Tag Archives: wabi-sabi

Simply Imperfect.

Wabi-Sabi Weekend: Cultivate Simple Vision

On Wabi-Sabi Weekends, I post excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House. 

“I find that what your people need is not so much high imaginative art but that which hallows the vessels of everyday use.” — Oscar Wilde

Tea students handle every utensil, from the bamboo water scoop to the ceramic tea bowl, as if it were precious, with the respect they would give a rare antique. This fundamental Tea lesson is the first step toward … Continue reading

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Wabi-Wabi Weekend: What Do These Words Mean?

On Wabi-Sabi Weekends, I post excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House. 

Sitting quietly, doing nothing

Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

—Zenrin, The Gospel According to Zen

Wabi stems from the root wa, which means harmony, peace, tranquility, and balance. In early Japanese poetry, wabi meant sad, desolate and lonely, but also simple, humble by choice and in tune with nature.

Until Zen Buddhism became widespread in the 14th century, wabi was a … Continue reading

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Snowy Monday

Cree makes some Cree Tea

Perfect for a winter day

Now it is snowing

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Wabi-Sabi Weekend: Finding a New Lens

On Wabi-Sabi Weekends, I post excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House. 

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” —Marcel Proust

I landed at Kate NaDeau’s sweet, rustic stone house on a hillside near Belfast, Maine, while scouting houses and gardens to feature in Natural Home magazine. I had gone to see Kate’s gardens, bountiful with vegetables, flowers and herbs that she sells at the farmers’ market under … Continue reading

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Wabi-Sabi Weekend: Beauty in Imperfection

On Wabi-Sabi Weekends, I post excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House. 

Sitting quietly, doing nothing

Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

–Zenrin, The Gospel According to Zen

The words wabi and sabi weren’t always linked, although they’ve been together for such a long time that many people use them interchangeably. I met a Tea teacher who hates the phrase because the marriage dilutes the two words’ separate … Continue reading

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Wabi-Sabi Weekend: Christmas Ease

On Wabi-Sabi Weekends, I post excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House.

“After all, what is your hosts’ purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they’d have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi.”—P.J. O’Rourke

I wanted to give my kids the elaborate Christmas Eve memories that my mom had given my siblings and me. When I was growing up, we … Continue reading

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Wabi-Sabi Weekend: Our Stuff is Us

On Wabi-Sabi Weekends, I post excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House.

“Every possession is a symbol of the self.” —Georg Simmel

We Westerners struggle mightily with stuff. Every year, books full of advice on uncluttering and organizing are published; websites and newspapers revisit the subject regularly. Nothing sells magazines better than cover blurbs promising to help readers unclutter.

According to the Self Storage Association, the average person owns four and a half tons of material … Continue reading

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Wabi-Sabi Weekend: Cleaning As Moving Meditation

On Wabi-Sabi Weekends, I post excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House.

 “Put your hands to work and your heart to God.” — Shaker saying

An ancient Tea master described wabisuki (a taste for all things wabi) as “putting one’s whole heart to cleaning and repeating it several times.” The Dalai Lama says that cleansing your environment is a ritual means of cleansing your mind.

Cleaning is a wabi practice. Every … Continue reading

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Wabi-Sabi Weekend: Stop Fiddling with the Flowers

On Wabi-Sabi Weekends, I post excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House. 

“If you fiddle this way and that with the flowers and consequently they wither, that will be no benefit. It is the same with a person’s life.”—Sen Soshitsu XV

Wabi-sabi flowers (chabana) aren’t arranged. They’re placed, in their most natural form, into unpretentious vessels.

Nagarie, a simple, austere style of arranging flowers that literally translates as “throw in,” evolved alongside tea ceremony in the … Continue reading

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This Halloween, Feast in the Time of Light Famine

It’s the time of year when I get sad.

More than just lack-of-light SAD, this is a deep sadness about dying and dead things. I feel my heart hollow and my will waver in the low light that is now afternoon.

I’ve written about finding beauty in this season. I understand the comfort that comes from accepting this seasonal rotation.

Still, I dread winter’s coming.

Fighting inevitable season change is a colossal waste of effort. I know this, and … Continue reading

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