Wabi-Sabi PhillyIrene Style
Updated: Jun 11
I saw a BBC documentary where an Englishman traveled to Japan to see if he could discover the essence of WABI-SABI. Wikipedia has some rather concise definitions of Wabi-Sabi, along with a longer narrative of the history of these words. Our BBC Englishman was never handed any definite and precise definition as he journeyed throughout Japan asking his question. But at the end of his stay, he did come away with a feeling for his personal Wabi-Sabi. So likewise, using one of those concise Wikipedia definitions as my starting point, I'd like to share my personal view of Wabi-Sabi and how it has touched and changed my outlook on growing older.
WABI-SABI (no relation to Wasabi ; )
WABI connotes "...simplicity, freshness or quietness ...also refers to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction which adds uniqueness and elegance to an object." SABI is "beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs."
"...quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction... life of the object evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs." These words sound quite familiar - but then "elegance", "freshness" and "beauty" in the very same sentences seems quite out of place.
Many of us voice dismay, even disgust at our aging bodies. We no longer look the way we did in our 40's (forget about our 20's and 30's!). We cannot do as well or perhaps not at all, the things that we did when we were in "our prime". Cognitively- well that has gone down the tubes as well. And so many of us, simply do not like ourselves, perhaps at times even loathe ourselves.
So what does that do to our psyche?