The Japanese have created a word that describes both art and a philosophy for life. Kintsugi is the art of taking a broken piece of pottery and repairing it through the use of gold glue. The finished product is a once broken piece resurrected and made more beautiful through repair. Kintsugi reminds us that breakage and repair is a valuable part of our histories and is not something to be ashamed of, to forget or to hide.
'Artists experiment with the ancient technique of Kintsugi as a means of analyzing the idea of loss, synthesis, and improvement through destruction and repair or rebirth.' Wikipedia.
I recall times in which I have felt broken, completely devastated with a deeply felt sense that I would be unable to recover the person I once was.
In these moments I was right, I would never ever be the same again. The experiences that led me to feel broken changed me. In the moments I felt most broken, my heart heavy with pain, I was confused and unsure of how repair could ever be possible. In these difficult moments and the days and months that followed, I quite reasonably doubted that I would ever mend.
I feared that I had lost myself for good, well at least the version of me I had known up until that time. Upon reflection I can see that despite feeling broken, I didn't lose any part of my true self. What was lost in those difficult times was the ability to connect with a solid sense of myself; tough times had fractured how I perceived life....and myself.
Such is the power of crisis that it can turn your world upside down; the inner and outer aspects of our lives can become confused. Just like I have seen many others do, I internalised some of the chaos that was occurring in my outer world. This only served to enhance the murkiness and confusion inside my mind. My perception became discoloured through the filter of mistruths- some I had long believed of myself and some I allowed in from the outer.
The pain of believing those lies continued to make repair impossible; the pain drove me to find another way, something closer to the truth.
In order to repair my broken sense of self, I had to discover new beliefs & ditch the crappy ones. I became much more selective about how I chose my personal 'truths', I was clear that I wanted them to be life enhancing (rather than soul destroying). These 'truths' became my golden glue, filling the gaps to make me whole and strong again.
I have mended, but I will never be the same person I was before my experiences of 'broken'. This is a blessing, because who I am, is exactly who I need to be now.
With the gold for glue I feel stronger than ever, I also know that if I ever feel broken or cracked again, I have Kintsugi. Kintsugi provides us hope and an opportunity to discover a new version of wholeness which honours our complex real-life human histories.
I know now, I am more beautiful for having been broken.
I would love to hear your thoughts & experiences with brokenness & wholeness and the journey in between, please share your thoughts in the comments section!