Who else has just about had enough of Hygge? I mean I’m all for wrapping up with a blanket and a hot chocolate of an evening at this time of year, but I’m not so keen on the smug coffee table books that merely point out the fact that my home is never going to live up to the idyllic scene the Danes seem to so effortlessly pull off.
And there’s Lagom, the other wellness trend that taught us to channel our inner Goldilocks and appreciate having ‘just enough’. Blah blah blah blah blah…
Well guess what?
There’s another wellness trend heading our way and this one I think I can probably just about handle.
Wabi-sabi is the concept of embracing imperfection. From the Japanese words ‘wabi’ (meaning transient beauty) and ‘sabi’ (meaning ‘to see through appreciative eyes’) its origins lie within Zen Buddhism and the traditional tea ceremonies in which masters celebrated the bowls that were irregular, had cracks or showed imperfections.
Presenting itself as the absolute antithesis to today’s fast paced, mass consumerist, throwaway society it reminds us to slow down, relax and take comfort in the simple life.
Wabi-sabi is wonky fruit and veg, crow’s feet and laughter lines on a face, a loose thread on the sleeve of a misshapen jumper. It’s a handwritten letter, a tea stained coffee table, or a well thumbed book. In fact if wabi-sabi were humans, it would basically be Tom and Barbara from The Good Life!
As kids we see beauty in the world far more than we do as adults. For instance, children take pleasure in collecting what we may consider rubbish; acorns, bits of ribbon, feathers…basically everything in my daughter’s pockets. And that’s wabi-sabi – that simple, childlike appreciation of the purity of life itself.
I know, I know it’s sounding all a bit hippy dippy, but if we can teach ourselves to love the things we already have, to embrace imperfections, to be grateful, then perhaps we wouldn’t need to buy so many new things, perhaps we’d be happier and perhaps we’d be more accepting of ourselves. And that’s got to be a good thing, right?
So the way I see it is this…
If wabi-sabi means I should find beauty in what I already have, does that mean that where I’ve been slacking off doing the housework, because quite frankly who has the time or the desire, then that means I’m already down with the wabi-sabi kids?
And if I can teach myself not to shudder at the greasy fingerprints on the walls going up the stairs, learn to love the unpainted bare plaster walls where the damp came in last year and if I can stop myself from tutting at the cracked cooker hob, then I’ve got this, right?
Cynics might argue that perhaps wabi-sabi is just one giant excuse for slovenliness, but hey I’m gonna take whatever excuse, ummm I mean ‘lifestyle concept’, I can get! Who’s with me?