Monday, October 27, 2008

Wabi Sabi and Other Stuff ...

Have you heard of Wabi Sabi? Sounds like sushi. Or a Star Wars character. But it isn't -- it's a Japanese expression that means "wisdom in natural simplicity." According to a little book I have called "Living Wabi Sabi," it is imperfection, or more fully, appreciation of the value and beauty of imperfection. Wabi Sabi celebrates the preciousness of all things imperfect, which is truly all things. The way of Wabi Sabi honors the quirks, the oddities, the perfectly imperfect uniqueness of you and me and everything. Wabi Sabi highlights the value of objects, events, and the entirety of life "as is" -- unpolished, unpredictable, and natural.

I think of this concept from time to time, and am amazed at how simple it seems on the surface, yet how multi-faceted it is in its application, and how very profound. It seems all too often my inherent tendency is to automatically discard that which is imperfect. I see that which is flawed as being of little value, needing to be replaced by the pristine. It's easy to catch myself doing this when I think of my home, as quirky, odd, and imperfect are most definitely apt descriptions of this little old place. But I also tend to extrapolate the concept. It takes a bit more honesty to admit to myself that I quickly find the flaws where people and circumstances are concerned. I am so eager to cling to whatever I can find that is unpleasant, that I fail to observe the beauty, the value of all around me. Wabi Sabi means to embrace, to celebrate this life of imperfection. It is to live with an appreciation for the timeworn things, and a compassion and understanding for the flaws that make us all human. It requires for me a complete shift in thinking, and it takes a good deal of effort. But I think it's a most worthy goal, and I'd really like to incorporate more and more Wabi Sabi into my life every day.

Wabi Sabi doesn't mean that we should not strive for improvement, but it releases us from being enslaved to the ideal of a perfection that simply does not exist.

So. From Japanese wisdom to apples! This looks a bit like a container of French fries, but it's delightfully delicious dehydrated apples that Rocky makes for me about once a week. Jody, my mother-in-law, brings over a supply of fresh apples, and they're sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon and left in the dehydrator for about 15 hours. They're wonderful cut up and tossed into my morning oatmeal, and are great to snack on throughout the day. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that when they're dehydrating, the aroma is heavenly!

Here's the dehydrator! We got rid of our microwave (yes, we're backwards!) and put this in its place. OK, truthfully, I don't miss the microwave at all. We use the stove and the oven a lot, and it works for us to do it the "old-fashioned" way.

I feel practically pious with good health when I'm munching on natural, dehydrated goodies. And then Rocky has to go and bring home something like this ... Oh my ... Eeeeeevil!

And speaking of old-fashioned ways, I want a clothesline in my backyard. I want to be able to line-dry clothes and linens on warm, sunny days. For now, I hang most of my clothes to dry in the kitchen. Rather makeshift, but it does the job!

Lastly ... just a picture of the kitties' colorful bowls!

Remember this - very little is needed to make a joyful life. It is all in your way of thinking. ~Marcus Aurelius~


  1. what an absolutely enlightening post! the society that we live in instills in us what the society thinks is perfect. and we live by that rule, some of us oblivious, some of us not bothered, some of us do not agree.. and yet we tend to follow the order just to get thru life. sometimes i think society makes it 'unprofitable' for us to be imperfect on purpose...

    i'll always remember one phrase that my literature teacher quoted from john keats i think... "what the imagination seizes as beauty, must be truth." i love this phrase and try very hard to live by it... even though failing miserably sometimes :)

  2. Reminds me of the true nature of the Japanese Tea ceremony -- where the host cleans and sweeps the house, courtyard and garden throughly before setting down the table and its teapot, kettle and cups. BUT -- a true master of this art always allows an element of imperfection to this setting -- a few leaves scattered on the ground -- to remind his honored guest that perfection is best left to the Universe! The best we can expect to do -- is attend to the Moment and simply appreciate its own beauty.

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  3. Thank you so much for stopping by Sunbonnet Cottage.

    I love your blog. I will have to visit again soon. You have quite the flair for decorating. I like your style, filled with fun colors.

    Talk soon.


  4. We have in our hyper market assorted dehydrated fruits like durian, jack fruit, apples, guava, mangoes and assorted fruits but they are imported from Thailand.

    So, I am not the only one drying clothes indoor? I avoid hanging them out not because I do not like sunshines (its abundance here) BUT the "naughty visitors" disturb them. After that I have to clean them all over again.

    But my upstairs room gets plenty of sunshines, so its not such a problem to get them dried on time. Only on rainy days, I have to turn on the fans at full speed...


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