February 12, 2018

Wabi Sabi

Last week for the Sparkle blog hop I posted this picture:

The following day, there was an article in my email. The subject: Wabi Sabi, the Japanese art of imperfection.

Don't you love synchronicity? (or for you conspiracy theorists, Don't you love the technological advances in invasion of privacy?)

Wabi Sabi, embracing the not-so-perfect aspects of life. Googling Wabi Sabi, I discovered that I am an accomplished practitioner of this  "ancient aesthetic philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism"!

Treasuring the way my nose makes two slight jogs from straight instead of wishing it was a perfect nose. Who else can say they broke their nose twice, once playing football in the street with the guys and once high diving at school? It helps me prove to my granddaughters that I was, indeed, athletic at one time!

Whole Living website offers an enlightening article, Wabi Sabi Your Life: 6 Strategies for Embracing Imperfection."Simple Beauty" is a loose translation, as the article talks about Wabi Sabi being an aesthetic that is so ethereal that to define it diminishes it's true significance.

It's kind of like defining love. Have you ever said 'I love you' while gazing into the eyes of a loved one and felt that words are not enough? They are too shallow, too corporeal, to communicate the true depth of your feelings.

I thought about the 'things' that I love most in my home. The first object to pop into my mind is my dining room table. It is just wood, thick, carved legs, seats 14 with leaves attached at either end, but usually only sits 8. It is espresso in color. What makes it special?

Four of my granddaughters would come to my house every day after school. For one hour we would play and have a snack. At 4 PM everyday, we would all sit at the table to do homework. This went on for several years. Kindergarten assignments to algebra. Sometimes the girls would press a little hard.

Their homework in embedded in the table, making the table perfectly imperfect! Several visitors have commented on how sad it is! I think the table is awesome. It is no longer just a hunk of wood but a part of the memories and life of our girls.

Heart and Soul of my dining room table.

Speaking of tables, several table clothes have pretty significant stains in them, red wine, turkey gravy, magic marker. Makes them special, full of memories of dinners past.

Another beloved piece is my Corn Goddess. It was love at first sight. There is a fun shop in Soquel, just south of Santa Cruz, called the Pottery Planet. A half acre of pots, planters, ceramics and metal work. There she was, perched on a shelf across the indoor shop, calling my name.

Isn't she beautiful?

I made a beeline for her. Her face, her braid, her size...it was true love! I turned her around and there was a large crack!

Now that I know about Wabi Sabi, maybe I will highlight the crack with gold!

Did it matter to me? No! I don't know anyone who doesn't have a crack behind them. I made her mine. Put her in the front of the car, seat belt on. She was coming home with me, and as far as I'm concerned, we will always share a home.

I have two pieces of clothing that I love and only wear around the house. One is a sweater, slowing unraveling around the collar. It has been with me for ages and is as soft as a cloud. The other piece is an over-shirt; wore the hell out of that poor thing and still do. It isn't torn, it's just thread bare in a couple of spots. Time to patch them and wear them with pride.

I have no problem tossing out old worn clothes or donating clothing, just not those items that I love.

As I research Wabi Sabi, I discover that the philosophy is not just applicable to material objects but to relationships, in personal physical attributes, the home, in life's situations.

Japanese art form called Kintsukuroi “Golden repair”
Courtesy of https://www.jenniferhazi.com

Discovered in my searches, applying the concept of Wabi Sabi to motherhood. The Imperfect Mum. Be gentle with yourselves, new moms, old moms, in-between moms!

Love the imperfect in you, whether you call it your shadow self, your challenges, or your whatever!

I may just change my Google Profile, adding Wabi Sabi Practitioner! At the very least, place a small sign under the WELCOME sign at the front entry: WABI SABI LAND!

Have a good week, every one! From your perfectly content-with-my-imperfections friend!


  1. The world would be a much better and healthier place if the principle of Wabi Sabi ruled. All this useless and destructive pursuit of perfection (especially as it applies to women) would cease.

    I collect statues of the Divine Feminine and may I just say that I LOVE your Corn Goddess! So beautiful!

    1. I agree! The world would be so much better off, think of all those starving models that could eat regular meals and all the young girls that could look in the mirror and think "I rock" instead of "I suck"!

      I have a friend that you would probably love. She's my age, appreciates a good whiskey, she rides a Harley, she teaches cooking classes and she sculpts all-things Divine Feminine! Her goddesses are beautiful. Facebook put her on my list as a bad influence. She's the best!

  2. Ha ha Toni I prefer to be a believer in synchronicity. :) That's cute about the conspiracy theorists though. I have some conspiracies that I believe in...like this supposed "dog flu" that's going around to encourage people to panic and run to the vet for expensive treatments!! Dog flu??? What will they come up with next lol...I am on a tangent. :)

    I do love your dining room table! We have far from perfect things here, but honestly, when I see a scratch on something or a hole in the couch, it just brings me feelings of warmth when I think about the pets and to me it's perfect. OH that Corn Goddess! Love her! She really is beautiful! I have a sweater that I will NEVER get rid of. I'm sure I bought it in the mid 1990's when the style of the long (to the knee) sweater was in. It's gray and I wear it every day when I'm at my computer, it has holes in the shoulders now from the hanger I used to put it on, now it sits on my desk chair, waiting for me. :) I love the idea of Wabi Sabi! Thank you for writing about it!

