I am interested in places. Those places where we feel at home; feel like ourselves and feel the weight of the world drop away. This week I learned a new Japanese word -ibasho, which mostly translates to a place to be; a place where one belongs and where one fits in. I learned this highly nuanced word from Nick Kemp, who just launched his excellent new book called Ikigai-Kan.
Ikigai-Kan means “the feeling that life is worth living.” But before I go down that rabbit hole I need to reign myself back into ibasho.
Ibasho is more than a place.
As I read Chapter Five, I discovered it can be an object, a context, a community, a person, a particular walk, or even a favourite coffee shop. A situation where you feel safe, at peace, secure, accepted and where you belong. A sense of well-being.
I have a favourite flower garden, at the nearby experimental farm in the city. Last Sunday on a rainy afternoon and feeling a little out of sorts, I chose to visit “my” garden. And like always, I immediately feel quiet, peaceful, and content. I also experienced unadulterated joy when a gorgeous monarch butterfly came close by, twice, while I moodled. This garden is an annual ritual on my birthday where I wander around for a bit and then take an hour to just sit in wonder.
Other special places are the west coast, the ocean and Japan – here I feel immediately at home. I am awestruck and speechless with such a sense of reverence and never wanting to leave. Independent bookstores are also places of solace as are paths through the forest and alongside a stream. Just to name a few.
Ibasho can also be a social niche, like Wellspring Calgary.
My Wellspring community is clearly my ibasho. Even though we see each other exclusively online since Covid, we have a close bond. I look forward to every Friday afternoon to spend a joyful hour with members and one or two colleagues. I leave refreshed, rejuvenated and at home.
And all of us have our kindred spirits with whom we love to spend time.
“Ibasho is not limited to a geographical place but is more of a state of mind…”(all the italicized references in this post are borrowed from Nick Kemp’s new book. The link is in the note)
Another part of my ibasho is this blog and all of you. I do everything wrong on my blog: I don’t write drafts on day 1, edit and rewrite on day 2, and rewrite again on Wednesday. I see my blog as a visit with you. A conversation – mostly one-way. :-))When I write my blog I bypass MS word and go directly to my WordPress site. As soon as I open it up on a Wednesday, I begin to write. I don’t have a plan ahead of time for the next few posts. Rather, I sit down and see what comes to mind that I would like to share with you today. (Note: Please don’t follow my example if you write a blog.) But I feel connected to you as I write, as though you were here in my study and we were chatting.
I was happy today when I learned this new word: ibasho. Furthurmore, it ties in with Forest Bathers “sit spot.” A special place where you go to just sit and observe. Joseph Campbell combines the idea of ibasho and yutori, a word I wrote about last spring. Yutori means “a kind of living with spaciousness. For example, it’s leaving early enough to get somewhere so that you know you’re going to arrive early, so when you get there, you have time to look around.”Naomi Shihab Nye
1:) I am halfway through Nick Kemp’s new book and for anyone interested in ikigai, and Japanese culture I can highly recommend it. The launch price is .99 for the kindle book. Ikigai-Kan Canada and USA
2:) Thank you for stopping by. May you have a lovely rest of the month. It goes quickly, so enjoy! Warmest wishes, Trudy