I am interested in places. Those places where we feel at home; feel like ourselves and feel the weight of the world drop away. Last year I learned a new Japanese word -ibasho. It mostly translates as a place to be; a place where one belongs and where one fits in. I learned this highly nuanced word from Nick Kemp, who had just launched his excellent new book called Ikigai-Kan.
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 special flower garden, at the nearby experimental farm in the city. One day last summer on a rainy afternoon and feeling a little out of sorts, I chose to visit “my” garden. And like always, I immediately felt 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. I wander around for a bit and then often take an hour to just sit in wonder.
Other special places for me are the west coast, the ocean, and Japan – in all of these places, I feel immediately at home. Furthermore, I am awestruck and speechless with such a sense of reverence of never wanting to leave. Independent bookstores are also places of ibasho, as are paths through the forest and alongside a stream. Just to name a few.
Ibasho can also be a social niche, like the ToDo Institute.
Along with Wellspring, the ToDo community is clearly my ibasho. Even though our interactions are online, I look forward to every opportunity to be with members and I always leave refreshed, rejuvenated and at home.
All of us have 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 book.)
I love this word, ibasho, and I am delighted to be part of the team organizing a 30-year Celebration Retreat to honor the body of work of the ToDo Institute and the creativity and perseverance of Gregg and Linda. I suspect for those who are able to join us, you just may experience I basho – that sense of well-being and feeling at home in the company of other lively and lovely spirits.
I wish you all a good New Year where you do more of what matters to you, and, selfishly for myself, the opportunity of meeting in person. Best wishes, Trudy