When you love to travel, you begin to pick up valuable truths and insights from different cultures that you can apply in your own life. Japan, for instance, has much to teach us, including the wabi-sabi way of thinking. For the Japanese, it’s one of the keys to a happy life. Learn from this overview about a few ways to practice the wabi-sabi lifestyle and incorporate it into your belief system.
The main idea behind wabi-sabi is to celebrate the beauty in imperfection. That’s good news for those of us who are addicted to buying every self-help book that’s published. If you’ve already discovered how rewarding it can be to stay in the moment mindfully, wabi-sabi is an extension of that concept. Expand your definition of beauty to include quiet simplicity: the items that have worn down in your kitchen from years of honest use, a sincere conversation with a good person, or a cup of coffee. Above all, permit yourself some breaks from your constant striving. Fall in love with yourself, imperfect as you are.
Repair What You Have
In wabi-sabi, nothing is permanent, but it doesn’t mean you need to rush out and replace things. In fact, the Japanese art of kintsugi starts with beautiful pottery that’s been cracked. It’s put back together with gold-dusted lacquer, highlighting its imperfections instead of hiding them. The next time you break something, exercise some creativity in repairing it. Or if it’s something more prosaic, take pleasure in the simple, modest act of repairing an appliance. Objects that we’ve had a long time deserve respect and a second chance.
Bring Nature Inside
In many ways, practicing the wabi-sabi lifestyle is a visual discipline. We take the time to appreciate a lopsided tomato we’ve grown, or petals that have fallen from a flower. Wabi-sabi honors the passage of time. Artists cultivate bonsai trees with respect to the asymmetry of nature. It can take five years for a bonsai to even resemble a real tree, but you can invoke the tradition by bringing a gemstone tree into your home that looks like one. Pay attention to the materials you fill your home with. These are all opportunities to pay homage to nature with wood and stone that will change and age with time. If you’re busy trying to please others with your interior design aesthetic, you’ll never achieve peace. But if the objects in your home are in the spirit of wabi-sabi—humble, functional, and personal—they’ll truly reflect the purity inside you.