I first became acquainted with the term wabi-sabi years ago when I had the privilege of managing a one of a kind bookstore and art gallery. We opened up our space for events and classes and one such offering was a series on wabi-sabi art. It spoke to me deeply at the time on many levels and continues to move me today, perhaps even more so the older I get.
This morning I read this brief article on the topic and the story of Rikyu, from whom Japanese legend says that the ethos of wabi-sabi originates. In essence, wabi-sabi is embracing imperfection and seeing the beauty in things that at first glance might seem a little off- putting or perhaps even ugly.
I have recently converted an old tool shed in our back yard into an art studio. I am offering primarily small group children’s art classes (I can only fit about 5-6 students comfortably at a time). I really don’t consider myself an artist. So what makes me think I can teach art? It is about allowing my inner child permission to create imperfectly and letting children know that art is about play, not perfection. Wabi-Sabi.
Of course, the concept of wabi-sabi can permeate all of the areas of life if we allow it to. In the process of healing it is sometimes tempting to allow shame to tell us that we will never be complete and remind us of unhealthy behaviors from our past. If we can re-frame even our most vulnerable moments and see them as an integrated part of a truly beautiful life, then we have a real shot at joy and can help others embrace themselves and their frailties.
Thinking of wabi-sabi this morning has literally brought tears of joy to me as I continue through this veil of impermanence. Life can be so beautiful, friends, and so are you. Really, truly, just as you are. And the same goes for me.
Have a Wabi-Sabi week,