter subscribers; however, Akiko-san's story is so powerful that we decided to share it here on Mogami's blog.
This month's featured guest is Kelly Morita (32), Lifestyle Content Creator & Coach currently based in Tokyo, Japan.
Tell us your story.
I was born in America and grew up in a small town in Michigan. I fell in love with language learning and different cultures in middle school, decided to teach ESL in the states for a short period of time, and then moved to Japan to experience another culture and teach English there. I lived in Japan for 10 years and later became a mentor for those who wanted to learn how to live a lifestyle based on Japanese philosophy and also started a YouTube channel documenting my life living abroad which amassed over 180,000 followers across all social platforms. I’m a soon to be mother and passionate about empowering others to live fearlessly, activating their soul purpose on a deeper level.
When was the first time you remember coming across the concept of Ikigai?
I came across the concept of Ikigai when a video on YouTube suggested to me appeared. It was during the lowest points of my life and since then, I started implementing not only Ikigai but other Japanese concepts into my daily life
Western culture often sees Ikigai as something to "find" or "seek" using the Ikigai Venn Diagram. Do you think this is the right approach?
I believe this approach has helped a lot of people discover their passions but it is NOT Ikigai which is a shame that this is being shown and taught as Ikigai. Through talking with locals here in Japan and friends who are Japanese, I’ve learned so much more about this concept that I wish more people would understand. Ikigai is not what you do, it’s who you are. It’s not a diagram, a science, or even something you can be certified in. It’s simply to be. It’s your energy. Too many people attach what they do to who they are which is a very unfulfilling approach to living an authentic and happy life.
How does your life today reflect your authentic self and life priorities?
I feel like self leadership is a reflection of living an Ikigai lifestyle. Moving to Japan, I learned how to really come into myself, understand my needs, and cultivate a stronger sense of awareness. I no longer need validation from others to feel fulfilled, happy, and successful. I give myself permission to change my mind when I feel something doesn’t align with me anymore, and live life fluidly! It’s all a part of freeing your mind, heart, and soul to reach true fulfillment.
Can you walk us through a time in your life when you felt lost? What ideas or tools helped you overcome this period?
There was a time in my life where I felt unworthy, unseen, and constantly chasing things that didn’t serve me. It led to chronic illness, depression, and a lot of anxiety. One day I said, enough is enough. I was the only one who could take responsibility and change my life. I’ve done it before, I can do it again. I started doing a lot of soul searching. I learned how to meditate, took part in energy healing sessions, and started to have more conversations with myself about why I had specific beliefs. Although therapy is a wonderful tool, we hold all the answers to our fears and traumas more than others do so facing these realities, although difficult, I was able to rewire my mind and create a new story. Japan and its spiritual practices definition played a big role in this.
What would be your advice to anyone struggling to live a life of Ikigai?
To detach from all outcomes and start embracing the current moment. What are you feeling in this moment? What is your heart telling you? Start listening to your emotions and that voice that’s been suppressed for so long. We’re so conditioned growing up. It’s time to unbecome so we can learn to be who we truly are at soul level.
I've had the opportunity to have many soulful conversations with Kelly, and this interview was just as powerful. I've always thought the world as a creator to be challenging, and I enjoyed hearing Kelly's perspective as a successful content creator & coach on her view on Ikigai. Her reflections on how Ikigai is "not a diagram, a science, or even something you can be certified in and "simply to be" as such a key lesson. I will reflect on this interview by answering the question "what do I need to unbecome" ? Let me know what comes up for you.
Do you want to learn more?
The reflection and journey of the other pieces guide us to a life of ikigai. Ikigai is a journey, not a destination. It is the outcome of being able to live as your authentic self in your everyday life.
What did this story bring up for you? Comment below.