It turns out that Wabi Sabi is a concept of aesthetic things in life. Here, from Wikipedia: “Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.”
Wabi Sabi is an ancient Japanese aesthetic that honors all things old, weathered, worn, imperfect and impermanent by finding the beauty in the imperfections. Now you know that I have to love something that honors old, weathered, imperfect, because I have all of those things!
To be serious, Wabi Sabi is a great deal more comprehensive. It’s a practice, an outlook, an insight, an appreciation, of all things imperfect in life. And that would, of course, include each and every one of us, which brings me to the topic I love to write about often here for WE Magazine for Women – our value as older women.
There is a series of videos on Yahoo with author Arielle Ford explaining the finer points of Wabi Sabi. Find them at http://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?p=wabi+sabi+love
If we surround ourselves with things that are natural, changing, unique, then we’re able to connect to the real world around us and within us. We’re able to find real beauty there, unavailable in our exterior world because of the stressors and distractions of our material-based lives.
In one website that I looked at doing research for this article, Sabi is described as meaning the patina of age, the concept that changes which occur from use of an object make it more beautiful and valuable. Just like we are, we women over 50. I’m certain that we all possess a patina, what a wonderful word and description of our character at this age and of our beauty.
Without a doubt we are all more beautiful and more valuable now at 50, 60, whatever age, because our beauty now includes a lifetime of experience. And that experience leaves its mark on each of us. But what about bad, painful experiences? Think about it. Painful experiences also add a depth, an intensity, a profoundness, a wisdom and a sensitivity to us.
So, how can we include Wabi Sabi in our lives? I think the first thing we can do is to be in the moment. So when I’m cooking dinner, I’m not thinking of the other tasks I need to do after dinner or the work I need to do tomorrow – I’m thinking of the beautiful texture, aroma, of what I’m cooking. And I’m thinking of my own beauty reflected in that cooking. More importantly I’m also realizing and treasuring the imperfections in the food I’m cooking and the imperfections in myself as a cook and knowing that’s the beauty of the whole process.
I’ve met lots of women who say, “I can’t help doing that; I guess I’m just a perfectionist.” And they say it with a humble hidden kind of pride. I always reply, “You should see someone about that.” They frown and don’t understand. An addiction is an addiction is an addiction. To allow perfectionism into your life is to allow a sinister, sly thief into your life.
If I replace moments of perfectionist attempts with moments of Wabi Sabi, moments of appreciating the imperfection of life and the imperfections of all of us in it, then am I not celebrating the glory, the value, the worth of our existence?
I’m a woman of a certain age and I’m certain about the beauty of the imperfect.
©Marcia Barhydt 2012