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Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique.

As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on this art form over the past year with specific events during that time, and moments beyond that which make up the history of who I am.

I have a visible scar on my belly from a younger age when I let people talk me into punching out a glass window. I have scars unseen from times I’ve made or avoided decisions out of fear…experienced crisis like losing a job…not stood up for myself to others…blindly trusted people who ended up hurting me…the list could go on.

In the past I would look at those moments as mistakes. Blame myself for them and carry a sense of shame and regret for the scars…feel trapped by them like prison bars.

I’ve learned to embrace them. To let them stand out. To understand they are beautiful. They are part of my history.

I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books, Stones From The River which I’ll share here:

“Carefully, the girl skimmed her fingers across her mother’s knee. It was smooth; the skin had closed across the tiny wounds like the surface of the river after you toss stones into the waves. Only you knew they were there. Unless you told.”

Now I’m not going to proclaim each of my stones and scars here. But I will acknowledge they exist and share how I’ve come to understand them. With the hope that you too can embrace yours.

The second photo is from a transformational moment in my life when I started coaching with Isabel Hundt. That journey helped me understand my essence words which I had Rachel Mayo put into word art for me.

They are a counterpoint to the scars. Not more or less beautiful, but part of the picture that I hold of myself. Both the scars and the words provide hope. They help me remember and they encourage me to move forward bravely into each unknown step. Each step that might produce another scar or another word.

It’s all art.

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