Sometimes you learn about something and it makes the unclear clear and the indescribable, describable. That is what happened when I learned about the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi a few years ago.
I am writing about it now because our new rental house is wabi sabi - imperfect and quirky and aging and uneven. But it fits us. It lets us be ourselves and live the way we want to live - surrounded by the knowledge that other families have played and eaten and laughed and cried here before us. And the imperfections are comforting.
Wabi sabi is : the gentle patina of age : living modestly + simply : being satisfied with what is : living in the moment : accepting that everything changes, all the time : seeing the beauty of things as they are : small moments of celebration : imperfection
Wabi sabi is not : a design style : looking messy + unkept : plastic : disposability : stagnant : mass produced
In a home, its about mismatched plates, the patina of aging photographs, wildflowers, frayed edges, solid wood furniture and earthern clay walls, for example. It is not decoration or interior design, but a philosophy for living.
In this age of information overload, we can become overwhelmed by this quest to get it right and do it all. Wabi sabi suggests that by identifying with the imperfections, predictable/unpredictable changes and constant movement of nature’s cycles and rhythms, the unique traits of each individual become apparent and ease the pressure of living a perfect life. If we can accept the imperfection and constant changes in nature and in our own lives, we can perhaps find a bit of happiness. In short, its about being the perfect imperfection.
Books about wabi sabi:
The wabi-sabi house : robyn griggs lawrence
Wabi sabi simple : richard r. powell
Wabi-sabi for artists, designers, poets & philosophers : leonard koren
Living wabi sabi: the true beauty of your life : taro gold