Say what? Wabi-Sabi? I came across this word and my curiosity went wild!
Wabi-sabi is the Japanese philosophy or even a lifestyle which deeply connects our truest inner selves with the world outside, to nature.
It reminds us to constantly search for the beauty in imperfection and take solace in the impermanence of everything, just the natural cycle of life. Accept what is, stay in the present moment and appreciate the simple, transient stages of life.
In our family addiction world, there is the potential for great comfort in this approach. During the worst days, knowing that this is not a permanent state can bring a lot of relief. That glimmer of hope. Even if your loved one has passed...your feelings will change over time. You will eventually tolerate what has happened.
There are five main teachings in the Wabi-sabi philosophy:
1. Through acceptance, you will find freedom; out of acceptance, you find growth
How many times have I said...."I wouldn't with this on anyone. But it truly was a gift for our family". We grew. We became better people. We survived. We are strong. We have our priorities straight.
2. All things in life, including you, are in an imperfect state of flux, so strive not for perfection, but for excellence instead.
I grew up around this mindset and I have struggled with it my whole life. Perfection is unattainable. It doesn't exist and just paralyses us. It is self-destructive and addictive. It sends us into the downward spiral of depression, anxiety and addiction. We miss so much of life dealing with our insecurities. It's all a sad game of perception where we want the world to think we are perfect. We aren't perfect. Life isn't perfect.
Excellence though...excellence is a journey. You are allowed to mess up along the way. You get up, dust yourself off and move on. Some days are way better than others but you continue to move forward.
3. Appreciate the beauty of all things, especially the great beauty that hides beneath the surface of what seems to be broken.
I am intrigued with Japanese art especially Kintsugi, where they mend broken objects with gold fillings, giving them “golden scars.” My life is full of golden scars. I have been broken and put back together so many times. But I appreciate that about myself. I have stories. I have character. I have empathy.
4. Slow and simple, is the only way, to feel the joy of what it means to be alive.
One positive about the pandemic is we were forced to slow down. We were forced to remember who is in our core bubble. We had to prioritize our relationships. We had to stay home and face those we were with. We had to s step back from the rush, which is also an addiction.
This may or may not have included simplifying your life. I hope it did or at least made you think about simplifying your life. Who knows what our lives will look like in a couple of years. In the meantime, find joy in being alive.
5. To be content exactly where you are with all that you already have, is to be happy.
Happiness. Another emotion that is not good or bad - it just is what it is. We are constantly hunting for it -- the next job, the next 10 pounds, the next spouse...or when our family member stops whatever their addiction is.
Happiness is not the goal we should be aspiring to. We are much better off seeking contentment. Contentment is the state of happiness and being satisfied. It's more peaceful and accepting and sits strongly in the core of your body. I hope we can all find this place in our bodies where contentment lives.
One word the Japanese use is "uketamo" which means that "I humbly accept with an open heart". What a beautiful way to live life! I can get there on occasion and I have made it my intention to move towards it everyday.
Wishing you peace, love and uketamo!