Simply, beauty in imperfection.

Ann, a twenty-something married woman, lives with anxiety and phobias, afraid to walk outside the confines of her home. She is the prisoner and Fear is the unrelenting warden. It is difficult for her to embrace enough energy or desire to even bathe or shower. Yet, inside the shattered shell of mind and body resides an artistic energy that is compassionate, humorous and sharp witted. Her neighbors walk past her home without so much as a knock on her door or quick telephone call to say “Hello, how are you today?” An opportunity they lose to learn that she crafts unique abstract plush creations to raise money for a myriad of causes, including, among others, assistance for animals that have been abandoned, abused or neglected.

There should be no suffering for any creature except for what they accept for themselves … each individual soul on the highest level of our being could, and sometimes did, select to be born into an imperfect body; they often came to teach and influence the lives they touched.
– Marlo Morgan

Joe, a 55 year-old Veteran, is a double-amputee. He lost his legs in the war, unable to run or walk away from danger, or run towards the open arms of loved ones, as an ordinary person. Many park visitors pass him by, as he sits in his rusty wheelchair, without so much as a second of eye contact. An opportunity they lose to learn about all the lives he saved while serving others overseas, the schools and hospitals he helped build there, or the skills he passed on to those suppressed by poverty.

Tina, a single woman in her 30’s, has had weight and esteem issues all her life. Her doctor tells her she is severely obese and must lose weight or suffer severe medical problems … or worse … early death. Walking up a flight of steps takes so much energy because of the weight bearing down on her muscles, bones, heart and lungs. Many walk by her with snickers or sneers on their faces, which she interprets as criticism and judgment. An opportunity they lose to learn about her amazing ability to sing with a lark-like voice, belting out harmonious melodies that wash away the woes of others.

Now, let’s take a trip to eastern Asia to learn about wabi-sabi. In Japan, there is a philosophical concept called wabi-sabi which originates from Zen Buddhism and Taoism. Its basic tenet honors that which is simple and unpretentious (wabi) and the beauty of age and much use (sabi). Author Leonard Koren described it as “a beauty of all things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is the beauty of things modest and humble. It is the beauty of things unconventional.” For example, in each of our homes, we have things that are imperfect, yet beautiful, such as children’s artwork, an old quilt passed down from generation to generation, with frayed edges and discoloration, or even an old piece of jewelry or vase that has been patched or repaired. They all have wabi-sabi; they all have a unique allure. This can be applied to people, too.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.- Confucius

Beauty comes in all shapes, colors and sizes.  For example, something as simple as a cloud can be the most mesmerizing.  Have you ever seen a perfectly shaped cloud, equally proportionate and exactly the same dimension on all sides or saturated with the same color throughout?   What about a tree? Its branches and leaves grow in all directions, never exactly the same. It may have one or more branch missing or its trunk will be crooked, flawed, or not, all adding uniqueness to its charm. Unless intentionally tended to or trimmed, a tree takes the shape in which nature encourages it to grow.

With sincere awareness, respect, and kindness, you can make someone’s life a little bit easier. Acceptance of the imperfections in all persons, places and things opens up limitless opportunities to experience the beauty in all.

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