Kintsugi (golden joinery) or kintsukuroi (golden joinery) is the Japanese method of repairing broken (bonsai) pots. They believe that there is beauty in imperfection (wabi-sabi) and that one should not hide those scars (that life dealt you). Instead, broken pots are fixed with epoxy mixed with gold dust. This transforms the (ugly) broken pot into beautiful artwork and something more valuable.
Most people want to hide their flaws. We want things fixed so that no-one can see they are broken or that we had once faltered. We pretend that we live these perfect lives, in beautiful houses, in tranquil suburbs, in lush gardens, where we sip our afternoon tea, sitting in white wicker chairs.
But reality is not like that. Life has dealt all of us some nasty bumps, our insecurities eat us alive when we want to attempt new things or meet new friends. A friend once said, that he is yet to see a person upload an ugly Facebook profile picture. We don’t show off our failures. We don’t post anything less than our perfect lives.
But what if we can embrace our shortcomings? What if we treat these scars and use them to make something more valuable in our lives? We often see broken adults, who struggle to move on from an abusive childhood, or people who managed to escape from damaging relationships or trauma unable to shake the episodes and it continues to rule their lives. What if we can ‘fix’ that using therapy (epoxy mixed with gold dust) and create a new, beautiful story in and of, our lives.
Zen philosophy acknowledges flaws, embraces change, and restores (an object) with a newfound beauty. It is not thrown away or discarded. It is picked up and cleaned and gently put back together again, to be made better than before.
When our dreams lay shattered at our feet and we have nowhere else to go, we can pick it up, turn it around in our hands (Look at it from different angles) and make something new from it. Sometimes, just being quiet and looking at things from a different angle, gives us new perspective. Knowing that the new dream will be more!