#036 Wabi Sabi Japanese Wisdom with bestselling author Beth Kempton

#036 Wabi Sabi Japanese Wisdom with bestselling author Beth Kempton

Episode Transcript

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Hi everyone. Welcome to How to Live, a podcast that explores ways to live a good life. I'm your host, Sharad Lal. This is episode 36. In the How To Live Podcast, we've explored multiple philosophies, schools of wisdom on how to live a good life.

 Today we explore another one. Wabisabi Wabisabi is a Japanese concept of beauty, which emphasizes simplicity, imperfection, impermanence. It's become popular recently as a response to excess materialism in modern lives

 Beyond beauty. The wisdom from Wabisabi is a lens through which one can make all aspects of life meaningful. Most Japanese instinctively know what Wabisabi is, but it's difficult to put into words. That's what we attempt to do. In today's episode, we have with US Japan ologist and bestselling author Beth Kempton.

 Beth is globally recognized as an expert on wabisabi. She's written a book on it, which has been a bestseller in the UK and the us.

Many Japanese people believe that she describes the concept better than many Japanese themselves. her five books have been translated in over 25 language. She's also written for and been featured in multiple magazines, the Time Magazine, British Vogue, vanity Fair, among others. Beth is an award-winning entrepreneur as well, running three businesses that offer tools, resources, and courses for living and inspired life.

 These have helped a hundred thousand people in over a hundred countries across the globe.

 In today's episode, we talked to Beth about wabisabi. How can it be used in our life, right? From what we wear to spaces we live in, to our relationships. We explore the concept of beauty, impermanence, imperfection, and the Japanese concept of kins.

 We also discussed the difference between simplicity and minimal. we end by talking about fearless writing. But before getting to the interview, thank you for your support. With your support. We are now listened to in almost 90 countries, over 800 cities worldwide, and we are ranked in the top 5% in the world.

 If you haven't already, please do consider subscribing. Do give us a rating as well. Thank you in advance.

 Now, here's the interview.

Sharad: Hi Beth, welcome to How to Live Good Morning in London. How are you doing this morning?

Beth: Hello. Hello. I'm good. Thank you. And thank you so much for having me. How are you?

Sharad: I'm doing very well. Beth, one of the things that I've noticed about your writing your business, a lot of it is inspired from Japan. So I'd love to understand the origins. How did Japan become so interesting for you? How did it attract you so much?

Beth: Wow. It goes back quite a long time now. I came to Japanese in a very strange. Way, when I was 17,

thought I knew exactly what I wanted and I thought I wanted to study economics and become an accountant and I'd have a lovely, safe career. And I was very fixed on this linear track. And then I had an extraordinary encounter with the natural world after a storm which gave me this amazing realization that on a kind of micro level, I realized I didn't wanna become an accountant. But on a macro level made me realize. I wanted to spend my whole life feeling like I felt in this particular moment.

When I felt connected to the whole universe that I was part of something much bigger than myself. I realized that the world was an incredibly beautiful place that was a lot bigger than what I re had realized up until that moment. And that I wanted my life to feel like an adventure. And trying to figure out in the space of a few short weeks, How could I turn my opportunity at university into an adventure?

And the thing that came to me was to study a language. And I landed on Japanese.

And so in some ways it was completely random. But looking back, it, it really feels like it wasn't random at all when I first arrived in Japan, in my second year of university, even though I. Was terrible at Japanese

I also felt very at home in a way I can't explain. It felt very familiar to me, even though it was so different to everything I'd known until that point, if I think carefully back through my memories of a teenager there are quite a lot of indicators pointing me towards Japan that I didn't even know.

So for example, I had a poem, a Haiku by Matsu Bash pinned on my bedroom wall. I remember it distinctly. I've never been able to find the translation in a book or anything. I have many books of haiku and I've never, I can't credit these particular order of words to anybody. So I don't know where it came from, but I had it on my wall and it was first winter.

