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Wabi-Sabi: The art of finding beauty in imperfection

minimalism, minimal living, japan, less is more
What is it?

It's the art of finding beauty in the simple, ordinary, imperfect, impermanent and incomplete things in life. Some characteristics of its aesthetic include asymmetry, austerity, simplicity and roughness. If you are a minimalist or enjoy the concept of minimalism, you will totally fall in love with the wabi-sabi philosophy. Both are totally related to each other as they originated in Japan. Wabi can be translated as simplicity and quietness, and sabi means attentive melancholy, beauty or serenity that comes with age. Both words together can mean wisdom in natural simplicity and flawed beauty.

The benefits: 

When we learn to love the things that we already have, even with all its imperfections and cracks, we don't need to buy new things just for the sake of having something new and on trend. It helps to reduce our consumptions and save our money. It also remind us to slow down and be mindful by appreciating the simple and natural beauty of the world around us. Consequently, we feel more content, peaceful and much less stressed. We also learn to love ourselves and accept others the way we are, with our flaws and imperfections. We learn to become more grateful rather than always wishing for what we don't have. Wabi-sabi is the answer for this fast-paced, fast-fashion, mass-produced, capitalist and modern world.

How to practice it?

Wabi-sabi is a philosophy, not an object that can be bought, it becomes more wabi-sabi with time. To practice it you just need to value the things that you already own, and not throw away at the first opportunity when it breaks or gets a bit ripped so that you can buy a new shine one. Wabi-sabi is appreciating a quiet rainy day; a cracked bowl rebuild; the leaves falling; the shirt that you love to wear but is already so worn out; a creatively mended pair of jeans; that old wood table passed through generations. These things are valued because it represents the passage of time, the finitude of our lives, the stories and memories. It's about being authentic and unique.

slow living, minimalism, less is more, bowls, decor

It doesn't mean accumulating things though. It's about choosing to keep the things that are meaningful for you. Having an uncluttered and clean home is also part of wabi-sabi. Getting rid of what don't bring value to you or your home, allow the things that really matter to stand out and shine. This can be applied not only to your home but also in your relationships. It also doesn't mean that you won't buy anything else anymore and that you will spend your life fixing all the things you already have. Sometimes it's necessary to buy new things. But then, we could consider a wabi-sabi approach to that. How? Well, choosing handmade or used items, natural fabrics and materials, like cotton, linen, wood and stone, buying from ethical and sustainable brands and so on.

Our food: We should eat healthy, natural, simple food, prepared with love and taking the time to appreciate the taste and smell of it.

Our home: Choose unique, quality pieces, made of natural and/or durable materials, like wood and stone, or even metal. Handmade or second-hand pieces. Colours that you can find in nature like greens, greys, earth tones and rusts. These colours and materials help to create an atmosphere of comfort and tranquillity. As the name wabi suggests, keep your house simple, clean and uncluttered.

decor, simplicity, slow living, minimalism, wood

Our beauty: Learn to appreciate the process of changing and ageing. Embrace your natural beauty, wear less or no makeup. Have a simple self-care routine, but don't become a slave to it. Embrace your scars, your wrinkles, your grey/white hair. Learn ways to bring elegance to your "imperfections" instead of hiding it. Being unique and having confidence is what really makes us beautiful.

Our clothes: Appreciate the clothes you already own, be creative and try new ways to wear them, instead of buying new ones. My last post is an example of it. I haven't worn those pieces since a long time, and suddenly I put the trouser and the top together and it was like I had bought new clothes. If they are too old or have any stain or need some mending, try to fix it in a way that you create a beautifully transformed piece. If you think it's not worth the work, then give or throw away. But don't throw everything because keeping your favourite pieces that already has your identity and combining them with fresher new ones helps you to stand out and create a unique distinctive style. When choosing the fabrics, opt for natural ones like cotton, linen, wool, and also choose ethical and sustainable brands.

minimalism, slow living, slow fashion, accessories

minimalism, slow fashion, slow living, ethical fashion

Our life: Cultivate slowness; choose to walk to a place nearby instead of going by car and appreciate the beauty of the things around you; exercise your eyes to find beauty in the most unimaginable places; try to create, make or cultivate something by yourself; embrace a habit of keeping things clean and uncluttered, not only your home, but your own mind and soul; cultivate solitude and silence and use this time to pray, meditate, read a book, drink tea or anything that recharges your energy; try to be mindful in all your activities; cultivate simplicity and have less stuff (not only physical things but also a less busy schedule) and have more time to spend with your family, friends and nature. Embrace life imperfections and unpredictable moments.

For me, wabi-sabi is to see poetry in each moment of life and in everything around us. It's the appreciation of the natural cycles of life and to live it with intention. If you are a minimalist, you may already be practising most of these values. Even as a Muslim, I can relate a lot of it to the Islamic teachings. The philosophy of wabi-sabi isn't something new, many people may practice it without giving it a name. But I can tell you, in today's world it's not something easy to live. Influenced by tv, social media and magazines, we want the perfect body, the perfect hair, the perfect home, we want everything fast and right now. Consequently, we are always desiring something else and unhappy with our lives. However, when we learn to find beauty in the simplest things, in the imperfections, appreciating nature, our family and all that we already have, that is the way to a truly happy life.

Tell me in the comments what you think about the wabi-sabi way of living. See you in the next post!

xoxo,
Andrea

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Photos: Pinterest






2 comments

  1. Woah..I never heard this term-wabi sabi. I'm gonna practice it :)

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    Replies
    1. Yeah! I'ts a really interesting philosophy :)

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