Wabi-Sabi, Discovering The Beauty Of Imperfect Things
I was out in my garden this morning, working on my fall clean up before planting.
I love my garden for 101 reasons. Reason for today: Gardening teaches me so much about the natural cycles of life.
When we garden, we are constantly making mistakes, even if we don’t necessarily call them mistakes. What works one year won’t necessarily thrive again, if only because the weather has changed.
The pineapple sage was a triumph. Pink lantana doesn’t bloom as well for me as the orange varieties. My Blackeyed Susans are so happy you can’t do anything wrong by them.
As I was pulling up the lantana in the front garden, I was taking note of the massive changes that have taken place in my garden even in the short 12 months that have just passed.
It has been a full year since we tore out all the grass in the front, put in the equivalent of 24 wheelbarrows of organic mushroom compost and planted a mixture of perennials, vegetables and annual flowers.
This was a massive transformation that occurred at the same time that I wrote the rough draft of my new book, What Is Healing? Awaken Your Intuitive Power for Health and Happiness (Atlanta: Total Fitness, 2013). In fact, as I was looking at the garden beds, I was pondering the fact that my front garden is the exact same age as my new book!
Now, a year later, my book has reached No. 1 Best Seller Status in two categories on Amazon (No. 1 in Medicine & Psychology and No. 1 in Alternative Medicine Reference Books) and I am back in my garden taking stock of what worked and what I can do better in the next year.
The ajuga seemed like a brilliant move until it rained practically all winter and the ones we had originally planted seemed to melt into the soggy soil.
The same thing happened with the petunias this summer – none survived in the front garden due to the near constant rain.
I was taking photographs to document my findings when I came upon my Encore Azaleas.
At one point, the bed they were in seemed like a major disaster after I made the mistake of trying to improve the soil myself. Nothing drained, nothing bloomed and I felt rather stupid. My gardener Gabe Horrisberger rescued me by recommending the Encore Azaleas, which have managed to adapt rather well.
There is a perfect spot for everything in a garden, so long as we do a good job of matching the right plant with the right spot.
Just the day before, I had been talking with a client about the concept of beauty.
As women, one of our primal needs is to feel beautiful and to be appreciated for the way we look.
Fortunately, men have all different tastes in body shapes and sizes, hair colors, hair styles and even different modes of dressing. It’s up to us women to connect with our own special brand of inner beauty and radiate that outwards.
In order to do this, we must understand our own energy and give up the habit of trying to look like somebody we are actually not.
I was recommending that my client find other women who share her particular style of beauty, which is soft, gentle and flowing and best accentuated by the colors of the sunset.
My client was of course lamenting the fact that she felt 60 pounds overweight.
“Even if you were thinner, you would never feel comfortable in skin-tight clothing,” I pointed out to her.
She agreed. She recognized that part of what she needs to restore her self esteem is to find other women who express their beauty in the same way that she does.
When I look out at my garden, I never curse my azaleas for their failure to look like my Blackeyed Susans, or chide the cattleya orchids in my studio for failing to look like phalaenopsis.
I can’t imagine a begonia crying over the fact that it doesn’t look anything close to wisteria, or a foxglove complaining that it isn’t petite like a viola.
When I took my iPhone inside to download the photographs, I noticed that one particular picture of the azaleas showed the petalas had been broken.
When you look at a garden, you just see how it all fits together, the sun and the sky and the earth and flowers and feel the way it lifts your soul.
Wabi-sabi is the beauty of imperfect things. In fact, if you look at anything in nature up way close, you will find that nothing is just quite so.
I wish all of us women could see that our imperfections are also part of our unique beauty. We are also imperfect, impermanent and incomplete, just like the flowers. And that’s what makes each us a treasure.