Wabi-Sabi

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.    ~Marilyn  Monroe

Last week in yoga, preparing for the one pose I can do perfectly, Savasana (Corpse Pose), I leaned back on my mat and looked up.  I was intrigued. The ceiling in the old building is beautiful – antique tin tiles, paint peeling – imperfectly beautiful.  It reminded me of a phrase I’d heard a few times:  Wabi-Sabi (not wasabi which is also something I do well…or at least eat well). I realize I could get into the entire concept a lot more deeply but I’m just going to dance on the surface of Wabi-Sabi in this blog.

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       Wabi-sabi

 Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence, specifically impermanence, the other two being suffering and emptiness or absence of self-nature. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. (FROM FREEBASE.COM)

A smile is ALWAYS beautiful.

A smile is ALWAYS beautiful.

I love getting out with my fancy camera and taking photos of critters and nature. People often ask me to take their photo but I nearly always decline. Most folks, me included,  will inevitably be unhappy with photos of themselves. We pick out each flaw and focus on it. Animals don’t care.

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OH NO! You can see my pores.

Is it my vanity that has convinced me I look like a super-model but the camera can’t quite pick it up?  Why can’t I love my deep smile lines and uneven eyes? Asymmetry is one of the characteristics listed in the Wabi-Sabi definition.  Looking around in nature, there is nothing but “imperfection.” Flowers missing petals, trees with broken limbs, irregular shaped clouds…but it’s all still perfect. We are so captivated by the beauty of a sunrise that we don’t notice the landscape isn’t following the 3/4 rule.

One of the things I love about our yoga class is that it’s ok to need  a block or a strap and bend my knees during forward bends.  Oddly enough, being unable to do things “textbook” perfectly  isn’t even deemed as imperfection or as a weakness. We’re told to honor ourselves – accept ourselves and our own limitations. According to our teacher, nearly all yoga teachers have poses that are difficult for them.

And with this new appreciation of Wabi-Sabi comes forgiveness.  When I accept my own “imperfection”, I’m more likely to accept the imperfection of others. My screw-ups are beautiful because they are a part of my charm. And maybe your screw-ups are part of yours.

But this morning on Facebook a friend posted something that really struck me….and I’ll end with this thought:  Maybe everything IS perfect. 

Stay OUT of my Peaceful Place

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My mother-in-law had created a sanctuary in her backyard for birds, deer and all manner of creatures…except snakes. Snakes met some ugly fates.

“I don’t like your hair like that. It makes you look old.”         “Why would a grown woman dye her hair pink!?!”              “You really need to start going back to church. ”          “You really need to . . . (fill in the blank, the options seemed endless)”

The comments seemed to keep coming.  After a long day of criticism and unwanted advice, I ran by the grocery store for comfort food. The cashier was so rude I couldn’t decide if I should slap her face or cry.

I finally made it home and noticed my husband had made lunch and not cleaned up after himself. There were crumbs and smears of mayonnaise on the counter. The dishes were piled in the sink.  I went into the living to complain and found him soundly sleeping in his recliner, oblivious to the world and my complaints.

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Why stand in the storm when you go inside?

I needed to escape so I threw on my running clothes and headed down the road, but I couldn’t shake the ugliness inside of me. I was angry and hurt. The world wasn’t fair. My chest felt like it was holding back a flood of tears. My legs just hurt.  I thought my head would explode. I knew my blood pressure was getting higher and higher because my ears started ringing.

So what the hell is wrong with me???

I slowed down and focused on breathing.

#1 – Just because somebody has an opinion doesn’t mean it’s right! WOW! Sometimes I believe everybody has the right answers except me. For years I’ve listened my family members and people in positions of authority as though they held the secrets to the universe. Hey…maybe I hold the secret! At least I need to give myself a little more air time. I realize I can be wrong, but sometimes I can be right.

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You don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

#2 – Why should somebody’s opinion affect me? Another person’s opinions and thoughts don’t have to mean anything to me unless I want them to.  Maybe I do look ridiculous with pink hair but I like it and at the end of the day, isn’t that really all that matters?

 

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Even after getting into trouble, Cupcake isn’t the least bit bothered. She just takes a nap!

#3 – How important is it?  How important is it that hubby sleeps in his recliner? I get some tv time that way.  The dogs are acting crazy but do I have to get involved if nobody and nothing is being damaged? How often do I find myself stressed out by things that I could so easily ignore? Maybe I don’t “approve” of what somebody else is doing, but it doesn’t have to affect me…in the same way another person’s lack of approval doesn’t have to “harsh my mellow.”

and finally:   

#5 – MY LIFE! MY TIME! MY HAIR! What do “I” want? When I’m on my deathbed (hopefully a long time from now), what will I regret? What will make me smile?  If I quiet down just a bit, I can hear my soul whisper her desires and needs. I just have to listen. I choose to be happy today. I choose to be calm. I choose to stay in my peaceful place and you can only come in if I let you.

