“There is not one experience, no matter how devastating,; There is nothing that is ever wasted. Everything that is happening to you is being drawn into your life as a means to help you evolve into what you were really meant to be here on earth. It’s not the thing that matters it’s what that thing opens in you.” – Oprah
Kintsugi — translated from Japanese as “golden rejoining”– is a 15th-century craft devoted to the reconstruction of ceramic pottery with gold. The spirit of Kintsugi is the exercise of focusing one’s attention on life’s concealed beauty and potential. Rather than seeking to hide the damage, Kintsugi actually draws attention to the cracks and the chips and perceives these marks of wear and tear as a valuable addition to the story of the piece.
What is our relationship to our personal wear and tear?
How do we address the cracks within ourselves? How do we turn our wounds into wisdom? What are the ways we can be transformed by our cracks, failures, and inner turbulence? These are the questions that the practice and art of Kintsugi reveal to us.
There is a well-known stigma that society tells us: our cracks are evidence of our inherent fragility, flaws, inadequacy, and imperfection. Cracks often equal shame.
We want more than anything to feel that we belong to our tribe of humans, yet how do we reveal who we are – cracks and all?
The cracks are messy, scattered, asymmetrical, and without apparent value. If you really show your deepest cracks, what will they think? These cracks are often the places in us that get denied the light and gold paint they deserve. They need support, assistance and, at times, outside help to come back together. Kintsugi highlights and requires a presence and earnest attention to the most difficult places to touch within ourselves.
The ceramic bowl that was once whole and then cracked open represents some facet of ourselves that is in the process of transformation.
The impact required for change of any kind can often feel like a blow to the constitution of our very being. Sometimes the change within us is due to an intention that we set, and sometimes we are changed by circumstances that are unwelcomed, traumatic, and devastating. Regardless of whether the changes are self-imposed or come from circumstance, we all must resurrect our shattered pieces in order to evolve. Once all of the pieces are joined back together in Kintsugi, the cracks are lined with gold paint.
The gold is the glory.
The glory is the wisdom of knowing that wholeness can never truly be lost. We are constantly redesigning and bumping up against life itself. We cannot shield ourselves from these fractures, but we can learn to paint them with compassion, insight, and the radiance they deserve.