Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being”. According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. It’s why you were put here on earth; your raison d’être; your purpose in life; why you get up every morning.
It is said that finding one’s ikigai often requires a lengthy self-examination. And I can attest to that, because I have only just discovered – or rather, recognized – what my true purpose is in this lifetime. (Yeah, maybe I’m a slow learner!)
I have practiced and taught reflexology for 30+ years, and have loved every minute of it. I feel blessed to have played some small part in helping others to feel better. That work has rewarded me financially and in the nontangible ways that have built a life of meaning, fulfillment and happiness.
But that, it turns out, is not my ikigai.
My true ikigai is to inspire others to recognize their value and gifts, and to give them the tools to express themselves in a way that brings joy into their lives and makes it possible for them to create a successful life on their own terms. If I can inspire someone to his or her greatness, I have served well.
It really has been a lengthy search for me to discover that. A search that I have enjoyed and have never been able to define until last month, when some specific writing assignments given to me in a course I was taking slowly unraveled the truth – MY truth.
My truth – my passion – is to inspire others on their chosen path of self-inquiry. I believe very strongly that from that path of self-discovery will arise strength, confidence and a life worth living.
I also believe that the more empowered, confident and happy people are, the more creative the ideas and innovations that are birthed. An army of inspired possibility-seekers is what will save this planet.
Therefore, the mission of the Academy of Ancient Reflexology is to create an environment in which people learn how they can improve first the quality of their own lives – and then others – through the vehicles of reflexology, aromatherapy, service and self-awareness.
No matter where you are in your life – whether you want to embark on a new adventure or enhance an existing wellness-based practice – you can create a viable business for yourself doing what you like to do that also serves other people. I know you can, because I did.
You don’t need a University degree (I don’t have one.) and you don’t need thousands and thousands of dollars to do it (I didn’t have that kind of money.)
All you need is a heart, your hands and a desire. A desire to make a difference – to change the world – one sole at a time.
I can provide the rest. I know I can because I’ve been doing it for years.
I can teach you the hands-on skills, powerful communication skills and proven business strategies based on integrity that will provide you a life and livelihood that you will be excited to get up every morning to face.
Would you like to work the hours you set in an environment that you create? You can. Like me, you can love “going to work”. (Frankly, for me, there is barely a separation between ‘work’ and ‘play’.)
When I have been asked what I would do if I suddenly came into possession of millions of dollars, I honestly must say, “Nothing much different than what I’m doing now.”
I LOVE what I do; how I spend my days – and the icing (chocolate, of course) on the cake: people pay me to do it!
So, here are FIVE REASONS why I want to connect with more people and share what I know and love:
1. It pains me to see people who are unfulfilled, whose lives either bore or disappoint them, who believe they have no value, who have barely scratched the surface of their potential.
I want people to realize their value, to feel good about themselves and what they have to offer; to feel successful (however you define that), and feel empowered.
That’s what it really all comes down to for me. I want people to feel their own personal power, and then to go out and share their talents with a world so desperately in need right now.
I know it’s possible for all of us because I did it for myself. Believe me, I was not born with this level of confidence and fire in me.
I can help you uncover your spark, just as others showed me the way. My purpose here on earth is to inspire others to be the best they can be.
2. For years I have read people far more educated than me state “The number one priority needing fixing to save the world is….”.
I’ve watched myself sitting on the fence about this, incapable of choosing just one, so have made small contributions to a number of deserving organizations over the years. All the issues seem equally important – environment, inequality, violence, justice, population growth, healthcare, water quality – the list never ends.
I have always believed though that, as one of the fortunate ones, it is my obligation to give back. I want to give back.
Maybe it’s the growing examples of terrorism we are experiencing now that has finally led me to land on one that has the ability to grow people capable of making sound decisions regarding all the rest: EDUCATION.
I could go on and on about this topic, but won’t right now, other than to say that, as a white female born in the western world, I have been given opportunities that are denied half the population in many parts of the world.
My declared intention is to contribute to the education and empowerment of the 60 million girls around the globe who are denied the basic right of safe access to education.
Beginning this year, the Academy of Ancient Reflexology will donate 10% of its income to the Malala Fund to help all young women find their voices and contribute to a more sustainable, healthy future for us all.
3. I truly believe that relaxation is the basis of health (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), and I don’t know anything that helps the body and mind to relax more than reflexology. I doubt that anyone would argue with me when I say we all could do with a little more relaxation in our lives!
4. Reflexology is easy to do and to learn. It not only relaxes the body’s muscles, but also supports every single operating system in your body to function more optimally. What an amazing gift to be able to give your family, friends and the people in your community who are struggling with their health. Do you know people with digestive issues? Respiratory allergies? On blood pressure meds? Battling thyroid imbalances? Reflexology can support those struggling systems.
5. And finally, I am 66 years old. I’ve been practicing and teaching reflexology for half of my life. It’s time for me to pass the torch!
I created the Therapeutic Hand and Foot Reflexology Professional Certification program in the mid-1990’s. It’s based on the values and intentions of much of what I’ve shared here, so it’s probably not for everyone.
If you are searching for a path to a new business venture or a way to differentiate yourself from other wellness-based practitioners, I suggest you first take this short quiz to determine if the Academy’s program is right for you.