    Do you have enough melted gold for your Corn Goddess? :)

    It's interesting Toni. After I burned out, I went through a phase where I "needed" to be perfect. I spent too much money on clothing, makeup, getting my teeth perfect and white, waxing treatments, gyms, personal trainers...omg. I even considered a boob job and an eye lift. All on credit of course. I was so insecure about myself. But you know what? I know now that I'm perfect the way I am because everything out here is just that...what's important is on the inside. Even my insides aren't perfect, but I love me just the way I am now. :)

    1. Dog flu sounds like the same Hep C thing going around, trying to get everyone over 50 to get tested for it! I see you tangent and raise you one!

      My dining table is so precious to me. It reminds me of so many conversations and discoveries as the girls did homework and chatted.

      My sweater is from the '90's,too! It has bands of saturated colors of the rainbow and it keeps me super warm. Like an old friend!

      One of my sisters-in-law pans for gold. For Christmas she gave us of us sisters and sisters-in-law a small vial of gold to be worn as a pendant. I can mix it with a little bit of super glue! The gold will make her glamorous but I couldn't love her anymore than I already do!

      Isn't it strange how we want to be perfect. I wanted to be the perfect mom. All the things my mom did, I would say, I'm not going to do that! Doesn't matter, we still make mistakes or don't do something we should have. I figured out, I can't be the perfect mom and I can let my kids (and grandkids) that I love them just the way they are. They know they are loved and that's good with me!

      I'm kind of fond of you just the way you are, too!

    2. I bow to your tangent-raising skills lol...

      I am fond of you just the way you are too! :) I think the longing to be perfect is horribly due to our culture and the media. And I also think that in most cases it's a phase. Once we realize how self-destructive it is, we roll our eyes at it. I always joke to Alex that if I jog without a bra, I'll have two black eyes lol...he loves me just the way I am too! :) My goal is to age gracefully with humour if at all possible!

      That's really cool about the gold! Where does she pan? All I know is the panning is still active up north in Alaska or the Yukon, but my knowledge comes from the Discovery Channel!

    3. She pans on a couple of the creeks here in Shasta County, northern California.

      I'm not so sure I want to age gracefully. I want to be irreverent and feisty! I'm not sure anyone has ever said, "Boy, that Toni is sure graceful!" Not even when I used to play Field Hockey!

  3. I LOVE the concept of Wabi Sabi. It was actually Debra that introduced it to me years ago when she mentioned it on one of my posts of photos of old barns. I really enjoy driving around the countryside and taking pictures of barns, especially the ones that are dilapidated. And I also enjoy snapping images of abandoned homes and old structures. There is something so "perfectly imperfect" about them. I didn't know how to explain my love for these things and then Debra mentioned Wabi Sabi and it all made sense. I even wrote about it afterward on my blog and shared some of my favourite barn images. And then I took it a step further and printed a photobook with those images around that theme.

    Your dining room table is priceless! It is a part of your life story and it is alive with memories. How could you not love it?

    And your Corn Goddess! She is beautiful. And perfectly imperfect. As I've gotten older, I have moved further and further away from society's definition of what I should be and embraced all of who I am, imperfections included. And I've never been happier.

    1. So liberating when we cut the chain between who we are and who "they' want us to be!

      I'll have to search your old post. The Guy and I love old barns and dilapidated houses. I try to imagine the lives that were lived in them, their history. I never thought of making a photo book of our images, I'm going to have to do that! Great idea.

      I wonder if Wabi Sabi is just a natural part of who we are. Like some people are attracted to worn, smooth, old and some are drawn to shiny, bedazzled. I've always loved the old. I remember standing next to my great-grandmother's chair when I was maybe 5 or 6 and looking at her hands. They looked like the roots of an ancient tree and I thought to myself, I want hands like that when I get old because it says she really lived!

  4. This post was beautifully comforting. Somehow I could breath a little easier when I was done. Thank you💜

    1. That makes me happy! Soft and worn does inspires comfort!

  5. What a great post!

    With some things I do, I strive for perfection. However, it is my perfection, which often involves spit and glue (so to speak). Imperfect is perfect in my world. Your table is wonderful because it is about love and memories. The things I keep and treasure are not because they are beautiful, but because it holds a connection to the people and places that have graced my life.

    I will be in Santa Cruz this summer and might have to make a trip to Soquel and Pottery Planet.

    1. Pottery Planet is on Soquel Avenue just before the big hill going down to Soquel. If you are headed south, it is on the right hand side. If you are in the area on Sunday morning, one of our favorite things to do is get a couple of breakfast turnovers and a coffee from Gayle's Bakery, then park ourselves on a bench at Capitola Village and watch the surf, people and birds! Great Place to read the paper or just talk!

      You're right about treasures, they are those things that hold memories, connections to special moment in our lives.

    2. Oops! Just re-read your comment. I first thought you were going to be in Santa Cruz this coming weekend. If you are there in the summer, any morning is good for Gayle's turnovers and a seat at the beach!

      We are usually just headed back home on Sunday mornings, so take a little breather before hitting the road!


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