Kintsugi: Beauty in Brokenness

I was recently introduced to Kintsugi (also known as Kintsukuroi) and I fell in love immediately. I knew I had to share this art form with others because of the amazing wisdom and depth found therein.  

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It was through the book Kintsugi Wellness by Candice Kumai that I acquired a greater understanding of this Japanese tradition which dates to the mid-fifteenth century. The practice is quite simple. . .When a beloved vessel becomes broken, it is not disposed of.

Instead it is taken to the Kintsugi master. He carefully pieces the item back together, making it whole once again. But that’s not all. He then carefully applies shimmering gold paint along each crack, creating something that is even more beautiful than before. A stunning new piece, where once there was only shattered and broken shards.

Kintsugi The Metaphor

I love the metaphor behind this tradition! It is so powerful and full of hope.  You see, there is a deeper, more personal implication that can be gleaned from the work of the Kintsugi master. And it pertains to each of us.

We all have broken areas of our lives. Hurts, losses, misunderstandings. Sadness has eaten away some of the shine our lives once exuded. We have been worn down. Some of us, just a bit. Others, a lot. It is the way of the world. No one can live on this earth, in relationships, and remain unscathed. We can, however, put into practice behaviors and routines that will help ourselves mend, just as we would work to restore a favored vase that’s been broken. And just like the treasured vase, we too can come out on the other side more resilient and beautiful than before.

Kintsugi Self Care

So, what behaviors and routines can we incorporate into our lives to help mend the broken places? It will probably come as no surprise that to heal, Kintsugi Wellness speaks of self-care customs the Japanese people have implemented and handed down for generations. Beliefs and traditions such as embracing imperfection, working to build resilience within yourself, providing  nourishment for your body, taking care of yourself, giving your best at all you do, striving for improvement, being willing to accept things you can’t change, taking care of others, working to become a grateful person and setting  out to serve others.

Kintsugi is more than an art form for repairing broken vessels. It is a lifestyle and belief structure, and in Kintsugi Wellness it is as if Candice has unlocked a great storehouse of wisdom and wonder. . .and invited us to dive deeply into its treasures.

Pick up a copy of Kintsugi Wellness and when you do, read it from the perspective of your child. Extend grace and acceptance to your children. Teach them to be resilient. Nourish them body and soul. Teach them to care for themselves and to do their best. Help them to accept some things and work toward improvement in others. Teach them to be grateful and to think of others. In so doing, you will be equipping them well for life.

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