Posts Tagged ‘living’
Posted in Graphics, Happiness, Inspiration, Quotes, Something to Think About..., tagged fail, failure, graphic, Graphics, Inspiration, inspire, JK Rowling, Life, live, living, quote, Quotes on August 15, 2010| Leave a Comment »
Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.
– Dr. Seuss
Posted in Advice, Articles, Fun, Happiness, Heath, Inspiration, Life, Something to Think About..., Stress & Anxiety, tagged art, everyday life, Fun, Happiness, health, imperfection, japan customs, Life, living, stress, Wabi Sabi, Woman's Day Magazine on March 25, 2010| 3 Comments »
Find out how the Japanese art form translates into everyday life
By Lori Erickson Posted March 24, 2010 from Woman’s Day April 17 2010
Not long ago, I realized something as I stood in front of the mirror. Even if I squinted hard, even if the light was just right, even if I was wearing makeup and a flattering outfit, no one was ever going to think I was young.
I saw that the lines around my eyes didn’t disappear when I stopped smiling. I admitted to myself that I am now the sort of woman who looks perfectly at home in a minivan.
And as I stood there, contemplating the changes that had somehow snuck up on me, I felt a twinge of sorrow for my lost youth (Where did it go? Where did I go?)—and then I began to appreciate how wabi-sabi my face looked.
The concept of wabi sabi is one that I think every woman should have in her mental bag of tricks, particularly when time’s winged chariot is pulling into the driveway. Wabi sabi is a term that describes the beauty to be found in imperfection. It originates in Japan, where artists will often leave subtle fractures in the glaze of a vase or a rough surface on a bowl as a reminder of the wabi-sabi nature of life. Wabi sabi recognizes that all of life is in a constant state of change and that decay is as much a part of life as growth.
“The concept originated in 16th-century Japan with the tea ceremony, a ritual that provided a way to step out of the chaos of daily life and reconnect with that which was simple and tranquil,” says Diane Durston, author of Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life and curator of culture, art and education at the Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon. “Through the centuries, wabi sabi came to mean an approach to life and art that is in harmony with nature, one that values the handmade and rustic, and recognizes the impermanence of life. It encourages us to be respectful of age, both in things and in ourselves, and it counsels us to be content with what we have rather than always striving for more. Wabi sabi has a hint of wistfulness about it.”
I loved the idea from the first time I heard the term a decade ago, but truly understanding its layers of meaning didn’t come upon me suddenly (“My, how cool it is to look so much older!”). Instead, my journey to “richness comes with imperfection” has happened in fits and starts. Part of it has been seeing women I admire age with grace. I think of my 92-year-old friend Jackie, whose volunteering and mentoring teaches me that growing older can mean growing wiser and more joyful, or Rebecca, who proves that gray hair can be stylish and sexy, and who attracts men like she’s dabbed 200-proof pheromones behind her ears. And if I need further confirmation of the truths of wabi sabi, I look at the celebrities who have obviously gone to the plastic surgeon’s office one too many times. I’ll take my lines, thank you very much, especially if the alternative means I’d have that permanent startled expression, a parody of true youth.
But living in a wabi-sabi way for me goes much deeper than just accepting the physical signs of aging. Its most important lesson has been about the impermanence of everything. When one of my oldest and dearest friends committed suicide last year, it was a loud wakeup call. In my mourning, I’ve vowed to more deeply cherish my loved ones while I have them—and I’ve learned what scholars mean when they talk about wabi sabi’s wistfulness.
And these days, with economic trials and our culture’s never-ending emphasis on success, we could all use something that says it’s OK—even good—to be where you are. Too many people live in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. I’ve seen friends throw away good relationships in a vain search for a perfect one, or continually pine for what they don’t have or once had and lost.
Wabi sabi doesn’t mean settling for less than you deserve—and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to improve your situation. Instead it’s about balance and contentment rather than striving for the unattainable. It encourages us to accept our own flaws as well. So you’re not a perfect mother, and your kids aren’t perfect either. Congratulations! Welcome to the human race. And all those people you think are perfect? They’re likely struggling too.
I know that my moments of joy will pass, but so will my pains and sorrows. I will try to live them, learn their lessons and let them go. And in the meantime, a few laugh lines are my proof that I’ve enjoyed the journey along the way.