I was startled due to the sudden thud sound. I was wondering what it was. It took some time to register that it was the sound of a mobile falling and hitting the ground. Mobile without a tempered glass left me with a piece with visible deep flaws which can’t be concealed. Surprisingly, flaws and imperfection didn’t make me lose my cool. I was as calm as I could be. My chosen reaction to be calm reminded me of the practice of KINTSUGI.
Kintsugi means “golden joinery” in Japanese. It is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold. It is built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create even stronger, more beautiful pieces of art. The 400-year-old technique highlights scars as a part of the design.
It is believed that the “practice of fixing broken things may help heal what’s broken in you”. Sometimes life doesn’t proceed the way we expect it to, sometimes our days are not perfect, jobs are not perfect, some other times children and family members are not perfect. It raises a profound doubt, then what is being perfect? Is it fulfilling the expectation set by others? If I can fit in the expectation of my boss, my parents, my wife, my girlfriend, my boyfriend then I might be considered perfect but is it so? Let’s see how Kintsugi can be applied in day-to-day lives.
APPLICATION OF KINTSUGI IN EVERYDAY LIFE
“You won’t realize your full potential until you go through the tough times”, says Candice Kumai. She has done plenty of work in the area of kintsugi. She has also mentioned about the application of kintsugi in everyday life which I perceive might be useful to hold on to in case of crisis as well as for the betterment of day-to-day care of our mental well-being.
1)Wabi-Sabi: admire imperfection
Wabi means alone and Sabi is a passage of time. Wabi-Sabi is about celebrating imperfection and living simply. It is a Japanese concept that shows us the beauty of the fleeting, changeable, and imperfect nature of the world around us. It says, instead of searching for beauty in perfection, we should look for it in things that are flawed, incomplete. Imperfection is seen as an opportunity for growth.
Even Japanese architecture doesn’t impose perfection. The tradition of making a structure out of wood presupposes their impermanence and the need for future generations to rebuild them. Japanese culture accepts the fleeting nature of the human being and everything we create.
2)Gaman: live with resilience
Gaman is the ability to endure, be patient and remain calm. Everyone can practice gaman in everyday life by meditating, through visualization, or by taking few moments to just breathe. By focusing on the breath, you are moving your thoughts away from negativity. Resiliency can be practiced every day by choosing how to respond to the daily stressor.
3) Yuimaru: care for your inner circle
In her book, she talks about yuimaru, which is the kintsugi practice of valuing togetherness. It helps you to heal with the support of family and friends. When you take care of the inner circle, you take care of yourself.
4)Eiyoshoku: Nourish your body
A positive mind starts with a strong and healthy body. Fuel your bodies with a simple healthy diet as your mind gets benefitted from the kind of food you eat.
5) Kansha: Cultivate sincere gratitude
Kansha means letting go of your ego, changing your perspective to reframe the experiences. It would help you to look for positive in most difficult of the difficult situations too. It’s a matter of perspective whether you say half glass empty or half glass full! It is also about living in the present moment and enjoying what you have rather than getting irritated for what you don’t have.
I grasped that the practice of kintsugi can be applied to every moment in our lives. How I choose to react to a particular situation speaks a lot about my mental state at that moment. Life can be tough and seems unfair sometimes but at that moment, if I remember the fleeting nature of human beings and everything we create, I will be more at peace with myself.
There is an old saying, “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. If I embrace imperfections and flaws in my life then I might be able to heal what’s broken inside. It’s such a beautiful concept that if we seriously apply it to our lives then we would end up being a better human being with less stress level, irritation level, and more level of tolerance, patience, and resilience.
"There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in"-Leonard Cohen
IKIGAI-The Japanese way of living long and happy life