Hi, everybody. Today, I want to talk about a concept called wabi-sabi. I’m going to read the definition, and then I’m going to show you how this relates to betrayal. Ready? In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a worldview centered on the acceptance of transients, and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.

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It is the concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence, specifically impermanence, suffering, and emptiness or absence of self-nurture. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

What I love so much about this concept is it’s a celebration of the imperfect.

I have seen pictures of explanations of wabi-sabi and you will see, let’s say, a vase and the vase has– it’s not just repaired with Elmer’s Glue, it’s repaired with gold and the cracks and the imperfections of it are celebrated. It’s the opposite of what so many of us view or would view as beauty. Let’s say it’s something that looks perfect or sleek, and what’s so beautiful about it is that it’s celebrating the beauty of what’s natural, and the flaws, and all of it.

There’s something prized about things that are handmade and imperfect, and it’s the authenticity and appreciating the nature, and really appreciating what that thing has been through. How does that relate to us? You can talk about this as it relates to someone who’s been through something rough or even thinks about childbirth. You may have this perfect– what you have considered this perfect body beforehand, and then let’s say you’ve had a few babies.

Now, maybe you have some stretch marks, or maybe your hips are a little bit wider, or maybe you have some loose skin, and things like that. There are so many women who look at their body, and they are so aggravated and just discouraged, but think about what that body has been through. Think about what that body has created, and what that body has been able to do and to overcome.

It’s this appreciation of, yes, that body may not be perfect in the eyes of what you would have considered perfect years ago, but look what it was able to do. When you look at, let’s say, just going through any challenge, could be a financial disaster, it could be the death of a loved one. It could be a crisis like abuse, or betrayal, or something like that, where you have been there and back.

You may be looking, saying, “Oh my gosh, look at my life. It’s been completely destroyed. Life as I’ve known it no longer exists.” You know what? Look at this new life that’s been rebuilt and reborn because of your experience.

I’ll tell you, having worked with so many women who have been there and back, there is no one in my eyes more beautiful, truly beautiful, than that woman who has just crashed and burned and lost it all, only to rebuild something so spectacular that she never in a billion years would have created had she not been what she went through.

It’s so easy to look at something beautiful before it’s been through something, but when you have had that experience when you have been blindsided, you have been hurt, you have been shocked or whatever it is, and that life, that old life you had doesn’t exist anymore. Sure, you have every right to sit in it, and you have every right to be miserable, and resentful, and bitter.

It’s when you take that experience, and you say, “You know what? For whatever reason, and I may not even know what it is just yet, but I will figure this out, and I will make meaning out of this, and I’m going to create a new life based on what I’ve been through.” When you have used that to regain your strength and your health, and then you found a new purpose because of it, and you have created new rules, and new boundaries and really a new a new version of you, that to me is the wabi-sabi of life. Not just in creating new beauty out of something like a vase, but creating new beauty out of you, where it is because of those tragedies, and because of those life experiences that you have rebuilt and created something just so magnificent.

Here’s a saying that I just– This was just a quote that I just found so beautiful, “Things wabi-sabi have no need for the reassurance of status or the validation of market culture. They have no need for documentation of provenance. Wabi-sabi in no way depends on knowledge of the creator’s background and personality. In fact, it is best if the creator is no distinction, invisible or anonymous.” That’s Leonard Koren who is a wabi-sabi artist.

When I thought of that concept, and I thought of celebrating the beauty in the imperfection, I thought of every single person who’s been betrayed, who’s been hurt, who’s had the life that they have known, really destroyed, only to create something so new and so different based on it. When we talk about beauty, to me, that’s the beauty. I look at anybody who’s been through something like that as a wabi-sabi version of themselves that never would have been there had their experience not happened.

Instead of looking at how you’d look at your body, let’s say after childbirth, as having been destroyed. No, that’s a wabi-sabi body because look at what it’s done, or a new life after betrayal, where you look at it and say it’s broken. Well, once it’s rebuilt, well, that’s a new life based on what you’ve been through.

Instead of being down on it, look at it and say it is a new version of you, worthy of celebrating where we celebrate all of the imperfections, all of the texture, the roughness, the cracks, the imperfections, something that is rebuilt and reborn because that’s exactly what you have done. I respect you. I have so much admiration for the version of you that you’re creating based on your experience.

Remember, your biggest challenge always reveals your greatest gift. It’s because of that tragedy, a seed of greatness has been planted. What will you do with that seed? Well, that’s up to you. It was just so great sharing this with you today, and share this with a friend if you feel that this is a podcast they can benefit from. Thank you so much. I’ll talk to you next time.



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038: When Betrayals Become Blessings w/ Renee Richetto-Grul