Embracing the beauty of our imperfections

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my garden surrounded by beauty . . . and so much imperfection. There’s always something that’s not doing well, or is overgrown, or is needing attention of some kind . . . the list goes on and on. It is in a state of perpetual growth andchange. But overall, it’s a beautiful little garden and I am immensely happy with it, blemishes and all.

Why is it that we can look at things, and people, outside of ourselves and see such beauty and perfection, even with their flaws, but we look at ourselves and see the flaws first. Many of us stop there and never get beyond them.

When I do that, I try to remind myself of the Leonard Cohen lyric above. All those flaws, faults and cracks just let our light in. In other words, the broken parts, the glitches, help us shine.

The Japanese have a concept called Wabi-Sabi. The Wabi-Sabi aesthetic is one of asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, austerity, modesty, and an appreciation of the integrity of natural processes.

I love that. Especially as it applies to aging. At its core, Wabi-Sabi is saying let history, nature, maturity take its course; appreciate the beauty in it, maintain the bloom of it and embrace the imperfection in it.

Simply stated, it is accepting what is natural, warts and all. It is, in fact, the opposite of trying too hard which some of us do in attempting to turn back the clock.

In dealing with the physical changes that come with aging, which tend to not be so wonderful, I find the whole Wabi-Sabi concept comforting and encouraging.

With all the anti-aging potions, lotions and youth elixirs out there, it’s difficult to avoid the messages that constantly shout “aging is bad, aging is wrong.” As though the alternative is better. Hah! I think not.

I get it. I see my mother in the mirror more often these days. And I certainly don’t have the same energy I had 20 or even 10 years ago. But there’s a big difference between accepting the fact that we are not the kids we once were and being old and done. Quite honestly, I don’t think age has everything to do with it either. Some people are old at 30, and some 80+ year olds are as vital and alive as they were at 40.

Finding the balance between those ends of the spectrum is maybe where we can practice a little Wabi-Sabi. Acceptance is good, as long as it is tempered with a commitment to remaining as alive as possible, “maintaining the bloom” as it were. How we each do that will be unique to us, and beautiful still in all its imperfection.

So let’s each of us embrace the flaws, open up and let the light shine in.

Till next time,

Judy

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8 Comments

  1. Candy
    July 4, 2017 / 6:52 am

    Love it Judy. Here’s to Wabi-Sabi, a wonderful way to see ourselves and others and everything.

  2. dona sabolick
    July 4, 2017 / 7:14 am

    That was great Judy. We all need to hear that. Whether it be cracks on our outside or inside from life in general , we need to be content. Living in Orange county doesn’t help the matter. Surrounded by beauty, hard bodies and plastic surgeons on every corner, the pressure to stay/look young is intense. Look at our mothers, they aged with grace. No botox, fillers, liposuction, hitting the gym etc. They were beautiful in and out. Well, gotta go I have an appointment for botox?, just kiddin.

    • Laurel Tucker
      July 4, 2017 / 8:41 am

      Amen, Judy! Starting plastic surgery could be a slippery slope. Better to “age gracefully,” I think. Though I do find myself tugging the extra bits up and away in the mirror more and more often…

      And to Dona, I totally agree. We moved from Laguna to Pomona (and then Claremont) over 25 years ago. The move was to buy a decent house, which we couldn’t afford in the OC. One of the unforeseen benefits, once we’d settled in the IE, was that there wasn’t the same intense degree of competition up here to have the fanciest car or the most rockin’ bod and prettiest face. Maybe it means I don’t work as hard as I ought to “keep up appearances,” but it does make for a more relaxed lifestyle! And it’s still fun going back to the OC, both to admire the beauty and to gawk at some facelifts gone wrong.

      • Dona sabolick
        July 4, 2017 / 9:45 am

        I’m originally from I.E. so I can relate to the change from I.E. TO OC. I work at Nordstrom so you can imagine what I see daily. I have to admit it keeps me on my toes otherwise I’d be wearing tent dresses and no makeup with my hair in a bun! It takes a long time to get this 63 year old face and body looking presentable ?I’m thankful to be healthy! That’s my mantra lately

  3. Debby
    July 4, 2017 / 9:37 am

    So true. Enjoy everyday of life and appreciate all it offers. Thanks, Judy.

  4. Joy
    July 4, 2017 / 10:13 am

    To Wavi Sabi ! Clink

    • Joy
      July 4, 2017 / 10:14 am

      Wabi… actually typing it wrong was very Wabi Sabi

  5. July 6, 2017 / 7:04 am

    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments, and for the comedic moments as well. 🙂

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