Wabi-sabi is a concept from Japanese culture which helps us see beauty in imperfection. With roots in Zen, the timeless wisdom of wabi-sabi is more relevant than ever for modern life as we search for new ways to seek meaning beyond materialism. Nature itself is the ultimate inspiration for wabi-sabi. The principles of wabi-sabi can be channelled into our living spaces through botanical touches that add a sense of calm, beauty and happiness.
To help you achieve a more mindful way of wabi-sabi living, we’ve teamed up with Beth Kempton, author of Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life, to challenge yoga instructor and influencer Cat Meffan to a seven-day wabi-sabi wellness programme.
Follow Cat on her journey discovering houseplants with a Japanese aestetic and the holistic wabi-sabi benefits they bring to living spaces.
Day 1: Simplifying
Simplify one area of your home – clear a space and leave just houseplants on show using the principles of utility, simplicity, beauty and story. Start small – just one favourite corner of a room will do.
Introduce Devil’s Ivy with its heart-shaped leaves in silver, pale green and yellow to any corner. According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Devil’s Ivy is one of the houseplants that helps improve the air quality in your home and create a fresh new space in your living room.
Day 2: Living with nature
Nature is always changing and this can remind us of the transience of our own lives. Spend some quiet time in nature today, observing and reflecting on this. Introduce a new houseplant into your home and every time you look at it take a moment to reflect on the ever-changing cycle of life.
Day 3: Acceptance and letting go
In a notepad keep a diary of how you feel after you care for your houseplants, be it watering them, re-potting or repositioning them from light to shade. Look out for the imperfections in your houseplants, study them, draw them, embrace them. Immerse yourself in the botanical world and by caring for your houseplants experience self-care and a sense of mindfulness.
With their sculptural forms and beautiful colours, the orchid brings a touch of elegance. Oncidium is a delicate fragrant variety that is gaining a lot of popularity at the moment, make sure you position in light space but with no direct sunlight. Immerse the pot for half an hour with a small dose of orchid food once every 10 to 14 days and take note of how it thrives from the care you give it.
Day 4: Reframing failure
Think of something that you really want to try but have not yet done because you are scared to fail. Many people are afraid to have houseplants in case they fail in caring for them. Embrace this. Then wait and see what happens!
Boasting beautiful blush pink leaves, Syngonium Pink Heart is a houseplant that adds perfect understated colour to minimalistic interiors. A hugely popular and attractive houseplant, it’s hardy and low maintenance, which adds to it’s overall attractiveness.
Day 5: nurturing relationships
Treat your houseplants with love and attention this week, taking extra time to care for them. Set aside half an hour each day to immerse yourself into your new botanical space and think about how this calms and grounds you.
Pachira is known as the money tree according to Chinese feng shui tradition because the leaves, with a bit of imagination look like green hands that capture happiness and good fortune, while the twisted stems store the treasure. Introduce this Money Tree into your home and enjoy the positivity and energy it emits.
Day 6: Enjoying the career journey
Find somewhere quiet, surrounded by the nature in your own home and really tune into your heart today. Ask yourself what inspires to you, what matters to you, what you would like to experience, create and change in the world.
Day 7: Cherishing the moments
Visit someone that matters to you, taking a small gift – a small houseplant – will work perfectly for this, and appreciate how this botanical beauty makes them and you feel.
To find out more about the plants seen in Cat's home and video, click on the plant names listed below:
Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
Read more about how you can simplify your home the wabi-sabi way.