Wabi Sabi is a world view, a way of life and an art that celebrate the marks of time, the truth in sobriety and the profundity of earthiness. Wabi Sabi embraces time, natural change, simplicity, economy, unclutteredness, modesty, intimacy, underplay. It is raw authenticity.
Wabi Sabi is sometimes described as the beauty of the imperfect, the impermanent, and the incomplete. What the modern quest for perfection, possession and performance calls “imperfection” is in fact perfection.
In terms of aesthetics, Wabi Sabi finds beauty in what only time and nature can create. In the spirit that “the journey is the destination”, time is a journey. It enables the natural processes that craft objects and people alike. Wabi Sabi is integrity of natural objects and processes. Wabi Sabi beauty is patina, asperity, asymmetry, erosion, rust, cracks, crevices, genuine wear, wrinkles, frayed edges, muted colors, naturally distressed materials, ruggedness, understated elegance. It is an old French village, a scaled off gold leaf, the creases on a face from all the folding and unfolding of experience, distressed and softened leather, the slow crafting of stalactites, the vegetation that intertwines with ruins, how rain dilutes and mixes colors on an ancient wooden door…
Wabi stems from the root wa, which refers to harmony, peace, tranquility, and balance. It has come to mean simple, unmaterialistic, humble by choice, and in tune with nature. A Wabi person is in peace with herself and doesn’t crave to be anything else. A Wabi person is inspired by the “Zen attitude”: being truly content with what there is, quiet, free from unrealistic expectations, in the moment, and accepting and embracing her true nature.
Sabi by itself means “the bloom of time.” It connotes natural progression and maturation. Even the words Wabi and Sabi are Wabi Sabi, they change with time! A Sabi person matures with dignity and grace. She takes pleasure in things that are old and faded. True Sabi cannot be acquired. It is a gift of time.
Wabi-sabi is everything that today’s sleek, mass-produced, technology-saturated, performance-driven culture isn’t.
Slow down, shift the balance from doing to being, appreciating rather than perfecting. Embrace what is and embrace transience, accept and love your nature, honor your scars and adversities for they are the gold nuggets of your wisdom.
Be Wabi-Sabi, be YOU!
More Wabi Sabi inspiration on my Pinterest board.