Feb 032013

wabi sabi latest book

wabi sabi


i have lived it and loved it all my life.

i think it probably made it easy for my darling husband all those years.

i was not the wife that had to constantly have

a new dress

and new shoes


a new dishwasher.  or any dishwasher for that matter!


new jewelry.

or new furniture.

or new knick knacks that i couldn’t live without.


i was not a shopper.

as a matter of fact i never was . . . even as a teenager.

which . . .  being a girl . . .  and all girl in every other way . . .

really alienated me from my peers.

they just couldn’t believe i didn’t want to ‘go shopping.’

now i think it’s called ‘hanging out at the mall.’  lol.

and i still hate it.


i was more apt to be wandering the shores of the nearest water

watching for little creatures . . .

i once spent hours watching a small brown muskrat building his house.

talk about a delightful afternoon.

. . .  or with my head in a book  . . .

or watching a romantic movie . . .

and i was always writing what i thought about life

in a notebook.

a notebook nerd apparently.

but i was happy.


i never craved ‘new’.

maybe because i was always and forever the new girl!  LOL.


when i later discovered the concept ~ or in reality ~ the philosophy

of wabi sabi

i was mesmerized to find a way of life that made sense of my own way of looking at life!

i felt like i had finally come home.

 wabi sabi bowl with golden

 when the japanese mend broken objects ~ they aggrandize the damage

by filling the cracks with gold.

they believe when something’s suffered

and has a history ~ that it becomes more beautiful.

~  billie mobayed ~



my grandad was from boston.

he “pocked his caw.”

he came from old money wealth.

his ancestors were prominent in the revolution.

he married my sweet little gramma.


he looked a lot like a young paul newman.

sky blue eyes

sleekly beautiful patrician nose

the ladies loved him.

and he loved the ladies.

he blew his inheritance.

and he ruined his marriage.

it took him awhile to do both.  but he did a final job of it.


my gramma wouldn’t give him a divorce.

in new york at that time ~ the only grounds for divorce was adultery.

she was a lady.  ladies did not stand up in court and point to other ladies as their husband’s corespondents.

so . . .

my grandfather . . . “grandad” . . . slipped from our lives.

only to surface occasionally by way of wonderful boxes in the mail

full of wondrous and enchanting new clothes.

usually my clothes were handmade or hand-me-downs.

they were fine.  except when susie connolly said once

“that used to be my dress.  it looked better on me.”

ya gotta love the susie connollys of this world.  LOL.

much as i loved and revered old . . .

his new gifts were always a delight.

but maybe because they were few and far between

they really meant something.

maybe in its own way . . .  that is wabi sabi.

things have an intrinsic value.  not from abundance alone.

and if you don’t have them . . .

that’s perfectly alright too.


grandad always carried an engraved silver flask in his immaculate coat inside pocket.

it was filled with gin.

he NEVER appeared drunk.

but i have no doubt he was an alchoholic.

my gramma used to say

“a drunk is a drunk whether he drinks from a bottle

or a sterling flask.”


don’t beat around the bush there gram.  tell us what you really think.


boy have i digressed!

i can’t even remember what we were talking about.

oh yes!!!

wabi sabi.


you know.  you’ve probably heard about it.

there seems to be a love of  ‘trends’ in america.

we find out about something and it’s HOT.

it’s everywhere.  for a short time.

and then no one thinks about it anymore.


the truth is . . . as many of you probably already know . . .

wabi sabi is thousands of years old.

there are some excellent books about it.

the first i read a long time ago was the one below . . .


