Wabi-Sabi. Not to be confused with wasabi, the green paste associated with Japanese dishes, is my new favorite word. According to Japanese legend, a young man named Sen no Rikyu sought to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. He went to tea-master Takeeno Joo, who tested the younger man by asking him to tend the garden. Rikyu cleaned up debris and raked the ground until it was perfect, then scrutinized the immaculate garden. Before presenting his work to the master, he shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly onto the ground.
To this day, the Japanese revere Rikyu as one who understood to his very core a deep cultural thread known as Wabi-Sabi- the art in finding beauty in imperfection.
I’m drawn to this phrase/concept because it aligns so beautifully with the iSissy mission to savor the ordinary. Here are some things that wabi-sabi is NOT:
Wabi-sabi is not things that are sleek, mass produced or technology saturated. Wabi-sabi is a flea market, not a shopping mall. It’s a branch of dogwood, not an elaborate arrangement of flowers. It’s the silver sheen of aged wood, not the high-gloss polish of brand new. Wabi-Sabi celebrates the cracks in beautiful china that stand as a testament to their use.
As a life style, Wabi-Sabi requires a pace that allows us to appreciate more, fix less-a willingness to accept things as they are-the ability to slow our minds and embrace our surroundings with no desire to fix, perfect or abandon because it lacks perfection.
I hope you are inspired to look for the Wabi-Sabi in your life – the little nicks, cracks and scratches in our things that give them character – that reflect their use. And maybe, view those fine lines our faces as smile lines-not wrinkles. Those lines are our personal Wabi-Sabi.