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Home Improvement

February 24, 2011

By Jennifer Chaky

I’ve been in my current home for nine years and I cannot count the number of nights I went to bed mentally running through the list of the things that needed to get done around the house: Refinish hall floors, paint spare room, find piece of furniture to organize clutter by front entrance… In 2009, when I finally finished the eco-friendly kitchen remodel that was so desperately needed (my 1950s countertops had been held up by 2x4s for years) I couldn’t even enjoy the completed project because I was so focused on the tasks that still needed to be done. But my frustration was recently put to rest as I awoke to acceptance and learned to appreciate my seemingly permanent state of “undoneness.”

I think this newfound peace is due to the shift in consciousness I have been undergoing for years. As I became more and more of a “green” person, I cared less about things I “needed” for my home. Even though I still appreciate nice aesthetics and a well-designed space, I now see that things can be beautiful in their unfinished, imperfect state.

It turns out this new philosophy of mine is really an old Japanese philosophy. Wabi Sabi is the Japanese worldview based on the acceptance that things are always in transition. It acknowledges three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. I find this concept comforting. Instead of the old mantra of “newer, bigger, more” let’s go back to simplicity and appreciating what we have and finding the joy in the journey instead of the finished project. Because those projects are never finished anyway.

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