In the last post I wrote about the concept of Wabi Sabi, finding joy in the simplicity and imperfections of things.
So how can you take that concept as inspiration for a life of self-acceptance and self-care?
Here’s a few suggestions to get you started on that path:
Accept your perceived faults, allowing yourself time and emotional energy to enjoy your life in the here and now, without the constant, draining, negative thoughts of what you should be busy changing. Growth and change happen more organically – and effectively – from a place of optimism and enthusiasm, not from a place of seeking relief from self-disgust and impatience. All things need to be nurtured to grow.
Imagine if you were growing a plant and you ripped off every leaf that wasn’t perfectly shaped or unblemished. How long before it was bare and dead?
Next, consider embracing improvisation. Does everything really need to be planned down to the last detail? Exercise your creativity, discover different ways of doing things. Put away the planner and lists. Wing it once in awhile. You never know where spontaneity will take you.
Can you imagine leaving the beds unmade on Saturday to spend more time sipping lemonade in the garden with your family, or a good book? I know, the Homemaker Gods are just waiting to punish you; they’re going to be sure the toilet overflows just before your guests arrive, or your dishwasher breaks down right after you serve them that gourmet four course meal. You’ll have to be brave. But consider this, where do your priorities really lie? In being a good housekeeper or in being a happier you? Which one will make you a better parent/spouse/friend? Sure, you can embrace both, but only by recognizing the importance of compromise over perfection.
As far as I’m concerned, I’ll choose laughter with the people I love any day over floors clean enough to eat off of. I never eat off my floors anyway.
Our homes aren’t the only place we can embrace the principles of Wabi Sabi, either.
Wouldn’t it be great to spend less money on expensive anti-aging spot creams, anti-wrinkle face masks, designer make-up and perfumes, so you can afford a massage? Ditch the gym membership and join a hiking or cycling club. You might not get perfect abs and sag-free upper arms, but you’ll make friends and memories.
Forgive yourself if you had that helping of desert your daughter made, instead of a handful of grapes. No one can have the perfect diet. The taste of that apple pie made with love should be a special memory, don’t spoil it.
Wabi Sabi has its place in the workplace, too. Stop looking at your career as a competition, celebrate other people’s victories, celebrate your own victories. Don’t minimize your successes just because someone else’s seems larger. Everybody’s path is different, everyone struggles in a different way. Don’t put unnecessary deadlines on your career goals and then wallow in that soul draining sense of failure if you just didn’t get there on time.
Wabi Sabi encourages us to embrace not only imperfection, but simplicity as well.
So, consider simplifying your world. Let go of extraneous things that weigh you down. There’s been a recent growth in the minimalist movement as we come face to face with the horrifying reality of what consumerism and hunger for status has done to our planet. There’s no better time to free up your life than now. And no end of websites and shows that will help you in that quest.
Laugh a little too loud, cry at movies, don’t be afraid to ask questions, or make a mess on your first canvas in painting class. Get a pedicure even if you think your feet are not dainty enough. Book a massage even if you think you haven’t earned it. Don’t always take the picture, get in the picture, capture the moment to look back on later. Your loved ones deserve to have photos of you, even if you think your double chin is revolting.
Dance, dance dance. I don’t care how many left feet you have, the more the merrier, really, Every human being has that instinctual need to dance.
It actually can be simple; just be present in the moment and allow life to handle the growth and change you’ll experience alongside your adventures.
And rest assured, in no way does Wabi Sabi equal giving up or neglecting yourself, or your career, home or family. It’s not about making excuses to avoid doing your best, at work or at life. But it does mean taking time to appreciate things as they are, to see the beauty in the journey, without the blinders and dangling carrots of that Overlord Perfection.
Now, go dance…