Wabi-Sabi… Say What?


At Creative Touch we understand that our business and personal lives are connected and that stress in the workplace can manifest at home too. We hope you find our below blog inspirational, for both your personal and work lives. 


“The cure of the part should not be attempted without treatment of the whole” – Plato.


I recently attended a talk by Professor Dorota Bourne at Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) on Wabi-Sabi Leadership.  The Wabi-Sabi philosophy is grounded in Buddhism and is a longstanding Japanese concept dating back to the 14th Century.


Prior to this experience, I believed that leadership, business success and life were fixed constructs that could be learned through an educational process. However, if that were true, shouldn’t success (or development of one’s highest self) be fairly simple to attain?


With this in mind, I’d like to express how my life-journey has brought me to a place where I am able to connect with Wabi-Sabi authentically and through grace.


To me, Wabi is the experience of hardship, suffering and loneliness, whereas Sabi emphasises the temporary nature of a situation.  Ideally, then, change is both inevitable and visible through one’s pain.


Throughout my life I‘ve had a rigid attachment to ideas, systems and routine. Mistakenly, I believed that my anxiety came from a place of strength that motivated me to work hard. Desperately wanting to be good enough as a single mother, I over-identified with the committed mother archetype and this left me lonely. Instead of keeping me and my loved ones safe, my rigidity resembled impenetrable walls.


Six years ago, in a short space of time, I experienced a succession of losses including my grandmother’s death, and tragically, a long-term separation from my teenage daughter as a result of longstanding and traumatic family conflict.  Pertinent components to my loss compelled me to start a journey of introspection which presented me with countless lessons along the way. Although the lessons have been diverse, I have found that each time I let go of my anxious attachment to an experience I have been able to liberate myself.


Along the way, I have made changes in both my personal and professional life to more accurately reflect the lessons of authenticity, healing and wholeness that have come my way.  I look forward to sharing more of my journey with you.