Creative living in Japan

By on July 29, 2011
Many people long for a more fulfilling life, yet few take advantage of the multitude of opportunities around them to create it. When I was living in Tokyo, this topic came up one day over coffee with a couple of fellow entrepreneurs. We all started out teaching English, but as our enjoyment lagged had begun to cultivate businesses based on our passions. Why had we made the leap when many colleagues had stuck with teaching English despite the same decreasing fulfillment? The conversation ranged far and wide, spanning several hours. At the end of the day we agreed that the common element was not due to some superhuman intelligence we possessed, but to our capacity for “creative living”.

Creative living involves making the most of available resources to express who you are. You don’t have to be an artist to live creatively, but you do need to understand the creative process.

Chaos
Chaos, confusion, dissatisfaction, uncertainty…..Fabulous! You are entering the creative process. Chaos is the signal that it is time for change and is essential to creativity. Things are shifting. You are entering into a new cycle of growth. Your old image, values, beliefs, attitudes no longer fit. That job that you used to love just doesn’t excite you anymore. You have every reason to be happy, but still have this vague feeling that something is missing. Heed the signals, face your fears, and prepare to let go.

Introspection
Chaos will naturally lead to the next phase; introspection. This involves an increased need for silence and space. All artists recognize this as essential to create. Silence is vital to turn inward, liberate yourself from old expectations of who you “should” be, and discover who you are. Separating what you want from the expectations that others have of you is a monumental task. Living in Japan is a great opportunity to separate from family and friends, tune in to your inner voice, and learn to make choices that are in alignment with your true self. Learning to follow your own inner direction is the foundation of creative living.

Experimentation
The next phase of creative living involves exploring and expressing these new ideas of who you are and what you want. If you realize that you don’t enjoy teaching, work out a way to do less of it so you have time to do more of something else. Take up a new hobby that excites you, even if you think you lack the talent to be any good. The key in this stage is to collect as many different experiences and as much knowledge as you can about all of the things that you love or want to do. Creative living artists constantly challenge their beliefs and perceptions, look for new ways to view themselves and the world, and remain open to new experiences and opportunities to create a more fulfilling life.

Synthesis
Watch. Listen. Feel. Pay attention. Notice the insights. Pay attention to how unexpected opportunities appear for you to express, create, and learn in just the ways you desire. At a speed uniquely suited to your needs, you will evolve toward a more solid understanding of your ideal life path.

Expression & Flow
As you become more aware of who you are and what you want, you will develop the inner strength and conviction to express yourself creatively through all of your choices.

To stay in the flow, creative living artists constantly cultivate: a liking for the periods of chaos that signal growth and change; a respect for silence, introspection, and ongoing self-discovery; a willingness to break away from set roles, methods, and standards; and a recognition of their basic human need to create and contribute to
the world through expressing who they are.

Andrea Jacques, founder of Kyosei Consulting International, has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of individuals and organizations worldwide. Five of these years were spent in Japan where the core philosophies of her work on the relationship between passion, performance, and profits took shape. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates leading eastern and western thought with top-tier leadership, engagement, wellness and sustainability consulting to build the capacity of people and business to thrive. Her clients represent a diverse cross-section of industries including banking, retail, government, insurance, academia and high-tech. She can be contacted through her website at www.kyoseiconsulting.com

About Andrea Jacques

Andrea Jacques is the founder of Kyosei Consulting and the author of Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: Inspiration for an Authentic Life (available on Amazon.com). She has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of people and businesses worldwide, five of which were in Japan. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work helps individuals and organizations build thriving, purpose-driven cultures where employees know their work truly matters. Learn about career and entrepreneur coaching programs (and download some free tools for meaningful work and living your purpose) at www.kyoseicoaching.com or their workplace transformation programs at www.kyoseiconsulting.com