(the newer one at the beginning of this post is one you might like also)


wabi sabi first book

the author of this one is

leonard koren. he resides in both america and japan.

a quote and explanation of wabi sabi from his book:


. . . “wabi sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.  it is a beauty of things modest and humble.  it is a beauty of things unconventional.”


what wabi sabi is to my way of thinking ~ is not quite so black and white.

it is more a “feeling” i think.

it is a feeling that everything is alright.

wabi sabi

i prefer what a favorite ancient poet of mine said ~ matuo basho


“enduring poverty in life

i prepare fire on the hearth

and enjoy the profound touch of tea.”


wabi sabi to me is

contentment with things.

not forever and always coveting something else.

it is the feeling that you have enough.

and that the enough you have is very beautiful in its own right.

it is valuing the wear and tear of normal living.

it is clean.

but it is natural too.

it is laughing instead of crying when something breaks.

or gets marred.

it is valuing old hands that have known life

instead of perfect hands with a store bought vinyl manicure.

it is loving the shade and the sunlight and seeing them as art.

it is hearing the sounds of nature

even in the din of living.

it is looking for the small things of life.

and that in knowing in those small things ~ lies your happiness.

it is all of this.

it is wabi sabi.

i live a wabi sabi life.

it is a lovely and happy way to live.

i hope you share the same feelings.

if not ~

here is a little reminder that is big enough to blow your socks off!


wabi sabi life


yup. that’s part of it too i think.

the busier you are

the more frantic your life

the less you have time to live wabi sabi.

wabi sabi is all about time.

time is more valuable than gold.

don’t be so busy ever striving for more stuff.

slowing down

valuing the age and the imperfections of what you have

is life.


wabi sabi puppy chewing

that’s not my little lab puppy.

and that’s not a corner of my own piece of wood he’s chewing.


i have a bench the marine made.

and the end of one of the corners is just lab-puppy high.

and the marine’s lab was named amy.

and amy was black like that little lab above.

and she cut some puppy teeth on the corner of my bench.

and you know what?

it’s the most beautiful bench in the world!


amy’s gone now.  she grew old. and she died.  like we all do.

but whenever i look at that bench

i see that silken little black head and that adorable face

and i’m so glad i have that bench.


and that charlie brown

is what wabi sabi is all about.

  20 Responses to “my love for wabi sabi”

  1. If I got it right, wabi sabi is the piece of ribbon the child carries that used to be the edging on the child’s favorite blanket?

    Or the comforter on my bed that I moved from RV to apartment to RV even though the filling in it has shifted making some bare spots?

    Or the curtains hanging in my new RV that don’t yet have hems because they are cut down from curtains I loved in the house we sold in 2008?

    Nice to know there is some tradition behind these things so it’s not just me being weird.

    • i think the lady gets it! though there is a certain beauty esthetic with it too.
      just because an item is old and decrepit doesn’t necessarily make it wabi sabi.
      it has a patina but still the original beauty. hard to explain. usually anything of quality ages really well.
      and… who doesn’t have a soft spot for the ribbon on a well loved blanket? and the memories in one’s mind’s eye of that tiny person dragging it around!

  2. I’m afraid I don’t care that much about aesthetics–old and decrepit is okay by me as long as it’s well-loved. Given my age, that’s probably a healthy way to look at things!

    • LOL. yes. does put a different slant on things. i see what some people worry about today and it just makes me tired. LOL! it does!
      i mean like ~ the glossy problems. that’s what i’ve come to call them. and if i hear one more person say . . .
      “oh . . . the kitchen will have to be completely re-done. we must have granite countertops” . . . i will throw up my socks.
      especially when they’re looking at a perfectly good kitchen. oh well.

  3. Oh, you touched a soft spot, Tammy… I’m a wabi sabi kind of girl too. Although, maybe that doesn’t surprise you! I get a kick out of those “imperfections” around us. I like a good patina, a blip, a dip, a chip, a ruffle, a scratch…I’ll take it all, but nothing too slick and fine. ;o) This was sweet, my friend… Happy Week ((HUGS)) P.S. I’m hosting a Valentine Giveaway this week… stop by for the fun, if you get a chance.

  4. Hey Tammy,

    I’m trying to put together a post and saw your Japanese pot all healed up with gold…could you send me the photo to use in my post about healing?

    • oh can’t wait for your post! yes. although i couldn’t get it without the writing on it. i don’t know how to crop.
      but then . . . for my own post i didn’t mind what it said ~
      i’ll email it to you.

