A few years ago, a dear friend shared with me a magazine, drawing my attention to a particular article about wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy about appreciating things, even when they are imperfect, incomplete, simple and subtle.
Wabi-sabi promotes a physical and psychological space devoid of clutter and distraction, yet abundant in serenity and contentment.
I read the article with fascination. If I had to put a word to the life I try to create for myself and the atmosphere in which I try to live, it would be wabi-sabi. I have intentionally decluttered my life in recent years, reducing my outside obligations, decreasing my to-do list entries, and removing physical clutter from our home. This effort toward a more minimalistic lifestyle has made room for what is vital—and for the new.
As I talk with friends and colleagues who have busy lives with myriad commitments and responsibilities, I see my own life more clearly. I have chosen a different path for myself. (And in some ways, the path has chosen me.)
Consequently, I embrace the simple, the clean, the silent. I embrace the slightly slower pace where I have time to think, to consider and to appreciate. I've gladly exchanged the more frenzied days for quieter ones.
There is a wealth of books, websites and other resources about minimalism these days. As a society, whether we’re young or not-so-young, we’re seeing that our “stuff” and our over-committed calendars don’t encourage a fulfilling life. Actually, the opposite occurs because we have to work even harder and longer to pay for our belongings and to climb the ladder. In the end, those things don’t make us happy. They just get in the way of a truly abundant, well-lived life.