The Beauty of Imperfection

Written on February 29, 2020

The drive to perfection is pervasive. It slips into every nook and cranny in my life. Kitchen counters, clothes-organized-by-color in closets, stellar achievements. It even tried to seep into my head watching my 7 year-old-son’s basketball team that I coach underperforming. Having a drive to be successful and work hard is amazing. But so often it tows (and often crosses) the line into over-competiveness and unhealthy need for perfection.

And what is the deal with perfection anyway? Live in the perfect home, have the perfect career, sculpt a perfect body, date/marry the perfect person, have the best dressed kids/win every award/achieve/achieve/achieve.

Strive. Strive. Strive.

And for what?

What are we losing? What are we giving up? And worst of all what are we missing out on as a result?

The science proves it and these days there is no lack of studies- money, success, and awesome things DO NOT CAUSE HAPPINESS!

So why do we keep on doing it? Why do we keep pushing for more? And then more and then more.

Hedonic adaptation is definitely part of it. Get something good in your life, get used to it, need more to reach that next level, then reach it, get used to that and so on.

But this is a post on wabi-sabi and see how long my ego kept me from getting to it? I could go into the research on how to beat or pare down hedonic adaptation (and I definitely can in a future post), but for now I’d rather side swipe it and skip to wabi-sabi.

According to Collins Dictionary wabi-sabi is a Japanese term loosely translated as “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.”

What a drop dead gorgeous and completely intimidating concept for this American born and raised girl.

Find beauty in the imperfect.

That sentence could stand alone. I can imagine flipping through Instagram and just seeing that sentence show up on EVERY SINGLE POST! Maybe just that phrase with a rainbow of background colors behind it. Or maybe that phrase with an elegant and potent image unique to each poster that really drives home the POWER of celebrating the beauty of what is already there. The beauty of DROPPING all the striving, angling, positioning, wanting and wishing.

Proud but not satisfied.

I am proud of where I am. Life isn’t perfect, but I am doing the best I can. I am enjoying what I have and what life surrounds me with. And I am following my dreams and passions in a way that supports me and those around me. No one is perfect.

A perfect life is an illusion.

And if you are around people who claim to have it or claim they can teach you how to have it I call shenanigans!

Find yourself some real people who admit their life sucks sometimes but keep getting back up, holding their head high (or as high as possible that day), and give it their best try. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. You learn more from losing.

I have learned so much from wabi-sabi and am just a novice. It’s my word of the year and I still study it more and practice it more. But along my journey I want to cherish where I am. Life is fleeting. Moments slip away into memory faster than blinking and I just want to know that I’ve given it my all. I will fail. I will fumble. But I will never give up my pursuit of happiness. And wabi-sabi will be my secret tool to use along the way.

It will be my light saber guiding me in times of darkness to fight off the evil intuitions my mind sometimes pulls up. I will honor myself and those around me in celebrating the ultimate beauty in life, aka imperfection.

My soul has spilled out on this page for you and for me. I will reread this lots of times and shake my head and feel it in my heart. Tears slide down my cheeks as I type this. I just want to leave my all on the court. I want to give my all. I want to make a difference. I want that for the entire planet. I want us all to come together in love and acceptance and drop all this crap and hate and intolerance. We are the same. Let’s build each other up. Let’s work together as one team.

Think of the generations that living like that could become. Think of the love, the power, a universal team. I pray for that….

EPILOGUE: April 24, 2020

I wrote this post above on Leap Day, February 29, 2020, well before COVID-19 was running its tidal wave across the world, before it was even called COVID. It’s unreal how much has changed yet how much of the above is even more relevant now. People are sheltering in place. We are being forced to slow down and face imperfection and the cycle of life. We are realizing all we took for granted.

We are facing new challenges and stresses, and we are facing them alone due to social distancing. Each day there are new facets of this pandemic that become apparent. But I am going to do like Mr. Rogers said, and look for the hero’s. I am going to keep sharing my #WeWriteTheStory2020 games each day and posting Sanity Hacks in hopes that we can sneak in even a moment of play, joy or connection.

I’d love to hear what you have been learning about embracing the beauty of imperfection during this time so please comment below or shoot me message on my blog or my instagram @chasinghavers.

We can do this, one day at a time, one moment at a time…