Rains from now on. My name shall be traveler. And it just feels like I'm getting shivers right now again, that I had that on my wall when I had this amazing kind of opening, I think, and realizing that this, the world was huge and I could do many other things, including things I didn't even know. And I think it really cracked open this version of me that I had built, based on what I'd been told and made me realize that I too could be a traveler in life and a wanderer and adventurer.


Sharad: What a fascinating story, Beth. Thank you for sharing that. And as you were speaking so passionately about it, it was I dunno if you read The Alchemist it struck me that the universe conspired to make this happen for you and you've every part of you is taken in Japanese so well that now it's part of your business.

It's part of you light up when you talk about Japan. I'd love for you to describe to many people who are not completely familiar with the concept, what really is Wabi.

Beth: Wabisabi is a word that every single Japanese person I've ever spoken to Instinctively knows what it is, but finds it incredibly difficult to articulate. And it's a word that is not in the Japanese dictionary, which is quite extraordinary.

 So to, for me to give it a definition there's a challenge in doing that, but I came to an understanding through my many explorations in Japan that wabisabi is an intuitive response to beauty.

It's a feeling that we get when we encounter a particular kind of beauty that reminds us of the true nature of life the transient of life, the the fact that everything is, IM permanent, imperfect, incomplete. very closely related to This concept of impermanence, which is of course permeates everything in Buddhism. It's difficult to look at head on and think about, because of course, your own mortality bubbles up.

 But in doing so it really helps you get to the core of what matters. And what I also discovered in many of my conversations was that a lot of people associate. Wabi with the gifts of a simple life.

Although you wouldn't find a Japanese person using the phrase wabisabi in a conversation about a career or how you organize your house or anything like that.

If you take it as a lens through which you look at the way you can construct your life there are lessons in it that are incredibly valuable for every aspect of our lives.

Sharad: Absolutely. It's very useful. And I thought maybe what I could do is we can try and explore parts of it. And one part, the one part that you described was impermanence, which can show up in many ways. You talked about death, but there's also this whole thing about aging. And I know Wabi Sabi talks about aging in a very interesting way where many of us are trying not to age or maybe look younger, but there's this beauty to aging gracefully, and I think Bobby Sabi brings it out.

I'd love to hear you talk about that.

Beth: Yeah. Well, One of the parts of the word wbi Sabi, Sabi actually captures the kind of beauty that only emerges with the passage of time. It's not a beauty that is manmade. My writing desk right in front of me here is an old school science lab it has the stories of all the, the students who were bored and got their compass and dug holes in it and they've scratched on it.

And, it's been in a school for decades, I would imagine before it was in my house. And it has, there, there's something in the beauty of this desk that I couldn't find in a very expensive designer table because it hasn't lived and it hasn't got the stories of that exist. Built within it, not because somebody put it there, but because the passage of time took all those things in and made it a part of the object.

And so that is absolutely a part of it. But I think for me it's even more important to think about the fact that the advertising that is blasted at us every day especially when it comes to cosmetics, cosmetic surgery aging, anti-aging serums, all of these things, which, I'm not immune to, I do make up and I take vitamins and all these things.

 They are based around an idea that you have to look a certain way in order to feel at your best, which. Without necessarily saying it what you used to look like when you were younger, but in, in doing that, we are completely dishonoring the experience of the life we've had since we used to look like that.

And ignoring the fact that the stories that got written in our faces and in our hands in, my, my mother and I remember my grandmother, and I'm sure I will have very wrinkly hands. And my mother's always like putting cream on them, going all these old hands. And I'm like, yeah, but they're their hands that handed me a reading book and pick me up and I fell over and all these things.

We are evolving human beings and that's captured in a beautiful way in our skin as we age. And I have a recently. Really quite a fascination with older women. I've been interviewing a lot of them for the book I'm working on now, which has the follow up to Robbie Zoe. And there's something just it's a kind of beauty that you can't put your finger on and you can't create through cosmetics that comes when an older woman is very comfortable in her skin which isn't as, stretched and perfect in terms visually on the surface.

Perfect as it might have been when she was 20, but is just it just blooms with the experiences of life. It has all her joys and her sorrows and her tragedies and her loves and everything is there on her face. And it's a very beautiful thing.

