I love the eating style in Japan known as Oryoki referring to ‘just the right amount’ and the ritual around it promoting the habit of eating well, fulfilling the eyes and the belly and doing this economically. For years I found deep peace watching Zen monks cook and eat and I am drawn to this feeling of peace. Over the years I have welcomed the beautiful word Oryoki into my life, and later on into the life of my family.
Having just enough is so beautiful to me. It means defining luxury, defining pleasure, defining our motivations of having items and if these items are something we need or want. For me and my family, this is a journey seeking for simple pleasures and beauty, and even more, a journey to celebrate creativity, joy and inspiration that is created in a space where you feel the Oryoki has made space simple luxury and simplify as a lifestyle. Having just enough gives so much space for Nature to fill the rest and that makes me feel rich. While having just enough of external wealth makes space for more and more inner prosperity. It brings quality over quantity approach into our lives.
As a process or a journey, this does not mean we would not have items we have not wanted, then bought and now have them collecting dust in shelves. No, we still have tons of those too, but way less than I used to have 10 years ago and now we have a small little process to ‘check’ if we really need something before we buy it, and often with smiles we realise we really do not need the item. This is already a major step for me, as I used to be an obsessive shopper, loved materials and was an easy target for any advertisement that made me believe I would “need” the item they try to sell. I started to dematerialize, or at least feel a knocking quilt related to my consumer habits in 2012 and I am still on the same journey to define my own state of Oryoki.
As a mother of a 15 month old child, since pregnant I felt the growing increase of discomfort inside me when thinking about the materialistic world our child was born and how to keep things simple, beautiful, oriented to green-time outside and having few toys only and allowing the child to find creative ways to play with them. I remember hating ‘ready-made toys’ as a child and was insulted when given a doll house as it was not my idea of a house. So I knew I would need to find a way to ensure Oryoki is part of our child’s growth.
On this featured picture you can see all toys our child has had since born. I made a strict rule (and perhaps some enemies too) saying we do not need any gifts, but since out of kindness towards a child, many visitors, family and friends visited with gifts, we made it clear we are against plastic and other materials seeing as harmful for the planet. And we informed why we want to limit gifts and make sure they are of sustainable source/ recycled. I love my child more than anything. And I love our planet and its diverse Nature. I want my child to have the best possible future in a planet that is healthy and rich in Flora and Fauna. So I could not see way around recognizing the global issues of over consumerism and plastic pollution threatening the dream of a healthy the future of the next generation. I wanted my child to know his parents are doing everything to give him and his generation a good future, and buying a mountain of plastic toys would simply be shooting them on a leg. We also wanted to allow curiosity and creativity to blossom, and as many studies show, children with less toys learn to be more creative than those with (too) many. And lastly, we wanted to make sure the nature outside is the main playground to explore and have adventurous.
1. 2nd hand, 8Euros, wood
2. Handmade to order knitted animals, leather bunny price not available
3. Wooden blocks, new 19Euros
4. Handmade wooden swords, 8Euros
5. 2nd hand green plastic (recycled) set of toys 11Euros
6. 2nd hand, 12 euros, wood
8. new, 18 euros, wood
9. set of sustainable wooden instruments 30Euros
10. 2nd hand gift
11. gifts: soft toys x 3, Montessori toys, rattles x 2, finger puppets
12. 2nd hand gift, wood
13. 2nd hand gift
14. Found from outside garden (left by previous house owners)
15. New, 2Euros, plastic ball
16. New, 65Euros, wood
17. New, 12euros, wool
The picture shows what we have, and I still think we have too much, but majority of the toys are gifts. However, it shows that it is possible to promote sustainable gifts (second hand and/or sustainable source) and limit the items you have by openly informing people around you about your wish to preserve the future for your child and hoping that they would support you.
As a challenge, I would love to hear or see how could you apply Oryaki into your Life? What would be the right amount (food, clothes, toys, shoes, handbags, etc.) that would bring beauty and free you from the forever-demanding consumerism trend? Please share your ideas – they are received with no judgement and with gratitude. Have a good Life, Sari Bernardo CEO – Romi’s Way