11.3.11

Japan Wabi-Sabi


What a terrible tragedy the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  Just like the footage from 9/11, I find the images mesmerizing.  I find the destruction devastating yet to look at it from a purely environmental perspective there is an element of elegance in the movement of the water.

Wabi- Sabi is (not unlike the theories of Feng Shui) based on the ancient art of finding beauty in all accepts of life including imperfections.  It is based on the elements: that nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect.  In Zen Buddhism it is about finding perfection in imperfection.

I find this a reassuring way to run a household, host a dinner party, enjoy our garden, be a wife and probably most importantly raise monkeys.  Of course so much of life's moments are about letting go of the preconceived notion that there is a way things 'should be'.
Control is an illusion and nothing is permanent.

Characteristic of maintaining a wabi- sabi home and life include: asymmetry, simplicity, economy, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of natural objects on processes.

Some snap shots of my life that fall under these characteristics:

A creative space that is never going to be finished or perfect

Beauty in a pool that is covered in pollen

Bringing garden flowers inside and appreciating the petals that fall all over

A guitar playing husband who doesn't put stuff away

Creativity with no regard for neatness

Unmade beds and monkeys playing video games, in their PJ's well after noon!

Laundry- hanging to dry inside

How do you practice Wabi- Sabi?

25 comments:

Erika @ ~TiptoeButterfly~ said...

oh i LOVE this post - i was actually reading my other blog today (tiptoe with curiosity) - i haven't visited it in SO long - and i got reading about posts i did about buddhism and so forth - it's SO refreshing the words - i love how all the imperfections are exactly our perfections! - i embrace that!

ag. said...

I love these little glimpses into your life! I've never heard of Wabi-Sabi but imagine it's a lot more in my life than I realize. It's so interesting...and I love learning something new!

Silver Strands said...

Wow - this is VERY interesting ... a great way to look at life.

Dharma said...

larger kitchen appliances lining my outer wall in the kitchen instead of living neatly somewhere in the basement....

unfinished shelving in the boy's rooms....with pajamas hanging from the corner posts

a collection of beloved mugs that live on my counter cause they get used the most....

I love to decorate my house but I love living in my home. :)

Great post, Ren.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I think we've been maintaining a wabi-sabi home without even knowing it. My husband and I are now empty nesters so our life has become very simple, much more economical and intimate. I have rocks, pinecones, shells and branches in almost every room. Does my laundry room with clean clothes and dirty clothes fighting for counter space count?

Dancing Branflake said...

Beautiful post. It is so true that finding beauty is a difficult but necessary thing. My heart goes out to Japan.

Grace said...

"Control is an illusion" - words to live by. I'm writing that down.

I think I find beauty in the imperfect stacks of books that are found in so many nooks in our home, in toys tossed aside, in crumpled drawings that haven't yet made it to the recyling bin, a fruit or vegetable that isn't perfect - an apple with a natural dent or a odd shaped tomato(so hard to find in the supermarket but oft times I seek these out). These beautiful imperfections are everywhere once you start to look for them.

I LOVE your post today, Ren. Thank you.

anushka said...

hey this looks really familiar! your wabi sabi ways. : ) i like this post ren. thanks for weaving a beautiful way of looking at the disaster that took place in japan last night. i woke up so early and came out to my computer to read the news. i always need a little adjustment in my perspective of things after learning about these devastating events. they affect me more than i'd like. wabi-sabi is what i'm going to hold on to for some time.

Bossy Betty said...

I believe my cats are all a part of my wabi-sabi house!

Elisa said...

it's a tragedy, so many lives lost. I like how you made the transition into your post. Just be reading about Wabi-sabi ( I felt peace, is that strange?) I've never heard of this theory but I would like to embrace it, starting today.
I like seeing glimpses of your daily life as well, thank you for sharing and inspiring us.

and flowers pick themselves said...

unmade beds...the pollen in the pool... this is a beautiful post. thank you!

xo Alison

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

I have the Wabi- Sabi book!
Since I have dogs, some of my furniture do get scratches fm them!
I kinda like it~ adds character!

Valarie said...

Thank you Ren I needed to read this post today. I have so many friends and colleagues in Japan. My mind and heart have been heavy and your post as lightened it immensely. Thank you for that.

Patricia G said...

Thank you for this post. I can appreciate my own wabi-sabi now.

Thea said...

Yes, I practise it but never knew that I did until now. Love this post too. x

Signe said...

I know what you mean, the television images from Japan with whole towns leveled with the ground is just mesmerizing and very sad.

And I love your image of the garden flowers :)

Hugs and a lovely Sunday to you!

Krystal said...

I know, this Japan thing is so sobering and I feel so solemn all the time. It's humbling to see a developed country just totally get side swiped. :( I guess we can enjoy our days in a spirit of thankfulness!
p.s. thanks for your input on the balance post, i so appreciate it :)

Mama Gone Green said...

Love it! you make me feel so much less guilty for the wabi-sabi I do... like never putting away my clean dishes and just using them straight form the drying rack (although hubby eventually freaks out and does it after a few days of accumulation), or my garage, which is our storage area and is organized only in my brain's filing system!

mise said...

I never had a name for it but I'm so in favour of it, if only for the opportunity it gave to see your boys' lovely blankets. Perfection is for magazines, happy aspiring is for real people.

Mo Pie, Please said...

I love that the monkeys are playing video games in their pj's past noon, he he. And i Love your garden flowers on that awesome looking table!

Emma said...

Love these little snippets of your life - I had to laugh at the little monkeys ;)

heather yalin said...

Admire your wabi sabi and love getting this little peek into your life. Definitely the best way to raise monkeys and bee.

Jana said...

Amazing concept, great pictures :-) now I understand why you liked my home that much, it is an embodiment of wabi sabi :-) when I get to it, I'll send over some pictures.

Terri said...

I love the idea of wabi-sabi! That is beautiful, I love finding beauty in imperfections! Such a lovely idea.
Your boys are adorable! :)

Angeline M said...

I happened to pull an old book off my bookshelf today while I was on hold on a business call and opened it randomly to a page on Wabi Sabi.When I next signed on to Twitter I decided to search for WabiSabi and there your blog was! I love this specific post, and plan to meander around your blog site this evening.

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