Kintsugi: Embracing the flawed or imperfect

Photo credit:

by Amy Heylauff

In the past two weeks I randomly heard kintsugi mentioned twice.  So, I looked it up. It’s the art of repairing broken pottery with seams of precious metals. This pottery is considered more beautiful and valuable because of the mending. Wikipedia says kintsugi is an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. In fact, sometimes they embrace the pottery with the least appealing repairs as the most beautiful.

What an amazing analogy to our lives! As they say, no one is perfect. In fact, it is the mended breaks in our lives that make us beautiful. More valuable. When we are broken, we struggle to see our value. But, by working to fix the breaks, we become better. We heal with precious seams.

Let’s take the analogy further. Those broken bowls and serving dishes? Do they sit on the shelf, demonstrating their beauty? No. These kintsugi masters put the repaired pottery right back into service. That pottery is now valuable for two reasons. 1. They have precious seams that are considered beautiful and 2. They still serve. Beautiful, serviceable and valuable. All because they are repaired.

There is a lesson for us, here. And it’s not about dishes. We are at our best when we are healed and useful. But even when we aren’t healed, we still harbor remarkable potential. All of us.

Kintsugi connects. It enhances. It’s amazing in its construction. So are you. So am I. So is the other guy. Not a single one of us isn’t repaired, even if we are all using different precious materials to mend ourselves. Our own deep-down understanding we are valuable is one material we use to patch ourselves up. People seek healing/mending from friends, family, faith, neighbors, professional healers, books, selfcare like exercise, medication, nature, pets, rehab, volunteering, satisfying work, looking in on their sleeping children, sending notes to those who are lonely, learning a new skill, baking for others, tending plants, hobbies – this list is endless.

We are all mending or mended in some way. Sometimes the people around us serve as the assistant artists and menders. Sometimes they don’t. It might be they aren’t prepared to mend because they need mending, too. We can serve as someone else’s artist! It’s an awesome responsibility and one that gives us additional value.

Mend away, world. There is a role for everyone and there are plenty of folks around us in need of a precious seam.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *