Wabi-Sabi or: The Story behind this Website
It was a warm summer evening. I sat on my balcony with a glass of wine after work. I was relaxed and excited at the same time because I was waiting for Mike to call, that he was on his way home.
I was excited because we had been crazy in love for six months.
Mike just quit his job in London to come back to Germany and live with me.
But this evening, 20 years ago, changed us both forever.
When I started to get curious why he did not call, my phone rang. A voice asked about my name. I answered. And then I received the kind of information you read about in the news and hope to never receive it for yourself.
The voice said:
I am the police officer in charge. Your partner is currently being flown by a rescue helicopter to the Universitätskliniken Mainz, Germany. He had a severe car accident.
I remember I felt like being in another reality and would see myself standing there and at the same time looking at myself through a wall of glass. I asked the police officer to repeat what he had just said.
He did, and the words came a bit closer to my conscious thinking this time. I hung up the phone. I realized I could not drive to the hospital because of the wine. So, I asked a friend to bring me.
On the way to the hospital, I called the police station again and asked:
Did you just call me or was that a bad joke?
It was no joke.
When leaving the poorly illuminated airport, arriving from London, Mike took the wrong highway. He realized something was wrong, but he could not react quickly to drive the car to the side.
Later, we understood that processing information could take longer for people with ADHD.
Mike was hit by a Range Rover and broke about 30 bones, including his jaw, several rips, left leg several times, and left ankle. He had his teeth fixed with metal for six weeks and received food by a gastric tube.
Luckily, the surgeons could save his left leg, which was unsure initially. He was 29 years old then. It took him four years and several surgeries to walk again, and he still experiences pain because of the damages.
The first surgery was the same night, and I could talk to him before it started. I promised to be there when he would wake up. And I was. The surgery was eight hours, and it was not the longest.
That morning, I probably made the most difficult phone call in my entire life.
I called the police to ask how the person from the other car was. And I was terrified that I had to tell Mike that the person in the other vehicle was dead. At this point, I did not know which type of car was involved.
It was a woman, and the policemen did not know how she was because there were two rescue teams at the accident site. But I managed to get her number.
Her husband answered the phone, and he was friendly. His wife was still in the hospital but had few injuries.
He said: We could see that they did a blood test with your partner. He had zero alcohol in his blood, and all was good. That was the most important thing for us.
There would have been ways to prevent this accident if we knew Mike had adult ADHD.
But we did not know at that time.
This is the story behind our why. And it is what this website is about, even though it is mainly about running a successful business. ADHD requires different (often better) solutions to what we did before and understanding that pushing harder usually is not the solution to problems.
ADHD is challenging because we do not see it, but it is there. And it influences our life if we acknowledge it or not.
Or, as our friend Liz says: Not having ADHD is not an option.
It may be essential to know that this book does not label ADHD as good or bad.
We are not in the camp of “ADHD is a gift” nor in the base of “ADHD is a curse.”
ADHD is a reality for the people having it.
And for their families, friends, partners. We need to deal with this reality. That is all we need to focus on. Not on labels that make people feel a certain way.
However, what can be harmful are the consequences if someone does not deal with ADHD; if she knows, she has it.
This is important because, statistically, accidents also happen more often to people with ADHD. It is also crucial because of what you may want to achieve in your life.
Because otherwise, many more of your projects don’t get finished, and more possibilities are unseen. It is of utmost significance for us humans to see we achieve things important to us, in business and other areas of life.
Last year, just another lockdown here in Cyprus, Mike came into my office, tears in his eyes, and said: Do you know, how much we have already done this year? And I could see how proud he was of us – and himself.
And rightly he was. For us, this feeling of accomplishment is worth fighting for.
It is the feeling of moving forward and seeing progress in our life.
A feeling of putting a dent in the universe and doing more than barely living by.
Where does the Wabi-Sabi thing come into play?
Glad you asked. I nearly forgot over my indulging in the past.
As you can imagine, the body of Mike has lots of scars. More importantly, his face was different after the accident, as his jaw broke horizontally and vertically. He never complained.
But I know that was the hardest for him to get used to. The face he saw in the mirror was different after his accident.
Even after several surgeries on his left leg, he has problems walking, especially after waking up. The left leg stayed thinner than the right because the muscles never fully recovered, even working out.
Wabi-sabi is the view or idea of finding beauty in every aspect of imperfection in nature. It is about the aesthetic of “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.” It is a Japanese concept, usually hard to grasp for people not having grown up in Japan.
The practice that probably most illustrates the spirit of Wabi-sabi is Kintsugi.
Kintsugi is the art of repairing things, usually ceramics, using a gold alloy. Historians date this art back to the late 15th century.
Like the kintsugi cup you see above, a skilled master, a surgeon, has worked on Mike’s body. And he carries the marks of repair – his scars – both inside and out.
To quote Ernest Hemingway, Kintsugi pieces are more beautiful, unique, and “stronger at the broken places” than their original form. If you would use glue instead, you could not use a cup anymore. It would break over time again, let alone the health issues it could create.
Most people experience the life events that leave them scars, whether internal, external, or both. And what we do is we try to repair everything, hoping that if we do a good enough job, the cracks will not be visible.
But just like with glue, that often does not work.
We may realize it as not feeling at home in our body or not feeling self-worth, necessary to thrive. Self-worth does not grow to be (or doing) everything perfect. Self-worth does not come from being as good (or better, richer, more intelligent, prettier) as other people.
It comes from being at peace with who we are. Maybe even be our own best friend.
Only then can we see value in our lives, no matter how it looks compared to another life. We can appreciate how this process of living transforms us into someone who is even more unique and gorgeous because of the scars.
And not constantly fantasizing about how life would be without the incidents that led to the scars.
For me, the spirit of Wabi-sabi has the power to stop the fights we have with ourselves and ultimately with the people around us. Because we do not see things as black and white, broken, or whole, right, or wrong.
We can see them as a new reality where diversity is an essential part of life.
What could you do now? Read …
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