Tag Archives: #japaneseart

Kintsugi – why be broken when you can be gold?

New year, new beginnings – embracing ourselves

Before the winter break, all plans were in place to come back rejuvenated to the campus. The hope was to resume some semblance of normalcy. But man proposes and Corona disposes

I was looking for a welcome activity for students to start the second term of the year with and came across this golden philosophy – Kintsugi

Kintsugi (kin – gold, tsugi – repair or joining)

is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. Every break is unique and instead of repairing an item like new, the 400-year-old technique actually highlights the “scars” as a part of the design.

Using this as a metaphor for healing ourselves teaches us an important lesson: Sometimes in the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient.

Source – How the Japanese art of Kintsugi can help you deal with stressful situations (nbcnews.com)

I wanted to share this philosophy with students as a mindfulness activity – not only recognizing, but embracing our flaws, what is seen as broken, and repairing it by not hiding the process, or covering the scars, rather highlighting them.

Kintsugi teaches us that the process of overcoming challenges is beautiful in itself – we do it with the help of mindfulness, friendships, family, community, faith…

And we do it not with paste, glue or duct tape.

But with gold.

Student reflections after watching the video explaining Kintsugi and having a discussion in class as to how it resonated with them –

As much as I wanted to share this with my students to facilitate their mindfulness journey, I learned so much from seeing this together with them and listening to their thoughts…for children it is so essential to understand that making mistakes is okay, it is the learning from them that is so important on our growth.

We are more beautiful for having been broken

This video so beautifully captures the essence and spirit of Kintsugi –

The bowl represents us

The hammer that breaks the bowl represents the challenges that life throws at us – to break us.

Once broken, we try to hide our broken selves. Here we are asked to stay with ourselves for some time and be mindful – not be in a hurry to ‘fix’ ourselves

The glue we then use to connect the broken parts (of ourselves) could be our faith, our friends and family, or even our inner resilience. The repaired bowl is now so much more beautiful than even the original, is it not?

Once again – in the process of trying to help my students I have helped myself! Discovered a new philosophy to live and love myself by…  

What about you? How has life hammered you? How have you overcome these challenges? Do share in the comments…

Embrace yourself, and appreciate the beauty and strength with which you got back up again….

Why be broken when you can be gold

Sarah Rees Brennan