Wabi-Sabi Ideal: Finding Beauty in an Imperfect World, by Elden Freeman

As we expressed gratitude for the light in our lives this past Thanksgiving, we should also take a page from the Japanese viewpoint that finds joy in imperfection.

This aesthetic ideal is known as wabi-sabi.

The Japanese have embraced the attitude of wabi-sabi for years, finding beauty in a world that is imperfect, simple, rustic, impermanent and old. Wabi-sabi is not just a style of design but more of a way of life, explains Robyn Griggs Lawrence, “It’s not going out and buying hothouse flowers from Brazil but finding native plants from right where you are.”

Lawrence believes those who embrace wabi-sabi will naturally learn to become more appreciative of their lives and have more free-flowing gratitude.

“Wabi-sabi is everything that today’s sleek, mass-produced, technology-saturated culture isn’t,” she says. “It’s flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo. Wabi-sabi is all about clearing away the clutter and dreck so that we can appreciate our homes as beautiful, just the way they are.”

In an effort to embrace wabi-sabi, you need to accept the imperfection of your home, a move Lawrence says will prove wonderful and freeing because we all know “that to-do list can make you unhappy in your own home.”

Here are some simple steps for incorporating wabi-sabi into your life right now:

  • One day a week, wash the dinner dishes by hand. This task alone allows you quiet, uninterrupted time to think—or not think.
  • Pay attention to your daily bread. Buy food from your local farmers’ markets.
  • Next time you sweep the floor, consider it a meditation.
  • When you’re invited to someone’s house or even just to a meeting, bring a small gift that lets them know they’re appreciated.
  • Keep one vase in your home filled with seasonal flowers.
  • Take a walk every day. Open up your senses and experience the changing seasons.
  • Next time you buy something, ask questions. Who made it? How was it made? Where does it come from?

Who knows? Slowing down a little may give us the presence of mind to appreciate more.


elden_FreemanElden Freeman, M.E.S., AGB® Broker of Record Freeman Real Estate Ltd. is the founder and Executive Director of The National Association of Green Agents & Brokers – Nageb.org  FreemanRealty.com

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