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Finding MY (your) Ikigai

Updated: May 19

COVID-19 has been an interesting time to say the least working from home in the same house as my significant other and with my 2 young adult children that were laid of for some time. Although, I felt very blessed to be able to work from home, I've been struggling for some time to find my purpose, and all this "being at home" has really brought it to a head. Again I was remined of the Japanese concept called "ikigai"

Where do I find JOY?

I am a believer in divine timing, and trusting in the unfolding of our lives.

Would I feel satisfied if I died tomorrow? Would I feel that I had a life well lived? Yes and no. There's so much more I want to do, so much more I have to give.

It's funny, I bought this domain 7 years ago with big hopes and dreams, and then I slipped back to question myself, to play small. Nothing really unique to me. We've probably all found ourselves doing that at one point or another in our lives. Have you been there? But I am a believer in divine timing, and trusting in the unfolding of our lives. I can see the pattern in the chaos in so many events of my life and when I recount them I am overwhelmed with gratitude and always brought to tears... That's a blog for another day!

I recently joined a program called "Made to do this", it spoke to my soul and I was challenged to jump in with both feet. As I write this my hands are shaking, I"m wondering, doubting. "What if folks judge me?" Well here I am, taking messy action.

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert, but most of my friends want to know their life’s purpose, to follow their passion - to make an impact in our world.  There’s an unnamed yearning – for me at least. My divorce initially rekindled this questioning 8 years ago. I had been a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend for a long time, and this life change began my journey of self-reflection as I realized that I no longer knew "who I was" - that Catholic school girl in 6th grade (in Sr. Ricardo's class) that wanted to be the first artistic scientific nun that went to the moon seemed long gone. Yes! I wanted to be a nun, along with all those other things - including the first women president.

Now don't laugh! We all have these dreams, these aspirations, these beliefs that we can be, do, and have anything we want when we are young. We actually know on an intuitive level that "we are more", before life, our parents and society put us in a box, tell us how we should be, how we should act. That we "can't climb trees because we are girls".

What's your outlook on life? What has your journey been?

I'm mulling over all these uncomfortable thoughts about what comes next in my life.

I have always been the kind of person that makes lemonade out of lemons, and I do believe that obstacles can be a gift. My divorce was and is an opportunity, COVID-19 is another opportunity for me (and you) to "rediscover and recreate" myself (yourself).

Now, I go to church, but I would not call myself “religious”; even after 11 years of Catholic education, 2 years of Pastoral formation/study as an adult etc. I am spiritual and I believe in a higher power as I have personally experienced that connection throughout my life. That will resonate with some of you and not others, but no apologies here! (not any longer)

However, 2 years ago, I attended a service on Sunday where these 3 questions below were asked. I recently started to think abut this “trifecta” again, (remember we are all self-isolating), as I'm mulling over all these uncomfortable thoughts about what comes next in my life, as I'm not getting any younger. Then I find this program I am in.

I have always been a bit of a rebel as far as my family is concerned. Being the first to get divorced, married more than once, and now living with my partner. I went back to school, changed careers mid-life, and moved across the country with my daughter after my divorce, no job and without a place a live; having to leave my son behind (another story there).

Growing up in a strict Italian family, that one might call "conservative", at a young age I was repeatedly sought out as mediator and counselor - a fixer. And although, I would fiercely defend my family, I never really felt that I belonged. I was bullied in school as a child, quickly learned to defend myself, and yet always felt that I was protected and would be OK in any circumstance. Hence, my strong faith, trust and ability to see the good in the bad and bounce back in difficult situations.

So, as I begin "re-discovering me" once again, I invite you to ask yourself these questions as I do the same. Maybe consider journaling what comes up; what's exciting, newly discovered, and what triggers you.

How do you find YOUR purpose?

Where these 3 intersect is your purpose


  1. Talent – What are my gifts and abilities? What am I good at?                                  Hint: most of the time this comes easy or people compliment you on this.

  2. Passion – What fires me up? Gets me excited?                                                         Hint: What could I do all the time and love. Never get sick of, would do it for free? What did I love to do as a child?

  3. Calling/Burden – What needs to be done? What breaks my heart in the world?    Hint: Something that pisses you off. Or that you could talk about on end because it seems so obvious that something, anything needs to be done to improve the situation.

The intersection of these 3 is your PURPOSE.

When Talent & Passion intersect – this is a “Hobby” (1)                                                    Where Talent & Calling/Burden intersect – this is a “Duty” (2)                                            Where Passion & Calling/Burden intersect – this is a need for “Training” (3)

How do the pieces fit together?

For me…

My talents include the ability to be strategic (see the big picture) and be detail oriented at the same time. I am flexible and can easily move between priorities. I listen to the needs of my clients/family/friends and love coming up with creative solutions.

My passion is teaching, human connection, problem-solving, a belief that we are capable of more, that we have the ability to choose our perspective, and the human condition. am a hopeless believer that everyone can make a difference. I

"You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?" - George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) QUOTATION

My heart breaks (burden) that the fabric of our families is eroding, that our relationships are stretched and are not supportive, that we do not have more female leadership, and that our world is not sustainable on its current path.

As a child, I have always been opposed to discrimination of any kind. As a teenager, going to an all girl’s high-school, I was empowered with the belief that I could “do” or “be” anything in this world regardless of my gender. As a young woman, I was exposed to sexual harassment and discrimination because of my appearance. Obviously intelligent women should not also be good-looking or they are "asking for what comes their way".  As I got older, I saw first-hand how many women stay in relationships because they lack knowledge around finances, leading to a lack confidence and consequently abdicating that responsibility to their husband /significant other or just ignoring their finances. During my divorce, I was marginalized by a system that treats divorce as a criminal matter and allows the ongoing emotional and financial bleeding of families.

My Intersection

The Intersection of these - my core purpose, I believe - is empowering success-minded women and families to take control of their personal finances through awareness, education, & action. But not just in the conventional way - instead blending all the piece of who we are. This first manifested itself in my desire to leave a career that I loved, changing careers and becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ over 10 years ago, and as I see more singles and families struggling due to this pandemic it's time to approach my work from a heart-centered space.

Join me as this unfolds and we learn together how to "Be in Abundance" in any circumstance. Not just to "do", but to shift our perspective and to build our resiliency.

With loving kindness, Michelle

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