12 Ways to Wabi-Sabi
1. Cultivate Slowness. Rebel against the machines. Hand a towel to a loved one and ask him or her to dry dishes while you rinse. Take 10 minutes to sweep the floor with a real broomcorn broom rather than filling your space with the roar of the vacuum.
2. Cultivate Vision. Start with the container you use to hold your morning beverage. Treat yourself to pottery that feels solid and heavy in your hand. Admire your mug’s shape, textures and colors every morning to strengthen your ability to find beauty in the rest of the day.
3. Cultivate Craft. Making and growing things yourself is a gentle rebellion against globalized mass production. Spinning wool, making pottery and weaving baskets provides a tactile meditation almost impossible to experience by any other means.
4. Cultivate Cleanliness. An ancient tea master described wabi-sabi as “putting one’s whole heart to cleaning and repeating it several times.” Every time we sweep, dust or wash, we’re creating clean, sacred space.
5. Cultivate Solitude. Find a space in the attic or a spare bedroom that you can dedicate to solitude and meditation. In tight quarters, designate a quiet corner in your bedroom or even living room as your meditation space.
6. Cultivate Space. Clutter smudges clarity, physically and psychologically. In wabi-sabi, space and light are the most desirable ornaments.
7. Cultivate Silence. To cultivate what Quakers call the “still, small voice within,” slowly reduce the noise sources in your life. Less is more.
Leave the television off for one night each week.
Turn off the radio during your morning or evening commute.
Practice a few moments of silence before eating a shared meal.
Make time in the afternoon for a quiet cup of tea.
8. Cultivate Sabi (the beauty that comes with age). Antique doorknobs and radiator grates give your home soul. Building with salvaged materials gives a new house depth and history it couldn’t otherwise have.
9. Cultivate Soul. A piece made by hand holds the steady, solid vibrations of its maker rather than those of the jarring, impersonal machine. Surrounding yourself with things made by real people invites a tiny piece of each craftsman into your space.
10. Cultivate Imperfection. Real people leave mail piled in the entry, let the flowers go a little too long in the vase (if they have them at all), allow the dog on the bed and have unpredictable cats. Wabi-sabi embraces these flaws.
11. Cultivate Hospitality. Give every room in your house a soft seat, a blanket to curl up with, gentle lighting and a deep, delicious rug. Invite people to stay, curled up in afghans and sipping tea.
12. Cultivate Simplicity. Less stuff means more time to spend with family, friends and nature — a philosophy simple enough for even the most complicated lives.