Have a Wabi Sabi Christmas (and a good enough New Year) | Episode 13

Have a Wabi Sabi Christmas (and a good enough New Year) | Episode 13

In the final episode of this season, Kimber talks about letting go of perfection through the holidays and the beautiful Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi. 

The article by Omar Itani referenced in this episode is called 5 Teachings From The Japanese Wabi Sabi Philosophy That Can Drastically Improve Your Life and can be found here.


Have a Wabi Sabi Christmas

[00:00:00] Kimber: Welcome back to the Just Be Your Bad Self podcast, where you get to show up imperfectly , make space for your authentic self, remember your inner child and sink into the magic of the present moment. I'm your host, Kimber Dutton, and today I'm going to talk to you about the Japanese philosophy, Wabi Sabi. As some of you have probably noticed my introduction to this podcast has flip-flopped back and forth a little bit between this idea of remember your inner child sink into the magic moment and, , show up for the world by showing up for ourselves.

[00:00:41] And I've decided I'm going to keep both introductions because. The content in my episodes sometimes reflect a different introduction and this podcast is about all of it, but I didn't want to make the introduction, just this huge long list of everything. So I'm just going to flip back and forth between the two, but today, for sure.

[00:01:03] This idea of showing up in perfectly making space for your authentic self, remembering your inner child sinking into the magic of the present moment is very much what we're going to talk about today with this idea of wabi-sabi. Now wabi-sabi is a term that I had not heard of when I started this podcast.

[00:01:23] My aunt Chandra is the one who introduced me to it in response to something I posted. I think it might have been podcast episode, , it might've been the one that I did about perfection isn't the point. I think that's the one she was responding to the last solo episode that I did.

[00:01:41] And, and she said something about wabi-sabi and I was like, what is that? I've never heard of that before. And she gave me a really brief explanation and then I went and looked it up and. It's like the answer to this podcast. It is such a beautiful philosophy. And so that's what I'm going to talk to you about today.

[00:02:00] Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy it's made of two different words and just everyone knows most of what. I'm pulling from, is this article by Omar Atani, he's got a blog and he has a whole beautiful article called five teachings from the Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy that can drastically improve your life.

[00:02:23] I will link to it in the show notes, but when you hear me quoting things, it's this article that I'm quoting. I will link to it in the show notes. So this concept of wabi-sabi it's made out of two Japanese words, Wabi Sabi, they're two separate concepts and Wabi is about recognizing the beauty in humble simplicity.

[00:02:45] It's about separating from materialism and experiencing the spiritual richness. And then Sabi is more about the passage of time, the way all things grow, age, decay, and then how that manifests itself, beautifully in objects. And it suggests that beauty is hidden beneath the surface of what we actually see, even in what we initially perceive as broken.

[00:03:09] So those of you who have heard of the arts of. I think you pronounce it kintsugi it's that art where you if a parts or a precious item is dropped and broken into pieces, that it is repaired again with, with gold and a glued together with gold. And it's more beautiful because of the brokenness. It's kind of highlighting that.

[00:03:34] That is a very, very Sabi principal. So together wabi-sabi is about accepting what is staying in the present moment, appreciating simplicity and aging and decay, all these things, these transient stages of life. And I thought this would be such a good topic. To cover as we're entering into this holiday season.

[00:03:58] I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a hunch that I am not alone in all of my perfectionistic tendencies going crazy once, there's a lot of pressure that comes on at this time, late November, December rolls around. It's a fun time, but especially as an adult who is in a caregiver role, I find there's a lot of pressure that comes on at this time, to get the decorations up, to have beautiful traditions and wrap the presents beautifully.

[00:04:30] And for me, I have little kids at home, so. I just called my husband this morning, actually, and just vented to him. Like, I don't know what to do. We have so much stuff already. We don't have room in our little house for all the stuff we have. Our kids don't put it away and yet I'm expected to get more stuff for them that's probably just going to end up on my floor, but I want them to be able to be happy and open presents on Christmas, but I don't want to have to go through figuring out what to get rid of and, , just getting more stuff that we don't have a place for. Oh, probably some of you are stressed out.

[00:05:04] Just listening to me say this. I can feel my muscles getting tense. Like this is, this is a very stressful time. And then on top of it, , you want it to be beautiful and meaningful and, and this time of family and traditions, but there's a lot of pressure. There's a lot of perfectionism that comes into play.

