Wabi-Sabi at the Welcome Cafe

Tulips are quietly fading in a vase on a shelf.  Little One is being noisy and wobbling precariously on her chair, and I feel conscious of all the other people around us wanting to relax with their cups of tea.  We’ve come to shelter from the cold and to share scones, cream, jam, tea and hot chocolate.  I feel aware my heart’s not fully in it today.

You’re used to grey England Skies

Cloudy days, colder nights

And your heart’s not right

On the way home, I’m reminded of the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, a kind of unique beauty of the imperfect and transient. The fading vase of tulips or the ‘grey England Skies’*

I was thinking how this concept could help me to appreciate moments of imperfect beauty more.  Reading the more detailed description of a wabi-sabi approach to life and aesthetics I was really interested to find out that ‘wabi’ used to be associated with sadness and loneliness, and ‘sabi’ with desolation but the meanings are now transformed to a way of looking at life which accepts transience and looks for beauty in the faded.

In my gap year there are going to be moments of pleasure and beauty which are inherently transient.  I want to really live in those moments rather than grieving their passing.  In myself I feel I need to look for the deeper beauty in a life that has felt weathered and eroded by mental illness.  I still need to learn more about appreciating moments of joy amidst the challenges of parenting a Little One with learning difficulties.  I’m planning to go back to the Welcome Cafe and contemplate those tulips some more, maybe with a notepad and my camera phone.

*Lyrics from England Skies by Shake Shake Go

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