Dec 6 ADVENTure

Wabi-Sabi: ADVENTure Count-Update

By Chris Dunmire | Posted 6/3/23 | Updated 11/27/23


Okay, so after hiring a dozen retired elves to help me build this 25-day ADVENTure, I quickly learned that not all elves are the same, and that Santa Helper elves are a specialization.

That's okay, diversity is good. I have on staff a couple of former Keebler® elves certified in fudge and three shoe-making bird-elves who can lace eight eyelets in five seconds.

Whatever O'ClockSo far, I'm only concerned about the former Elf on the Shelf who just wants to sit around and the retirees who had a "Whatever O'Clock" hanging on the wall during our Zoom interviews.

I know finding good help is hard these days, so am appreciative of the crew I got on such short notice. Our top priority is to get these daily ADVENTures out to you on time. Besides, the former Elvis impersonator on staff who keeps singing "Green Felt Shoes" is keeping it light around here.

By the way, you may have noticed Spills — one of Badonsky's 9 Modern Day Muses — show up on the fourth, due to at least two errors she found in the email I sent to kick-off the calendar on day one.

We chatted, and Spills reminded me that she's an important part of this grand, time-sensitive creative project we're pulling off this month and that perfectionism can go into the fireplace and up the chimney while we embrace the beauty of practice, process, and imperfection.

She also suggested I could relax about potential future mistakes by making a game out of it and announcing that you should expect to find at least 12 more "learning moments" before this is all over. Game on!

A Lesson in Kaizen-Musing

The Tea on Spills


Venn DiagramPractice relaxing more around mistakes by re-framing them as "learning moments."

Learning is a gift and a lifelong companion that enables growth, changed perspective, and deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Learning and "Wabi-sabi", a fascinating Japanese worldview on the acceptance of transience and imperfection, go hand-in-hand.

I gained an appreciation for this idea from artist and creativity coach Quinn McDonald who says it is easier to recognize than to define. In her essay Wabi-Sabi and the Dance of Life she beautifully writes:

That fragile moment of recognition is part of Wabi-sabi, a Japanese word. Wabi-sabi is the beauty of things impermanent and incomplete. It contains a poignant ache and a profound appreciation for things modest and humble.

'Sabi' was first used to describe a feeling of muted, subtle beauty in the Japanese haiku of the 12th and 13th century. 'Wabi' was originally the resolved acceptance needed to face hardship and fear.

By the 15th and 16th centuries it changed to emphasize the gentle pleasures of simplicity, a recognition of beauty in simple things, achieved without wealth, connections, and power. As an esthetic, it honors things imperfect and unconventional. Wabi-sabi is a term hard to define and beautiful to live.

See if you might embrace the Wabi-sabiness of learning moments this week. As dynamic beings, we are different creatures from day to day. We really are evolving slowly moment-to-moment and can guide that evolution by intention and focus.

Relax more knowing that you're never alone. Spills will faithfully and unapologetically hold you space for practice, process, and imperfection.

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