Kintsugi: The Art of Brokenness

Sometimes we come across ideas that make us pause, they make us wonder and question what we thought we knew the second before our discovery. Knowing is fragile; because what do you really know? You live your life looking for new things, new ideas that could help you make sense of a rancid world.

You could say I’m in the pursuit of ideas as much as I am in pursuit of joy. In some way they collide, they have a sweetness that justifies worse days. Then again, we look around us for anything that helps us today, because what is living if not a carousel of moments passing us by. We dwell in the center at times, and at others we play the game. Then, we learn something new, something that the game had possibly distracted us from, maybe even never hid; we just had to look hard enough.

I can toy with my love for ideas not thoughts, I can write for hours about the pleasure of feeling something new. Novelty stands on its tip toes seducing me and my shy words into touching its bare hand. So I reach out and there I go falling deeper into a love I never knew I had.

Welcome to my discovery of beauty in plain sight. Never have I considered brokenness a prerequisite of grace; but I must say Kintsugi showed me how.

Kintsugi means “golden Joining” in Japanese, it is the art of mending what was once broken in an authentic and beautiful way. Essentially, it is a practice of embracing damage and underlining its beauty. Kintsugi is the art of mending broken pottery by joining the pieces again with one special attribute. The cracks are celebrated and highlighted with lacquer mixed with melted gold.

Kintsugi used to repair bowl

Adding to the mastery of the art itself, one cannot miss the metaphor in this. The philosophy bracing itself in gold is immense and liberating. The reason behind celebrating damage in such a precise way removes us from our western standards and our limiting acknowledgement of only the perfect and symmetrical. What if we walk away from that? What would a celebration of your damage look like? Not a victim and not a fighter, just a graceful witness to the remarkable beauty of mending, and forgiving but never hiding.

What if we carry our brokenness like warriors? If each injury and each heart break carried with itself a beautiful story bracing us in gold and in authenticity what more could we want? Can you see how much meaning lay in that art? Can you picture how soft living becomes?

If your pieces were picked up and rejoined with every crack presenting itself as a proof of life, perfection becomes obsolete, because it then means that what is perfect was never alive.

Perfection is unnecessary for beauty.

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