Sharad: That's beautiful. And as you were talking this point of the backstory behind who you are today is such a critical point because that gives it character that gives it substance and that makes it uniquely you and trying to hide that part of you is short changing yourself in, in some ways.

So I find that interesting. The other aspect of Wabisabi, which is very interesting is simplicity beauty in simplicity. in my head, which may not be a perfect example, it sits as minimalism. So I'm not sure if it's the same, they're slightly different. But I like the concept of simplicity and I like the concept of beauty.

So if you could talk a little bit about simplicity and beauty in the context of ABIs abi,

Beth: Yeah, I, minimalism is a funny one. I think there've been quite a few books on minimalism in the last few years to the point that possibly some people who've are interested in it have never been to Japan, thinks that everybody in Japan lives in a to tommy room with nothing in it. Which is absolutely not the case.

And a lot of people, especially in cities, live in small apartments that are absolutely rammed with stuff. They really are. And for me, minimalism, while I completely agree with the principles behind it, it's another aim for perfection.

 There's something about it, which is you have to just keep going until there's almost nothing left. order to do minimalism properly, which I, it's really strange. That might be just my personal take on it. Whereas simplicity, I think is quite different. You, it's not just about getting rid of stuff, although that is a very effective way to clear out your brain as well as, as clear out your space.

 For me there's something about simplicity, which is about what is left behind. Whereas minimalism, it feels like clear everything out. But simplicity is the point is in what you choose to. so I think you can apply that in your home. You can apply that in your relationships. Who you choose to stay close to and give your time and energy to. It's, I think it's the same in any aspect of our lives, to be honest. Thinking about how you simplify your life and your space in terms of taking away the noise. So the stuff like clutter can be noisy. If you are somebody who loves subtle colors, then color can be noisy. Too many loud conversations can be noisy in your head in terms of not being able to find space. So for me, simplifying is a lot about finding space and creating space.

 what's really interesting when I was writing Wabisabi is I was consulting with a tea master master master and I was asking him about the tea ceremony room is always absolutely immaculate. I remember one room we were in and the sun was shining through the window. there wasn't a dust moat to be seen.

I was like, if that sunlight was in my house, it would be like all these dust moats floating around. Nothing was absolutely spotless. And that's really where the ideas I share in the book about soulful simplicity come from. Although Wabisabi is of course connected to finding beauty and imperfection, The tea ceremony room that people often associate it with from an aesthetic point of view is clean and clear.

 And it's almost that having that and that clarity in our minds allows us to soak in all that what WEA has to offer.

Sharad: that differentiation between simplicity and minimalism, I, I think that was very interesting. And the stimuli, which can Subconsciously irritate you, whether it's colors, whether it is noises, whatever it is, it's simplifying that part and focusing on what's left behind and the relationship you have with things left behind, every element has some backstory.

There's some character to it, there's a backstory to it. There's an element to it. One of the things that you've also mentioned in, Wabisabi is beauty and nature and I remember when I was reading it for the first time, fortunately we have a tree behind the house. I live in a condo, but it's a little green here, equatorial climate in Singapore. And I was noticing the leaf and I was noticing how the water comes down the leaf and just spending some time doing it where you're seeing the same thing again, but you're pausing and you're looking at it and then you feel the beauty and it has a feeling within you and it relaxes you.

It helps you go within. I love that. So I'd love to talk a little bit more about beauty and maybe the nature in the context of wabisabi.

Beth: Yeah, I thought a lot about the idea of beauty when I was writing this book. Beauty as we use it in the English language often, not always, often is talking about the surface, the look of something.

 And yet, through my exploration of Japanese aesthetics, I came to see and understand that there's a surface level beauty, which is about taste, which is why you can have someone in a bright red kimon. Feeling like a Japanese symbol and somebody at an holding a pot that is brown and earthy.

And that also feeling like a Japanese symbol, so that's just a matter of taste and that's surface level beauty. But there is beauty underneath that is a lot deeper. And there are all sorts of words used in the Japanese language that take in things like the sense of being part of something be bigger than us in a way that we don't understand.

