Wabi Sabi--Learning about Embracing Imperfection


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I have a confession to make. I have been meaning to share today's book with you for over a month but I keep picking it up and then reading something else because of time constraints. However I am very excited to share it with you. I will admit I have not completely finished it and will do so because it is so interesting. The book is Wabi Sabi: The Wisdom in Imperfection by Nobuo Suzuki. 

Now I picked this book because it intrigued me. The cover is so simple and has the cherry blossom. I had no idea what wabi sabi meant but thought the subtitle, "The Wisdom in Imperfection" was very interesting. And wow! Wabi sabi is very interesting. It is a Japanese way of thought, life, art, ... The book is written to introduce everyone to wabi sabi.

The book is divided into three parts. It first introduces wabi sabi and what it is. Then it shows how wabi sabi works in art and creativity. Finally it explains how wabi sabi is a way of life. I have not finished the last part yet but am so interested and feeling a bit more at peace from reading this book. Each mini-section begins with a meditation that reflects a bit about what the section will talk about or at least the essence of it.

Throughout the meditations there are Japanese words used and the words are defined on the bottom of the page as you can see above. The section also begins with a quote.

From what I understand wabi sabi is based on the fact that nothing is perfect and nothing is permanent. There is much about the beauty of imperfection as well as a bit about emptiness. Throughout the first two sections the Zen ensō is discussed. I decided to make my own. Now this brought back many memories of my geometry teaching days. Some of my kids were amazed by my circle drawings. Many times they were close to perfect when I was freehanding them due to years of doing it. However I am very out of practice. The ensō is a circle. "Ensō" literally means circle. It is usually made with one or two brushstrokes and your mind is suppose to be pretty empty or relaxed. I will admit I practiced several times before I got this one that I like, but the one I liked happened when my mind was more relaxed from the practice and I let it just happen.

I used a brush, black paint and cardstock. You can however purchase professionally made prints of ensōs.  I however suggest you try making your own. You can learn a bit about the meaning of the ensō in Zen here

The book shares photographs of buildings, artwork and more and explains the wabi sabi in them.

I have to say that this book gave me many things to think about and I am finding the ideas freeing and calming. Not to strive for perfection and to expect change. Those are just so wonderful to embrace. At the end of the art section there were two ideas to help bring wabi sabi into your life. One is to add or start a diary with a wabi sabi section answering specific questions about your day and wabi sabi in it. The other is to write a haiku. Since Haiku Day was a few weeks ago, I have had a haiku working its way into my brain, so I'm going to share it here. 
red, yellow, blue, brown
feathers flutter all around
eat then fly away

Now I know I have not given you a great explanation of wabi sabi but that is because I am just learning it myself. Please check out this book and discover this interesting concept!