Thursday, March 3, 2016

Kintsugi Heart

Are you familiar with Kintsugi? It's a Japanese technique used to mend broken pottery. The belief is that when mended with gold the broken object becomes more beautiful and valuable than it was before. How can you not love that?

My miniature origami Kintsugi Heart on Instagram

There's even a song about kintsugi. I heard it performed by a woman (I'm sorry I don't recall who she was but she sang it beautifully) on Prairie Home Companion one quiet weekend. A Google search to learn more about it followed which is when I discovered Peter Mayer is the folk singer-songwriter who wrote and recorded the song. The video below was made by a fan and includes many images of kintsugi in case you've never seen it before.

Japanese Bowl

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
That were made long ago
I have some cracks in me
They have been filled with gold

That’s what they used back then
When they had a bowl to mend
It did not hide the cracks
It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows
From every time I broke
And anyone’s eyes can see
I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind
All of these jagged lines
Make me more beautiful
And worth a much higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
I was made long ago
I have some cracks you can see
See how they shine of gold

The concept of brokenness, healing, and scars that are to be appreciated with reverence instead of being ashamed of them all resonated incredibly deeply for me.

The brokenness is unavoidable. It's as much as part of life as birth and death.

The song stuck in my head for months. Then one day an idea came to me but it's taken until now to begin to bring it to fruition. At first I thought I would paint a heart, my heart, and add a gold fracture line for each time it has been broken and healed. Some cracks would be larger and longer than others. But the more I thought about it the more I realized I couldn't begin to remember exactly how many times my heart has broken not only for myself but for others as well (from people I know to people I read about online and in the news each day).

And so I did this instead and posted it on Instagram a couple of days ago...

If we live life well, if we not only feel the pain but learn from it and evolve because of it, we become like kintsugi. The scars of mended gold only add to the beauty of the broken pottery. My heart has been broken so many times, in so many ways, for so many years, by so many different people I've lost count of the shattered pieces. Yours too? But it has mended (again) and my creativity is surging. My emotional scars are why I practice gratitude, compassion, and patience. I'm feeling like someone I used to know #origami #origamiinmyhand #kintsugi #heart #emotions #growth #survivor #strength #healing #japanese #art #craft #mini"

If any of this makes sense to you I hope the next time your heart breaks instead of becoming bitter or cynical you'll think of kintsugi and you'll be able to take comfort in knowing that to suffer through pain and loss isn't for nothing. It's always an opportunity to learn more about acceptance and gratitude which both help to create balance in our lives. I definitely believe that while suffering loss is never enjoyable it has helped to make me a more strong, resilient, tenacious, appreciative, and empathetic person. I take comfort in knowing (once I'm able to come out the other side) there will always be a new and improved kintsugi version of me :)