Kintsugi 金継ぎ

According to art historians, Kintsugi accidentally came about when the 15th-century Japanese shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke his favorite tea bowl. Ashikaga sent it to China to be repaired and was disappointed when it came back, uglily repaired by metal staples. After turning to his own craftsmen, these innovative artists filled the crack with a golden lacquer, highlighting the broken parts, making the bowl beautifully unique and valuable. This repair elevated the fallen bowl back to its home as Ashikaga’s favorite and birthed a noteworthy, new art form.

Back in the fall, while discussing my future as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with my longtime therapist, she asked me how I expected anyone to take my advice seriously when they look at my fingers, which are normally ripped apart by my incessant picking. I’ve been doing it since I was a child and ever since I was a child, I’ve been working on not doing it. For months I’ve paid assiduous attention every time my awareness brought me to the picking, questioning “what is the catalyst?”. 

I’m pretty sure I was crying months before I exited the womb. I grew up being such a sensitive, emotionally expressive gal, both when happy and sad. There weren’t many people throughout my life that encouraged me to water down the happiness and excitement I expressed, but let me tell you- many people, from those whom I admired to those who were at the most acquaintances, have encouraged me to not express my emotions- especially when it came to crying. “Don’t cry.” “Don’t get upset” “I can’t talk to you without you crying.” “People will not take you seriously in this role if you cry.” So I worked on it. Up until maybe a year ago I still struggled to hold back the tears when I felt extremely angry or hurt, but most that have known me for some time would say I’ve really adapted as far as the crying goes. Go me!

Getting back to my therapist asking me how I expected anyone to take my advice seriously. I will admit, it sounds a little harsh but by this point, we had built a relationship based on her confronting me with tough questions like this one Y’all, this woman helped me so much. She was there for me during the most challenging years of my life- from major career changes, deaths, moves, relationships, and a whole lot of other ebb and flows. I would 100% recommend her to others today. We had some conversations towards the end of my time with her that led me to believe we were no longer suitable for each other, and though I decided to end my services with her, I miss her dearly. I can’t express enough gratitude for her guidance over the last few years.

I’m not perfect. And I love that about myself. I still pick my skin because hi, I’m human, and struggle with a bit of anxiety from time to time. I’m clumsy. I trip on literally nothing. I can be a bit spacey and easily distracted while sharing stories. I become giddy over the smallest of things. I get frustrated with myself when I can’t hold a pose during yoga. I take 2-hour naps sometimes. Let’s be real, I take 2-hour naps often! But guess what? I get up and work harder than I would have during those hours that I yearned for energy and motivation. And as far as my body goes… I *love* it. I love how throughout my expression of love for all that it does for me, it continues to surprise me more each day- from strength to flexibility. The more I treat my body with all of the love and respect it deserves through food and nourishment, the stronger it becomes. It’s an incredible, evolving relationship. (Sidenote: I was looking into the possibility of getting liposuction just two years ago and can remember looking at my body with SUCH disgust only 6 months ago so believe me when I say- we’re all capable of changing our relationship with our bodies and souls).

I look at myself and all of you as gleaming works of art, specifically Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi, the 400+-year-old Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer, thus highlighting the imperfect, vulnerable scars that we can also find within ourselves. As a lover of podcasts, especially Dave Asprey, the self-proclaimed human guinea pig, I’ve learned a lot from listening to him and his interviews. One piece of his life that especially resonated with me, to the point of implementing it into my daily reflection, is what he asks his children every evening. Dave will ask his kids how they failed each day and if they have no answer, he encourages them to try harder the next day. 

I now know I can expect people to take me seriously because I’m the real, raw deal. I’ve struggled through countless painful experiences that I wouldn’t want anyone to go through. From suicidal ideations to eating disorders, to an array of mental disorder diagnoses, all the way to losing a job that was my entire identity at the time. I know what works and what doesn’t work, for me and for others, because throughout this journey I chose to be vulnerable to many remarkable humans and as a result, discussed how they dealt with their own experiences that may or may not have been similar to mine. We all share the consequential emotions of failure, loss and pain. I know that by failing, we have the unique opportunity to see life from a different point of view, thus being able to embark on a new journey. I am relatable, personable and now, thanks to IIN, have the tools and resources to help others glow to their best selves.

So with all of that said, how are you utilizing Kintsugi to highlight your story? My challenge to you is to not only reflect on your scars and highlight them with gold and sparkle but to share them with others. While doing so, go and fail! Be imperfect. Fill your soul with luminosity. Life is way more gratifying when we’re surrounded by beautifully unique art, don’t you think?

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