Balance

An example of kintsugi, similar to or an expression of wabi-sabi. Photo by Riho Kitagawa on Unsplash

“Get rid of all that is unnecessary.

Wabi – sabi means treading lightly on the planet and knowing how to appreciate whatever is encountered, no matter how trifling, whenever it is encountered.

[…] In other words, wabi – sabi tells us to stop our preoccupation with success — wealth, status, power, and luxury—and enjoy the unencumbered life.

Obviously, leading the simple wabi – sabi life requires some effort and will and also some tough decisions.

Wabi – sabi acknowledges that just as it is important to know when to make choices, it is also important to know when not to make choices: to let things be.

Even at the most austere level of material existence, we still live in a world of things.

Wabi – sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom of things.”

Leonard Koren

I wonder about that last line. Did he mean, “freedom from things”? As in too many things? Or freedom to have things without being burdened by them? I suppose they’re both similar concepts.

I often feel like I’m trying to do too much in too little time and I’m constantly working to pare down what I have and what I do. I think that if I focus more precisely on the things that are actually meaningful to me, I’ll get more enjoyment out of life.

And, importantly, the paring down process helps me to fully realize what actually is important to me, because it removes things that obviously didn’t make the cut from my life and my mind.

Things that we own, plans that we worry about making or keeping, items on our to-do lists, they all have weight and are a burden on our minds, even when we’re not actively thinking about them. I want to live a life where I’m not constantly worrying about stuff and things that I need to do because the stuff and things that I need to do are proportionate to my ability to manage them in a meaningful way.

As an aside, the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic is really wonderful and worth the time to learn about.

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