[00:05:22] And so I thought this would be a great topic to talk about this idea of simplicity and living in the moment. And. Not needing or expecting perfection. Okay. So back to wabi-sabi I want to read a little bit more from this article. One of the things, one of the five lessons and I highly, I highly encourage you to go and read this article because I'm not going to read it in full, but it is a fabulous article.

[00:05:51] I highly encourage you to go read it. But one of the five lessons that it states that we can learn from wabi-sabi is this idea that all things in life, including you are in an imperfect state of flux, so strive, not for perfection, but for excellence instead it says. And I'm just going to read this whole passage because I think it is such, it echoes, echoes very strongly back to my very first episode about matter of life and death.

[00:06:18] When I'm talking about this feeling of never enough, never enough, never enough. It echoes very strongly back to that. So I'm just going to read this passage. If everything in nature is always changing, then nothing can ever be absolutely complete. . And since perfection is a state of completeness, then nothing can ever be perfect.

[00:06:36] Hence the wabi-sabi philosophy teaches us that all things including us and life itself are impermanent, incomplete, and imperfect. The problem, however, is that our flawed ways of thinking have now blurred our understanding of what perfection really is open up a thesaurus and search for the antonyms for perfect. And you'll find the following words. Corrupt inferior. Poor second rate, inept broken wrong, bad. My goodness. All this negativity, no wonder we've become so obsessed with seeking perfection. We sculpt the perfect body based on what society deems. It must look like to pass that test to perfection. We seek the perfect career path and the perfect partner based on someone else's definition of that.

[00:07:24] Perfect. And as creators, we procrastinate until eternity before ever releasing that imperfect piece of art in 2020, the global anti-aging market was estimated to be worth about 60 billion us dollars. And I'm taking a break from the article really quick. That is so mind blowing. Like our brains can't even hold the concept of a billion in our head.

[00:07:47] We don't have any clue how much that is. It's it's a ton. Billion dollars. Okay. Back to the article, people are desperate to look younger, but isn't growing old, the natural cycle of life? Isn't aging with the passage of time, a thing of beauty, all of this is happening because we've been fed this false narrative that we're not good at.

[00:08:09] And we've accepted this opinion. That's not even our own, we've allowed it to define us. And now we chase that illusion of perfection thinking it will make us feel worthy and good enough inside ourselves. But here's the reality check. Perfection does not exist because imperfection is the natural state of life.

[00:08:29] You are whole the entirety of you as you are in order to eliminate this negative stigma around imperfection, we first need to completely reject it as being the opposite of that fictional construct that is perfection. We need to write a new narrative that reads imperfection is not a compromise imperfection is the only way because imperfection is the true nature of things.

[00:08:56] Ah, that just gives me. Chills that imperfection. Isn't the opposite of perfect. It doesn't mean we're broken wrong, bad. All of these, all of these antonyms that you'd find in the Thesaurus it's, it's the only way. It's the true nature of things. Perfection does not exist and I'm going to quote, something else that Omar Itani says here.

[00:09:19] He says, no, Palm tree is perfectly shaped. Yet. We Marvel at the beauty with which it stands. No seashell is perfectly drawn yet. We Marvel at the beauty with which it curves, accept and appreciate yourself as you are today in your natural state, just like you would a tree in the forest, a flower in the garden, or a seashell by the shore.

[00:09:42] You are the entirety of you. You are whole. And you are beautiful. Ah, I obviously, I can't love that enough, this, this idea, this wabi-sabi principle so encapsulates the whole point of this podcast, which is we are whole, we are all whole, we are all beautiful and none of us are perfect because perfection doesn't exist.

[00:10:13] And I want to go into another one of these five lessons that this article goes through which is to be content exactly where you are with all that you already have is to be happy. And here's what the article says. Modern day society is obsessed with finding happiness. Honestly, I was a victim of this myself.

[00:10:33] I spend a significant portion of my young adult life pursuing the next big thing, the next big job, the next big startup, the next big move to a new country. And every time I overworked myself to arrive at where I thought I wanted to be this wave. Emptiness washed over me. This wave of hopelessness is what Harvard positive psychology Tal Ben-Shahar coined as the arrival fallacy, the illusion that once we make it, once we attain our goal or reach our destination, we will reach the lasting happiness.

