Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with exploring the concepts of pronoia (the belief that the universe is conspiring to shower us with blessings), quiety (serenity) and peace – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply delightful-to-me words.
Z is for…
Zakka, a Japanese word that means miscellaneous, everyday things or sundry goods. But like many Japanese concepts it’s much more nuanced that that. It means those mundane everyday ordinary objects that in addition to being function are chosen for their decorative element. It’s not that they have to be beautiful, or expensive, but there’s a sense of choosing them because function and form are somehow pleasing to one.
Truthfully, I don’t think I’m explaining it very well, but to my credit, it is a rather amorphous concept. It’s hard to say what is or isn’t zakka, but I invite you to do some research on your own if you’re interested.
However, I’m attracted to the concept and want to expand it a bit and talk about it in as it applies to life in more general terms.
One of the things I talk a lot about, and what I like doing and encouraging others to do, is pay attention to what I call the everyday sacred. The things that aren’t really a big deal, and yet sometimes are profound. The fleeting moments of beauty, the small things that bring us pleasure, the things we hold as treasures. The world is filled with them, but often they go unnoticed. I think it’s important to live the kind of life where we do notice them. For me it’s what keeps us sane, connected, remembering what’s important, focusing on the present now moment, and helping us keep our hearts open.
Even as our world becomes more busy, more stressful, more chaotic, more continually plugged in, with an increasing sense of time pressure and fear of missing out on something/anything/everything, there is a collective part of us, at least in Western society, that also longs to dial it down a bit. To find more balance. To find more meaning, to be more present to enjoy our lives.
I think it’s no coincidence that over the past several years so many have turned to the works of Marie Konda’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which encourages only treasures in our homes. Or that the Scandinavian concept of hygge – that desire to create cozy, charming, togetherness – is so popular.
I believe we instinctively know we need to refresh ourselves. To consider both the form and function of things. To balance our being and doing. For me these are the reminders zakka offers if we extend the concept.
I encourage us all to be like thirsty sponges, drinking up what brings us joy, what delights us, what nurtures and nourishes and refreshes us, so we are filled and rested and ready. We have jobs to do in this world – there is much to be done. We all have contributions to make, causes to support, action to take based on our own individual wisdom.
I am absolutely embracing my role as an Ambassador of Pronoia – I believe the world is filled with goodness and we can encourage the growth and unfolding of it. We can nurture our hearts, we can love one another, we can help those in need. We can be agents of positive change, of transformation, of anchored light.
Rob Brezsny, who authored the book Pronoia, offers this rallying cry, and it is one I am whole-heartedly endorsing:
“We are dissident bodhisattvas rebelling against all those forces that feed fear and ignore love.”
This is the pleasing form and function I want to be. Don’t you want to be that as well? Let’s do this!