Wednesday, April 23, 2008

wabi . . sabi

Do you know about wabi-sabi

It's a Japanese concept, and like Feng Shui it can't be understood or acquired quickly or easily. It can take a lifetime to start to grasp its meaning.

I'm reading The Wabi-Sabi House: the Japanese art of imperfect beauty, by Robyn Griggs Lawrence.

Wabi is appreciating the aesthetic of "poverty" -
not indigence, but simple, humble, spare, minimalist

Sabi is growing old with grace, having the patina of age, being weathered, rusty.

Together wabi-sabi is about slowing down.

It's about the beauty of things as they are, now, and as they age, valuing imperfection and transience.

It's about honoring material things.

It is uncluttering your space.

It is clean.

It's about authenticity.

It's "removing the huge weight of material concerns
from our lives."

It's doing more with less.

It's in tune with Nature.

Mostly it's about respect.

It's about being considerate of others.

"If you are always thinking of other persons,
you can understand the real wabi-sabi."


Sharon said...

What a beautiful post, the images and words flow together with such harmony and familiarity; like a subconscious truth brought to light. Thank you.

Lynda said...

I agree with Sharon - this is a delightful post that captures the essence of Wabi Sabi and Feng Shui. I think you have an innate sense of what it means to balance energy in a positive way.

Anet said...

I love to learn about new things.
Eastern culture is so profound and peace loving. I desire balance and harmoney in my life. I love Feng Shui and I want to learn more about Wabi Sabi. Thanks for the great post Ruth, the picture are wonderful.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, I am sitting here in a state of meditative joy during and after reading these lovely honest caring thoughts and gorgeous accompanying visuals.

This feels so right! So glad you offered it to us all to share and appreciate. thank you.

Ruth said...

Sharon, you put that in a way that resonates with me, "a subconscious truth brought to light." I have sensed that so many times! I love it when it happens. It's like we have to re-know things we have unlearned, through our culture or something.

~ * ~

Lynda, thank you so very much. I think it's what Sharon said, that I know it inside somewhere already, but I needed to re-know it. It's great to have you visit.

~ * ~

Oh Anet, thank you! It's great to see you here. I want to learn more too. I also want to avoid the typically American tendancy to get a list of how-tos and go after something new. Know what I mean? I've been quite guilty of that in the past.

~ * ~

Gwen! Oh that in turn gives me such joy. I was going to post this tomorrow, it was all set, but I decided for some reason I needed to post it today. It just felt right. I'm glad it resonates with you too.

laura said...

Great post, Ruth. I've never heard of wabi sabi, but I'm in love with the concept. What the world needs now is wabi sabi! (and love sweet love too of course).

Ruth said...

Thank you, Laura. I badly need to wabi-sabi some spots in my house! One closet in particular.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, I came back to see more about your post.

I am so taken with this whole concept; It is exactly how I wish the way of the world to be..

Loring Wirbel said...

The post is incredibly beautiful, but no one has made the obvious smart-alecky observation that the perfect mash-up of wabi and sabi is, of course, wasabi. Wasabi is simple, green, very mashed up, and provides spice to life as the perfect bridging principle between the yin and yang lists in the fourth black and white picture in your post.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, now I got "What the world needs now", one of my all time favs, use to play it on the trumpet, love the idea though I've never heard of wabi-sabi, wouldn't life be simplier, probably a whole lot less wars if we followed it's principles. :)

Deslilas said...

If only I could be a sabi old man !

Ruth said...

Gwen, one of the Japanese traditions the author refers to is turning the guests' shoes at the door around to face them for putting on as they leave. I do seriously think if we maintained this way of thinking things would be well with us.

~ * ~

Loring, I was waiting for someone to mention wasabi, but I didn't anticipate it as a concept tying wabi and sabi together, how cool. Another thought is that a little goes a long way.

~ * ~

Bob, so you have that in your head now? It's hard to fit "wabi-sabi" in, unless you sing it "What the world needs now is wabi sweet sabi" (not "wabi-sabi sweet wabi-sabi"). Or a really bad enunciation: "What the world needs now is wa-sa-BI."

~ * ~

Daniel, now that's funny.

Sandy said...

Ruth, I don't see any images but I love the text! We have a restaurant near us called Wabi Sabi..

sure wish I could have seen the photos.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sandy said...

before I forget the order...

1, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 didn't post...I refreshed a few times.

Ruth I love these photos especially the gear patina...and the hardwood floor...The message of the post is even better with the images. thanks for reloading. Blogger is having problems the last few days.


Ruth said...

Thank you, Sandy, for coming back. Too bad it still isn't loading the images. I'll try reloading them later today or tomorrow. :(

Loring Wirbel said...

