Wabi-sabi, an ancient philosopy rooted in Zen Buddhism, is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection. An easily understood example, from the October 2010 issue of Whole Living Magazine Wabi Sabi Your Life: 6 Strategies for Embracing Imperfection by Gretchen Roberts, is "asymmetrical heirloom vegetables, handmade pottery, crow's feet, and the frayed sleeves of a favorite wool sweater." Loosely translated, wabi is simplicity and sabi means the beauty that comes with age and wear. Roberts focuses on six areas in which the wabi-sabi philosophy can be implemented: relationships, food, home, beauty, closet, and work. Relationships Accept the imperfections of others and yourself. Food Gathering, preparing, creating the dining environment, and consuming meals should be a purposeful engagement of the senses. Home Appreciate the natural aging of things you own as you grow old with them. Thrift shop finds and handmade items have more meaning than shiny, new purchases. Beauty Embrace the aging process and be open to seeing new kinds of beauty in ourselves. Closet Appreciate what you already have rather than acquiring new things. Work Align your actions and words to your values. Be authentic. Keep small frustrations in perspective.
When I buy clothing, I appreciate when the stitch lines aren't perfectly straight because it has a homemade look and I can more easily envision and appreciate the person who sewed the garment. When I sew, however, I strive for a perfectly constructed finished product. To wabi-sabi this part of my life, I am implementing some shortcut sewing methods from Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing Book and learning "when not to sweat the small stuff." I am beginning to plan my projects for the approaching winter and my goal is three-fold: to accept... and, more importantly, celebrate a less than perfect end-product to 1)more fully enjoy the process, 2)finish projects more rapidly, and 3)achieve the handmade look I desire. Where might wabi-sabi make a difference in your life?
My summary is a simplistic view of wabi-sabi. It is me trying to bring some of its meaning into my own life. To delve more deeply into the philosophy, there are many books available. A few that I found when searching on Amazon are Wabi Sabi Simple: Create beauty. Value imperfection. Live deeply. by Richard Powell, Living Wabi Sabi: The True Beauty of Your Life by Taro Gold, Practical Wabi Sabi by Simon G. Brown, and Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life by Diane Durston.