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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. This is how Kintsugi came into my life.

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 Kintsugi

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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You Have a Choice NOW; Will You Leap?

To think that life is a predictable series of events is naive, but it is also comforting in some way. I believe that that is why we tend to grow softer and less exposed within our little comfort zones. We uncover so many of the possible unknowns and we just live knowing one thing or another, bored perhaps, sometimes even uncertain about what is out there; but somewhat safe in our little cozy lives. So where do we leap? Who even takes the leap that so many stories romantically encourage?

There is not one single way to live; and there is not a right or wrong way. Some of us stay in our comforts until we draw our last breaths cuddling with that familiarity till the very end. Some of us skip, sometimes over tiny little comfort stones; and some of us leap up and out into the great unknown.

So are you a cuddler a skipper or a leaper? Do you have a life philosophy that leaves you stranded at the corners of experiences wondering if this step fits in with your principal? Does this fit your narrative?

I adjust my attention as I write, and I remember to focus on right NOW. I decide to leave the labeling inside a metaphorical bag that lay beside me, and just write down what must be said; even if only to honor my fleeting thoughts.

In the bigger scheme of things, we really are all hurrying in and out of minor life events, crashing into big ones and wondering about where everything could be going. I however, choose to look at the spec in time I inhabit tonight and not dwell on bigger schemes and well-written story lines.

The choice I make now is to leap. That is all I have, and all that any of us can ever rely on to be fair. So stay, skip or leap; just do it now.

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How to Lose Your Mind the Right Way

Do you ever think about how weird life gets? Does it ever seem like you’re stuck in a telenovela where drama hits randomly; but with no spikes in audiences; because nobody really cares, and everyone has their drama anyway?

I’m starting to think that this is how it continues for a really long time. Life happens in the details, and in the routines that we build; and suddenly we are 30; then 40 and 50 and up we go with the numbers and the denials that we have changed in any way.

If you haven’t lost your mind yet, then what are you waiting for? Lose your mind to your heart and its deepest desires. I recently read “Everything is F*cked” by Mark Manson, and that book was quite a ride. The first few chapters drilled through my anxiety and down they took me to the deepest holes of despair; until the words slowly became steps up and out of the dungeon of my biggest fears and hopelessness. That is how you know a book; better yet a writer got to you, spoke to you and gave you something new, a change perhaps or a nudge. Nudges are the best compliments- literary speaking.

In the book, we understand the complex relationship between how we feel and what we think about things, about our lives actually. In that I came to understand that those don’t always have to be at odds. We must learn to lose our minds a little, lessen the dose of worrying and comparisons. We must try solving less problems and enjoying challenge for what it is. We can carry portions of the world on our backs, but not die trying to control everything.

Life ends abruptly, it gets cut short despite how long we live. Life doesn’t care whether you achieved your dreams or not. It doesn’t pay attention to how ready you are for making changes or staying the same. So why OH WHY do we wait SO LONG to do things the way we want to? Why do we push ourselves in the wrong direction even after knowing that it will take us somewhere we do not want to go? Why are we so insecure about what we want?

None of the people who live their lives the way they wish ever say that it was easy. This is not about lavish living, but about fulfilling lifestyles. Fulfilling lifestyles don’t have to be fancy, filled with material wealth even. Ask the Danes, they will tell you about hyyge, and the pleasures of small lifestyle changes that improve so many aspects of your personality and increase your happiness.

All our friends are growing, and so are we; so what now? People stopped losing their minds for the right things, they chose to lose heart. So where are YOU going? Are you excited to get there? I sure hope so.

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One Human and Her Wild Dolphins’ Chase

A fisherman’s boat never looked so intriguing. His tanned arm reached out to me like the land animal I was and helped me up on board. I felt the peeling paint beneath my feet and I started holding my breath; because today was going to be the day I swam with wild Dolphins at Bali’s Lovina coast.

The fisherman was a pacifist, he didn’t like to “push the dolphins too hard”. He had his special methods of allowing them to come to him, he speeds to catch up to them and then slows down for the land animals like myself to jump in to the water and dance along with the jolliest aquatics to ever grace the waters.

I was never a fan of dolphins in captivity, to be fair- never an advocate of any animal locked up without some major medical or existential reason. So to watch animals practice this utmost freedom so close to you is breathtaking, and to be honest rather intimidating.

I threw myself in the water and grabbed onto one of the two makeshift handles to the side of the boat. The fisherman who spoke very little english smiled at me, I signaled that I was ready- although I really wasn’t. To give you a clearer picture, in order to get to the area where dolphins are no longer feeding on tuna, and swimming freely, we needed to get really far away from shore. With that, and the visibility under water that day, while wearing overly used snorkels, you can barely see more than 20 meters ahead. Your range of vision shifts between foggy blue, sudden and momentary sights of shallow water loving creatures; and surely dolphins swimming to your right, in front of you and really down below you.

First of all, dolphins are HUGE. I have only felt so small a couple of times before; and none were as humbling as that experience was. Second of all, you can hear them communicate under water; and they sound so soothing. The trick however is to quiet your mind, quiet your fear, and especially your overly enthusiastic heart beat. What is left beyond the exhilaration is a feeling of foreignness. Which explains this third point. Experiencing dolphins swimming in open water makes you feel somewhat out of place, you feel as though you shouldn’t be there, as though the boat shouldn’t be there, as though you are too close to what’s real; to what’s natural and untouched by humans.

Then you get stung by a tiny jelly fish so you never forget that lesson.