Sandy and Ruth, it might be a Blogger problem. The photos all showed up just fine when you originally posted, but about a day ago some of them stopped appearing. That was right around the time Blogger was trying some new auto-refresh functions.

Ruth said...

Ok, Loring, I'll give it another day and try to reload tomorrow. If it is a Blogger issue, maybe they'll have it resolved by then. Thanks!

Don said...

I found this little ditty that sounds a little wabi-sabi from a book called "Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers"

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There's a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
by Leonard Koren
Great thought-provoking post!

Sandy said...

Ruth: They're all here tonight. Thanks for your continued effort..yeah!! Great photos and really really enjoyed it all.

Don: I love this:

There's a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

I'm going to save off your post..

And somehow that fits with your little chickies...even the egg finally lets the light in and releases life...


Ruth said...

I love that, Don. I agree with Sandy, the cracks letting in the light really gets at this beautifully.

~ * ~

Sandy, wow, that's true about the eggs! It recurs in nature, something dies or breaks so something else can live. Thank you for coming back to see the post complete AGAIN. Yay!

Astrid. said...

Ruth, I will be honest, I have seen this post now for a few days and I have been thinking about it a lot, now I will try to give my vision of how I feel and I am not sure that is Wabi.Sabi.
The pictures you show with them are just stunning.
When I meet new people I always listen to what they have to say, I observe and keep my mouth shut firmly, I only will give my opinion when asked, but than I am dead honest about how I see things.
When they ask for help, I am always there for them, if I see they need help I will offer my help.
When I get up in the morning I count my blessings and I am happy with the things I have and I can be very happy for others too, if only they appriciate the things they have, I don't take things for granted, we have to work hard to 'deserve it' be happy with the smallest things, with the simple words, with the friendships we have.
I think of my friends a lot, I only have maybe 3 very very dear ones, where I share my inner me with, ones that I can trust, for those I will fight and go through fire.
All the things you write in your text are so 'normal' and I think if we all do only 50% of it, we all will be very happy.
Thanks for sharing, it is good sometimes to 'think' about things I have never have heard of, I am not philosophical,
I am very down to earth, maybe that is Dutch, just act normal...and do your thing..and don't talk too much...just do....
Have a great weekend, I am looking forward to your new post.

Loring Wirbel said...

Don, that quote on the "crack in everything" was actually from folk-singer Leonard Cohen. It's one of my favorite quotes of all time! The last two lines that Ruth mentioned were sung at the end of this wonderful play that First Strike Theatre presented in Colorado Springs.

Sharon said...

That is my favorite song of all time. It's called "Anthem" and the version by Perla Batalla & Julie Christenson is the best!!! Definitely worth listening to......

Greg C said...

It does sound wonderful. In many ways I am already on the right path. I will have to read more about it. Thank you for sharing this topic with us.


Loring Wirbel said...

Mystery solved! According to Valleywag, Google's Blogger system is under large-scale attack from spammers and nefarious evil-doers:

Ruth said...

Astrid, you are a person who is comfortable with yourself. What a gift. It sounds as though you live the ideas in this post naturally, from your authentic self.

What's great about you is that people can trust you. When someone is honest, you know you will not hear sugar just to please you. My husband is this way too.

Life can be simple, really, if we allow it to be. It takes work, I think, to keep it simple though. It takes practice for me.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts so thoroughly.

~ * ~

Loring and Sharon, I'm waiting a painfully long time for a YouTube video of this song to load. I was hoping to listen before responding here. But it's not working out. I'll let you know my response when I listen. I don't know how I could dislike it after your raves.

Loring, you rock! I tried for a minute to find out what the google/blogger issue was.

~ * ~

Greg, I don't believe in following anything strictly, just for the sake of it. But if something resonates with the truth inside me, I can learn from it and strengthen my practice. Thanks so much for your visit.

Ginnie said...

So often, Ruth, you are the one to teach me things I've not yet heard, and this post is one of them. It actually brings tears to my eyes because I hear and see and feel these things at the core of me and long for them all, as though they were outside of me. They're not outside; they're truly inside but it's not always easy to tap into them. Wabi-sabi is within us. Like wasabi, we choose to eat it or not! AND a little bit does indeed go a long way!

Ruth said...

Boots, we've forgotten so much that is in our core. This is a centuries-old concept that came out of the posh tea ceremonies that lasted hours and were elitist. In this country as we evolve, some of us are digging for connections embedded in our psyches. I know you've always done that.

Jeanie said...

So glad I clicked over to this link from today's post. This is a wonderful, easy to follow and understand description and I love the is-is not list. And I qualify in MOST of the categories -- but the uncluttered... well, that's my nemesis! Now, off to George!