Broken

There is a beautiful ancient Japanese method of repairing broken porcelain. It is called “kintsugi.”

The legend is: “A Japanese shogun broke his favorite Chinese tea bowl, and sent it back to the same artisans who made it for repair. The bowl came back properly repaired with glue and metal staples. The shogun could not believe his eyes: ugly staples connecting delicate pieces of porcelain – surely that was not the right way to do it. In response Japanese artisans invented kintsugi: a technique of repairing broken pottery with special gold-containing lacquer resin. Pieces repaired in that way became even more beautiful and valuable than when they were whole.” Apparently the stories say that rich people in Japan would purposely break their favorite tea bowl in order to get it repaired using this technique. Many museums now have these beautiful pieces of art.

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I feel broken a lot. My body is broken in a lot of ways, and I feel broken inside some days too. Not to the point that I did as a young adult – unable to function at times – but still, broken, sometimes worthless, sometimes unhappy with how my life has turned out.

I try not to complain about my circumstances. I know many people who have it worse off than I, and I know there are many more out there who suffer in ways I can’t imagine. I try to remind myself of this a lot. I actually have a very good life and lots of love and kindness in it.

So, on the days I feel especially broken, I look at some of the pictures of these lovely bowls – you can google “kintsugi” and find dozens of pictures – and I feel better. Sometimes being broken doesn’t mean the end of things. It can mean the beginning of new things. IF you are willing to let yourself be stronger and more beautiful with your broken pieces.

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