Our Wabi-Sabi Gratitude Tree

Hiya Creative Monks!

Our first get-together-and-make-something project is a gratitude tree. It comes completely from nature (plus a bit of ink marker), and–when we’ve finished admiring it–it will be returned to nature. So very wabi-sabi of us!

What is Wabi-Sabi you ask?

Wabi-Sabi is Japanese expression that doesn’t really have an English equivalent. Wabi-Sabi describes the subtle beauty of imperfect, impermanent and incomplete things, things that are simple and humble. It’s not really a design style, but rather a way of thinking or being with things.

As so many families have battoned the financial hatches and returned to reusing things or doing without, I thought this was a perfect first project for us to share. It brings the outside indoors, and needs no supplies.

Everyone at our house has so much to be thankful for. We strive to live with thankful hearts and talk about the things we feel gratitude for. As a mom I’m aware my daughters constantly mind record everything I say. I focus my words on being thankful for what we have, instead of spending any energy on the things we are without. As time goes by we create more of what we focus upon, in this case abundance, not lack.

We decided to find a place to showcase the things in life for which we are thankful on our wabi-sabi looking Gratitude Tree.

Get with your family or special friend and go to the nearest woodsy area and look for a felled tree branch. (Best not to break a limb of a living tree, as you may end up harming the tree.) Look for a pretty big one, with lots of little offshoots to hang your leaves on. Emma founds ours…

While walking back, pick up lots of different fallen leaves. We found some that still had some moisture, so they wouldn’t disintegrate to quickly on our tree.

Take your treasures home and find a good spot to showcase your thankfulness. (With our youngest monkey, Colin, being 17 months, we needed a place that was up and out of reach, so we put it by the front door in a large vase.) We put the leaves in a small basket and set out a couple water-based markers to write our thanks on the leaves, when the spirit takes us. Leaves can be threaded through the branches, or tied onto the twigs by making knots in the leaf stems.

Voila! So very wabi-sabi, perfectly imperfect! So far Abbey and Emma have fun adding their leaves of thanks before my hubby or I have added any, that way we don’t skew them into our ideas. It’s been so beautiful and insightful to see the first things they’ve come up with! So far the girls are thankful for
Life, My Daddy, My crazy Dog Jackson, My Silly Brother, My Yummy Dinner, Toilets, the World, Air, Sleep, Food, Our Neighbors and Trees.

Are you going to create a Wabi-Sabi gratitude tree with someone you love? Oooooh! Please come back here and post pictures so others can see what YOU and yours are thankful for.

Sending big LOVE and lots of creative energy your way!
Becky and the Monks


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy
    Nov 18, 2010 @ 22:36:53

    Yes, you are a nut, NO (a resounding NO, I might add), you are not crazy and I (and my troop of monkeys) LOVE the site and ADORE the idea!!!


  2. Sounath
    Nov 19, 2010 @ 16:39:54

    I absolutely ADORE you! I am so HAPPY and PROUD to be your friend! You are so SMART, PRETTY,KIND and GENUINE person! Many many kind wishes and thoughts sending your way for you and your new business. I love your 2 things that you have on the site now. I’ll be ordering soon! Sounath


  3. Sounath
    Nov 19, 2010 @ 16:44:15

    Oh! Forgot to mention, I love the tree idea. I’m going to do that with my kids. They love being artsy and creative, I wish I was more like them. I’ll post pics up when we do ours.


  4. Michelle Halpern
    Dec 05, 2010 @ 23:42:05

    Saw your link on Goddess Circle… I am SO in love with this idea, and my favorite is being thankful for toilets. Mine wasn’t working the other day and my husband had to fix the chain in the tank, but inadvertently “broke” something else… which he couldn’t fix, because he was being too stubborn to move the rack out of the way to see better, so I had to do that. I am definitely thankful for the many many days the toilet IS working, which make it easier to bear the days when it is not.


    • MonkeyChiMonkeyDo
      Dec 06, 2010 @ 12:13:46

      Hiya Michelle, Thanks for coming by :O) and for the comments. I thought it was so funny that my daughter put toilets, but really, toilets are quite a marvel! Since we first posted this many leaves have been added: bugs, sleep, houses, air, the world and Mother Earth. I was astounded by what was included, but actually more surprised by what was NOT added. I feel sad, but we are about to take this tree with loved leaves back to the woods, to be returned to the earth. Another lesson in life that all things are impermanent. Perhaps we’ll do it again next year!


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