Congratulations! You just entered into a new year. What better way to begin than starting off with a strong state of mind? Wabi-sabi is a traditional Japanese view of accepting imperfections to discover genuine beauty within your surroundings and yourself. It is a wonderful asset that will prepare you for a lifetime of enlightenment and success.
Wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all.Robyn Griggs Lawrence
Having goals in mind for the future is always a good idea. However, you must maintain the willingness to adapt if those plans do not come to fruition as anticipated. Losing can be a tough pill to swallow, but it isn’t necessarily always negative. Sometimes not getting what you wanted can be a blessing in disguise.
Experiencing loss first-hand teaches a beneficial lesson in humility and grace. Allow yourself to be open to new opportunities. Resilience will ensure a successful wabi-sabi lifestyle.
The next time you have an unpleasant emotion, try welcoming the opposite. There is much to gain in accepting a loss. Lose uncertainty, gain confidence and clarity. Eliminate emotional turmoil to find happiness. Abolish oppression to discover your freedom. You are free to be the best version of yourself. The choice is yours alone.
Do you find yourself getting frustrated when something isn’t quite how you would like it to be? Don’t worry, with practice you can eventually learn to accept (and embrace) imperfections in your life. You may even begin to appreciate their value.
First, you must expand your point of view. It’s like looking at a painting and noticing tiny imperfections, but those flaws are what makes it unique from anything else that was ever created. The artist’s portrayal is beautiful because it is one of a kind. This is what gives something character and beauty from a wabi-sabi standpoint.
Allow yourself to reflect on things that are not perfect in the traditional sense. An old, gnarled tree may not look as lovely as a new flower in full bloom. It is beautiful because it has stood the test of time, endured, bent but not broken — standing proudly despite its flaws.
Akin to an acquired taste, wabi-sabi is not obvious. It must be earned. To understand wabi-sabi is to perceive through feeling rather than seeing. Instead of simply observing an object, you experience a profoundly deep connection.
I have never been one for conforming to what is expected. Ever since I was little, I stubbornly forged my own path. I have always questioned why and pursued what brings myself and those around me joy — even if that means embarking on an avenue less taken.
Rather than assuming that something is unappealing because it is unusual or has imperfections, try adopting a new perspective. Consider thinking instead, “this one is beautifully intriguing because it is unique.” If you are true and authentic to yourself, that is what makes you special and sets you apart from the rest.
Pursue the subtle unseen beauty in all aspects of life. Allow yourself to be drawn to what inspires you. Search for things that evoke a deep sense of wonder, awe, and appreciation.
To practice wabi-sabi is to seek out and acknowledge something for its genuine, often fleeting essence. True peace can be discovered within when you fully embrace what is imperfect and impermanent. Only then will you be able to appreciate the rare beauty in unexpected places.
In metaphysical terms, wabi-sabi suggests that the universe is in constant motion toward or away from potential.Leonard Koren
If you are not consistently learning throughout life, you have stunted your personal growth. It is always possible to learn, regardless of age. Begin trying something new at least once a month. By “new” I do not mean a passive activity, but rather choosing an intentional pursuit to mentally or physically challenge yourself. For those seeking uplifting inspiration and more detail regarding this topic, I highly recommend reading Leonard Koren’s book: Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers.
You could read a new book, learn another language, try a different skill, or perhaps even attempt something that you find intimidating. Regardless if you succeed or not, at least you have the new experience as a takeaway. Build upon these opportunities to grow and evolve while embracing the beauty of your own imperfections.
The best way to make progress is to practice every day. Perceive the authentic within aesthetic. Hold yourself accountable to a code of morals and values that you identify with, and welcome changes that promote positive growth. For all of The Mandalorian fans out there, this is the wabi-sabi way.
Although this may be the most challenging step of all, forgiveness is required to successfully live a wabi-sabi lifestyle. You will never be fully present if you have not forgiven the past. Acknowledge the resilient beauty obtained from any ugliness you may have endured. Once you have outgrown and learned from what no longer serves you, give yourself permission to venture onward.
Wabi-sabi is the epitome of balance and harmony. Every season has a purpose. Birth, life, and death are all part of a beautiful cycle. Impermanence is the only constant. The winds of change continue to blow, yet beauty exists in every moment.
Forgive any negative past experiences, and most importantly, forgive yourself. Find the beauty in your own flaws, and be proud of the individual you are growing into along the way. Discover your potential. Begin a journey of embracing imperfection to attain wellbeing from a wabi-sabi mindset today.
Photo credit: Nick Zell at Skullcap Photography for capturing the natural beauty of wabi-sabi.