[00:11:04] But of course that's not the case because compulsive goal setting does not lead to happiness. It leads to a mindless and stressful game of fetch. The truth is our obsession with seeking happiness has blinded us to what happiness actually. And emotion. It's just another emotion we feel happy and unhappy just as how we feel angry, sad, scared, or excited.

[00:11:26] You can't be happy all the time just as how you can't be excited all the time. So what's the problem with chasing success? First, it will always evade you. Second, it's virtually impossible to be happy all the time. This is where the final wabi-sabi teaching comes in on a 17th century , which is a water basin stone at the Ryoanji temple in Kyoto

[00:11:48] there's an ancient inscription where four Chinese characters are written on this. Red alone. These characters are of no significance, but when combined with the borders of the central square, they can be read as water ta-da Tara washy, Ru, which means I only know plenty, or I only know contentment. I only know contentment.

[00:12:10] Isn't that so powerful to be content with the emotion of anger, just as how you are usually content with the emotion of excitement. To be content with the state of sadness, just as how you were incredibly content with the state of happiness. But how about a more poetic translation to that? Inscription?

[00:12:27] How about rich is the person who is content with who he is or what he has, or how about this? What I have is all I need. You see the root of all unhappiness is born from being discontent. Discontent with where you are and what you have. It really is as simple as that. The root of all Unhappiness is born from spending all your waking hours, casting your gaze out into the distant future and looking outside your life, instead of opening your eyes to the present and looking inside it to be content with what you have and where you are is to be grateful. To be content with what you have and where you are while working toward what you want and fully trusting that you can achieve it is to be intentional. And through gratitude, intention, and action you find happiness.

[00:13:15] And I love that. I, I keep thinking back to the episode I did with. Ana Mercado where she says that after she's gone through this whole journey of authenticity, and now she's living her life as a trans woman that. I think she said it kind of annoys her when people say things like, but it's not true happiness, or it's not true joy.

[00:13:37] And I love when she said, yeah, it's not because that doesn't exist. No, one's happy all the time. We all go through all of the emotions. And one thing that I've been really working on for myself this past couple of months is just this idea of I'm I'm content with who I am or I'm content with what I have, including these feelings of anger.

[00:13:59] Sadness, boredom, hopelessness. These are all emotions that we all go through and I've really been working with myself to just sit in them and to know that that's part of life. One of my very favorite Buddhist stories as the story of least, I think it's a Buddhist story. Maybe it's not, because I think it's about king Solomon, the story of king Solomon and how he was just.

[00:14:27] So depressed. He was so depressed and he offered some great reward to anybody that could help him come out of this depression and all the Wiseman from all across the land tried to find ways to bring him out of this depression. And finally, someone found a ring that had an inscription on the inside of it and brought it to king Solomon and brought king Solomon out of this depression.

[00:14:51] He was happy. Yeah. And I hope I'm telling this right. And I'm hoping it was king Solomon, but regardless the message of the story is the same. So this king comes out of this depression and here's what was transcribed on the ring on the inside of the ring. It just said this too shall pass. And then it seems like later in the story, he read the ring again and he became depressed again.

[00:15:15] And the idea of this story is. This too shall pass our happiness. Doesn't last forever. Our sadness doesn't last forever. Our anger doesn't last forever. Our excitement doesn't last forever. And if we can know on this, this comes right back to this idea of wabi-sabi. Nothing is permanent. Nothing is, nothing is perfect.

[00:15:35] We're all growing. We're all changing. We're always in a transient state. That's part of what it is to be human that's part of what it is to be. Any kind of organic creatures, we are always changing, growing, getting older decaying learning and this too shall pass, which is, which is why. Once again, I used my original introduction on this episode, this idea of sinking into the magic of the present moment, this idea of what I have is all I need.

[00:16:05] And I think that's the thought that I want to leave you with as you go into this. A happy, sad, exciting, stressful, magical, depressing time of year. All the emotions come up at this time of year. And if you can just sit with this idea of what I have is all I need and not try so hard to have the perfect holiday and, and let it be whatever it is.

