Kintsukuroi by Luci Virgo

Many of us know we are Broken to some extent, like a dropped cup. I know that I am. More than once. Sometimes the fractures are new, yet most of the time they follow the same pattern of breakage. Regardless of the number of sherds I pick up, there is always a tiny piece or two that has crumbled away.

Not always do I use glue to stick my shattered shards of self back into place. Sometimes it is all I can do to apply a band-aid to at least keep the pieces together – in one place. They may not always fit too well as I fumble to put them on their rightful place. I may not always be ready or able. Which is where the band-aid comes in handy.

It may remain in place for some time.

Curious things, habits. Excluding the obvious, most people do not realise they have them. A routine by any other name …..

Knowing that I am Broken (or at least seriously cracked) then the gathered pieces stuck back together again (usually by myself), I am aware of my damage, and those lines where I am likely to break once more. At some point, along some line or other.

In that case, it would be reasonable to alter all those behaviours, beliefs & practices that result in the need for repair; so avoid a repeat. So you would think.

Knowing that I am Broken I am aware of the need for change, that I am capable of modifying those particular practices, beliefs & behaviours. So break that incumbent pattern, so give a different result, so prevent a repeat. So you would think. Simple!

That would be the logical, rational, thing to do; that would make sense. And really rather obvious. Simple! So you would think.

If only.

Pattern, habit, routine become ingrained before people realise they have them. So too thought processes. Even more resistant to change.

Mental illness (I hear sighs of relief that finally I have reached some point), Mental Illness works to its own set of rules and rationality. Often incomprehensible to an onlooker – with their clumsy, if well-meaning “cheer up!” – and often much the same to those who have to live with it.

Regardless of cause, Mental Illness is always debilitating, those who endure Mental Illness are always dysfunctional, however much success in concealing this. Functionality is relative.

Like the pottery I have been (however vaguely) alluding to, once broken then patched, will it hold the thin trickle of self-esteem at it is poured in. What of missing chips & eroded sense of self that allows everything to drain away. If not open the cracks once more.

There is a Japanese art, kintsukuroi (or kintsugi), which is the art of repairing pottery with gold lacquer; and understanding that the piece is even more beautiful than before it was broken.

I ask you to look at those sherds of your Self you hold in your hands while you piece them into place; to consider them with kindness, to speak to your battered sherds of self with courtesy.

Look at them, look at everything just a little differently, with consideration.

Yes, we are broken, we know we are broken, like that dropped cup, yet when we allow our self the mindfulness and compassion we apply to others – just for a change – that is golden!

With that for glue as you rebuild (rather than just repair or reconstruct) just see what you will have to show your Self.


Luci Virgo lives Down Under, by South Australia’s Blue Lake.
Identifies as female, & is currently journeying to meet her Self.
Occasional blogger & survivor of many years of chronic depression.

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