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Peaceful scenes are all around me – so often in the details.

Peaceful Places

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Llano River, Mason County

I’m looking for my peaceful places…both inside and out.

On the home front I’m clearing clutter. I started purging closets, bookshelves, and cupboards.  I hauled off two carloads of clothing, books, and kitchen “stuff”. I didn’t need three coffee pots, two blenders, an array of clothing two sizes too big, and magazines from the last decade. Incredibly I’ve only made a small dent. Why do I hang onto “things”? I’m sure there are reasons – some rewards I hope to gain.

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Of course not everybody can achieve the peace these two can.

I know sometimes I buy things hoping for some magical result. I look for the outfit that will make me beautiful, the self-help book that will dramatically repair my life, the trinket that will inspire, the kitchen gadget that turns me into Julia Child. Unfortunately, “stuff” seems to have the opposite effect. It only tends to constrict me and prevent me from growing.

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Dry Hole Creek in front of the house.

Funny how that goes for the “inside” too. The more stuff I have crammed inside my little head, the harder it is to grow or find any sliver of bliss

So I’m integrating meditation into my evenings and I’m considering a short meditation in the mornings as well. I know most of my suffering is self-imposed and beyond that,  any pain is usually imagined.  I can dream up horrific scenarios that agonize me. I can focus on physical and emotional pain, reliving it over and over. I can remind myself of resentments that had almost cleared up. (* interesting little tidbit:  I heard in a meeting once that resent comes from re-sentir or re-feel)

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So many leaves – I couldn’t focus on just one. Instead of being beautiful, they look a little “junky”

Meditation cures that craziness. I can focus on the only moment that is actually real – the current moment. In that space, I can’t get too carried away with torrents of thoughts.

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Focusing on one leaf at a time changes the whole picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I do decide to veer from the present, I can make a point to be positive though.  The past is gone and unless it’s happy memories, I don’t need to re-feel any of that stuff. The future is just a prediction, so why not predict happy endings.

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Simplicity . . .

 

Peaceful places are right here – right now.

Low Battery and Credit Earned

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Moses enjoying the sunshine

Sunday the weather was yucky. At 5 a.m. sleet fell hard enough to make the ground white. I needed to do a long run but I decided I would wait for the weather to clear.

My decision was the right one. In the next 30 minutes there were two vehicular accidents within a few miles of my house.

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Charlie is ALWAYS cozy.

On one hand I was looking for any excuse to skip my run. I woke up with an upset angry tummy.  But I knew I needed to push through because I have to log a certain number miles to fit the training plan. If you wanna win, you gotta push it, right! Right?

Finally the sleet stopped and so did my stomach. I grabbed my earphones and dang if the batteries weren’t dead. Oh well.  I don’t really have to have music so I started down the road.

At 1.49 miles my GPS watch battery died. *sigh*  I would run a little farther down the road to try to get 5 miles in.  Before I got home, the sleet started again – just slightly but nonetheless, it was there. Maybe there was a reason for me to go home early

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No wonder I can’t rest…there’s no room on the couch.

Two days later during a run my phone battery died.  This is beginning to be more than coincidence. I think somebody is trying to tell me something.

I’ve been waking up sore and tired.  My legs are sore all the time. I can’t stop though. I can’t rest. I have something to prove, you see. (See 2015 resolutions – no longer necessary to prove myself to the world) Taking a rest day was out of the question.

In October I ran my first marathon and my time was HORRIBLE! I had purchased a 26.2 magnet for my car BUT I couldn’t in good conscience put it on my car. Only when I’ve achieve a better time can I wear that little badge of honor.

WHAT THE . . . ????

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Ingrid was beautiful.

That’s insane! I ran the 26.2.   Only 0.5% of the US population have finished a marathon. Why can’t I just acknowledge I succeeded? Why can’t I just give myself permission to lean back for a little while and be proud of my accomplishments?

Time to rest and recharge and consider 2014 a success. In 2014 I ran my first half, my first 30K and my first marathon. If someone else had accomplished all that, I’d high five them. But since it’s me, it’s not good enough.

So what are the lessons from this disjointed essay?

  • Just like the headphones, the watch and the phone, sometimes you have to lay on the couch and plug into THE SOURCE.
  • And it’s okay to be satisfied with who you are and what you’ve done.

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    Cozy Bella