  5. Strange that you should write about Wabi Sabi. A couple of months ago, I was persuaded to get myself a copy to read and I found it fascinating that an American could have gone to such depths to try and understand an ancient culture. At the end of the book, however, I was left with some understanding of that ancient people look at life completely differently than the rest of the world does.

    Another coincidence, my son has brought a huge bottle of wasabi roasted chick peas. An acquired taste!

  6. Evening Tammy…
    I had never heard that term before…
    Now I know…
    I definitely have wabi sabi…
    My family is my wabi sabi…
    My home is my wabi sabi…

    Thanks for making me see this…
    You..are indeed…very wise…
    And I love that about you…

    You…little…wabi sabi you…


  7. I never lose my surprise at life’s coincidences. Yesterday I visited Becky at Abbey Style Home and saw the bowl mended with gold and read her lovely post. I commented to her that it reminded me of years ago when I found books at the library on what I thought I remembered as wabi sabi and how they made me have a new love for mended things. I asked her if I had remembered the words correctly and she responded that I had. Then a few minutes ago I visited From the House of Edward and read her moving post and then the comments. I clicked on yours, wanting to know more, and there pops up a post on wabi sabi! A coincidence or something more? I believe for the purpose of reading more on this subject. I’m bookmarking this post to read again tonight when my tasks aren’t calling my name. But I already can thank you for the thoughts I’ve read through the first time.

    • oh how lovely dewena!
      i follow becky at abbey style and pamela at the house of edward too. becky kindly contacted me to ask to use the image.
      and i wouldn’t have minded even if she hadn’t. but that shows the kind of lady she is.
      i’ve read many good writings about wabi sabi since my original reading of the leonard koren book.
      as a matter of fact ~ a visit to the bookstore over the weekend is what prompted my post! i had found a new book ~ the picture of the one i used at the beginning ~ ‘simply imperfect’ by robyn griggs lawrence. i wasn’t that fond of her first one ~ but this one i’m finding is more in tune with true wabi sabi. and . . . unless you have already discovered it . . .
      a tiny one you might like to keep on your desk at work is ‘wabi sabi. the art of everyday life’ by diane durston. wonderful!
      i’m so glad you came by for a visit. i hope you return!

  8. Great post Tam.

    I love time-worn, life-battered, weathered everyday items that surround our life. Our low, square old coffee table has Jack’s baby teeth marks on one corner. We’ve never even attempted to remove them – it would be an affront to me, like he never existed as a puppy. I want the reminder to stay with me for years to come.

    Nothing in nature is “perfect” by human standards. No two things are the same. Everything has tinges of age and decay. It’s beautiful in its fleeting-ness.

    Why must some people strive for perfection I’ll never understand.

    • oh vicki. yes. jack’s puppy teeth marks make it a treasure. like amy ~ you will see the puppy and the dog you love every time you look at it. that is gold to me.
      have you ever noticed that people who are perfectionists in life never seem to be very happy people?
      i’ve noticed that.
      perhaps they can’t help it. i don’t know. but i feel sad for them. ‘stuff’ and how perfect that stuff looks will never be the measurements of quality of life.
      uh oh. the soapbox again. LOLOL.

  9. I love the concept of wabi sabi. I do tend to buy new, I don’t have the patience to dig for treasure, but I only buy things I love and I use them and love them forever (relatively speaking, things don’t seem to last forever). I love the corner on my couch where Atlas chewed off the edge when he was a puppy because it reminds me of him when he was a puppy.

    I am a recovering perfectionist, though, so my love for things as they age has grown with time and as I’ve gotten less rigid. Like, when Atlas chewed off that edge, I was rather panicked. The things about dogs is that if you are like I was then, they are very good at soothing your edges.

    • I think you are wabi sabi e!
      and i will never forget the delight in the little marble gifts left for you . . .
      and your reaction to them. i don’t if that’s even about wabi sabi really but i think it is and it’s one of my favorite atlas stories. LOLOL
      and i love the thought ~ “soothing your edges.” that’s exactly what they can do if we let them!

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