This week, we’re thinking about Wabi-Sabi (侘寂) Richard Powell, author of Wabi Sabi Simple, explains the concept succinctly and beautifully:
Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese philosophy that can often be a lens to view design, aesthetics, or even a larger approach to living. There’s no direct translation, so the best approximation indicates that Wabi-Sabi highlights the beauty of imperfection, impermanence, simplicity, and the experience of aging. In fact, objects are seen as even more beautiful because of the unique imprints that time and experience leave behind --- think of a centuries old temple, a battered house by the shore, or a ceramic with an obvious mended crack.
Wabi-Sabi reminds us that something doesn’t need to be ‘perfect’ or ‘complete’ to be appreciated.
As we navigate these unprecedented times and actions required to manage the spread of COVID-19, Wabi-Sabi grounds me in remembering that this experience is temporary, passing, and the imperfection embedded in the experience is one we can appreciate (or at least bear). It’s like being in the exact moment the mug falls from the shelf -- just before the crack has found its place. Neither perfect, nor mended to highlight the imperfection… just in-between. Wabi-Sabi for me is an opportunity to highlight this in-between-ness, the grey area, and the vulnerability that exists on the journey.
How do you view imperfection? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the need to meet certain ideals? Is there a way you can inspire appreciation for simplicity or something that’s been ‘broken’? :)