Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life Hardcover – 30 Aug 2018
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As summer comes to an end, there is no better idea than to curl up with a hot cuppa and this truly transformative read. (Sunday Times Style)
Wonderful. So full of insights, and beautifully written (Liza Dalby, Author of Geisha)
'Less stuff, more soul. Less hustle, more ease . . .' Beth Kempton tells it as it is, and how we need it to be. More than ever, we need books like this. (Jessica Seaton, Co-Founder of Toast and author of Gather, Cook, Feast)
Beth explains [wabi sabi] better than any native may have done (Makiko Hastings, Japanese potter)
Beth Kempton is one of the great foreign writers who truly understands wabi sabi. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for time and space in their life (Daisuke Sanada, Japanese architect)
A beautiful book about Japanese culture (Books Kinokuniya Tokyo)
I am obsessed (with this book) (The Tokyo Chapter)
A joyful read (Cynthia Young, Globe & Mail)
I'm completely won over by the mix of wisdom and guide to practical self-reflection offered in this elegant interpretation of Wabi Sabi. (JapaneseLondon.com)
A guide to using the Japanese concept of wabi sabi to transform every area of your life, and find happiness right where you are.See all Product description
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This book has completely changed the way I view my life and the world. It's the most beautiful calming book.
It has helped me let go of the stuckness of 'if it's not going to be perfect it's not worth doing', to nothing is perfect, simply let go and enjoy every moment and live, appreciate those tiny moments, and that aging is beautiful.
There are many things I wanted to do but wasn't doing because I had wanted them to be impossibly perfect.
I'm now able to get on with these things because I'm okay with them not being perfect, and my projects are now being chipped away at, instead of stuck waiting for perfection first, such as my personal wellness/fitness, business dreams, my creativity & garden.
Wabi sabi is a magical philosophy that can be applied to so many areas of life. It has given me so much comfort. I already had a big appreciation for nature but I appreciate it even more now. For example there is a large dead tree within the grounds of my garden that isn't easy to get to and it used to bug me and I wanted to cut it down. And now I see its bare branches all year long and I see the beauty in its simple form. I see the memory of what it once was. I look at it and I see history. Simple things like that have changed.
You have to read this book to really appreciate it and understand what it's all about. I especially enjoyed the whole chapter on letting go which made me cry in a good way and I can relate so very closely to those moments with little ones around. I myself have those wrinkled balloons in the house and toys around.
I will be reading this book many more times, as there's a lot to take in and appreciate. It's honestly one of the best books I've ever read.
There’s a big section on the ancient ceremony of drinking tea in Japan and it’s relationship with wabi sabi. This stripped back and slow ritual of tea drinking allows people to take the time to connect in a serene environment. The simplicity, grace and soulfulness of this ceremony is at the heart of what wabi sabi is about.
Beth talks of how the Japanese prioritise spending time in nature and that ‘forest bathing’ is a big thing in the country. Not literal bathing, but hanging out in a forest and bathing in it’s beauty and peacefulness. This represents another aspect of wabi sabi – the importance of spending time in nature (which has also been scientifically proven to be very good for health and wellbeing).
Beth frequently mentions the ageing process and the value that wabi sabi places on the beauty of the old and weathered. As she rightly points out, the world we live in makes a lot of money from convincing us that youthfulness is something we should all strive for. There’s profits to be made in selling youth defying creams, sugery, make up, diets etc. But what if we all learnt to be a bit more wabi sabi and appreciate the elegance and character of age?
Wabi sabi doesn’t shy away from death. It actively contemplates it. Which is in fact a healthy thing. The more we appreciate how brief our existence is, the more we can cherish the world around us and be in the present.
Beth has a lovely practical exercise in the book to do, that asks you to make plans for your life if:
1) you have a full life ahead of you
2) you have ten years left
3) you have just one year left
I have never done an exercise like that, but it makes absolute sense. Any of us could die any day. We have no control over that. But planning a shortened future actually makes you feel more joyful and appreciative of that time. And I hope going forward I can hang onto that outlook of trying to soak up every day as if it’s my last.
I’ve noticed since reading the book that I am looking at the world differently. I’ve slowed down and made a point of going for lots of walks in nature. And I’m figuring out how to have richer, more soulful days in 2019. Hopefully the wabi sabi effect will linger with me.
The insights and the energy in this book is felt while reading it, it shows that Beth knows the Japanese culture, has researched her material very well and put it across beautifully to the reader. I will be buying her next book and highly recommend you buy this one as it’s a fantastic life experience read.