I was searching for a ‘life asthetic’ for such a long time… I tried out voluntary simplicity and really related to its ideals, however I’m someone who suffers from ‘letting perfection get in the way of good‘ and found that the fundamentalism and judgemental attitudes that so often accompany many of these movements (and yes- much of it comes from myself) was too much for my flawed and frankly imperfect self. I repeatedly failed to meet my black and white expectations and eventually dwindled back to my default mode – which though too complex to set out here today – involves finally relegating my hearts desire and values to the recesses of my mind where they can’t bug me.
I first encountered Wabi-sabi – a couple of years ago. I find that it fits rather wonderfully with how I envision a bountiful, playful and ‘sustainable’ (ugh the ‘S’ word – I so struggle to find beauty in) future for myself. Not only a great sounding word – Wabi-Sabi represents “a comprehensive world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience. The beauty of the “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. YES finally something that focuses on process instead of ends and means… that accepts that its painful, sad, beautiful and heart-warming that Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect…
The asthetic of Wabi-sabi (not to be confused with wasabi- the spicy green paste) is fairly well summarised in this quote (that I’m attributing to none as it seems to be attributed to very many!) –
“When mending broken objects we aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold, because we believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.” -unknown
I can see where Wabi-sabi crosses into my exploration of voluntary simplicity, but I can also see where it is more forgiving, loving and nurturing. If anything these two approaches are like my parents – Voluntary Simplicity is the father, and Wabi-sabi the mother in my values-family.
To close – its not like I’m suddenly embarking on a journey of imperfection – these ideas and ‘aha’ moments percolate into my day to day existence. But I’m now seeing little sparks of evidence of their deepening embedding in my quotidien.