I was thinking today about dealing with adversity and how the experience makes us better and stronger when I came across the concept of Kintsugi.
It’s the Japanese art of using gold lacquer to glue broken pottery back together. The process doesn’t hide the cracks or the fact that the pottery shattered — it celebrates how those cracks make it even more unique. The breakage and repair become part of the history of the object, rather than something to disguise.
Kintsugi also relates to the Japanese philosophy of “no mind”which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life.
Christy Bartlett writes in the , Flickwerk The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics
Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin….Mushin is often literally translated as “no mind,” but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. …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.
When we go through challenging times, we may crack and shatter and fall apart. When we care for our broken pieces, and piece them back together with a sense of love and appreciation, we celebrate who we are and how far we’ve come.
The goal, then, isn’t to return to a state of perfection; it’s to come to a place of comfort and peace with our cracks.
So the next time it feels like life is breaking apart, remember that your challenges make you who you are: Imperfectly perfect.