Photo by Hazel Walker

I have been reading and enjoying Beth Kempton’s book, Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life. I have so many take aways from this book that I plan to start a reading circle to read and discuss it in community. 

As my heart opens to receive the healing wisdom from the wabi sabi lifestyle so prevalent in Japan, I can’t help but fill pages and pages in my journal. As a matter of fact, I’ve nearly filled one whole blank book with quotes and then “What this Means to Me” (WMM) as written assimilation to let the quote sink deeply into my core.

Here is one such quote: 

“Recognition of what we already have is the key to contentment . . . [don’t] fill up your schedule in pursuit of the perfect version that has sucked you in, instead of taking the time to figure out what really matters to you.

“Ware tada taru o shiru — I have everything I need.”

WMM — I can be who I am and do not have to struggle to try to be more or bigger or better. It is this lack of a sense of “ware tada taru o shiru” in my life that found me moving into a faster and faster rhythm only to crash in some way, and be forced to slow back down, only to find myself in the faster rhythm again before too long.

Two years ago, when I learned I was going on a healing journey from metastatic breast cancer, I knew instinctively I MUST slow my life down. I created a new best friend: the Healing Bubble. My Healing Bubble was a new way for me to be in the world. The Healing Bubble did not include notifications from my iPhone or iPad. It did not include answering unscheduled phone calls at any time from anyone (my husband Ivan, Mom and Dad, and my kids were the only exceptions). The Healing Bubble did not include double booking my time, filling every minute with plans, appointments, webinars — so much so that some days I got to the end of the day and realized I had not even allowed time for a shower! Really?! Yes, I am not kidding you. 

Now two years later, if I’m honest, I can see the same pattern beginning to emerge. I have observed myself over the more than half a century I have been alive trying to fill up every minute as if I am going to miss out on something if I don’t. Before this pattern takes hold of me again, I say: “Ware tada taru o shiru — I have everything I need.”

Now that healing has manifested, I want to STAY SLOW, so that I do not repeat the need my body may create later to put on the brakes once again, because I know that is how the body gets my attention to care well for her. I have never turned my iPhone’s ringer back on, never allowed those notifications to ping me left and right, coming and going, but I have allowed my schedule to become too full. 

I hear the Healing Bubble calling softly to me, and I gratefully come back inside to experience the calm, peaceful energy of a life lived more slowly. 

“Ware tada taru o shiru — I have everything I need.”