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Appreciating Uncertainty & Change – Wabi-Sabi Mindfulness

“Work creatively, appreciatively  with impermanence, imperfection, uncertainty in a way that invites curiosity and excitement (rather than debilitating anxiety)”

Dear Integral Meditators,

At the moment, we are going through a time of unprecedented uncertainty and change. The article below explores practical ways of responding mindfully and creatively to the challenge. I’ve called it “Wabi-sabi mindfulness”, after one of my favorite artistic movements!

In the spirit of appreciation,


In case you missed it: Here is a 20 minute beginners mind meditation
…that I recently recorded. Actually it is more like a beginners body, mind and heart meditation. In it we use the image of a new moon, and a new-born baby as a way to re-invigorate ourselves with new life and new possibilities. Enjoy!

Appreciating uncertainty and change – Wabi-Sabi Mindfulness

Originally ‘Wabi-sabi’ is a type of Japanese aesthetic found in the arts and crafts, specifically in ceramic and home decoration. It works with an appreciation of the way in which impermanence, imperfection and decay affect everyday objects, and our life.
‘Wabi-sabi mindfulness’ is a particular approach to self-leadership that I have developed. It has has five main elements

  1.  You are are the artist and the creative force in your life
  1. Life is perpetually changing, unfinished (or uncertain) and imperfect – This needs to be accepted and flowed with, rather than resisted
  2. If they can be accepted, change, imperfection and uncertainty can be appreciated for their own particular aesthetic and beauty – This stage is the essence of Wabi-sabi
  3. You are the leader who is responsible for the next creative act – You are responsible for the ongoing creation of your imperfect, uncertain and beautiful life
  4. Working creatively, appreciatively and responsibly with impermanence, imperfection and uncertainty in a way that invites curiosity and excitement (rather than debilitating anxiety and fear) is the essence of Wabi-Sabi mindfulness and self leadership.

Pointers for practice:
Following on from the above, here are five Wabi-sabi mindfulness practices. Each practice has a link to a previous article of mine on the subject:

  • Awaken your inner artist – Practice seeing and experiencing yourself as the Artist and creative force in your life.
  • Acceptance – Observe and notice the impermanence, imperfection and uncertainty in your life, practice accepting and working with it, rather than resisting or denying it.
  • Appreciation – Notice the things about impermanence, imperfection and uncertainty can enhance your appreciation. “When you truly know what you have is transient, then you can short-circuit the natural tendency that we all have to take things for granted. This in turn gives us a powerful incentive to appreciate what we have, and make the most of it today.”
  • Self responsibility – Habitually choose to take responsibility for your life. based upon acceptance and appreciation, choose your direction forward! We can receive support and encouragement from others in our life, but finally we are the ones who are responsible for choosing what we want, and taking the direction that we want.
  • Moving from negative anxiety to curiosity and excitement – Whenever we have uncertainty in our life, or when things move from predictable and ‘under control’ to unpredictable it means that there is a creative window opening up in our life; a window that if we are open to we can find opportunities to grow, learn and enjoy. We can learn to respond to our anxiety with excitement rather than stress.

Article © Toby Ouvry 2020. You are welcome to share, but Please do not reproduce without permission.

Sundays 6-6.50pm – Qi gong energy body activation meditation (Livestream)

These are Qi gong meditation sessions to activate and enhance the flow of ‘qi’ or subtle energy in your body. We will then be using this flow for:

  • Enhancing physical health and healing
  • Increased emotional wellbeing and mental balance
  • Access to deeper, more dynamic meditation states to transform and regenerate your body, mind and soul…Full details of session

Read full details

Saturday 31st May, 2-5.30pm  – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership, A Livestream workshop

In a sentence: Learn how to work creatively with uncertainty, imperfection and life’s inherent messiness to realize your leadership and self-leadership potential.  Manage stress and anxiety better using mindfulness in combination with the practical philosophy of Wabi-Sabi.
Full details of the workshop

Online Integral Meditation & Mindfulness classes

Build focus, beat stress, cultivate wellbeing!

Each session involves simple practices that you can apply to make a real difference to your wellbeing and effectiveness in life…full details of classes

All upcoming classes and workshops for at IMA:

Weekly Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Ongoing Sundays 6-6.50pm –  Qi gong energy body activation meditation (Livestream)

Tues 5th & Weds May 6th, 7.30-8.30pm – Online Full Moon Meditation & Manifestation Session

Sat 23rd 6-7pm, Tues 26th 7.30-8.30pm, Weds 27th 7.30-8.3pm May  – Monthly new moon, new beginnings visualization and envisioning sessions

Saturday 31st May, 2-5.30pm  – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership, A Livestream workshop

Tues 2nd & Weds May 3rd, 7.30-8.30pm – Online Full Moon Meditation & Manifestation Session

Saturday 20th June 10.30am-12noon – ONLINE Get your meditation practice started now – The shortest & most time effective meditation course ever

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