Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Essence of Wabi-Sabi

Have you heard about the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi? 

It is the idea of finding beauty in authenticity and imperfection. Roughly translated wabi means simplicity and sabi refers to beauty or serenity that comes with age.  Aren't they lovely concepts?

I only recently heard the term and have been intrigued to find out more.  

I've been reading about how the concept of wabi-sabi can be applied to so many areas of our lives

Embracing wabi-sabi  in our relationships means forgiveness and acceptance of the imperfect people in our lives (including ourselves.)  

Embracing wabi-sabi in the kitchen means cooking that is natural, simple, and creative.  

Embracing wabi-sabi when we dress means we take care of ourselves, we wear clothes that are comfortable and suit us, and we have enough to wear, but not a superabundance of clothes. 

Embracing wabi-sabi means decorating our homes with handmade or vintage goods or materials that weather well.  It means reducing clutter so we can appreciate what we have. It means surrounding ourselves by things that tell our story, that reflect who we are. It means accepting that our houses are not lifted from magazine pages and they will have finger prints on the walls and stains on the carpets made by the people that we love and live with. 

Some people are better than others at living with the concepts of wabi-sabi.  I probably fall in the middle and am very comfortable with the concepts in some areas of my life and need work in others.  

I love the idea of finding the peace and balance that comes with accepting simplicity and imperfection in our lives.  

What about you?  Are you the master of refined beauty?  If so, do tell.  If not, then perhaps you would like to explore the concept along with me as I look into the ideas and how to apply them to my life.

p.s. I just noticed that I have a wabi-sabi blog name.  Go figure!

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  1. I love the philosophy of wabi-sabi and try to embrace it in all areas of my life. I'm sure you read, but in case you haven't of the young monk who was instructed by the master to rake the garden. After raking all of the fallen leaves up he told the master he was done. The master took a few leaves from the pile and strew them around the garden. He turned to his student and said, "Now you are done." Lovely.

  2. I found out about wabi-sabi quite a few years ago, online, and realized we were living that kind of life. It's a very calming, philosophic way to live.


  3. Both Leonards (Cohen and Koren) are very wise!

  4. I love this post Sylvia, I have been embracing wabi-sabi for a while. :) I love how you have defined it here, and that Leonard Cohen quote is one of my all-time faves.

  5. Hey, Gracie! I really like this concept....Very intriguing. Have you found any books on this concept? I might try to find one or two.

  6. I too was smitten when I learned the term -- seems I've gravitated to that most of my life, moreso in recent years. I love that you've explored this.