During a recent training with other coaches the speaker mentioned this wonderful Japanese philosophy and resulting practice of kintsugi. It is a philosophy that our speaker powerfully embraced in his work.
I wanted to know more and as I read about kintsugi I fell in love with this way of thinking. Let’s read a little from Wikipedia:
“As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. … kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.
“Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of "no mind" (無心 mushin), which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life." Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi
We all have cracks. We all walk around with things from our past that we can see as limiting, as justifications for hanging on to shame, fear, and other limiting beliefs.
In some ways it is easier for us to heal from the things that have been done to us. We walk through a process of healing where we embrace the pain, the anger and eventually find closure through letting go and forgiveness.
The harder cracks come from ways that we have let people down. The times when we have been the ones doing the harming. Even when the ones we have hurt have extended forgiveness we may hold on to the pain as a way of continuing to provide the punishment that we think we deserve.
This piece of pottery is stunning. Imagine it though without the beautiful metal that is holding the broken pieces together.
The very choice, and it is choice, to not offer ourself forgiveness and closure for the horrible, painful things we have done simply leaves us broken and more likely to hurt again.
The very thing we hate about ourself perpetuates the very thing we hate about ourself. The secret is in acknowledging that we have hurt others out of brokenness. Not denying the darkness that we are capable of but allowing beauty to come of it.
What are the things from your past that still haunt you?
If self-forgiveness does not have to mean forgetting that it ever happened but instead letting that history be re-purposed in your life then what?
How can the cracks and brokenness that you have held on to be a reminder instead for how you want to show up now?
Until next time,
Marilyn Orr, MA, CEC, PCC is an Executive and Leadership Coach with Capacity Building Coaching, holding her Professional Certified Coach designation with the International Coach Federation.
Marilyn provides professional coaching for executive and business leaders, mentor coaching for coaches, and leadership development support in the form of coaching skills training and soft-skills development.
Marilyn is author of everyday resiliency workbook “How Absorbent Are Your Shocks?”, available on Amazon. Subscribe to “Marilyn’s Musings” twice monthly blogposts for more leadership and professional development content.