Written by Anna-Marie Swan
In Japan, when a ceramic bowl or pot breaks or cracks, the Japanese use lacquers dusted with precious and rare elements: gold, silver, or platinum. And through the mending of these objects, they make a new object, one that is infinitely more beautiful than it was before. They call this kintsukuroi, literally meaning ‘golden mend’. It is both an art and a philosophy.
As we move through life, we often feel betrayed by it, experiencing many things that we would not choose to, our hearts and bodies seeming laced not with precious gold or silver but wounds that do not heal and scars that do not fade. But, if we choose to, we can see that life is not an invisible prison cell and we are not held hostage to the suffering we have known. Instead, we can choose to see that life is in fact an always unfolding process of kintsukuroi.
There is unimaginable, unendurable, unacceptable, and uninvited suffering in our lives and in the world around us, and we must grieve and hurt and rage, allowing our hearts and our bodies to fully feel the horror that life can be.
And yet. And yet.
We can mend, if we allow time to blanket us with its tender care. We can learn, if we allow ourselves to dive into the shadows and see what tiny thread of gold we can find to weave into our selves. We can become stronger in our knowledge of who we are and who we want to be. And we may one day find that what was unendurable was not only endured but through it - because of it - we have become the people we are today.
That we live, and we are, a gold-mended life.