Kintsugi: The broken and beautiful

I have spent a lot of time in the last couple of months thinking about the nature of brokenness.

During a difficult time, I felt like my heart was a piece of hand-thrown pottery, that slipped out of someone’s hands and shattered on the floor.

And in the initial weeks after “it all went down,” I kept looking in despair at the tragically sad little heart pieces on the floor, lamenting that my heart will never be what it was before. Knowing that I might never be the same.

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Image from http://www.designboom.com/art/the-plate-by-bernard-gigounon-lucile-soufflet/
But as the acute shock wore off, I started to think about healing. What does it look like and what does it mean? I knew that in a lot of ways, I would never be the same as I had been six months or two years ago, but did that mean I was doomed to be bitter and broken? And that is when I read more about the art of Kintsugi. Kintsugi is a Japanese art of “golden joining”, and has existed for centuries as a beautiful form of artistic repair for pottery. In this technique, gold is poured into the adhesive used to fix pottery and the cracks become the most beautiful part of the object.

Kintsugi is about making the brokenness beautiful.

kintsugi-9

Image from http://www.designweneed.com/kintsugi-the-gold-repair-technique/

Rather than aiming in making the broken ceramic “as good as new” and masking the history of the object and the experiences it has gone through, Kintsugi celebrates and emphasizes the cracks.

So I think I want to have a Kintsugi heart. Rather than despairing for what was lost, or trying to hide away the experience of hurt, I can react in such a way that this experience makes my heart different, stronger, more empathetic, more complex, and more beautiful. Instead of hoping to be “back to normal” and “good as new”, I am going to pour gold into the cracks, because I know that this experience HAS changed me, but that it has also made me more beautiful.

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