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Article: Wabi-Sabi: Satisfaction in the imperfect

Wabi-Sabi: Satisfaction in the imperfect

Wabi-Sabi: Satisfaction in the imperfect

Life is a plot twist - at every turn, something that goes wrong, or the unexpected occurs, and that is okay. Embrace it.

Yes, there will be times when even something you have meticulously planned (to a T) takes a turn for the worse. However, the winners in life are those who make plans to move on and do best with whatever they are dealt with and Wabi-Sabi, is exactly how we can achieve this state of living.

What is Wabi-Sabi?

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese philosophy that has been practised for more than 700 years. Separated, the meaning of each word is as such:

Wabi - ‘Rustic Simplicity’

Sabi - ‘Satisfaction in the imperfect’

In all honesty, it is hard for one to define the true depth of Wabi-Sabi, but the main concept of it is accepting your imperfections and making the best of your life. Taking a less-is-more stance in life, those who practice wabi-sabi aim to find the pleasure in the simple moments while pausing on the relentless (and impossible) pursuit of perfection.

Perhaps the best picture to describe this Japanese philosophy is the famous wabi-sabi pottery. In the picture above, the pottery exhibits cracks, signifying that all things have damages that form over the battles it went through. These cracks are filled in elegant gold lacquer, amplifying the cracked lines and symbolising that the fragility and brokenness of an individual is noble and to be appreciated.


Practising Wabi-Sabi

Find beauty in simplicity. Take the mindful decision to redefine beauty by expanding our gaze to bring into focus elements that exude joy and appreciation. While this sounds tough, it is relatively simple to do as we can practise it with everyday objects around us, with our everyday interactions, with those we meet or live with, and even with nature. If you are currently trying this out, you might try taking pictures of the beauty you observe each day, such as the plants around the park, or the skies at different times of day, and creating a Wabi-Sabi album to enjoy.

Savor the present moment. If you have been following our journals, you might have seen a few articles we have on practicing mindfulness (the art of living in the present) and how we can train our minds to focus on the present so that we may enjoy the positive moments of each day. In summary, we can start by taking a few minutes daily to focus on breathing and getting in tune with our emotions. Slowly, we become more present throughout the day: learning to enjoy that first cup of coffee in the morning, to contemplate the clouds and their movement with amazement, to listen more to the sounds of nature, and (when we can do so safely) to hug each other heart to heart.


In all, Wabi-Sabi gives us the permission to be our true self, encouraging us to focus on the blessings hiding in our daily lives, and celebrate the way things are rather than how they should be. Embrace the perfection in the imperfect you.


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