A Virginian mother’s advice and the ancient Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi.

When I was a little girl and things went wrong, my mother always said “This too shall pass.” I can hear her say that in my mind as I type the words. To this day it remains her best advice. Actually, she pops up to tell me it time and again still.

Knowing that storms clear and pain subsides is what got me through bad days as a child and even the most gut wrenching events as an adult.

What I am adding to share with my kids as a parent myself is not something that my mother did not know, but something I did not glean immediately from her words. The good is impermanent as well, so be sure to be grateful for those times and enjoy them as fully as you can. Also, that there is beauty surrounding the pain. If you can look up from yourself in the worst moments and peer around the enemy in front of you, you will see the army of goodness and love dispatched and heading as backup. That is what I saw yesterday when I encountered one stupid ocean after another. I wasn’t drowning because love was lifting me up and so I cried and I worried and I hurt and then I said thanks for all the good that happened that day in between the giant waves.

I bought a book last night and downloaded it to my Kindle app as I just could not think of anything more appropriate to delve into right then than Wabi Sabi, The Japanese Art of Impermanence and did not want to wait to find a paper copy. I also bought another title on Wabi Sabi that came up as recommended because who can’t have enough information about something so lovely?

I am finding a lot of similarities between my Virginian mother’s advice and the ancient Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi. Who knew. I am also seeing the attraction to Wabi Sabi and my love for underwater photography… imperfection, impermanence and flux. They are the things that I can’t deny in life and will need to embrace. You can only stay under for so long.

black and white underwater photo of a girl in a swimming pool

I have just begun to read these books and I can already tell that it is not a concept that can easily be blogged about by a middle aged expat mom with no Japanese historical background, but I will give it a good go. I look forward to seeing what these concepts do to my outlook on life as well as their effect on my art. I doubt I will ever start seeing beauty in misspelled words or “there” used instead of “their”, but I do hope that I will stop seeking perfection and instead value growth…even when it hurts.


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  • Fran - You have no idea how much i needed to hear this today! I will now go hunting for those books. Thank you for sharing!March 10, 2017 – 2:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Fiona Carson - I watched a movie recently called Collateral Beauty. In it, after a death, a lady gives the advice to someone – “be sure to notice the collateral beauty”. It really made me think – and I loved that single line most of all.March 10, 2017 – 2:53 pmReplyCancel