There is a Japanese art of repair called kintsugi. When a piece of pottery breakers a master mends the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted with gold. This seemingly simple act is deeply profound and truly mesmerising. The breakage becomes a part of the history of an object revealing past traumas and transforming them into valuable marks. Instead of masking the past and the imperfection, it becomes the centre of attention. Irregular cracks on perfectly shaped objects are traces of tension, conflict or simply a chain of random events that caused the damage. The question that arises is what defines damage and if it is possible to redefine it to see the beauty and wisdom in the past experiences. Damage refers to a loss of the original function due to an external injury.
Disruption of function because of an external cause that results in devaluation and eventual termination. Damaged things end up in garbage. Uncomfortable reminder of an injury is out of sight. Today, a replacement can be found almost simultaneously. Taking away the possibility to experience the feeling of loss, metabolise it and let go, makes us vulnerable and fragile towards life itself.
The death of a function is never the end but a transformation into a functionless object that can gain new meaning outside of its utility. Nothing can disappear and nothing can be lost. Not possible. Kinsugi tradition is a poetic illustration and a manual on how to gain another perspective once injury occurs. It flips our experience pointing out to a a fundamental quality of life - the impermanence. Everything evolves and changes, ignoring this indisputable law of nature is simply an act of ignorance.
What if we try to practice this ability to repair brokenness with gold. Every relationship that didn’t work out the way we wanted, every rejection that we get, every new wrinkle or a grey hair on our body is a beautiful trace of time imprinted on us, touching us with its realness, causing discomfort while at the same time revealing the depth of connections we have with the world.
Today I had an encounter, a conversation that resulted in a rather unpleasant and damaging experience. One of those talks when you have a feeling that you are just taking on different wave lengths. Every new sentence becomes a crack that triggers a new one to occur. A chain of small scars growing exponentially to the point when you become one big scar without beginning and the end. How do I even start repairing it? If everything is broken, it is an opportunity to get the thing made of gold. When looking at it from this perspective, everything suddenly changes. Frustration and pain of injury becomes a gold mine. Digging into those emotions definitely took my attention away form the source of my anger. Shifting focus from the trigger to my reaction didn’t make it easier for me to see beauty in the cracks but made it possible to hold the damaged object in my head and make a decision what i do with it, repair or throw away and forget.