My Ikigai – What gets me up in the mornings

The Japanese word Ikigai (pronounced ee-ki-guy) is used to describe “why I get up in the morning” .  Finding your Ikigai can mean a deep and often lengthy search of self.  However, when I attended a MindSetGo workshop I was invited to find my Ikigai in 5 minutes and use only 6 words to describe it.  I think I spent the first couple of minutes thinking this is impossible but then it just came to me. My Ikigai is to:

 Create, Inspire, Share, Care and Be


Since the workshop I have pondered my Ikigai many times and each time I do this, it gives me another gift as another layer of meaning is uncovered. Therefore in preparation for the next Creativity for Well-Being workshop,which will focus on values, I decided to further explore  my Ikigai.  I used a small file folder gluebook  inspired by Gretchen Miller over at 6 Degrees of Creativity 2. If you want to make you own file folder journal Gretchen has instructions on her blog Creativity in Motion.

I firstly covered my file folder with various coloured tissue paper, I then stuck collage images and more tissue onto the pages.  Finally I used different inks to finish the pages. I made one page for each word of my Ikigai, exploring what the words mean to me and how by living in congruence with the multi layers of meaning, I find meaning and purpose in my life.

Each of the pages in the file folder booklet has a pocket, so to add another layer I made an ATC to insert in each of these.  I used water based inks as a back ground, stencilled words and used collage including some dictionary definitions and then gel metallic and glitter pens to add the words.  I love the simple dictionary definitions for BE – “to exist, or live”.


14 Comments on “My Ikigai – What gets me up in the mornings”

  1. Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC September 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Reblogged this on creativity in motion.

  2. Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC September 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    This post and your images Janet were wonderful to wake up to on this Monday morning! I love this new gluebook you’ve created, it’s pages, and the ATCs to go inside of its pockets— so alive & full of positivity… Ikigai is a great gluebook theme!!

    • Janet September 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      Thanks Gretchen, it was a pleasure to make and helped to reaffirm where I am at and the direction I am heading. Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Lani September 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm #


  4. Jolie B Studios (@JolieBStudios) September 18, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    beeeeeeautifully done!

  5. Science of the Soul September 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    I love this! What an inspiring idea! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. Janet September 18, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    Thank you all, to creatively be inspired and to inspire and to care enough to connect and share is what it is all about!

  7. Sally McChesney September 20, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Janet you are so talented. I love your style. These would make beautiful thought-provoking gifts…

    • Janet September 20, 2012 at 9:27 am #

      Thank you so much for your lovely comments Sally.

  8. Josephine Wilde September 20, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    I would love to purchase BE card and have in sitting on my desk to remind to get going and to remember “To live is to Change”

    • Janet September 21, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      “To live is to Change”, josephine i like that, message me an address and if will send you one.

  9. Rebecca Wilkinson July 10, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Hello Janet. You’re so right–very similar to the 7 word biography. Let me see if I can revise mine into an Ikigai–“See other’s beauty. soften suffering. Cats” 🙂


  1. Today’s SMASH Booking: 6 Words to Discovering My Ikigai « creativity in motion - September 19, 2012

    […] this week Janet McLeod shared an inspiring post about Ikigai on her blog Positive Art Therapy.  Ikigai in Japanese connects us to the purposes or intentions […]

  2. More Gluebook Goings On @ 6 Degrees of Creativity 2 « creativity in motion - October 11, 2012

    […] Janet McLeod has also been busy with file folder gluebooking in New Zealand!  On her blog Positive Art Therapy, Janet posted how she has used her file folder gluebook to explore her Ikigai and the intentions Create, Inspire, Share, Care and Be. Learn more about this gluebook’s theme by reading Janet’s post My Ikigai: What gets me up in the mornings. […]

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