I was able to sit down with Arielle Ford, who is a dear friend and best- selling author, and chat with her about her awesome book Wabi Sabi Love. Click here to grab a copy and enjoy the interview.
Mastin: What is Wabi Sabi anyways? It sounds like something you eat with sushi! LOL
Arielle: Wabi Sabi is delicious but you don’t eat it! It is an ancient Japanese aesthetic that honors all things old, weathered, worn, imperfect and impermanent by finding the beauty in the imperfections.
For instance, if you had a large vase with a big crack down the middle of it, a Japanese art museum would put the vase on a pedestal and shine a light on the crack. Or, they might fill the crack with 24k gold!
My book, Wabi Sabi Love is devoted to exploring the simple, fun and effective ways to apply this concept to our love relationships through stories and exercises that demonstrate how to attain groundbreaking shifts in perception so that you can embrace and find the beauty and perfection… in each other’s imperfections.
I call this “going from annoyed to enjoyed!”
Mastin: What is the best thing to do when your partner gets triggered?
Arielle: First of all have some compassion for them and try not to get triggered your self. Then ask them if they want to talk about it or if they want a little alone time and you can talk later. When you do talk, be an active listener and repeat back to them what you think you heard them say so you can both be clear on what the conversation is. Then do your best to hear them out and then see if they are willing to “shift their perception” on what just happened. If they mis-interpreted something you said or did and felt judged or dissed by it (assuming you didn’t do any of those things), then reassure them of your love and devotion. And, if you did judge or diss them, own it and deeply apologize.
Mastin: If someone’s relationship is hanging by a thread, how can they get it back with Wabi Sabi?
Arielle: By practicing Wabi Sabi Love you learn to accept the flaws, imperfections, and limitations – as well as the gifts and blessings – that form your shared history as a couple. Acceptance and its counterpart, understanding, are crucial to achieving relationship harmony. It is sacred love, the highest form of love, and like most things worth striving for in life requires patience, commitment, personal responsibility, and practice.
First, you must be willing to make a shift in your perception and see your current situation and your mate’s behavior through a new, gentler, and kinder lens. Chances are you see their behavior as “wrong or bad.” But, imagine for a moment that this behavior exists solely to teach you how to become a more loving, compassionate person. Can you find the gift of that behavior?
When your relationship is shredded, I always suggest working with a professional to rebuild trust. Adding a practice of Wabi Sabi Love will totally support that.
Mastin: What’s the difference between the Wabi Sabi approach and tolerating bad behavior? How do you know when it’s time to use Wabi Sabi or leave a relationship?
Arielle: Wabi Sabi Love does not work for bad behavior, abuse or addiction. If that is what you are experiencing, run don’t walk to your nearest professional therapist for assistance. As far as when to leave a relationship, I would say that if you have given it your all, including couples counseling, and the situation isn’t improving and you are miserable, then it’s probably time to leave. That said, I know of many couples who were on the verge of divorce and through counseling and adopting a Wabi Sabi Love approach have transformed their relationship into a happy, loving, devoted partnership.
Mastin: How has Wabi Sabi helped your relationship?
Arielle: In countless ways, but let me share with you one of my favorite stories about this. One day I found myself with my left hand on my left hip and my right index finger wagging in Brian’s face and I was carrying on (not in a good way) about who knows what. I was appalled and I stopped and thought to myself, “how did I become THAT woman.”
I quietly said to him: “the next time this happens, and unfortunately there will be a next time, could you kindly, sweetly say to me,
“When did Sheila arrive?”
Sheila is my mother. I love her to death. She’s the coolest woman I know but she can also be a bit overbearing and bossy.
Bri instantly got it and said, “Yes, and the next time I get too patronizing, just say to me “Hello Wayne!” That was his Dad’s name.
Instantly we avoided what could have been a World War 3 meltdown by creating playful Wabi Sabi code names to lighten up and have fun with.
Mastin: Does Wabi Sabi work only for straight couples or can LGBT couples use Wabi Sabi, too? If so, how?
Arielle: Yes, Wabi Sabi Love works for individuals and couples of all persuasions. We are all human beings looking to be loved and understood and most importantly accepted for who we are, quirks, warts and all! Imagine how great you will feel when you know your partner loves all of you, all the time? The good, the bad, and everything in between!
Mastin: Why do you think there is so much divorce in the world today?
Arielle: That’s a big and complex question and I do believe part of the problem is that a shocking 30% of divorced women say they knew “before the wedding” that they were making a mistake and they went for it anyway. So choosing your mate wisely is crucial.
Here are the sad but true facts about marriage today: 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages all end in divorce. I believe a big part of this problem is that the media and society has brainwashed us and conditioned us to look for and see perfection, which leads to an ongoing state of frustration and dissatisfaction. In truth, we all know that perfection is not possible. I believe the word perfection needs to be changed to “Pure Fiction!” So giving up perfection and embracing imperfection is the way to go. Additionally,
there is new scientific research by Dr. Sandra Murray, a psychologist at the University of Buffalo, who reveals that couples who consciously put on “rose colored glasses,” and idealize their partner, have more happiness and satisfaction in their relationship.
Because the happiest couples focus on what’s right and not on what’s wrong. This is also known as the Pygmalion effect, the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. It’s a form of self-fulfilling prophecy. As mature adults, we get to choose our thoughts and beliefs so why not intentionally intend and expect the best out of ourselves, and our partners?
Mastin: Can you use Wabi Sabi if you are single? If so, how?
Arielle: I believe that consciously choosing to become a Wabi Sabi artisan will improve your life, whether you are single or not. Dating isn’t easy for most people and so many singles are too quick to judge a date…some people think they can figure out in 60 seconds whether or not they have a future with someone. 99% of the time they are wrong about this. Adopting a Wabi Sabi perspective and consciously seeking to find beauty and perfection in your dates supposed imperfections, will allow you to truly get to know them. Chances are, if they are acting goofy or awkward, they just are hoping to impress you and in their nervousness can be doing or saying things that are a bit off. I believe that if the first date isn’t a total disaster, you should give everyone a second change. I know of several soulmate couples who said they didn’t really have a “spark” until date number five!
Mastin: What advice do you have for the single lovebirds out there who seem to be getting impatient on finding Love?
Arielle: Part of the soulmate manifestation process includes understanding and accepting that “divine timing” is part of the deal. While you may feel totally ready for love, your soulmate may be in the midst of a breakup, moving to your city, or changing careers. It’s your job to be open, ready, available and willing to have your soulmate come into your life and it is not your job to know when, where or how this will happen. Here’s the really good news: you can begin your relationship with your soulmate TODAY. Close your eyes, drop down into your heart, and using yor imagination begin a conversation with them. I call this love before first sight!
Mastin: What do you know for sure?
Arielle: That Big Love is possible for any one of any age. It requires that you be willing to place some time, energy, intention and attention onto your love life. And, that you learn to love yourself, to know and to trust that there is more than enough love in the Uni-verse for you!
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Mastin Kipp is the founder and CEO of The Daily Love. Follow him on Twitter here.
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Join soulmates Mastin Kipp & Jenna Hall LIVE in Hollywood on Feb 9th for the first TDL LIVE event: The Love & Relationship Workshop! Livestream tickets are also available. Click here to grab your ticket before it sells out!