And that's an experience that you might have looking at the moon on a summer's evening. And. Other ways are, for example, looking at a cherry blossom just before it falls. Knowing that this is a fleeting moment of, you might call it perfection, of this gorgeous fully opened cherry blossom, that if I came back next week, we will be on the floor.

And I'm only getting to see this cause I'm here in this moment with this particular tree. And there's and Wabi sabi as as a concept of beauty is incredibly deep. It's reminding, it's nothing to do with what's on the surface. It's what we are seeing. It's the impact of what we are seeing.

And I think ultimately that is what beauty is. I think it's It's the experience of something in the outside world penetrating us and like piercing us and having some kind of response within it. And that's often an intuitive response. We're not thinking about it. It's in here. And it's that experience that makes a painting a profound painting for one person looking at it or a poem utterly beautiful for somebody.

And I was listening to an interview with Jane Hirschfield, who's translated a lot of poetry, also writes beautiful poetry herself. And she was saying the poetry version of something I said in Wab About pottery, which is that it's completed in the experience of the thing by the person who is viewing it.

So a poem is completed by the reader of the poem with their response to it. When it, if it just sits on a piece of paper, it's not a finished poem. the interaction with the person who's consuming that art is part of the art. beauty is something that I've always sought out in my life and is perhaps why I fell headlong in love with Japan because this sense of the importance of. Beauty on the surface and beneath is everywhere in the country. And in some places it's very visible and in some places it's just woven into daily life. that's where it connects to to nature, particularly in terms of the seasons, which of course is connected to this idea of transient. I was fascinated the first time, I discovered that from olden times Japan hasn't just had the seasons that we know and talk about.

It actually has micro seasons that change every five days or so.

So right now we're in the season of the Pheasants calling. Now that might be, and that's because they're ready to mate,

 There are different flowers that are used in the t ceremony room, depending on which micro season you're in in so many ways, the seasons are celebrated and noted.

 even in personal correspondence, depending on what time of the year it is, you write different things to open a letter to somebody. it's such a beautiful moment of attention to what is going on in the world. And also the fact that five days from now it's gonna be different.

 It's very different from having a three month long season and saying winter and thinking this is what winter is. Actually winter is many things. The beginning of winter is very different from deepest winter. It's very different from winter emerging into spring. I think that sensitivity that is.

Buried in the language because they have names for it. But also played out in daily life is a really fantastic way of drawing yourself back to thinking about beauty in the world around you. Which in, if you're someone like me finds that to be, medicine. I love it. so if you are somebody interested in ideas about beauty, then please take yourself to Japan, with an open mind and see what you find.

Sharad: I love that explanation of beauty as an experience. So what struck me is that when you're looking at something beautiful, it's not that thing. It's you, it's that thing. It's what it's doing to you, it's your heart. So it's like Daoism, we don't separate things.

We look at everything spontaneously and that entire thing spontaneously where you're part of it is the beauty experience. as you start thinking of beauty in that way, that's when you can truly experience it uniquely in your own way, your eyes, your feelings I love that.

That's a deep concept to get your head around, but as it sits in me in that way it sounds very strong to me. the other thing that struck me was, as you were talking about beauty here, all the concepts of ar bissabi came in, like transient impermanence. This exists just now.

Nature, I thought about imperfection there as well, where I think in the book you described where there's a Japanese word where if something gets broken, you. Repair it. I think I don't remember the word. You repair it and because of the kinski and that kind of enhances the beauty because of the imperfection.

 maybe we can talk a little bit about that imperfection in kin, because I think that's such a powerful concept.

Beth: Yeah, it's so interesting. I've thought about this a lot since writing Wabisabi and realized that although in a lot of articles online Kinski has been given as an example of Wabisabi, and I've written about it too, I think they come at our English word of perfection from two different directions.

Kinsky is taking an object that perhaps we thought was perfect and then got broken and turning the brokenness into beauty, which is a wonderful thing. And obviously there's a metaphor in there for for our own brokenness and seeing beauty in, in that and the experiences of life. But Wabi Sabi is really almost the opposite, saying you're not supposed to be perfect in the first place.

