Kintsugi and repairing painful experiences

Kintsugi “golden joinery”, also known as Kintsukuroi “golden repair”, is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage. Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of “no mind” which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life. (From Wikipedia.)

When I lost my horse Silver, I experienced an act of kindness I will never forget. When my horse lay on the ground close to death, a friend and experienced horsewoman had me sit at his head and take each thumb and gently stroke inside his ears at the tips. She said “This will feel good to him, it’s a pressure point, and it will help calm you down as well. We have done all that is possible, so just let everything go and sit with your horse.” I am glad I did, because I didn’t realize I would not see him again. I thanked him for the wonderful years together, the glorious fast rides out in the desert, and his goofy demeanor and friendship. I am forever indebted to the wisdom of my friend Kristin. This act of kindness was a knitting together of the broken pieces that were already coming apart. I did not know it then.

Regarding Kintsugi: “Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself.”  — Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

With Kintsugi, the damage is part of the story of the piece and is not hidden or swept under the rug. Kintsugi makes the piece whole, new, and beautiful. In terms of healing a heart it makes the trauma part of your story but it is a healed trauma. It is a new part of you and your story. Sitting with my horse as he lay close to death was hard, but it was the art of Kintsugi, making a repair, and pulling together the old pieces to make a new whole.

If you have pieces of your life’s experience that feel broken or damaged, think of the art of Kintsugi, and how those experiences make up part of who you are. They are part of a whole that makes up everything you currently are. Don’t dismiss them, and don’t embrace the damage itself as all you are either. It is part of a larger whole. In time, bad circumstances and negative events will become clearer to you. Think of the art of Kintsugi and perhaps the pain of past events will make more sense to you than they did at the time those events happened to you.

As Jim Carey said at his commencement speech at Maharishi University of Management…

“Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.”

Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening. Love and Light, Patty.

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