Shattered. Broken. Cracking up. In pieces.
During tumultuous times, we can all experience the kind of physical and emotional suffering that leads us to feel disconnected and damaged. Yet, because our modern throwaway culture encourages us to forget the broken, to mock the defective and to deride anything less than perfect, we’re often hesitant to acknowledge that pain. We renew without restoring, we replace without repairing, we react without learning.
As an alternative perspective, consider kintsugi, the Japanese art of repair. Kintsugi or “golden joinery,” is the practice of restoring broken ceramics using lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum. Celebrating breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, kintsugi recognizes improvement through destruction, rebuilding and rebirth.
As a philosophy, the craft reflects the concept of Mushin or "no mind”: accepting change, existing in the moment and practicing serenity, especially in times of upheaval. Adopting a kintsugi approach means loving the precious imperfections that tell our story, celebrating the cracks that make life interesting, and honoring the scars that mirror human experience, good and bad.
Before setting new intentions, first reflect on how you have personally and professionally navigated challenging experiences. For example:
– How have you shown up in times of trouble?
– Did your sense of self keep you centered and open to change?
Taking Care of Others
– How have you cared for and brought out the best in others?
– Did you establish a deeper sense of belonging?
Simplifying Complexity & Accepting Change
– How have you responded to challenging circumstances?
– Did you simplify complexity for yourself and others to create an improved sense of meaning?
Developing Motivation & Purpose
– How have you turned your hard-won insights into action?
– Did you bring learnings into practice in an intentional and sustainable manner to generate a shared sense of purpose?
It’s natural to want to end suffering. But what if we didn’t allow our pain, fatigue and anxiety to shortcut our most challenging experiences until their learnings provided what we needed to begin the next chapter?
In the spirit of kintsugi, let us wear our battle scars with pride by honoring all that is human within us, within those around us and within our shared experience. Let us repair and restore what is broken with a joyous heart and a hopeful spirit. Let us love what is flawed and imperfect. Let us master the art of repair and fill the cracks with gold.
What comes next may be even more beautiful.
Jamie Ramsden is a certified executive leadership coach and founder of Adastra Consulting (www.adastraleadership.com). A former Chief Executive, Jamie has been coaching C-Suite and Senior executives around the world for over fifteen years.