keeping it real

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You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

I’m trying to think of an example of when my mother would say that. Maybe mending. Maybe about someone I wanted to change. Maybe it was the day Dad painted the old refrigerator pink.

I’m sitting in my tiny living room looking at the beautiful new baby blue tile backsplash in my kitchen. The bamboo faced cupboards are installed beneath the red counter top. The walls are painted a delicious yellow. It is beautiful.

Now my contractor/friend is bugging me and the landlord to replace the older white stove with a sleek, shiny stainless steel stove to match the other and only new appliance – an under the counter refrigerator. This morning I looked at the offender that boiled the water for my morning coffee and thought “Baby, you are keeping it real.”

I’ve been labeling the bumpy old walls which no amount of sanding and painting will disguise, Wabi-Sabi. I know very little about this Japanese concept which has been taken by Westerners to mean many things – often to sell something. The following quotes are taken from a discussion of the concept by architect Tadao Ando. “Putting the two words and concepts together translates something like the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all.

“Wabi-sabi is not a decorating “style” but rather a mind-set. Creating a wabi-sabi home is the direct result of developing our wabigokoro, or wabi mind and heart: living modestly, learning to be satisfied with life as it can be once we strip away the unnecessary, living in the moment. ~ Tadao Ando*

Mr. Ando’s detailed description of this old and newly-blended concept has not convinced me that the old stove has to stay. But, for now, “It is enough if the house does not leak and the food keeps hunger away. This is the teaching of the Buddha-the true meaning of chado.” (Rikyu’s sacred tea text, Nanporoku.)*

Keeping it real, Baby!

* Mr. Ando suggests “reading the wonderful book this description comes from: the wabi-sabi house,the Japanese art of imperfect beauty” by Robyn Griggs Lawrence. Robyn’s book puts it in perspective, using evocative descriptions of modern designs using salvaged materials and (local?) artisan wares.”


About Marian Methner, B.S., D.Min.

Polydox: accepting that we are many labels, I am mother of 4, mother in law (love) of 4 and grandmother of 5. My life is a collection of bits and starts. I was recently on the road for over a year exploring ideas of living in shared housing. A recent summer course in Permaculture design, solidifed my interest in "social permaculture" or ways we interact not only with our Earthly environment but also with each other. I am back Bellingham, Washington, in a small rental house, owned by my ex husband, talk about shared housing, practicing living in community with family, and friends. My doctoral dissertation A Map to Living Open Heartedly, centers around making art as a way to healing. Paradoxiclly, a recent diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy) expands this exploration...
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3 Responses to keeping it real

  1. Louise says:

    How delightful Marian. XOXO Louise

  2. Enough is enough. What is enough can change to something more or something less over time, but for now enough is enough.
    And “enough” looks fabulous–alive and vibrant and ready for action.

  3. Did your mom say “enough is enough?’ My dad did, then of course I did… and do.
    Not quite ready for action yet. Grout on Monday, shelves Monday? or Tuesday? Flooring in hallway next week, and so forth and so on.

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