 They're often connected because we use the same word in English, this idea of perfection and imperfection. But ultimately I don't think it matters. I think anything that makes us think carefully about how we live how we make the most of our life is a good thing to ponder.

Sharad: you've explained the concept of wabisabi and many of us can visualize how it can show up in spaces in, in, in a house. does this have some kind of applicability to relationships to people? you touched on simplicity in terms of relationship, but just as an overall concept, are there other dimensions to this that could be applicable to relationships?

Beth: The one that springs to mind in terms of relationships is acceptance and letting go and trying to bring harmony to any relationship.

And it might be acceptance of something that someone does or a way that someone is or something that's happened in your life. And letting go of the way. Plagues you or noisy or something like that.

But in terms, an example I gave in Wabi was how my husband had a tendency to leave a wet teat towel on the side in the kitchen. And it drove me crazy. I'm like, why can't you just hang up the Tito? It's not a big deal, but it's literally every time I come in the kitchen and please just hang it up.

And then one day I was like, he's just done all the washing up, like it's there because he's just done something loving for us. And so it, that became bigger for me than the fact that Teta was there. And so I let go of it in my head and I actually said it to him. I was like, I'm not gonna say anymore about the tee towel because I'm grateful to you that you did the washing up and from then on, there's never been a wet tee towel in the kitchen.

It's so interesting.

But, you know, yeah it's funny. But I think we can carry a lot into relationships and letting go of the things that really don't matter and focusing on, how to bring harmony into those relationships that do matter to us can really help. And also to come back to this idea of transients of impermanence in in our lives in terms of the people we spend time with.

It's something I've been thinking about an awful lot lately in friendships and how if our life is erode, that we travel, we have these companions that join us at certain points in our life. And some people stay for a long time and some people appear from out of a bush, say something interesting and leave and we never see them again.

Some people seem to keep coming back and joining us on the road at different points. And it's okay to. To not have every single person you've ever met walking every step of the path with you. And some people are not the right people for certain points in your life. Some people limit who you feel you can be because of their own hangups or fears for you, or fears for themselves.

 And sometimes we have to distance ourselves a little bit in order to live the way that we want to live. And there's some work to be done there in accepting that at this particular point in time, maybe we are not good for each other or this isn't helping me. And letting go of that need to.

Have a strong, close relationship with everybody all the time.

And I think that our life has these seasons and friendships have seasons and relationships have seasons. And if we spend our whole life thinking about the person that we were in love with when we were 15, what are we missing along the way? it's such a powerful thing with especially in Asia where sometimes there's guilt if you let go of relationships, but I think quite often, like you said, that's a great analogy where people are coming in and going out and that is okay.

Knowing that the person that you've let go of for that time is walking their path and they've got other people coming in and out on their journey as well. It's not li like you've abandoned them and they're on their own forever. Maybe you letting that person spend a little time walking their path without you could be a really good thing for them too.

Sharad: And it also is good for the ego. We are not the center of the universe. Like they've got, everyone's got their own thing. If they lose us, it's not like their world ends or gets shattered and they probably have many more better things to do. So I think that also helps when we are thinking of relationships and how important we are in the bigger scheme of things.

Beth: Yeah.

Sharad: I know you've written a really good book, which I've been reading on fearless writing, but before we get there, I was wondering if there's any parting thoughts on Barbie sabi that you'd like to leave everyone with?

Beth: I think it's worth just spending some time wherever you are in your life thinking about this idea that nothing lasts. Nothing lasts. So what does that mean for you? What does it mean for what you want to pay extra attention to right now? What does it mean for what you are wasting your energy on? in the grand scheme of things, it absolutely doesn't matter.

And what does it mean to realize that it's all gonna end someday? Anything that we worry about in life, for example, it matters immensely to us in that moment because somebody we know is in pain or whatever it is that's causing us to think about that. But it also generally doesn't matter at all in the grand scheme of things, and especially when in a cosmic timeline it matters not one second.

