Kintsugi; healing our wounds with gold.

Kintsugi; healing our wounds with gold.


June 14, 2012

The Japanese have an amazing ancient practice of mending broken ceramics with gold filled resin. The origins of this practice come from a story of a wealthy man who broke his precious tea cup. He sent it out to be repaired and to his astonishment, it was returned stapled together. It was ugly to his eye and unusable. To please the man a craftsman found away to repair the cup using gold resin, making it more beautiful. The belief is that the object is more valuable and beautiful with its history revealed. Imagine a world where we could embrace our history, in other words, our wounds, and find ourselves and each other more beautiful?

On the surface we know that we grow thru our wounds. Though deep inside we are telling ourselves a very different story. It is the story of shame. We keep our wounds hidden away from others, we hide them from ourselves too. If we don’t look, we can pretend they are not there. If we convince ourselves the wounds are not there, we do not have to admit our pain. Admitting our pain makes us vulnerable.

Why are we ashamed of having a wound that is hurting? Why are we afraid to be vulnerable in admitting to that wound? When we see others hurting, our reaction is to help, yet when it comes to ourselves, we want to hide our pain from others. Is it that we are too strong to need help or that we are too weak to admit our vulnerability?

In Leonard Cohen’s song, Anthem, he says “There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.” Let that sink in for a moment. The Crack is to be welcomed. The Crack is our teacher.

From birth we have been growing thru our wounds. What did our parents teach us about that? Did they teach us to grow and become more beautiful, or did they teach us to “buck up” and become ashamed of our feelings?

What if we repaired our wounds with gold? What if we embraced the wound to find what gifts it holds for us? Can we dig in and find the golden nuggets waiting there to be discovered? I use this metaphor with my clients. We go back to look at the wound, not to be a victim or lay blame on others, we go back to retrieve the golden nuggets; the skills, the tools and the truth. We take the golden nuggets, and with them, we heal the wound. We find beauty where there was shame. In admitting the shame we become vulnerable, in vulnerability our hearts begin to open. When our hearts begin to open we find peace, joy and love.

What if you filled your wounds with the golden nuggets of wisdom instead of shame? What if your wounds did not turn into baggage to be carried around, but instead became a place of learning and beauty?

Life is full of wounds. I prefer to call them Teachers. Kabir says it beautifully in this poem;

The Time Before Death

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think…. and think… while you are alive.
What you call “salvation” belongs to the time before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will rejoin with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten—
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the
City of Death.

If you make love with the divine now, in the next
life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge in to the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
does all the work.

Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

Will you begin today, with a small step, to embrace your teacher?

It’s called a practice….

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