“It is not despite our problems, but because of them that our hearts hold everything we need to be joyful.” Taro Gold
After spending sometime with the goats and chickens yesterday, I began feeling like a disgruntled corn crib renter. All I could see were all of the problems and I started picturing everyone else’s perfect barns. I don’t really know who these perfect barn owners are, but I know their barns are better than mine. I suppose it could be all of those farm magazines I read. If someone was coming to my house to write a story about my farm, I guess I would scrub that sucker down too, put diapers on all of the chickens and goats, and maybe replace the chicken feed bags that keep the wind out with a real tarp. It would probably look pretty darn good, in kind of an Ozarks hillbilly sort of way. I actually started imagining the Animal Welfare folks coming down the driveway with their take-em-away truck because they had gotten wind of the goat turds that are intermittently found floating in our water buckets and the goat’s baking soda dispenser.
Two things happened almost at once later that same day. The first was a memory I had of the day we found this house we call home. I could barely take it all in when my daughters and I drove up the long driveway to the old farmhouse on 1500 acres of land, and there it was… the little red barn within walking distance of the house. At the time, I knew nothing about corn cribs, so it was a barn to me. We looked at the house and I was giddy, but not as giddy as when the gentleman told me that the corn crib was apart of the rental agreement. He slid open the door and I could do nothing but grin. It was a real old barn with rafters full of spider webs, the sun shining and wind blowing through the broken panes of glass of the four square windows and my senses overloaded with joy. I immediately imagined where the chickens would roost and the goats would spend their nights curled up together. It was perfectly imperfect. I won’t ever forget that moment.
At almost the same time that I was contemplating this, the mailman drove up our driveway, and hopped out with a package. In that package was a book from a friend titled, Living Wabi Sabi by Taro Gold.There sat in front of me a book about an ancient Japanese Buddhist philosophy centering around “…the oddities, the perfectly imperfect uniqueness of you and me and everything…the value of objects, events, and the entirety of life “as is” unpolished, unpredictable, and natural.” It is a book about the empowerment of imperfection.
The book begins with the author’s grandma telling him, ” You will grow to be even happier than you can possibly imagine today.” She was right. After reading most of the book early this morning, I did feel tremendous joy about who I am and the life that I am living. There is so much beauty in everything that is imperfect, including you and me. The broken window at the peak of barn is like my anxiety, or the open slats that have to be covered to keep the wind out are like my imperfect body, or the never-ending shit that is everywhere, and I mean everywhere (please be careful where you put your hand) is like the poo of life that just won’t go away no matter how much you try to scrub it. Scrape away one giant pile of frozen shit one day, undoubtedly there will be a new one soon there after. I guess the more I love and accept my Wabi Sabi corn crib, the more I can love my Wabi Sabi self.
I am including a video of a group of people in Paraguay, South America that seems to embody the Wabi Sabi philosophy. It’s so beautifully imperfect.