Within the Japanese cultural tradition there is a concept called wabi-sabi which represents a view of the world that focuses on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Wabi Sabi is sometimes described as beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. I have been thinking about this a lot lately because it seems that American culture has become more and more focused on perfection. People like Martha Stewart are constantly showing us the way to create the “perfect” dinner table and the “perfect” home décor. Striving to add beauty to our lives is not a bad thing but the world is not perfect and if we set “perfection” as our goal than we will likely never achieve it and we will live our lives missing out on the simple beauty that is all around us.
Many of us find beauty in being organized, dressing well and having well decorated and comfortable homes – these all can be wonderful things and, under normal circumstances, may be achievable for some of us. The events of last couple of weeks hopefully will be a reminder that brokenness and imperfection can also be beautiful.
- The plates don’t have to match in order to share a meal with the ones you love or someone in need
- Your clothes don’t have to be perfectly matched or the latest style to hug someone in pain
- The bed sheets don’t have to match to allow someone that has lost his/her home to have a safe and comfortable place to rest for the night
- Your car doesn’t need to be new or fancy or even clean to give someone a lift who is without transportation
- You don’t need to be a triathlete to walk or roll by someone’s side to share a few moments in nature
Over the years of working in healthcare I have heard patients refer to their scars as “God’s Tattoos”, “Badges of Courage”, and “Symbols of Survival”. I hope that over the coming days and weeks you will learn to allow some messiness into your life and even perhaps to enjoy it and see the beauty in it.
“There is a crack in everything. It’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
If you appreciated this post, you may also want to read The Healing Partnership and To Have a Big Impact – Think Small