Saturday, November 23, 2013

KINTSUGI – Fix something broken using gold!

KINTSUGI – Fix something broken using gold!

I just read that Kintsugi is a Japanese art form where broken pottery is fixed with a lacquer resin sprinkled with powdered gold. Once, the broken pottery is fixed with gold it actually looks way more attractive than the original.

The story goes that 15th century Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke his favorite tea cup and sent it to China for repairs. It came back repaired with ugly metal staples. Seeing it look so ugly he got very disappointed. He then prompted his craftsmen to look for a more aesthetic means of repair.  The craftsmen used the cracks and aggrandized those with gold and the breaks became works of art. Japanese collectors sometimes would break perfect prized ceramics, just to have them mended in gold. These so said damaged pots actually fetched a higher price than their perfect counterparts.

Japanese took something broken and ugly and turned it into something beautiful!

Shouldn’t we turn our life’s cracks into works of art? Look back at your life and see how every crack has actually made you more beautiful. Often when I have asked people to look at their life, most have agreed that what seemed like a negative time in their life eventually turned out to be the most meaningful turning point for them.

From time to time we all break. Relationships break, aspirations break, friendships break, health and wealth suffer cracks and at times we feel incapable of repairing ourselves. These are the very times that can make us beautiful. All that is needed is faith that what ever is happening has some reason behind it. Often when we are in the midst of a perceived negative event it is impossible to see the good in that situation, but when we look back we can see that because of that event our life took a different trajectory. We could go on complaining about what happened or become miserable and angry or we could look at that so said negative event or break in our perfect life and use it to make life more beautiful.

I am reminded of a friend who spent time in prison. For all purposes he should have been angry and bitter, but instead he used that time to read up on various philosophies and worked on his body and mind and pretty much reinvented himself.  In his own words, “ had I continued on my original path, my body would have probably given up on me. Prison saved me.” Similarly a major health scare forces us to adopt a healthier life style and a broken relationship sometimes makes us more considerate and compassionate.

All negative events can be turned around and made into something beautiful, for it is true that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

I am also now understanding that physical death too is not necessarily the end. Yes the body dies but the soul continues on its onward journey. Although a difficult concept to accept, I can see that it makes perfect sense. We all come with previous baggage. The sooner we start accepting the breaks and the cracks the sooner we will start to recover and shine.

Next time something undesired happens, think about the Japanese art ‘kintsugi’ and see how that event can be dusted with gold to make it something of value.