12 Stepping for some Wabi-sabi

imagesHV7L5GST   I should be out hiking today in the Badlands with my friend.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue and today is the first day in four months where the temperature will get over 40 degrees. It would be chilly but fantastic to get out of the house and into nature.

But I didn’t go—I have responsibilities, work to do, grocery shopping and the house needs cleaning.  However, my mind keeps drifting to the image of my friend driving down the interstate, listening to great tunes, drinking coffee, hiking the trails with the brisk air shocking the lungs and the sense of freedom.  It is difficult to admit but it seemed that my friend’s invitation to go hiking was actually extended only halfheartedly; almost as resigned to the fact that rarely do I accept and already knew what my answer was going to be. Now I am left with a sense of regret, a tinge of sadness, a trickle of self-pity and a brooding sense that I need to make some major changes in my life. In fact it appears that my life needs not just changes but a major overhauling in a plethora of areas.

I am an all or nothing kind of person. It is zero or 90 miles per hour with me and I don’t seem to have anything in-between those two extremes. If I don’t have time to clean the entire house I won’t bother to pick up my closet, if I can’t train for a half-marathon what is the use of exercise at all, if I can’t eat a strict healthy diet I will eat strictly junk food, if I can’t be perfect in meditating every day why bother. I have a sneaky suspicion that I have always been this way, I certainly drank full throttle and my life revolved only around my drinking. If alcohol wasn’t involved—I wasn’t involved. When I first got sober the entire focus of my life was all about “not drinking” and how to survive the “not drinking.”  Today—due to the guidance of a fantastic sponsor and working the 12 Steps—my life has expanded so far beyond anything I could have anticipated.  Not only am I free from the bondage and obsession of drugs and alcohol I have also found a path to total freedom in life. Problem is I’m not used to freedom and I’m still spiritually sick, very undisciplined, a little nuts in the head and my life is unmanageable. Some may call me a slow learner but I prefer to say I’m perfectly imperfect.

This morning, as I was experiencing the discomfort of being restless and discontent with many of the areas in my life, a friend sent me the word “wabi-sabi.” Yup I had to Google it and the first definition that popped up stated that Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept of finding beauty in imperfection.

I loved that and so kept reading. I discovered that taken separately Wabi refers to harmony, peace and tranquility. Someone who is perfectly authentic, content, free from greed, lives simply, free in their heart and never craves to be anything else would be a wabibito.  Sabi by itself means “the bloom of time,” to understand that life is fleeting, that beauty is to accept growing old and to carry the burden of our years with dignity and grace.  So I learned that basically Wabi-sabi is a mind-set—it is learning to be satisfied with life as it is, to strip away the unnecessary and to live in the moment. It is from this place of peace, harmony, and fellowship that the true wabi-sabi spirit will emerge from within me.

What I think is really cool is that wabi-sabi is exactly what the 12 Steps and my sponsor have been trying to teach me this entire time. So today I am going to start over and put a little wabi-sabi in my recovery—good thing I know just the Steps to take to get it.