 Thinking about this kind of zooming out and zooming in on your life can really help you focus on what matters and let go of what doesn't. So life just becomes a little bit kinder, a little bit easier. And just less heavy. I think

Sharad: it takes off pressure off you and it also gets you to focus on what is really important to you which is so beautiful. Moving on to the book you've written for me this was such a powerful book at the right time, so I'm so glad you wrote it and it made writing so accessible to people like me who don't really write. I'm trying to write and I know I'm not a good writer, but when I'm reading this How you've explained writing through the principles of ancient wisdom, just make it so accessible.

Take pressure off it. I'd love to dig into that. But as we do that, I'd love to understand from you, why is writing so important for everyone right now?

Beth: Oh I'm so glad that the way the Fearless writer has reached you in that way. That's absolutely what I hoped for the book. And before I answer that question, I'd love to know why is this the right time for you? Why, what is it that made this the perfect time to read the way of the fearless writer?

Sharad: I've always been thinking of writing because I have some ideas which I want to put across, I've always been constrained that a, I'm not a good writer. I'm good in business and entrepreneurship and maybe I can speak well, but I'm not good writing. Whenever I write, it takes me a lot of effort. It makes, it doesn't flow as beautifully as things I read.

So those were, that was the background conversation. And when I started reading this book, and there were so many interesting points out there. you talk about three gates, the gate of Desireless where there's no purpose. You just write what's there and you just keep going, which made it very accessible.

That took a lot of fear out of it. And the second, as we go through the book, you talked about the various parts of writing where there's, it's not that you write and it's gonna be beautiful , there is editing

and everyone

gets their thoughts out in whatever jumbled order and then spends a lot of time editing it, which makes it beautiful it can take time.

 So like this, there were many other things that struck me, which made me realize, , maybe I'm not that bad. I need to just work on it. And I'll get better.

Beth: I'm so glad. For me, writing is a way to explore this, the vastness of this extraordinary thing called life and to try and make sense of things. It can, I certainly find it helps to write things out of my head. It's a proven tool for wellbeing. It can help us calm and center ourselves, process difficult experiences figure out what matters.

There are so many reasons from a wellbeing point of view to, to write, but for me, I think the main one is really just the awareness of life as it's unfolding. And what I find when I write for long periods of time and I'm in a state of what you might call flow, I often don't remember what I've written until I read it back.

 that's an incredible thing to capture, whether that's because it's. Some wisdom you didn't realize you even carried wherever that has come from, or whether it's that you are capturing something about your life that you later read and it's either a beautiful memory or it makes you realize how much courage you had in the face of something difficult.

 It makes you realize what you've coped with what you treasured at certain point in in your life. You start to notice patterns in the things that you keep coming back to which are often indicators to help us navigate life. Whether that's helping you decide what business is set up or what book to write or whatever, whatever it is.

And so it's like an excavation it is an amazing way of planting clues that can help us in our own lives because I think we often understand something deep inside and have an awareness of what matters to us way before we figure it out in our heads.

 I love what you said about the difficulty with when you write it doesn't sound like how other people's writing flows.

What's going on? Why can't I do that? And thing is, there is a whole process of editing is such a difficult word cuz it sounds like, it sounds really harsh.

There's a process of beautification and poet or whatever it is that you do with your words to get flow in the reading. That is completely different to. Flow in the writing and what the flow in the writing brings out the gold. And you then polish that to offer it up in the most beautiful way, in a way that readers can understand.

 You mentioned the three, three states of writing that I talk about in the book.

And they're all versions of water states of water solid states, liquid state, and Gaius states. Some people call it gasier estate. And really the, for me, the gasier estate is this idea that our words move around or ideas move around like the molecules in in a gas quite random flying everywhere.

And that you can put them in a container and they will expand to fill that container, which is really what a lot of people would call journaling. To me, that is noticing what's going on in your head and writing it into the container of your notebook. So the container is no longer your head, and so journey is a really important process for getting all that. Random stuff that's flying around, noticing it and writing onto the page gives you opens up the channel to access the really good stuff.

