Have you heard about this beautiful Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum? It’s called Kintsugi, and the word comes from the Japanese Kin (gold) and Tsugi (joint), and therefore literally means joint with gold. The art of Kintsugi is called Kintsukuroi, meaning “gold mending”. It is a beautiful way to give a particular object a new life and a new beauty.
A wonderful custom that highlights the damage by illuminating the repair with precious metals. Kintsugi is a long and extremely precise repair process, taking place in many stages, over several weeks or even months. It is even said that it sometimes takes a year to achieve the best Kintsugi: similar to the healing process after a breakup, an illness, an injury during which one will grow, get stronger and become even more beautiful!
While this craft seems perfect for object, it can also be applied in our own life. Kintsugi is very much related to Wabi-sabi, another Japanese Philosophy illustrating the perfectly imperfect life. Both Kintsugi and Wabi-Sabi explain the importance of embracing flaws and imperfections and making the most out of it. For me a very timely concept given the situation we are all in.
I really got into Kintsugi, it made me think and reflect on what I can learn out of it, here just a few reflections:
- Literally think twice before throwing something away
- How can I embrace my flaws and imperfections and turn them into a force or something beautiful?
- There is always a new beginning despite of the failure and the result might be ever more beautiful
- There is no such thing then perfectionism
Being in the consumer society we are in, I think it is easier to throw objects away rather than considering repairing them. Unless we have a deep affection or connection to an object, we just exchange them once broken. I confess I am the first one doing this. What we learn from Kintsugi is that all resources are valuable and that we should really think twice before making it redundant. This is also a great lesson of humbleness and encourage us to be less materialist.
Kintsugi also helps us to celebrate our flaws and imperfections. We are human and flaws and imperfections are part of our DNA I guess. Whether it is our appearance, some of our character traits, or our actions or reactions in some situations, we all have our battles with our flaws and imperfections. Yet why is that? what can we learn from then? And most of all how can we give them their beauty back?
I know for myself I have a number of flaws and failures, just mentioning one
- Being impatient
And believe me I could add much more to that list!
Firstly, looking at my impatience, I realized that I was very good at hiding it, at work or privately, even with myself. Until it started to break me down and I was forced to look at it! I did realize that looking at my impatience and listening to it, helped to realize what was good for me as opposed to what I should let go. It also path my way to my purpose and my passion. This is how I have come to accept my impatience, which I had always considered as a flaw until I understood it was my trigger to a deeper sense of peace and fulfillment.
Then, what has helped me to work on my impatience, I started to run which helped me to vent. I have embarked on a coaching journey, which gives me so much energy and deep purpose in my life by helping other to connect with themselves. It helped me to open up my perspective, try out new things in order to improve myself.
Lastly, a new beginning is always possible; recognize the deep value of an object, a person a relationship. Once you are open to repair, add new vein as in the repaired object, the object, the person the relationship gets a new beauty, which bring so much joy and happiness again and helps you to grow and learn so much about yourself.
Seeing and accepting the imperfections helps us to liberate ourselves from perfectionism, which often causes stresses and is an obstacle to effectiveness and creativity.
Applying the philosophy of Kintsugi in my life has helped me become more aware of my flaws and accept them. It has brought purpose and fulfillment into my life.
I am very happy to finish my 2020 on such a note. I am very grateful for all the learnings 2020 has brought me. I am sure Kintsugi will help me expand these learnings into 2021 and make it a fabulous year!
Where can you apply Kintsugi philosophy?
What have you repaired in your life, which has brought you closer to your purpose or brought you happiness back?
Be curious, be courageous, be bold and be yourself! and a Happy 2021 to all of you