Today we’re learning a bit of Japanese. The term “ichiban” (apart from being the name of a restaurant) means “number one, the best”. Are you ichiban? Are you the most important person in your life?
Sunday I met Stephanie. She’s a divorced mother of four; the oldest is graduating high school this month. She’s apparently got great genetics; she looks 10-15 years younger than her age. But most of all she looks happy and alive. She is clearly ichiban!
Stephanie tends one of the bars at the Beehive Restaurant in the South End of Boston. I was there with a friend for brunch and she took our orders. Her energy was very positive and attractive. She explained that, while she’s not making piles of money, and the odd hours can sometimes be a challenge, on the whole she feels very fortunate. She doesn’t have to commute far to work. She meets interesting people. She gets to serve the Beehive’s great food and listen to live jazz entertainment.
At some point Stephanie decided to drop out of the rat race. She took her positive, strong feminine yang energy and remade her life after her divorce in a way that served her and her children best. She simply considered herself as the most important person in her life as the top priority.
When we take time to reflect upon the kind of life that might really suit us we may discover that we don’t fit into the “normal” patterns. We come to realize that resonance between our core energy and the sort of work we do to make a living is essential if we are to be successful and happy. We are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to do this, which often means living below our means.
I discovered this fact after I left the priesthood and tried out a couple of administrative jobs. There was a serious dissonance between my core energy and the culture surrounding the jobs. I was not as happy as I am now, working as a life coach, focusing on men, their relationship transitions, and the people who love them.
Are you ichiban? What are the blocks to living according to your real values, rather than the ones that have been imposed on you? Are you in a job and in relationships that resonate with your core energy? I hope so, because I want to meet more people like Stephanie.
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