Mogami’s Five Wellness Principles Explored
In this Japanese wellness deep-dive series, we explore each of Mogami's five Japanese wellness principles in depth. Today we are taking a look at Wabi-Sabi 侘び寂び.
What is Wabi-Sabi 侘び寂び?
In the realm of Japanese wellness, there exists a concept that celebrates imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness—Wabi-Sabi. Derived from Zen Buddhism and deeply rooted in Japanese culture, Wabi-Sabi offers valuable insights into how we can authentically embrace ourselves and find beauty in life's transient nature. While Wabi-Sabi is most prominently known as a design concept, in this blog, we will embark on a deep dive into the essence of Wabi-Sabi, exploring its principles and uncovering its connection to our journey of self-acceptance and well-being.
At its core, Wabi-Sabi urges us to appreciate the beauty of imperfection and the inevitability of change. It emphasizes simplicity, humility, and a genuine connection to the present moment. Wabi-Sabi encourages us to embrace the flaws, asymmetry, and irregularities found in nature and everyday life. It teaches us that beauty can be found in the weathered surfaces, the fading colours, and the cracks of existence.
Wabi-Sabi and Authenticity
Authenticity is a fundamental aspect of Wabi-Sabi philosophy. In a world that often demands perfection and masks our true selves, Wabi-Sabi reminds us to be genuine and embrace our imperfections. It encourages us to let go of societal expectations and cultivate a deep sense of self-acceptance. By embracing our unique quirks, scars, and vulnerabilities, we unlock the power to live authentically and grow meaningful connections with both ourselves and others.
Impermanence and Mindfulness
Impermanence, a central theme in Wabi-Sabi, teaches us to cherish the present moment and appreciate the transient nature of life. By recognizing that everything is in a constant state of change, we learn to let go of attachments and find solace in the ebb and flow of existence. Mindfulness, a practice deeply intertwined with Wabi-Sabi, allows us to be fully present, savouring the beauty and richness of each passing moment.
Embracing the Incomplete
In a world that values goals and achievements, Wabi-Sabi teaches us to find beauty in the incomplete. It encourages us to embrace the journey rather than obsess over the destination. By accepting that life is a continuous process of growth and transformation, we can let go of the pressure to achieve perfection. In this acceptance, we find freedom and a deeper sense of fulfilment.
To incorporate Wabi-Sabi principles into our lives, we can:
Cultivate a journey mindset: When we are destination-obsessed, we can feel intense happiness when we reach a certain goal, which has proven short-lived and unfulfilling. Shift your perspective to a "journey" mindset, where we see life as a long continuum, focusing on your life vision vs achievements.
Build awareness of your "perfectionism" traps: Reflect on your current lifestyle and see where the need for perfection is showing up. Examples of perfectionism can be where you are an "all or nothing" person, you procrastinate, you are highly critical, or you are full of guilt.
Embrace imperfections: Instead of striving for flawlessness, recognize and celebrate the uniqueness and beauty of imperfections in ourselves and our surroundings.
Declutter and simplify: Create space for tranquillity by removing unnecessary possessions and embracing minimalism. The work of Marie Kondo (https://konmari.com/about-marie-kondo/) or Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus also known as the Minimalists (https://www.theminimalists.com/) is a great way to start this process.
Find beauty in the ordinary: Train your eyes to appreciate the subtle details, the natural patterns, and the understated elegance surrounding us.
The Mogami 最上 Wrap-Up
Wabi-Sabi offers a profound perspective on wellness, reminding us to embrace our authentic selves and find beauty in life's imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete aspects. By embodying the principles of Wabi-Sabi, we can cultivate a deeper sense of well-being, acceptance, and gratitude for the simple joys that unfold in each moment. Let us embark on this journey of self-discovery and embrace the art of being authentically imperfect.
Japan, as a country known for its longevity, offer concepts that can empower your wellbeing today. Wabi-Sabi is very much part of it. At Mogami, we have five core Japanese wellness concepts that we focus on to understand this holistic wellbeing approach.
If you are curious to learn more about Wabi-Sabi 侘び寂び & Japanese wellness:
Subscribe to Mogami's Newsletter which includes our "Ikigai Spotlight Series", where we interview Japanese individuals on their Ikigai and provide exclusive early access to our content.
About Saori Okada, Founder of Mogami 最上 Wellness
Saori Okada is the Founder of Mogami (最上), a Japanese wellness brand headquartered in London (U.K.). Saori's work focuses on "Mogami's wellness puzzle", which includes five core Japanese wellness centred around longevity, authenticity, and mindfulness. Mogami works with individuals and companies to strengthen their company's wellbeing from the inside out.
Saori received her B.S. in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and her coaching training as a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach from the Institute of Transformational Nutrition. Saori also holds her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from PMI and is a 20-year student of Japanese calligraphy, given the calligraphy name Seisen (星洗). She is also the author of a narrative memoir titled "Until the Death of Me", where she bravely shares her eating disorder recovery journey. After a successful 7-year corporate career in media analytics in New York City and Toronto, Saori moved to London to start Mogami in August 2021.
Thank you to Masaaki Komari for the photography used in this blog. You can learn more about his work here.