Finding Beauty in the Broken: The Art of Kintsugi
April 26, 2023
I recently had the incredible experience of practicing the art of Kintsugi during a workshop hosted by fellow Spiritual Niagara member, Désirée Key (Pure Love Reiki). This workshop was powerful, transformational, and deeply healing. It allowed myself, and the others attending the workshop, fully understand the power of taking something that seems broken and making it beautiful… because isn’t that what life is all about?
What is Kintsugi?
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pieces of pottery back together with gold. This technique allows for the flaws and imperfections of the broken pottery pieces to be enhanced- making a beautiful piece of art!
It’s easy to see how we can draw parallels from this art form to our own lives. Everyone on this planet has experienced some form of pain, something that makes them feel imperfect or broken. In today’s age of social media and technology, this is something we often forget. We scroll on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook and see smiling faces of those around us living seemingly perfect lives. It’s easy to hide our scars when we filter things through social media. Essentially, we are viewing ourselves as broken pieces of pottery that are to be discarded, unmendable. This brings with it limiting beliefs that we are not worthy, that we are not loveable. Practicing the art of Kintsugi allows us to release these limiting beliefs and stop hiding our imperfections and instead embrace them!
The first step in Kintsugi is to have a piece of pottery that needs mending. This could be a piece that is already broken or, like during the workshop I attended, you can break a piece of pottery yourself. Personally, I found breaking the pottery myself to be a very important part in my healing journey with Kintsugi.
When we arrived, we first wrote down an intention for the workshop. My intention was to let go of past versions of myself that were preventing me from moving forward and to do so with kindness, love, and compassion. Following writing down our intentions, we each chose a pottery bowl that we would work with. Désirée guided us through a gentle meditation and Reiki healing session that allowed us to connect with the pottery piece we chose. In that moment I became the bowl. Which, as you can imagine, made it incredibly difficult to break the bowl! I knew that the bowl had to be broken in order to continue the workshop, just as I had this profound understanding that past versions of myself needed to be broken in order to transform and become even more beautiful. Breaking myself, breaking the bowl, was a way for me to understand that it wasn’t truly being broken. It may have felt that way, but it was necessary for the pottery to become something new, and for myself to become who I am meant to be!
With a deep inhale, and my intention in mind, I broke the bowl. I broke myself.
Feeling Your Feelings
Sitting at the table, the broken bowl in front of me, I was overwhelmed with all the powerful emotions that were coming forward. Feelings of profound sadness as I allowed myself to release past versions of myself. Feelings of love and understanding that these pieces of myself I was ready to let go of did serve a purpose and I sat there honouring that. I also felt fear, fear of change, how I would evolve… and how I was going to put this now shattered and broken bowl back together.
Connecting with our feelings is one of the beautiful parts of being human. That we have so many emotions that we experience each day is incredible! That being said, it can also be scary when such big and powerful emotions come forward and demand to be felt. We often run away in these moments, throwing ourselves into the many screens we are on each day, trying to multitask in order to avoid our thoughts and feelings. When sat in this room for the Kintsugi workshop though, there was nowhere to hide. Sitting face to face with these emotions, this space allowed myself and the others in this workshop to safely allow our feelings to come forward and be experienced.
After sitting with this for a moment, and making time for some self care (in the form of drinking tea and having some yummy fruit) it was time to get to work!
Mending: The Art of Patience
The idea of mending the bowl didn’t seem too difficult; simply apply the gold-coloured glue to the broken pieces and hold it in place while it dries. Well, the glue was quite messy, which made my OCD and inner perfectionist go mad! Viewing this as an opportunity to reflect on my intention, I welcomed in compassion and kindness into this space and allowed it to show me that this “mess” was all a part of the journey! Just as healing ourselves is a very messy process, so was mending this bowl. It also proved to be a longer process than I anticipated!
When we work on healing ourselves, whether on our own, through therapy, with a counselor, or through an art form, healing takes time- and Kintsugi was no different! Eager to mend the bowl, I discovered I was rushing the process. Just when I thought the pieces of the bowl were glued back together, they would come apart again. You see where I’m going with this?
Healing is tricky, and it happens in layers! Just when you think you’ve healed a part of yourself, the Universe throws something your way to show you that there is more work to be done. You can’t rush the process either. Just like mending the bowl, some pieces are easier to put back together than others. It just takes patience.
You Don’t Have to Journey Alone
I was nearing the end of mending my bowl, just a few small pieces left. I spent quite some time trying different ways to get the last few pieces to fit back together but it was proving to be challenging. I took this as an opportunity to ask for help.
Asking for help is something humans often struggle with; a limiting belief that if we ask for help we aren’t good enough or smart enough. Asking Désirée to help me with my bowl took a lot of courage, and showed me one more lesson through Kintsugi; the power of asking for help when we need it.
As Désirée brought some new perspective to mending my bowl, I reflected on how my journey so far in life has been enhanced by asking for help along the way. It is with my friends, family, and support team that I have made it this far. These people who helped me along my journey allowed me to hold space for growth and transformation and to provide a helping hand when needed. There is so much power in asking for help, don’t underestimate it.
With help from Désirée, my bowl was complete and left me with one final message.
My bowl was complete, but I noticed a few pieces of the bowl that no longer fit in it’s new, gold-enhanced form. In order for the bowl to be transformed into this beautiful piece of art, some of the bowl needed to be left behind.
Coming full circle to my intention of letting go of past versions of myself that were preventing me from moving forward, this message came through loud and clear! Sometimes we need to let go of things in order to make space for transformation and growth. Honour what you need to leave behind, but don’t get stuck by holding onto things you don’t need anymore. Allow this newly created space to be a beacon of light for new and magical things to help you progress in your journey!
There is a lot to be said of the healing power of Kintsugi. It is clear that it holds powerful meaning in it’s artform and it’s something that really needs to be experienced. Being able to understand the process of Kintsugi is one thing, but experiencing it is another. Looking to attend a Kintsugi workshop? Check out the workshops offered by Désirée by visiting her Spiritual Niagara page and her Instagram!