Finding Beauty in Brokenness

None of us can live indefinitely in the Garden of Eden. We are all thrown out in the world, into the cold, facing the inevitability of hardship, struggle and disappointment. We wake up one day to find our dreams shattered, our plans disrupted.

No shelter can fully protect us from the wrath of the storm.

This is the reality of this world. It is unpredictable and in constant flux. We can try to vigorously plan and control events to our favour, but in the final analysis we truly don’t know how it all will unfold in the future.

It is beyond our control.

We then ask ourselves, how can we can we best respond to this predicament?

We could naively try to chase perfection and blind ourselves to the nature of reality. However, as I have argued, this strategy is futile at best. If life is in perpetual change, any attempt to control and regulate things to our liking is akin to chasing after a moving target.

Alternatively, we can cultivate an attitude of acceptance. One that is more realistic and aligns with the way the world actually operates.

The Japanese concept of wabi sabi speaks to this notion of finding beauty in our flaws and in imperfections. Wabi sabi a way of life, attitude and aesthetic.

We can see this embodied Zen Buddhist art and ceramics in the concept of kintsugi. Broken pots, bowls and cups are restored and mended with a gold powder. The aim is not to hide or conceal the flaws of these broken objects, but rather to celebrate them. It is a symbol and reminder to us that nothing lasts forever.

All things are transient.

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Wabi sabi is a helpful antidote to the anxieties of our time which are perpetuated by advertising and our consumerist societies. These signals tell us we ought to look or be a certain way, aligning our image with the fashions and trends of celebrity culture.

However, for many of us, we intuitively know we don’t want to partake in this perpetual striving. If we are honest with ourselves, we can finally admit that this charade is exhausting. A weight is lifted from our chest when we stop pretending and learn to embrace our flawed nature.

We can now accept ourselves, live authentically and age gracefully.

This freedom all begins when we learn to appreciate who we are rather than merely conforming to the unrealistic expectations of our modern materialistic societies.


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The Horizons of Meaning

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In June 2022 I took a course on Deep Philosophy (https://dphilo.org). Below is an excerpt of a text I wrote for the course. It focuses on where I find meaning in life, namely through art and creativity.


 Meaninglessness is a blank canvas. It alienates one to the world around them. The whole world looks grey. Stripped of color and dominated by routine, one mundane task after the other. One lives solely to fulfill the demands of the other, whether it is for their parents, employers or society.  Meaninglessness closes the door to the world of possibilities that life can offer. 

It is only through creativity where meaning begins to shine through the cracks. 

Meaning is the immersion in the infinite space of creativity. It enables one to view the whole world like an artist. Every moment that arises is raw materials for one’s creation. Both suffering and joy are equal opportunities to embrace and connect to the richness of life. 

It comes to a person spontaneously like a flash of insight.  One is compelled to create.

An idea that requires nurturing through actions which authentically connect to the inner depths of their being. It can be through working on a piece of art, writing a new poem or any activity which requires you to be an active participant in the world around you.  

Life is no longer governed by indifference, but a sense of aliveness that comes with being connected to one’s own creation.

Freedom emerges in the horizon.

As we follow our path, we are transformed into our authentic selves – who we truly are, and who we ought to be.


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Living in the Gift

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Take a deep breath. Open your eyes and observe what is around you.

Look at the sun beaming through the blossoming trees. Listen to the birds singing ecstatically with feverous joy. Touch the different textures of plants in your garden as you await a bountiful feast upon harvest.

We didn’t earn the pleasures of the awe inspiring world that we were born into. Rather they were freely available to us upon birth. They are gifts.

Life is a gift.

We are all born as helpless infants, dependent on our parents or caregivers for our day to day survival. They’ve fed us, nourished us and did the best they could to get us to where we are today.

Our lives are shaped from the generosity of others, and sustained through the abundance and blessings of nature.

When you look at things from this vantage point, you begin to feel a sense of immense gratitude. Your heart pours out with joy. The crude individualism that is revered in our culture begins to slowly fade away. How could we, in good faith, remain in a state of arrogance and greed if we truly recognize all that we were given in this life.

As we become aware and grateful of the many gifts our world provides, we are called to give back. We give with generosity, without demanding anything in return, because we are appreciative of all that we have received.

Each of us is unique and can offer our distinct gifts to the world.

As the writer and activist Charles Eisenstein notes, we are all born into a world of abundance. We are more than separate selves viscously competing for limited resources. Rather, as we’ve become increasingly aware, all of us are deeply connected through various different systems. We all reside in a single ecosystem, and on a deeper level we all share the same fate.

Imagine the world we could aspire to, the community we could create and waste we would reduce if we all embraced this fundamental truth of connection and co-dependency. Relationships would flourish and our bond to the earth would be restored as we prioritize people over things.

So, what gift is in you to give? What do you want to do to connect with others and work towards a more beautiful world?

Let me know in the comments.


This repost from an article I submitted last week on Pointless Overthinking.

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