Mother Earth Living

The Good Life

All things Mother Earth Living

Add to My MSN

Wabi-Sabi Wednesday: 4 Ways to Change Your Vision

5/25/2011 12:00:00 AM

Tags: wabi-sabi, Wabi-Sabi Wednesday, Simply Imperfect

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailOn Wabi-Sabi Wednesdays, I feature excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House, which was just released. 

Honing our sense of subtle beauty has nothing to do with our household budget and everything to do with learning to appreciate. In the early 1960s, House Beautiful editor Elizabeth Gordon wrote, “If you can’t find beauty—for free—when you are poor, you won’t be likely to have it when you are rich … even though you may have bought and paid for it.” Gordon urged her readers to look at everything with a “pure eye,” letting go of all associations about its price, its age, its social context and its prestige value. “You have to wipe away all judgments made by others, and merely respond to the object as you do to those things in nature that are moving: trees, sunsets, clouds, mountains,” she stated.

Most of us don’t equate the sight of waving grasses in a field or the sun landing on the horizon with money (which brings up work, stress and all sorts of other distractions). Natural beauty is priceless. We can take in and appreciate a great view because we don’t have any hope of owning it, and we can’t manipulate it (positively or negatively) to match our will. We don’t think we can improve on nature, so we witness it with the innocence of someone who’s powerless. With our egos out of the way, we can simply observe. Nature is wabi-sabi’s mistress.

Change Your Vision: 4 Ways to See Differently 

1. Give yourself five minutes of quiet time each day. (Great if you can meditate, but you don’t have to. Just sitting on the porch is nice.) If you like it, work up to 20 minutes, adding a minute to each sitting.

2. Visit flea markets and junk shops without the intention of buying anything. Just walk around and note what you like. (If you see something you must have, take it home—the beauty and challenge of flea markets is that it truly might not be there tomorrow.)

  • 3. Take a daily or weekly walk outdoors. Keep a mental or actual log of seasonal changes (color, light and nature’s mood). To make yourself do this, get a dog who must be walked.
  • 4. Create a treasure alcove. Place something you love (whether an heirloom or a stone picked up yesterday) in a special place. Replace it every season, then every month, and eventually every day.
  • flowers 

    Nature is the best muse. 

    Content Tools

    Post a comment below.


    Subscribe today and save 58%

    First Name: *
    Last Name: *
    Address: *
    City: *
    State/Province: *
    Zip/Postal Code:*
    (* indicates a required item)
    Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
    Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
    Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

    Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

    Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

    Save Money & a Few Trees!

    Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

    Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.