 It's really important. But if you only ever do journaling, you never get beyond the stopper stuff. And the random thoughts in your head. And so the second state of writing is the liquid state I often think about it like diving deep into the ocean and you. You reach out for an idea and you bring it back to the surface. And it's really, it's a very different kind of writing and we access that through ritual, through silence.

Often through a kind of spark, maybe a question that leads you somewhere deep or a beautiful poem that you have that beauty response to, and it reaches in and helps you pull out what's inside. what you write in that state is what is gonna give you the juice of what you're gonna use in whatever you want to share with the world.

But it's not ready, it's raw and it might be badly spelt and all of that. And it absolutely does not matter because it's not intended to be shared with anyone. And it's only really when we are consciously and intentionally in what I call the solid state of writing. When we are working with something that is partly formed.

We have some words, we're trying to shape them into a beautiful paragraph or an article or a book. And we are editing, we are adding, we are changing, we are being selective about word choices and pace and all those things, and we're cutting stuff out. That shaping process is incredibly important.

Sharad: When you're talking about the states where you're talking about the second state of the liquid state where you go in, get the deep idea and come out and quite often when you're starting to write, you think you've uncovered something so beautiful and you've written it and you read it out to someone as draft one and it just sounds weird and they don't get it because you know what the idea is.

And then you give up and say, I'm not a good writer. But what was refreshing to hear was, hey, that's draft one of a liquid state where it's a deep concept is not for sharing . It's gonna take a few drafts for you to get that thought right, for you to articulate it reasonably well and to take it to some shape to share it.

So it doesn't mean you're a bad writer. It's a process

Beth: yeah, and

The only thing that went wrong with there was that you shared it with somebody when it wasn't ready.

Exactly right. I love what you said there about how you think that you've hit on something that's so profound, and then, You read it out and you're like that's either really obvious or it doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

I do that all the time. But what happens when you keep doing that is, is you realize that you are seeing glimpses of something important and you see that important thing from many different directions, and each time you're just getting a glimpse. But if you keep writing it down, you get the full picture.

And then when you come to fine tune it that might turn into one powerful sentence in your book, and it might have taken you 20 hours at five o'clock in the morning to get to that point. But you are seeing something important. The fact that you recognize at the time there's something important here.

That's what matters. And I think sometimes what's happening, I think, is that their wisdom is coming to the surface and we are recognizing it as something important, but we don't have the words to articulate it.

And so we have to keep going back and digging deeper and finding other ways to explain that thing that we have a knowing matters, but we aren't quite sure why yet or how to apply it in our lives. And until we figure that out, we can't share it with anyone else. But that's for me, that's the absolute magic of writing books.

Like I have a big question and I try and find the answer, and I, it's not like I walk down the river and suddenly I can answer big questions about life. I'm coming at it from a hundred different angles and seeing what keeps bubbling up in different words, saying the same thing. And that makes me curious and I dive in there.

Sharad: That's a very inspirational message thank you very much, Beth, for all the good work you're doing, the books you're putting out there the courses that you're sharing with people, I have benefited a lot from them and I know many have. So thank you very much for this service to all of us.

Beth: Oh, what a joy. And it just shows writing brings me so much pleasure. And look, it's allowed me to have this conversation with you on the other side of the world. It's inspiring you to try and take what is in your head and heart and share it with other people, this ripple effect.

It's amazing. So I hope that lots of other people will become fearless writers and share their medicine with the world. Thank you so much for having me today.

 Thank you, Beth, for such a passionate, inspirational conversation. This will resonate with many of us. Here's an action step you listening could consider. How are you thinking about aging? Does the concept of beauty being revealed with the passage of time resonate with you? What elements of wabisabi could be interesting as you think about aging? who inspires you to age gracefully? Maybe we can explore this area and see what it does for. Best of luck. That's it for today's episode. I hope you enjoyed it. We will be back with another episode two weeks from now,

On March 14th.

 Hope you join us for that. Till next time, have a wonderful day ahead. Bye-bye.