Wednesday 12 February 2020

KINTSUGI - Broken but Beautiful

A couple of weeks ago I went to visit someone that knows me extremely well and has been there for me through many years of on and off pain and heartache. I sat and sobbed about most of which I write my blog about. The words that she said to me were gentle, kind and warm.

We discussed how I felt broken and that my wounds would heal with time. She didn't underestimate the heartache I am feeling and the difficult emotions I had gone through.

As the tears fell, I could barely speak and she gently sat opposite with kind eyes and occasionally giving me a touch of her hand on my leg to show her support through human contact. I needed the comfort that day.

She sat and listened and was never once judgmental upon my words that were being expelled like verbal diarrhoea.

Once I finally gained some control back and I had officially ran out of tears, surrounded by snotty tissues and a very puffy face.

She sat and gazed at me and said the words "Broken but Beautiful" I asked her what she meant by this (strangely a person I care an awful lot about has also mentioned this concept before fairly recently in general conversation).

She went on to explain to me what Kintsugi is. 

For those of you who don't know, Kintsugi is a philosophy taken from Japanese Zen Buddism particularly their approach on  how they treat ceramics. 

Kin meaning golden 
tsugi  meaning joinery

It literally means "to join with gold". It belongs to Wabi Sabi, Zen ideal. This Zen embraces old weathered, unpretentious, broken, simple things.

It is said to have originated from 1358-1408, the Muromachi period. 

Without going into great detail of the story of how it originated. A dude called Ashikaga Yoshimitsu broke his favourite bowl and sent it to China to be repaired but upon its return he thought it looked ugly as they had used staples to fix it. He paid craftsmen to come up with a better idea to fix it, what they came up with was accentuating the broken pieces and fractures in the bowl making it look a piece of art.

Sometime between 1522 and 1599 a guy called Sen no Rikya was invited to a party and expensive gifts were shown off including an expensive tea jar he was far more interested in a tree blowing in the wind than any of the gifts that were there. The host of the party was annoyed and smashed the expensive tea jar the other guests put it together again using kintsugi. Next time Rikya went over the hosts house, he admired the tea jar that he had easily dismissed last time and suggested that it was now "magnificent". 

So basically broken ceramics are now treasured and fixed using particles of gold in the form of kintsugi.

Broken pots and vases and other ceramic items in this way with golden scars shining brightly through the ceramic look beautiful and more interesting than the unbroken vase/pot. 

So if we use this analogy on people. People who feel imperfect and damaged, ultimately "broken" they may well be far more beautiful and interesting than someone with out fractures, because they are filled with gold.

This person turned to me and said "If you were a vase and the kintsgui concept was applied, you my dear are more beautiful and interesting than you think. You will stand out with your golden fractures on a shelf more than the brand new unbroken vase".

At this the tears flowed again I thought that was one of the nicest and kindest things anyone has ever said to me.

Despite my flaws, my heartache and feelings of being broken, I am beautiful and interesting with my golden fractures. I am proud of my golden scars. The more fractures you get and the harder smashed you have been the more gold appears within you.

So if any of you feel the way I do and feel like a broken vase, just remember using the art of kintsugi you can be the most beautiful and interesting vase going. Broken but beautiful.

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