Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wabi-Sabi in Nature

I got my new camera for Mother's Day, a Canon SX160 IS, and I love it! I began by taking some photos around my yard, porches, and outside of the house for examples of the wabi-sabi aesthetic. Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of imperfect beauty, which has its roots in "the way of tea".  Shaza kissa means, "Well, sit down and have some tea." It's about simple elegance, hospitality, humility, and the transitional phases of nature--the moments of being tight in the bud or in the stage of fading and falling away.

Wabi-sabi is weathered, rusty, well-loved and well-worn. It is handmade. Wildflowers placed in a pottery container as they naturally would grow, rather than a precise arrangement of roses in a glass vase. It is vintage, not newly produced in a factory. Cobblestones, adobe, clotheslines, and flea markets. Wabi-wabi cannot be bought as a set in a store; it must evolve organically, which requires patience and time.

Wabi-sabi is not dirty and cluttered. There is a divine order to nature. Days have their own rhythm, and the cycles of birth, growth, decay, death, and rebirth are honored. Pulling weeds by hand instead of killing with chemicals. Sleeping when we are tired and eating when we are hungry. Keeping things neat and clean but not sanitized with toxic chemicals. Reflecting and conversing over a cup of tea.  Listening.

What can you salvage rather than throw away? How does cotton feel against your skin, as opposed to polyester? What art might you create to decorate your home; what pictures made by your children could you frame? Chipped paint, crumbled plaster, frayed rope, cracked teacups--can you find the beauty in these? And when you gaze in the mirror, can you accept with love the wrinkles, the scars, the bulges, the crookedness?

Let your hair curl and frizz in the heat and humidity, as it is wont to do. Put your flat iron away. Wear linen, which looks great wrinkled. Don't just think outside the box--dance, dream, live and believe in some small way differently from usual every day. Let go of the need to control. There is a healing balm to be found in your own home and right in your own backyard--the embracing of the wabi-sabi way. Who can you welcome today?

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