A couple of years ago I came across the word ‘wabi-sabi” and I loved the whole idea of the beauty of imperfection. I feel as though it is my imperfections that have shaped me and enabled me to become who I am today.
Today I walked into Hampton Supplies to take advantage of their 20% off sale. In amongst their many art books I found a book that sparked my memory and new I had to have it, a clever woman called Serena Barron had written a book called ‘ Wabi-sabi Art Workshop.
Below I have included a story I wrote that this wonderful Japanese word inspired. Maybe one day I will illustrate it.
When I was young I did not care about being perfect. I just wanted to have fun and when it worked, it was a bonus. I lived each moment.
I danced and laughed in the rain and played in the mud.
Now I am old and safe… I grew old and forgot.
I once carried you with me nestled in my heart as I explored my world.
My son Callum bought you home.
At first I didn’t see you sitting quietly in a corner.
Then Callum said your name and you danced across the room.
You know those unexpected moments that take you by surprise.
Beautiful I breathed… And deep within me something small and fragile stirred, rising to the surface in waves. Then laughter rippled outward and I wiped away a tear and I remembered.
Callum said ” I found a word today”
It was different …a bit cracked around the edges but I liked it, so I bought it home. It doesn’t quite fit and it isn’t perfect. “What is it grandma? Is it real?”
I smiled, remembering all my beautiful mistakes and whispered “wabi-sabi.”
It always sounded strange, almost foreign but inside I knew.
The feeling of it by- passed my head and went straight to my heart.
“It makes me laugh” I say with a smile. “wabi-sabi” I whisper.
“But is it real” asked Callum?
Let’s look it up I suggest.
It’s not here says Callum disappointed.
Let’s Google it I suggest
” I found it”
Again I smile. I recognise the wabi-sabi in me.
“What is it”? I ask. Is it real?”
“Well I don’t really know… its kind of not easy to explain” says Callum.
“What if I don’t get it right?”
“Does it matter” I ask?
“Well it’s the idea thing…you know… being perfect. It’s hard.
But wabi-sabi asks us to dance with the mistakes…change them…enjoy them …even play with them. They are your friends?”
But Grandma what if it is broken, that can’t be right? If it doesn’t fit in or is different or not complete does that somehow give it beauty.
Wabi-sabi is different and the wabi-Sabi in me asks me to risk being different. How can that be right if I am supposed to be perfect?”
“Is perfection real? Does beauty have to be perfect?”asks Grandma.
“Oh Grandma you know I don’t always fit in. I’m different. But Grandma you are perfect.” says Callum. “Only to you” I whispered softly in his ear.
” Callum, there is a little wabi-sabi in all of us. It is our best friend but I forgot as I grew up and wanted to be perfect too. I lost the fun. I wanted to be safe and I was a little bit scared. Those beautiful mistakes made me real and asked me to take risks. Wabi-sabi scared me because I wanted to be like everyone else so I chose to forget and somewhere along the way I lost me.”
Oh wabi-sabi “I knew I recognised you !” I once carried you with me in my heart, as I explored my world. You were my risk taker, my possibilities and the dreamer in me. I lost those moments when I lost you.
Grandma smiled at wabi-Sabi and held out her hand.
“When I was young I did not care about being perfect. I danced and laughed in the rain and played in the mud. I carried you with me as I leapt into life.
Now I remember.
You were that little whisper that dared me to join the dance. To wish, to dream, to be…you were the magic that made me possible in all my perfect imperfections. Thank you for making me real.”
Thank you for this beautiful thought. Wabi sabi is in my list of words I want to work with in my new bookart. It’s a beautiful word.