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The Japanese Philosophy of Wabi-Sabi: Seeing Beauty in the Everyday

March 17, 2018 / Brand, Flat age society

The Uppers has been born out of our passion for life… The Uppers is the essence of emotion, motivation and stimulation. We believe in an open society, without the need for age classification or rules attached to a phase or stage in life. For us it is important to live every moment to its fullest…

How can we live the life to its fullest? Wabi-Sabi – accepting the world as imperfect, unfinished, and transient, and then going deeper and celebrating that reality…

Centuries back, in the height of the Japanese autumn, in one of Kyoto’s majestic gardens, a tea master asked his disciple to prepare for tea ceremony. The young man trimmed the hedges, raked the gravel, picked the dried leaves from the stones, cleared the moss path of twigs. The garden looked immaculate: not a blade of grass out of place. The master inspected the garden quietly. Then, he reached at a branch of a maple tree and shook it, watching the auburn leaves fall with haphazard grace on tidied earth. There it was now, the magic of imperfection. There it was, the order of nature, never far from the hands of humans. There it was, wabi-sabi, thought master Rikyu – the father of Japanese tea ceremony…

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1.

Wabi sabi is an ancient aesthetic philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism, particularly the tea ceremony, a ritual of purity and simplicity in which masters prized bowls that were handmade and irregularly shaped, with uneven glaze, cracks, and a perverse beauty in their deliberate imperfection. 

In the world according to Zen, words only hinder true enlightenment; reducing wabi sabi to mere language seems like sacrilege to its spirit. But loosely translated, “wabi” is simplicity, whether elegant or rustic; “sabi” means the beauty of age and wear

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2.

Abandoning “Perfect”

In our culture, “simplicity” is often code for a life that’s meticulously organized or for spare, boutique perfection. We’re brought up to strive for the best, the brightest, and most extraordinary. It may not be natural to us to seek pleasure in the quotidian, let alone a Japanese concept that celebrates rust.

But what could be more radically simple than acceptance? As Richard Powell, author of “Wabi Sabi Simple,” told me, “Accepting the world as imperfect, unfinished, and transient, and then going deeper and celebrating that reality, is something not unlike freedom.” 

Life – the fingerprints, scars, and laugh lines – is itself perfectly imperfect, and we should embrace the beauty in that…

HOW TO APPLY IT IN A REAL LIFE?

Relationships…

When the samurai entered a teahouse, they removed their swords, leaving behind their conflicts and pretensions. Similarly, Powell says, a wabi sabi relationship is one in which you deliberately accept each other where you are — imperfect, unfinished, and mortal.

Accepting someone else’s faults, rather than taking them on as a project to be fixed, leaves you the time and emotional energy for enjoying that person.

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Food…

“Wabi sabi principles suggest our food should be natural, simple, and prepared from intuition,” Brown says. Making a meal should be a creative, joyful act, not a test you can fail. 

That means improvising with a recipe when you have basil but not tarragon; reveling in the textures of a homemade dish… It’s about savoring your food. Don’t just taste flavors but inhale the richness of smells, hear the sounds your food makes, feel the textures (wet, chewy, crunchy) in your mouth. “

Home…

A wabi sabi home is full of rustic character, charm, and things that are uniquely yours… If an old chest has significance to you, for example, a missing drawer pull doesn’t have to be an eyesore. It can also be a sign that the piece has been used and enjoyed.

Think about a color palette that mimics what’s found in nature: greens, grays, earth tones, and rusts. This creates an atmosphere of tranquillity and harmony. Every object in your home should be beautiful, useful, or both.

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4.

Beauty…

Yes, the beauty of youth is almost universally revered. But in wabi sabi, as in life itself, change is the only constant. “The starting point of cultivating a wabi sabi beauty is to appreciate the process of aging; Try not to get caught up in wanting to stagnate in one part of your natural progression through life.”


Wabi sabi beauty is not about relinquishing self-care, which can be a form of attention and presence in your life. The Japanese tea masters took exquisite care of their pottery, cracked and imperfect as it was. Likewise, you can pamper your body without nipping and tucking it into submission.

When you shine through, that’s beautiful…

Enjoying the Process…

“In nature, everything is in a state of process and then eventually a state of decay or death,” says Tony Burris, an acupuncturist in Boise, Idaho, who incorporates wabi-sabi concepts into his practice. “And we’re not excluded from that process. The process is the actual ‘there.’”

Closet…

A wabi sabi clothing philosophy is about appreciating and meaning – a well-worn bag, a memories bringing accessories, long dancing nights reminding heels..

When choosing new clothes, you should seek out natural, sustainably made garments of wool, cotton, hemp, bamboo, leather, silk… 

At The Uppers we create exclusive products with an exquisite presentation and a carefully selected design and high-quality materials. Products that will accompany you in the most passionate and meaningful experiences… The ones that will always stay in your closet reminding you ¨that¨ perfect date, maybe unforgettable travel or summer romance… We offer this Wabi Sabi for your closet! 😊

Photo credit: @realfashionist

References:
  1. https://www.tea-kyoto.com/what-you-get/garden/
  2. https://www.amara.com/luxpad/natural-interior-design/
  3. http://journaltimes.com/business/local/millennials-aren-t-big-spenders-or-risk-takers-and-that/article_85d59b58-fc85-58aa-a582-319a8012d85f.html
  4. http://www.thriveorsurvive.us/2017/08/perfectionism-vs-wabi-sabi/

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