“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen
My friend Liz Goulding is a talented artist living and working in Newark. You may be aware of her work at the Secret Garden studio. A few years ago, she had an exhibition entitled: ‘Filling the Cracks with Gold’. It was based on the concept of kintsukuroi, an ancient Japanese art form.
Kintsukuroi is also referred to as kintsugi, meaning “golden repair.” This is because old and treasured items that are cracked or broken are not discarded. Instead they are repaired with gold (or sometimes silver) lacquer.
This act is interwoven with the philosophy of wabi-sabi, which means “to find beauty in broken things or old things.” This means that the once perfect item, now repaired, is held to be even more precious and beautiful than before.
I wonder what our lives would be like if we viewed our brokenness as an opportunity to mend and heal and be more beautiful than ever before?
I certainly value all of the broken bits of my life. Rather like the poem I share with clients in pain that says:
‘Strong trees do not grow with ease; The stronger the wind; The stronger the trees’.
The winds of adversity may blow, but you can become a stronger tree afterwards. What seems like a setback can be a means to gaining more resilience as you are forced to put down stronger roots.
And what if being broken and then repaired with gold to be more precious than before becomes a metaphor for our lives? What if, each time we feel like we are breaking, we just remember that it is time to reach for the G.O.L.D:
G = Grow from your experiences and see them as opportunities to be stronger.
O = Own your imperfections. People, events and circumstances beyond our control are truly sent to try us but the things that don’t kill us can make us stronger. They create golden threads of experience and small victories that lead to us feeling braver and better about our ability to face anything.
L = Live and let live. Be kind to others. We are all flawed and cracked however good a mask or repair job we show to the outside world.
D = Delicate china is actually very strong. Fine china can break but that is no reason to not use and enjoy it or to repair and find a new purpose for any broken pieces.
We humans are fragile and prone to breakage. But with Kintsukuroi in mind you can, at any time, put the pieces of your life and wellbeing back together with the added bonus that you can sprinkle in some gold each time you mend.
The golden joins will remind you that you have been broken but that you are even stronger than before.