One thing about feeling foreign against wilder animals is not that you feel unwelcome; it is that you become insignificant to the majesty and the magnitude that is their journey underwater. They swim in packs, in families, in twos and threes. They swim and they twirl underwater and that my friends is the most amazing thing I never expected to see so close. They start to swim in a wide circle below my bird eye view. My eyes grow bigger and I have to remember to latch my lips tighter over the snorkel’s air pipe if I wanted to remain a calm spectator not swallowing bigger amounts of salt water. I steady myself and the performance continues regardless. The circle becomes more intricate, and dolphins pirrouette underwater in an acrobatic masterpiece.

In hindsight, we are the major producers of our experiences. We are the ones who zoom into certain scenes; and discard others. We choose to tell our story in one way vs the other.

The experience in real time was blowing my mind away. Now that the salt on my skin is long washed off, I regain the ability to use words to try and express to you just how precious our interactions with animals might be. Perhaps we can grow kinder to them because they dance despite us and around us. Not everything must play out for our entertainment. The point is to join the wonder that exists; there really is no need to recreate it.

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To Live for the Joy of Living Not for the Lack of Dying

How do we stick to our dreams? How do we turn hope into action? Why is it easier for us to leave it till tomorrow? Why do we become experts at laboring for others, and novices in learning what we want?

I’ve been contemplating this transformation deeply, and to say that life doesn’t get in the way of the dreamy pursuit is a lie. Life gets in the way, time gets in the way and we get in the way, and when nothing is clearly in the way we start throwing our fears and insecurities in the middle of the road; because we need to push the breaks, we need to stop the madness and go back to doing what is safe and expected.

But let me tell you dear reader, that the madness is absolutely worth it. The confusion and the slight doubt that you may after all be out of your mind and completely unhindered by the fears and the numbers is the start. You start to feel again.

When we are not pursuing our dreams, when we are going further away from our truth we start to become numb. Numbness feels like underwhelming living. It is eating because you must and not because you are hungry, it is going out because you must not because you are excited to do so, it is living because you are not dead. That is the most dreadful feeling of all.

When you feel like there is a purpose to life, suffering becomes bearable, wrong turns are no longer wrong but they become curves to your greater path; and most important of all it stops being about winning or losing. It becomes purely about you and who you are at any given moment. I know I have discussed purpose in another post before, and this is not to say that there is a blanket meaning for our life, but one must create reason no matter what, simply for the joy of living; even if it was only “passing butter“.

So do not walk away from something that feels right, because you might find yourself walking away your entire life.

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Stare at a Sunset Every Once in a While

Why are you feeling so down? What is it that keeps you from closing your eyes at night and calming your heart? Why do you do this to yourself? What is missing in your life? Unfortunately, I know and you know that we can answer all of those questions in numerous ways. We always have a reason even if it were unreasonable to feel so. Yet we bulk up on our emotions and we lock them in, our thoughts stand as guards for our solemn eyes and faces, and we crack crescent smiles to make believe that our secrets are safe for keeping.

I am here to tell you to let it all the hell out. Let the flood happen and let the feelings flow from the tops of your head to the tips of your feet. Let it go where it needs to but then let it out; open the biggest door possible, unhinge the gates and release the guards and offer your thoughts an EXIT. A clear one and a healthy one. Do not judge and do not blame yourself and others, imagine a locker filled with air balls that just gets unlocked; let them bounce out.

You deserve the release!

Unleash the wildest thoughts and let your most beautiful ones take over. Life is too long to be lived unhappily. Think of the hours upon hours that you can live with passion and excitement. Think of how good it can get, and just allow it.

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Are You a Wild One?

We think we know, until we don’t. We believe that we have gotten to the bottom of something until we start noticing the shaky ground and down we go. Some people stop trying, they no longer wish to learn. Some have had enough shakiness and have gotten weary of doubt. So, many choose to stop the process of discovery and remain in a place they like, somewhere familiar, a place where they know enough to keep a status quo. They give up on being a wild one.

This process happens the older we get. Some of us stop discovering at 18, some after college some as they get married, others with their first child and on it goes. Everyone has a way, everyone has a certain clock dictated by a couple of goals and a checklist. I’m sure you know someone like that, some body who simply “SIGNED OFF” from the crazy life. Whatever craziness is to you or them, they chose to walk away and be still for a while, they nest and settle and rarely ever fly away, as long as all remains bearable and within reach.

Except what about those of who cannot seem to choose a time or a goal to sign off after?

What about the wild ones and the absolute “train wrecks”?

What about me and you and all of our friends who grab a book, or go on an adventure and cannot but feel utterly small in an enormous world? Where does one choose that they have had enough?

The rat race continues and the stampede of dreams scurries over the settlers of comfort zones and familiarity.

It happens everyday that we see something we choose to forget or hear a story we cannot retell. We are so careful around the comforts of others, and we dare not step on the tails (tales as pun intended) of the ones who do not understand us.

Maybe there are the dwellers of concrete homes, and laid out plans, and the wild ones. Maybe there are those who travel to come back, and those who travel to let go. They carry their homes on their backs and their lives are transparent and light.

And so as a few more years catch up with us and a couple more drops into new unknowns land us flat on our stomachs, we take a moment to appreciate the drop, and reconcile our confusions. Life loves curve balls and upside down trails, and those who wish to travel those trails must bare the consequence of discomfort and surprise. Adventure awaits and home is a place we stumble through here and there; even if for a day there is no telling how many homes one is able to find.

So wiggle that dirt from your shoulders and remember the lights that guide you; you chose a life of chasing dreams that tread like wild horses. Your pursuit is a sight for sore eyes, and an unbelievable story for those who wait in rooms, feeling like giants in the tiniest concrete homes.