Kintsugi or kintsukuroi is a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognise the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. The process usually results in something more beautiful than the original.
Inspiration with Cynthia Hakutangwi
Kintsukuroi means “to repair with gold” in Japanese, and beyond the art of repairing pottery with gold, there is an understanding that the piece is the more beautiful for having been broken. In Japan, instead of tossing valuable broken pieces in the trash, some craftsmen practise this 500-year-old art of kintsugi, or “golden joinery.” The kintsugi method conveys a philosophy not of replacement but of awe, reverence and restoration. The gold-filled cracks of a once-broken item are a testament to its history.
More beautiful than the original
Many of us may have experienced in life some level of pain, abuse or degree of ill-treatment which shook us, broke us and possibly threatened our identity and wholeness. As we live through experiences which challenge and threaten to destroy us, how are we when we emerge? I recently came across an interesting article by a Scottish woman, living and working in Asia as a humanitarian and development professional who uses the pseudonym “Feisty Blue Gecko – A tail of the unexpected.” She describes how she had just taken up a new post in Myanmar when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer late in 2009. In relating to the Kintsukuroi art, she says that “the instant that the bowl drops and smashes, is just like that moment when you hear those unforgettable words and learn that you have cancer. Everything which is precious and sure, suddenly shatters and it feels impossible that it could ever be mended. The hideous different types of treatment continue to break the bowl into smaller fragments. But as we struggle physically, there is a gold thread which emerges with gradual repair.” She relates in her articles on breast cancer awareness that the broken pieces are many because of the damage inflicted on her body from the immediate treatments and from continued medication. She narrates how she feels aggrieved by that which has been damaged or stolen by cancer. The constrained mobility thanks to joint pain, weight gain despite regular exercise, reduced energy, lungs which have been damaged by the embolism and blood levels which require regular monitoring to ensure that she is in a “safe zone.” In spite of all this, she goes on to say that “Yet there is a less tangible element. This gold thread is one of resilience, inner determination, the will and need to focus on that which is important.”
From brokenness to confidence
In one of my recently published book titles, Destination Wholeness: Going beyond Brokenness, I share my personal life journey with the reader about how my innocence was violated and my confidence shattered during my early childhood years. Some people never recover from such violent episodes but it is important to know that life is not about waiting for the storms to end, but learning to dance in the rain! As you put your total trust in God through the pain, you will come out stronger and fortified with godly confidence. Confidence is not something that can be learned like a set of rules; confidence is a state of mind. Positive thinking, prophetic Faith affirmations, practice, training, knowledge and talking to other people are all useful ways to help improve broken individuals to increase their confidence levels. More than anything, it is important for individuals who have gone through painful violation to forgive themselves and accept that there is a new covenant of grace that brings restoration and glistening beauty in that place of brokenness in spite of the cause of their brokenness. Confidence comes from feelings of well-being, acceptance of your body and mind (self-esteem) and belief in what God has created you to be.
Cynthia Hakutangwi is a communications and personal development consultant, life coach, author and strategist. She is the managing consultant of Wholeness Incorporated. Her published book titles include Destination Wholeness – Going Beyond Brokenness, The Whole You – Vital Keys for Balanced Living and Intelligent Conversations: A Mindset Shift Towards a Developed Africa. She is co-author of Success Within Reach. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook: Wholeness Incorporated. Website: www.wholenessinc.com