Wabi Sabi, Anyone?


"A life saturated with belongings
that the same things
that bring delight
become burdensome
when insurance costs rise, 
storage space is used up, 
and general clutter
becomes annoying and unattractive."

Richard R. Powell
Wabi Sabi Simple

"Wabi Sabi is an ancient Japanese concept combining artistic principles with a lifestyle philosophy," according to Kay Frandsen, owner of The Wabi Sabi shop. 

She goes on to explain that the word "wabi" refers to a chosen simplicity, while "sabi" acknowledges the beauty and character imparted by the passing of time. 

In other words, Wabi Sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection. It's about finding joy in authenticity, in being real, in celebrating cracks and weathered wood and simple pleasures and wrinkles. 

Wabi Sabi recognizes that life is in a constant state of change, growth, and decay and that allowing those changes is being in harmony with nature. At its core, Wabi Sabi, which correlates with the concepts of Zen Buddhism, recognizes that:


• all things are impermanent

• all things are imperfect

• all things are incomplete

As Lore Erickson wrote in "Wabi Sabi: Making Peace with Imperfection," "these days, with economic trials and our culture's never-ending emphasis on success, we could all use something that says it's OK - even good - to be where you are. Too many people live in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction... Wabi Sabi doesn't mean settling for less that you deserve - and it doesn't mean you shouldn't work to improve your situation. Instead, it's about balance and contentment rather than striving for the unattainable."

Don't you just LOVE that? 

A philosophy and a way of being that encourages us to accept and celebrate our "flaws," rather than beating ourselves up for not being perfect? 

Wabi Sabi Is: 

Vintage pictures of grandparents
Farmer's markets
Weathered wood
Crumbling stone
Greenwich Village
Old car that's paid off
Candlelight (hides wrinkles) 
Weekend at a bed & breakfast
Flea market

Wabi Sabi Isn't:
Digital photo frames
Strip malls
Plastic laminate
Polished marble
Disney World
Times Square
New car that's leasedestaurants
Plastic surgery
Caribbean cruise

And if you wonder if this approach is possible in our on-the-go, thousand-miles-a-minute lifestyle, start to notice what brings you true joy in your life. 

What connects you to your soul, brings you closer to spirit, and pulls you deeper into your connection with life and the universe? 

From Robyn Griggs Lawrence in "The Wabi-Sabi House," here are a few ways to cultivate your Wabi Sabi sensibility: 

  1. Quiet your home. Notice how much noise surrounds you every day, whether it's from the dishwasher or radio or TV or noisy neighbors. See what it's like to turn off the noise, even for a short time during the day.
  2. Clear the clutter. Slowly, gently, one drawer or closet at a time.
  3. Appreciate imperfection. If you have a piece of furniture or vase or dishes that bear the scars of life (and you still love them!), consider leaving the scars and enjoy them. 
  4. Bring nature indoors. Branches, leaves, wildflowers, whatever appeals to you.
  5. Bring in pieces of soul. What delights your soul? Hand embroidered linens your grandmother made? Artwork from your kids or grandkids? Whatever lights you up, bring it in.
  6. Try the candle trick. When you come home at the end of a long, tiring day...and the house is a mess and the dishes are piled up and you forgot to gas up the car for tomorrow, try the candle trick. Turn off the lights, light a few lovely candles, and cuddle up in your favorite comfy place. Everything looks better in the soft flickering of candlelight.