Let me ask you a question. Have you ever opened something and you couldn’t turn it off again? Let me give you an example, let’s say you turned on a tap, you wanted just a little water. However, the tap had other plans, it opened right up! Couldn’t turn it off. All you can do it wait for the water to run its course. Wait. That’s all you can do. If you tried to turn the tap off by other means, it created more pressure, causing more problems. If you tried to catch all the water, it made a bigger mess because the weight was too much so you could do was wait.
How am I going to clean this up? I should have never been thirsty. I hope no one notices this mess. If I leave the house will they know, will they see the water marks?
This is how I have been feeling lately, only replace water with anxiety.
I went to the doctor for a check and opened the tap just a little, all I was doing was answering questions. Out of nowhere, the tap opened full and the handle broke off and was lost. All I could do was watch the water rush out.
A few days later, once I could start focusing again, I was trying to explain all of this to my husband. I was sitting on the floor and I started just saying words,
“Picture a bowl or a vase. Now picture it falling and breaking it’s in a million piece. Once you’ve spent hours putting it all back together, it doesn’t look the same. There are cracks, little holes where that piece has been lost. That is how I feel, I feel broken.”
I looked up at my husband and he was smiling.
I was very confused. I started to feel angry. Why is he smiling at the fact I just told him I felt broken!?
He started typing away on his laptop. Still not saying a word.
He turned the screen towards me. A picture of bowls was on the screen, but the bowl looked like any other bowl, accented with gold.
I was growing more frustrated. How is this bowl relevant to what I just said?! Why are we looking at pictures of these beautiful bowls and dishes?
Enter wise husband.
It’s called Kintsugi – Golden Joinery, also known as Kintsukurio, it is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.
It is truly the most amazing art form I have ever seen. Something that is broken, a bowl, a cup, a teapot and put it back together and it is considered more valuable than the original. Showing off the cracks, embrace that it was once broken but is whole again.
We are all a little broken from time to time, we wouldn’t be human otherwise. But it’s how we put ourselves back together that counts. You learn to love yourself, over and over again if you have too. I always felt like I would put myself back together with cheap painters tape and some crappy glue, more paste than glue. It was always temporary.
As I sat and looked at these beautiful pictures of teacups, bowls, plates and how they were put back together, I felt that click! You know that moment when you connect to something, you see things more clearly. I had that moment!
I have always accepted that I am a little broken, but now, now I am going to embrace it – add a little sparkle. Leave it to the Japanese to turn something so common as a broken dish and turn it into beautiful art. It’s elegance. The beauty. The simplicity.
When my husband showed me the photos of the dishes with golden veins, I thought it was the most beautiful thing. With the wisdom behind Kintsugi, these dishes are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I didn’t think these items had been repaired or were ever broken at any point. I thought this was art. But these bowls, cups, plates went from being practical objects to having a second life and the beauty that radiates from them I can’t begin to put into words.
Rather than going through life pretending that everything is fine, nothing bad or unpleasant has ever happened, I am going to mix up some golden lacquer and turn it into art. I guess in a way I have been doing that without knowing, I have this blog, don’t I. Rather than hiding the cracks and the missing pieces, make them sparkle, give them some value.
We try to pretend the hard things in life never happen, that we’ve never lost trust but we know it’s happened. Why not refocus all that energy on pretending it never happened to enjoy life a little more. Stop and literally smell the flowers, say hello to a stranger walking by, really taste that cup of coffee. We would be really boring if we didn’t have flaws. Embrace who you are, all of you! Learn from your mistakes, give them value. Turn the practical into art.
Nerd Writer has a beauty 4-minute video on Kintsugi: The Art of Embracing Damage.