120. Beth Kempton – Wabi Sabi: The Beauty of a Simple Life

Beth Kempton is the author of four books, including Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, an international bestseller that has been recommended by TIME Magazine and translated into 24 languages. A dedicated student of Japanese culture, language, and life, Beth earned an undergraduate and a master’s degree in Japanese studies and has extensively traveled and lived in the country. In addition to her writing, Beth is the founder of Do What You Love, through which she inspires people to live well and do what they love.

Beth joins me today to share perspectives and ideas from Japan. She describes wabi-sabi as a mode of how we experience beauty in the world and how shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, can deliver the healing potential of nature. She highlights strategies to become a more mindful gift-giver and how to get through the holiday season to have a fantastic new year. She also shares her insights on writing and illustrates the writer’s role as a conduit for manifesting ideas into a book.

“Wabi-sabi is an intuitive response to a particular kind of beauty that reminds us of the impermanence of everything.” – Beth Kempton

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • Experiencing the dance of nature as active, conscious creators and passive witnesses
  • Beth’s background in Japanology and experience with shinrin-yoku
  • Forest bathing as a meditative practice and its potential to heal
  • Japanese aesthetics and how it has been impacted by industrialization
  • What wabi-sabi means, how it’s been misused in the West, and why Beth wrote a book on the subject
  • The dangers of social media’s conversation on image, achievement, and perfection
  • Why wabi-sabi is less about what we see and more about how we see
  • The collective yearning for beauty and a simple life
  • The heart-mind and how different decisions are made in different parts of the body
  • The tendency of writers to only write about a single topic forever and the underlying theme in Beth’s books
  • Helping people explore the values of stillness through her book, We Are In This Together
  • The relationship between mental health and the holiday season
  • The Five Stories of Christmas and how finding your Christmas Constellation can change your experience of the holiday season
  • The historical roots of holiday traditions
  • Writing what you want to know and letting your books become your mentors
  • Being unsure of whether the world needs your book and how writing a book is about clarity and confidence
  • How writing a book proposal can help you push past the inner critic
  • Podcasting as an effective platform to build authority
  • Why writers need to think of marketing their books as a service to their prospective readers

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