None of us can live indefinitely in the Garden of Eden. We are all thrown out in the world, into the cold, facing the inevitability of hardship, struggle and disappointment. We wake up one day to find our dreams shattered, our plans disrupted.
No shelter can fully protect us from the wrath of the storm.
This is the reality of this world. It is unpredictable and in constant flux. We can try to vigorously plan and control events to our favour, but in the final analysis we truly don’t know how it all will unfold in the future.
It is beyond our control.
We then ask ourselves, how can we can we best respond to this predicament?
We could naively try to chase perfection and blind ourselves to the nature of reality. However, as I have argued, this strategy is futile at best. If life is in perpetual change, any attempt to control and regulate things to our liking is akin to chasing after a moving target.
Alternatively, we can cultivate an attitude of acceptance. One that is more realistic and aligns with the way the world actually operates.
The Japanese concept of wabi sabi speaks to this notion of finding beauty in our flaws and in imperfections. Wabi sabi a way of life, attitude and aesthetic.
We can see this embodied Zen Buddhist art and ceramics in the concept of kintsugi. Broken pots, bowls and cups are restored and mended with a gold powder. The aim is not to hide or conceal the flaws of these broken objects, but rather to celebrate them. It is a symbol and reminder to us that nothing lasts forever.
All things are transient.
Wabi sabi is a helpful antidote to the anxieties of our time which are perpetuated by advertising and our consumerist societies. These signals tell us we ought to look or be a certain way, aligning our image with the fashions and trends of celebrity culture.
However, for many of us, we intuitively know we don’t want to partake in this perpetual striving. If we are honest with ourselves, we can finally admit that this charade is exhausting. A weight is lifted from our chest when we stop pretending and learn to embrace our flawed nature.
We can now accept ourselves, live authentically and age gracefully.
This freedom all begins when we learn to appreciate who we are rather than merely conforming to the unrealistic expectations of our modern materialistic societies.
Featured Image: Pexels Free Photos
This post was originally published on my personal blog alifeofvirtue.ca
22 thoughts on “Finding Beauty in Brokenness”
Isn’t the art of mending broken things with gold laquer called Kintsugi?
Yes, I noticed that in my research for this article. I think it ties into more generally to the ethos of wabi sabi?
I don’t know anything about wabi sabi…
The two concepts complement eachother https://konmari.com/wabi-sabi-and-the-art-of-kintsugi/
Thanks for the tip by the way, I incorporated it in the post 🙂
Loved this! Thank you, very timely for me. 🙏 ❤️
Beautiful post, Andrew! I love the concept of kintsugi you present. What a wonderful way to celebrate brokenness.
I’m more kinsagi than man at this point.
Ah, the secret to your charm!
First let me say how well written this post was:) This was much needed today! Thanks
I love Living Wabi Sabi. Thank you for this writing Andrew. Well done!
Very beautiful post, Andrew, and so true!
“The wound is the place where light enters you.” – Rumi. Beautiful post Andrew 🙏
I needed to hear this so much today. Thank you!
You had me at your heading.
Amazing post 💜
I think your analogy of wabi sabi is beautiful. Highlighting some of what we generally think of as flaws may be the best way to set ourselves apart from the hum-drum of normalcy. In my case, accents may be seen as a flaw (I am from the deep South and have a natural drawl). In my travels, I have learned to embrace my accent as it sets me apart. I’ve also come to love listening to the accents of others because there is something intriguing to me about difference and alterity. Great post.
Thank you 🙂
Great read. Also, check your 5th paragraph. Great question.
Well said 🙂