[00:16:35] And just try to sit with that. You don't need to feel obligated. I love this. One of my friends posted something on Facebook that said something to the effect of you are not obligated to continue traditions that leave you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or broke. You can let this holiday season be what it is and that's okay.

[00:16:57] I decided just this morning that this episode was going to be my last one of this season. I have about eight more episodes already recorded, and I'm really excited to share them with you, but for my own sanity, this holiday season, I'm going to take a little break from airing podcast episodes every week.

[00:17:16] So this'll be the last episode of the season. I will. Start back up in January. And so hopefully you'll all come back and join me, then bring some friends. The best way to the best way to help me and support this podcast. If it's something that resonates with you is to share it. And those of you who have, honestly, I know I say this at the end of every episode, but you have my heart.

[00:17:41] It means so much to me, this podcast. Anybody that asks me about it. I always say it just is totally lighting me up. I'm so excited about it. I get to meet and talk with the coolest people about the coolest things. It's like super personal growth for me. And then I get to share it with you. And there's nothing I love more. It is incredibly time-consuming. I did not know that going into podcasting how much time or money that it takes to have a podcast. It takes quite a bit of time and money. I love it and I will continue doing it, but because of that, your support and when you share it, it just, it really makes it feel worth it, like, so worth it to me.

[00:18:25] When you, when you give me feedback, when you leave a review, those of you that subscribe and listen every week, I cannot tell you. How meaningful that is to me on this end. And thank you really sincerely from the bottom of my heart.

[00:18:41] Before I sign out for the year I wanted to talk to you a little bit more about the retreat that will be holding. January since I haven't really gone into detail about it on this podcast yet. So the retreat will be held from January 21st to 23rd. This go round. It is a women's retreat in the future.

[00:19:02] We'll be doing different themes, different crowds, but This particular one is a women's retreat and the women who are coming are just powerful, awesome women. It'll be worth it just to hang out with the people that are coming. Honestly, it's going to be incredible. and this is that retreat where you get to just be your bad self. You can show up in your pajamas, you can sleep in until 11 you name it. Anna Beck and Jen Kane who have been on my podcast will be clinicians at this retreat.

[00:19:33] They'll be doing workshops around inner child healing. Self-love there will be yoga. We'll have massage therapists there. And for this first go round, this is our beta run. So we are offering a, that base level of ticket at only $500 for three days, sleeping arrangements included food included, workshops included and this is the lowest that these retreats will ever cost. So if this sounds fun to you, this is the retreat to get on board with this very first one. The price is incredibly low right now. the retreats are just going to keep getting cooler and better, , and we are going to raise the prices. I promise you, If you come to any of these you will be getting your money's worth. I am bringing the coolest of the cool people that I want to learn from.

[00:20:25] And I just want to be able to share that with everyone. So these retreats are going to be awesome. We are going to be offering a day pass. I know some of you have reached out to me that you wish you could come, but you've had a conflict on one of the days.

[00:20:39] This day pass will be good for Saturday. And that is the day that a lot of this stuff will be happening. We'll be doing a yoga in the morning. We'll be having a workshop with Jen. We might go on a hike up water canyon, which is kind of the backyard of Zion, these beautiful red rocks. And then in the evening, we'll be having a paint night with yours, truly where I'll be teaching you all, how to paint bad portraits which is my style of painting. If you've seen the cover of my podcast, the paintings on the border, those are all my bad portraits and we're gonna have a blast laughing, painting, being our authentic selves. So you should come. Husbands, if you were looking for a fun christmas present for your wives that will make her so excited. This is it. What woman wouldn't want to get away for a few days, not have to worry about preparing any meals, get a massage, interact with other awesome, incredibly powerful women.

[00:21:38] This will be the Christmas gift of the year, for sure. We do have just a few spots open. So if you're interested in. Don't wait book quickly. You can reach out to me via Instagram, or you can go to the website, just be your bad self.com and send me an email through the contact form there.

[00:21:59] It's going to be fabulous. We would love to have you there. I've got some super exciting announcements coming in January when I start this podcast back up.

[00:22:08] So be sure to listen in for those and yeah, man, invitation this week is just, Wabi Sabi up this holiday season, live in the moment. Be content with what you have. Don't try to make the holiday season anything. It isn't. And that's it from me. For the year now, just be your bad self.