July 3rd, 2007
A few weeks ago I retired from teaching at the Evergreen State College. Now am looking around at the clutter of papers and piles in my home and studio and remembering the Japanese concept, wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi embraces imperfection and the potential of seeing beauty in anything. In daily practice then, messes can be beautiful, e.g. a few things in disarray. Sometimes we don’t notice the beauty of something until it is in an unfamiliar arrangement. However, clutter runs counter to the wabi-sabi principle since it obliterates the negative space that lets us see the postiive.
So with wabi-sabi in mind I am clearing out clutter. If it isn’t personally meaningful, beautiful or useful, I’m passing it on. I’m reminding myself that hanging on to physical and emotional material can suffocate my creativity and sense of self.
This summer I am drawing, keeping it simple, refilling my sketchbooks, getting back to direct relationship with my environment, gardening, watching, opening up space, making room to breathe.
Let me know how wabi-sabi works in your life.
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