Kintsugi in life

“The art of breaking”

The technique and / or art of Kintsugi is very present today. In an industrialized and technological world, human beings are seeking to recover traditional techniques that remind us of our most human side and that connect us more with our spiritual side.

The repair of pieces with their own value, which goes beyond their original function, is a whole philosophy linked to reuse, recycling, the value of what is handmade, as well as a sign that even in “imperfect” objects there may be strokes of perfection.

In addition, Kintsugi technique provides a more refined value to the piece, as well as the added manual work, the result of the restoration.

Taking as a starting point these values always present in the Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi, many arts and human activities have been touched at some point by this art.

It would be very extensive to talk about all the aspects of human knowledge where there is some representation or influence of the spirit of the Kintsugi but it is important to take a look at some of them with which we can get an idea of the full scope of such beautiful art.

El kintsugi en varias áreas del conocimiento humano y no podia faltar en las artes plasticas
Kintsugi in the plastic arts.

“The world breaks usall, and then then some get stronger in the broken places.”

Ernest Hemingay

Wabi Sabi  侘 寂

It is worth mentioning that the Wabi Sabi philosophy, rather than being influenced by the Kintsugi, was on the contrary, part of its origin, since this current focuses on the beauty of imperfections.

The words wabi and sabi do not have an exact translation. “Wabi” previously referred to the isolation and loneliness of living in nature. “Sabi” meant “withered” or “decadent.” Around the fourteenth century its connotation begins to take on a more positive meaning. Now Wabi evokes rustic simplicity, stillness, applying it both to objects created by nature and those made by man, the same applies to the “defects” in the manufacturing process, in turn Sabi is the beauty or serenity that appears with the passage of time, when the life of the object and the passage of the years through it are evidenced in its wear and appearance.

Wabi Sabi y kintsugi, dos expresiones de la perfección en lo imperfecto

The Wabi-Sabi is described as an aesthetic vision and a way of understanding the world inspired by Buddhism and based on the beauty of the imperfect, the fleeting and the non-permanence of life, which could be summarized as “Nothing lasts, nothing is complete and nothing is perfect ”.

This aesthetic and philosophical point of view is in force in Japan in all aspects of daily living, ranging from architectural to artistic, in objects that range from natural to rustic appearance and are characterized by their asymmetry, roughness or simplicity and by sometimes be worn or cracked. It is a concept that can also be applied to our way of understanding life and living it.

When contemplating the art of Kintsugi one can immediately see its transformative power. The broken pieces of a bowl are cleverly put together with lacquer and gold dust to create a unique new piece, raising the inevitable question: If something so beautiful can emerge from the fragments of a broken bowl, could something similar be possible? in us with the broken emotional parts that we believe have no chance of repair?

“Wabi-Sabi” is the Japanese art of the search for beauty in imperfection.

Kintsugi and the Art of Resilience

While the original shape of the bowl has been destroyed forever, through Kintsugi’s alchemy, its essential beauty not only survives, it thrives. In other words, transformation goes beyond just uniting aspects of our fragmented life, but into a total reinvention of the “self” in which our broken pieces are amalgamated into a beautiful and prosperous masterpiece.

Let’s look at the thre eessential Kintsugi practices that make this miraculous life transformationpossible.

Making the impossible possible

The first basic practice in Kintsugi is to put aside our self-destructive emotional tendencies, what we have told ourselves about how impossible it is to recover from our losses and suffering. And not only that, but also to free ourselves from our responsibilities and to keep our lives fragmented as a reminder of how we have been wronged. Or in the worst case, our tendency to attach ourselves to misfortunes as a way of reaffirming ourselves and others that we are like “damaged objects”, without the right to love,recognition or success.

The great Sufi poet Rumiused to say …

“The wound is the place where the lightenters you.”

This is where we can startthe change and realize that our wounds can stop being destructive and change from the impossible to the possible. When we start to do this we begin to walk the path of transformation.

Preparing the adhesive

Kintsugi’s second practice is to prepare the golden binder to put the broken parts of our lives back together. Here the importance of finding the balance between the ingredients is fundamental. Since it could be very soft and lose shape or on the other hand too strong and therefore very fragile, preventing a permanent union

The “glue” represents our attachment to positive reinforcement and our expectation of how quickly we should progress. Too much attachment just to positive, fast movement limits our willingness to accept setbacks. We mustbe open to setbacks and also remain open again and again until what is reattaching within us has had enough time to fully “heal”.

The “gold” in the analogy represents our desire to be healed. Moving too fast, assuming we’re healed sooner, assuming we’re healed sooner than we really are, and putting too much faith in powers beyond our own ability are traps we must avoid as we prepare the golden adhesive for our transformation.

Feel every broken piece again.

The third essential practice of Kintsugi is, when we engage in our ownvrebuilding process, to re-experience each broken fragment within us in order to know its exact shape, position and feel. Each piece must be returned to its original position within our psyche if we are to transform ourselves from the broken to the beautiful. Every hurtful fragment of trust damaged or care destroyed must be handled with care to avoid being hurt again.

But we must be willing to touch and feel each of these fragments with the “hands of our heart” in order to know them intimately and be able to accept them all in our new transforming self.

This is not a process of indulgence, of dramatizing the past or feeling sorry for ourselves or blaming others, rather it is a sacred process of re-experiencing the parts of our humanity that make up our largest, strongest and most beautiful selves. While we may have been so deeply hurt that the least we want is to go over our traumas and pain again, having the courage todo so, we discover that while our identity may have been broken, we are much more than just that identity, we are a sacred container for what makes up our lives, a “vase of possibilities” that stands proud and complete as a thriving legacy of the beauty, grace and resilience of the Human Spirit.