Published monthly by Sharon Eakes, Hope Unlimited, LLC
FOCUS: Wabi-Sabi
Disciplines: Mental Models, Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

"Wabi-sabi emphasizes direct, intuitive insight into truth beyond all intellectual conception." Wikipedia


I love to learn about words and ideas in one language that don't exactly translate into another. Often they hold clues to world views in one culture that are uncommon in the other. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept without a clear English translation. So people talk around it, describing it in many ways. It refers to the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. The beauty of things modest, humble, unconventional. Some say "rustic" is the closest word we have in English. Wabi-sabi embodies the idea of natural process, such as the beauty that comes to wood or leather as it ages. Wabi-sabi is about simplicity in both material things and insights. At the core of wabi-sabi is the importance of transcending usual ways of looking at and thinking about things, about existence.

When I try to grasp this quite wonderful concept, many images come to mind:
--> Fall leaves - glorious and then blown away
--> A not-quite-finished book
--> Hal's 34 year old leather cap that is softened with age and molded perfectly to his head
--> A passing phase
--> A wrinkled face
--> Deep, heart-felt sadness
--> A fading flower
--> A spontaneous smile
--> Sand castles

I'm not at all sure I grasp the full import of this concept, but I think if I lived a wabi-sabi world view, I would stay very much in the present. I would see the beautiful in things and experiences, while not trying to hold onto them.


1. Look for the beauty in what is imperfect.
2. Embrace every beautiful moment or thing, even as it changes.
3. Commit to a way of seeing the world that accepts what is.


There will not be a telegathering this month, because I'm heading to California for two great conferences, first the International Coach Federation Conference and then the Systems Thinking in Action Conference. Hope to see many of you there. E-mail me your thoughts about Wabi-sabi.
Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone.

Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

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