A Perfectly Imperfect Life

Embrace the unpredictability of life. Everything is possible when nothing around you is certain!

The plans you have for tomorrow, the next month or the next year may not turn out to be as you expected. But it’s very important that you plan it.

Life will never be perfect. The only thing that counts is how you react.

I just learnt about the wabi-sabi principles. I have been applying it to my life and work and I have never felt this good. 

Let’s find out what this word “wabi-sabi (侘寂)” actually means. 

“Wabi” could be defined as “simplicity” or “underrated elegance” and it has a focus on a less-is-more mindset.

“Sabi” translated to English means – “finding pleasure in imperfections”.

Wabi-Sabi is a very wide concept and I will not be able to explain how valuable this philosophy is in a single post. These principles can be applied to life everyday.

Our never ending pursuit for perfection, in possessions, achievements and relationships; often leads us to anxiety, stress and depression all subjected to hasty actions and decisions. At this point the wabi-sabi creates a standstill.

The philosophy encourages us to focus on the hidden blessings in our regular lifestyle. It celebrates life the way it is, rather than how it should be.

Wabi-sabi awards authenticity. It is a way of life that appreciates and accepts complexity but at the same time also values simplicity.

It makes us realise three realities that exist in this universe:

  • Nothing lasts.
  • Nothing is finished.
  • Nothing is perfect.

In the popular Zen philosophy, there are seven aesthetic principles to change your thinking and for achieving wabi-sabi:

  • Kanso – simplicity.
  • Fukinsei – irregularities.
  • Shibumi – beauty in the underrated.
  • Shizen – naturalness over pretentiousness.
  • Yugen – subtle grace.
  • Datauzoku – freedom.
  • Seijaku – tranquility.

The wisdom of wabi-sabi is more than ever important now for our modern lifestyle, as we humans keep searching for meaning and fulfilment beyond a materialistic life.

A concept of the wabi-sabi principles has its roots in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

A beautiful, loved teacup made by an artist is cracked or chipped by constant use. This reminds us that nothing is permanent. Every object is subjected to change. Another great wabi-sabi example would be, where cracked pottery is filled with gold dusted lacquer as a method to display the beauty of its age and damage rather than hiding it.

The flaws are not hidden, they are highlighted to showcase its beauty. The wabi-sabi way of life isn’t an excuse for poor craftsmanship, but to draw attention to the cracks in a teacup to showcase its beauty. 

Wabi-sabi is all around you. You just need to know where to look, how to look and what to do to embrace its concepts in your life. 

The cracks in an old teacup are seen as an asset rather than a liability. It’s a different kind of looking, a very different kind of mindset. It is the acceptance of finding beauty in things as they are. This is liberating.

What does it take someone to embrace the wabi-sabi lifestyle?

You don’t need money or any special skills to appreciate your imperfections or the imperfections of others or the imperfections of things around you to make the most of life.

It requires a mindset. Quiet enough to appreciate beauty, courage not to fear emptiness and the willingness to accept things as they are. It shifts one’s perspective from doing to being, to appreciating rather than perfecting. 

Wabi-Sabi is all about accepting yourself the way you are and building on what you already have in life. It can be easy or as difficult as understanding and accepting yourself. It’s about being compassionate to yourself, and building on whatever exists rather than trying to rebuild yourself in order to become something entirely different. 

It begins by appreciating the things we have, people we love, and the experiences we live.

Wabi-sabi gives you the permission to be yourself. It helps you relax, slow down and step back from the chaotic modern day world. It helps you find enjoyment and gratitude in everything that you do. It helps you embrace the perfection of being imperfectly you.

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4 responses to “A Perfectly Imperfect Life”

  1. Mark Rodgers Avatar
    Mark Rodgers

    This article is a gem. Principles to live by.
    Thank You,

    1. Craig Gomes Avatar

      Thanks Mark. Glad you liked it. 😊

  2. Elizabeth Wallace Avatar
    Elizabeth Wallace

    The concept of Wabi-Sabi is one that should be taught widely; the modern day is filled with instant gratification-mindset individuals who dread any chance of losing or even a setback. Not realising that a setback is the leap they need.

    1. Craig Gomes Avatar

      Yes, the wabi-sabi principles are life changing. Thanks and I’m glad you like it, Elizabeth. 😊

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