:: The Good Coach ::
Wabi-Sabi and the Creative Life
by Quinn McDonald
The tree had been a great shade-provider all summer.Its delicate branches were hidden by fat green leaves. Now, at sunrise, it popped into view as soon as I rounded the uphill corner of my early-morning walk. The light tipped the newly-bare branches, giving the tree a delicate look. It has been there for decades but it looked fragile, as if it might not withstand the next hard wind.
An overwhelming mix of happiness, longing and recognition that this autumn moment was one of a kind flooded my senses. Nothing was important except the branches, the sun, and longing. Then the moment was gone. I walked on.
That fragile moment of recognition is part of the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi-- the beauty of things impermanent and incomplete. It contains a profound appreciation for things modest and humble. As an esthetic, it honors things imperfect, impermanent, and unconventional.
In a creative life, Wabi-sabi embraces the release of control. Wabi-sabi recognizes and honors imperfection. Recognizing and embracing our imperfections allows room for growth.
Living a wabi-sabi life means embracing a willingness to let life find its own pace. It allows for space to trust that opportunities will appear, and a willingness to let the world unfurl without having full control over every activity. It is a life stripped down to what is valuable, rather than randomly acquired. It is not living without, but rather within.
In a wabi-sabi life, you recognize all things are impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete. Once you open the door to imperfection, a creative force rushes into your life, making it possible to risk, to trust yourself and your intuition, to try different solutions, to explore your creativity fully. That exploration and trust combines to create a full, rich and abundant life.
We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We can’t control the unknown. And you don’t always have to be in control. Take off that heavy obligation of knowing and controlling and take three deep, slow breaths. Then decide right now. In this moment. To let go from your grasp what you cannot control. Wabi-sabi adds a rich patina of appreciation to every season of your life. Look carefully, and you will see it, too.
Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach, writer and book artist. She is author of Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art (North Light Books, 2011). Information on the book and Quinn’s coaching can be found on http://www.quinncreative.com/coaching/.
Quinn will be teaching One-Sentence Art Journaling in Studio CRESCENDOh. Enroll here.