Every year for two short weeks people in Japan come together to enjoy 'hanami' or traditional cherry blossom viewing. Many parties and picknicks are organised before or after school and work. Even at night groups of people enjoy themselves underneath cherry trees lit with paper lanterns.
The delicate cherry blossom can be seen as a metaphor for life: luminous and intense, but also short and ephemeral. Surrounded by the simple and unique flowers, rapidly blooming and dying, we are reminded to slow down and enjoy life.
This is the essence of wabi sabi.
'Wabi' means simple, calm and inner spirituality. The simplicity of nature can be seen in gnarly branches, fallen autumn leaves and short blooming blossom. There is no perfection in nature as she is always growing and changing.
'Sabi' refers to beauty and serenity that can only be achieved over time. Nothing is forever and life will leave its marks on every object and body it touches.
By bringing the concepts of wabi and sabi in our home we also invite them into our lives. We already accumulate so much stress during our daily work and life; let's remove that stress from our homes!
What do we real need in our lives? How much accumulated, unnecessary stuff can we throw out? Which things in our home do actually give us pleasure? By answering these questions we can already start de-stressing our homes !
Nothing lasts forever. Old objects obtain distinctive patinas, natural materials weather, your favourite shirt wil become translucent after many washes. Your environment is slowly, but constantly changing. Embrace and highlight those changes! Old objects are wonderful eye-catchers and enjoy those antiques instead of buying perfect-looking, new furniture. Move decorations around from time to time so your interior does not slip into a boring routine. Practising wabi sabi in your home is easy and enjoyable!
If perfection does not exist we can better start enjoying the imperfection found in nature and man-made objects. It is proven that greenery in your home will lower stress levels. Get some flowers or plants in your house, but do not try to make perfect bouquets. Be creative and enjoy the natural asymmetry of plants.
Imperfections are easily spotted in handmade decorations: fingerprints in clay or oneven sides of pottery. But the ultimate example of beautiful imperfection are broken and repaired objects. There is a Japanse tradition that focuses on fixing breaks and cracks with lacquer and gold powder. That way everyone can see the object was once broken, but someone took time and effort to lovingly restore it. That is an amazing expression of savouring imperfect beauty!
Wabi sabi is more than a mere interior style; it is a true life style!