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.

Hearing words I never thought I’d hear

You may have heard of a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde called Pay It Forward. Recently I was reading The Wake Up, by the same author. In this story we see through the eyes of the lead man what it is like to be a sensitive and an Empath. The fact that the author chose a rough and tumble cowboy for her lead character was genius. No one expects a person who is tough on the outside to be sensitive on the inside. We see him discover new found awarenesses and sensations, and the arc of his life is changed forever. It is awkward for him as he wakes up to this new way of being. Some people in his life cannot deal with the change. But he knows he cannot go back, nor does he want to. He must live this new life making his way forward in a totally new landscape. He finds his true north by surrendering to the new, and going in a new direction.

Much of the book was like reading about my own life in the lead character’s sensitivities. My IBS was going full blower at the time. This was partly due to many different worries eating away at me. I am in my head too much. Part of IBS is in your head. Yes my doctor even told me that. Worries will translate to the ganglia in your gut they refer to as your ‘second brain’. A network of half a million nerve cells and neurons in the gut wall, responsible for controlling the gastrointestinal system. Your gut and your brain are in constant contact. A gut feeling…yes you guessed it. That’s it too. In horses this huge nerve network in their gut helps them survive. Read Linda Kohanov’s, The Tao of Equus—a book that changed how I see the world. I am still in a phase of waking up to this ability of sensing with my gut. I’m in the early phases of finding out how to read these new signals. This uncomfortable experience helps me to open up and be less complacent and has made me hugely vulnerable and sensitive. I am trying my best to surrender to it. To do otherwise would be avoiding personal growth.

During all this internal upheaval I have a dream. In order to better understand the dream, you will need a bit of my history. I went through years of abuse, verbal and emotional, with a narcissistic hoarder who went through 30 jobs in 18 years. I was constantly told I was not good enough, and there was always this invisible, unknowable thing I was ‘responsible for fixing’ but he would never tell me what it was. My every action and sound was harshly criticized. I had no rest from the chaos. This life drove me crazy. He had complete control of my life, as I had given my power away totally. It was to the point I thought I would not get out of the marriage alive. I am eleven years free at this point and rarely think of that life anymore.

In this dream I am with my ex-husband, and the scene is chaotic. I am getting ready for work, trying to be responsible. All the while my ex is trying to buy some huge piece of junk like an old sailboat or an old house trailer. It’s another crazy project we don’t need to complicate our lives. His friends are living with us eating us out of house and home, and acting like children. I’m being run over roughshod again and have that familiar sick feeling of trying to hold everything together while he does crazy stuff. I am the eye of the storm trying desperately not to be overtaken by it. He is totally ignoring my needs, and our situation. I am standing facing my ex husband trying to salvage things so I don’t end up paying for his chaos. Time slowed down to a stop. When time stops in a dream I know what comes next is important. As I try desperately to tell him I need to get to my job! Please! Finally he looks me in the eye and says…

“Let’s get you to work, what I want is not important.”

His words are sucked into me like a sponge gulping up water. I am still. My heart opens for healing. I feel relief. The chaos is gone. I can hardly believe what I hear. The words sounded sincere. Heartfelt. This tiny, momentary acknowledgement in a dream, of my ex actually seeing me for even a few seconds was big. Really big. The person that had been my oppressor stopped what he was doing, saw me, and apologized for his behavior. Wow. Even this small admittance was huge, because I never got that in life.

You cannot get out of the after effects of being abused overnight. It has taken eleven years of happy on-my-own-ness to get here. Did I really hear those words? What a lovely feeling it was! What a gift! I feel a relief I never knew was missing. Maybe that is what I am processing and why my body is rebelling, and finally dumping the debris from these hard years. Maybe that is what all this churning miasma my gut is about. There was something big that was coming and my body sensed it before it became something to intellectualize. It is not something that would have ever happened in ‘real life’ so it had to happen in another plane of existence. It was time.

Writing to the public about this personal experience may help others who feel they will never hear words they need to hear in order to heal. In the dream state, time and space are no longer hurdles to overcome. Therefore it can happen even if your oppressor is deceased. It happened to me even though I had not been thinking of my ex-husband or that old life. On some basic level, I needed to hear those words in a heartfelt and believable way. On some level I created this experience for healing. It is a healing that will most likely take place over the rest of my life. Not to say I am damaged goods or that I feel like a victim. Quite the contrary! I feel very empowered and happy with my new life. Ecstatic even! This experience is more like the Japanese art of Kintsugi where broken ceramics are fixed with gold. Kintsugi makes the scars hard to ignore because now they are beautiful and part of the story of the piece. I felt so lucky I was sent this dream, this scenario, this message. This healing. I am in gratitude.

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