The Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi can shape our lives for the better. Based on simplicity, impermanence, and imperfection, Wabi-sabi acts as an antidote to the consumerism and fast pace of modern living. Through simplicity and the acceptance of our flaws and impermanence, it allows us to see things anew. Wabi-sabi teaches us how to simplify and prioritize the right things while not being too hard on ourselves while making the necessary changes. It shows us that what we have already is enough and that we surround by everyday magic. All we need to do is learn how to access it.
Wabi-sabi encourages us to embrace acceptance. With COVID-19, life can be challenging. But without the recognition of the basic fact, we can make things even harder for ourselves. When we are unable to be flexible, let things go, and move forward, life can be an impossible terrain. When life does throw us a challenge, the best thing we can do is learn the power of acceptance. We must be ready to accept change. As everything is impermanent, even stability, we must always be prepared to adapt.
We can learn from nature. Consider the climate in which bamboo grows. There are often powerful monsoons that arise from nowhere. Like a forest of bamboo in a storm, we must learn to bend rather than break and continue to grow, even when circumstances change.
The same thing is right in life, especially this year. Dramatic change disrupted the course of our lives. Our relationships, careers, and health can all change in life-altering ways, and whether we like that change is immaterial. The sooner we accept that it is happening, the better, as we can modify our behavior to the new reality, whether it is the loss of a job or having relationship issues. We are much more likely to withstand the storm when we can see it coming.
As well as change, we must learn to accept who we are, and not strive for impossible perfection> The perfection which we encourage to pursue is an illusion. It exists only in commercial or on perfectly-curated social media channels.
Rather than beat ourselves up for not having it, we need to accept that life is messy, flawed, and always incomplete. Even if we did find ourselves living the kind of life that looks like a commercial, it would not be as we imagined it. Life is fundamentally imperfect. After we have accepted fundamental truth, we should realize that much of what has already is in its way, perfectly imperfect.
Rather than feeling dispirited, you can reframe your “failure”, and draw some powerful lessons about your success. Failure does mark an open, just a useful experience. After any failure, we have the opportunity to discover things about ourselves; we might never have found out otherwise.
It is time for us to value simplicity and imperfection while recognizing the impermanence of all things. We can Wabi-sabi to anythings from relationships to others, our career path, our approach to failure, and the way we decorate our homes. Rather than piling unnecessary pressure on ourselves for perfection, Wabi-sabi encourages us to value the perfectly imperfect.