“If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live it in a consistent way. Receive without pride, let go without attachment.”—Marcus Aurelius
Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”
Life should not just be a series of steps we take, mindlessly following what is expected of us by others. It is a dance; we flow from one song to the next, keeping in time with our own internal beats, fully immersing ourselves in the moment. With some luck, we dance surrounded by those we love and those who love us.
There is a basic human desire to pursue our passions, develop our talents, help others and still make a living to lead a fulfilling life. The instability comes in when our personal dreams are clouded by the expectations or achievements of others. We want what they have, without ever really considering if it will truly bring us contentment and satisfaction.
With my “new year, new me” mantra, I have let go of the things that don’t serve me and instead fully embraced a life doing what I truly love to do, while surrounding myself with the people I love.
Through reflection and self-study, we could discover our own ikigai to know our “reason of being.” Ikigai (pronounced ee-key-guy) roughly translates as “the happiness of always being busy,” but it doesn’t mean keeping a packed schedule of mindless errands. Instead, it suggests purposeful activities.
By engaging in things that make life exciting, ikigai brings satisfaction, happiness and the true meaning of life.
In the book, “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by authors Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, I learned that intuition and curiosity are very powerful internal compasses to help us connect with our ikigai. When you follow through on things you enjoy and limit the things you don’t, you’re taking steps toward pursuing what’s important to you.
Let your gut feeling be the lighthouse that guides you to your ikigai. When we struggle to find our motivation, we could visualize the outcome of what drives us. In the end, ikigai brings meaning, purpose and fulfillment to your life, while also contributing to the good of others.
Finding our calling
Ikigai is the union of four fundamental components of life: passion, vocation, profession and mission. If we find the “sweet spot” of the four areas, we will find our “calling.” Searching for ikigai, one’s reason for being or waking each morning joyfully, is arguably what many people are doing already, whether consciously or not. Even though the conceptions of ikigai can vary, as we have seen, there is general agreement that finding this motivating purpose in life is associated with greater fulfillment and happiness.
In my search for my personal ikigai, I have focused on my love for charity and giving back. I was delighted to visit Sisters of Mary Girlstown in Cavite to check on the campus during this pandemic. I was happy to see that the funding has not stopped and the students are still able to graduate and have better lives.
Last week, I enjoyed my return to Balesin Island after a year of absence. It was great to reconnect with everyone in the island. To celebrate the birthday of my inaanak Ysa Veluz, we dined and sang all night at Costa del Sol. The next day, we distributed gifts and goodies for the young kids of Barangay Polilio, who were so happy to enjoy the treats.
The pandemic has really diminished my zest for life. So, when there is an event to celebrate a new opening of a restaurant, I am eagerly excited about attending the event.
Grand Hyatt Manila recently invited me to experience Le Petit Chef, the best of theater and dining combined in an immersive culinary journey at The Peak.
Starting March 1, the world’s smallest chef of French descent will take patrons on a two-hour unique dining adventure featuring sensational cuisines and cinematic entertainment, alongside the stunning views of the city. Revel in an exquisitely curated six-course set menu as Le Petit Chef comes to life from the virtual realm for an animated whimsical performance projected right on the dining table, orchestrated with the live presence of a host to enhance sensorial engagement and make the experience even more enjoyable.
Le Petit Chef was truly a digitally spectacular experience with a gastronomic menu. The intimate launch started with sunset cocktails with the hotel’s assistant vice president and general manager Gottfried Bogensperger, executive chef Mark Hagan, and director of marketing and communications Inah Manalaysay, at The Peak’s Veranda overlooking the breathtaking view of the city.
Le Petit Chef will be performing two shows per night—the first from 6 to 8 p.m., and the second from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m., Tuesdays to Saturdays at The Peak’s Veranda Room, which can accommodate 16 people per session. Price starts at P5,800 net per person for the six-course Classic Menu, which features Italian burrata, bouillabaisse with fresh premium seafood, smoked chicken foie gras ballotine, char-grilled Australian beef tenderloin, mascarpone crème brûlée and homemade baked Alaska.
For patrons who opt for Australian wagyu beef in the steak course, they may upgrade to the Premium Menu priced at P6,300. The First Class Menu at P6,800 features premium set and switches the tiger prawns for lobster tails in the bouillabaisse course. A special six-course set menu is available for kids.
With technology developed by a Belgian-based company, this innovative dining experience delivers using 3D projection mapping. It is the story of an animated chef projected onto diners’ plates, where he proceeds to “cook” their food in front of the diners. (Tel. 88381234; email email@example.com; @grandhyattmanilaph on Facebook and Instagram; lepetitchef.com/grand-hyatt-manila).
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