Kintsugi

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing ceramics with decorative lacquer. We too can make a virtue of breaks and repairs.

Perfection is an unrealistic and inhuman standard. We are all a little shabby in real human life, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. Ancient Japanese craftsmen embraces the imperfections in repairing objects. They made the repair a feature and a key part of the object’s beauty.

Humans learn through a lifelong process of falls, failures, shortcomings, disappointments, losses, grief and breaks. Our positive goal and achievement-oriented culture makes these moments undiscussable. In so doing we make the very process of becoming hidden to us as well as others. We create unrealistic expectations of success and minimise the commitment, work and persistence required.

Balance asks us to acknowledge that breaks occur. Humanity challenges us to celebrate the diversity of experience, not because we desire it, but because we can learn from it. A little gold in the seams of disappointment can draw the eye and be a comforting counsel to those grappling with loss. The gold can remind us that a break is the beginning of something new of our making.

Let’s make a virtue of our cracks, breaks and repairs. Real human lives are full of them. Richer lives leverage them as seams of learning. The shine of that potential is something luminous.

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