Tag Archives: Attitude
The Kintsugi of Life
I’m back! My “loop” was successful, and I’m now back at home recovering, sans thyroid. At the moment (due to the wound, bandage & internal bits & bobs), it feels like something’s strangling me constantly, but I try to ignore it…! The hospital stay was mercifully short with a nice roommate and great care by the hospital personnel. Now, I’m living on soup, testing the waters with vocal exercises, and resting my throat when it needs it – but need to challenge it as soon as the swelling goes down so that I don’t lose my vocal range.
When I let my friends and family on Facebook know what’s been happening, someone made a comment about the scar (hoping that it wouldn’t be visible long, for my sake); but I must confess that that aspect of the whole procedure was and is my least concern. For me, scars mean that I’m alive; they mean that my body is healing itself. They are a part of my history and have been instrumental in making me who I am.
The Japanese have a wonderful philosophy about the topic of scars: Kintsukuroi (meaning “golden repair”) is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery using lacquer resin mixed with gold or silver. They believe that when an object has been broken or suffered damage, it carries great meaning and history; its brokenness, when mended, makes it more beautiful. The cracks represent events that took place in the history of the pottery and make it more unique by their very existence. (Click here for a short but poignant video on the topic.)
In the western world, there is a shameful abundance of waste; if something gets broken, most people just throw it away. But what if we were to adopt the Japanese mentality? Chances are, we’d begin to look at the world around us through different lenses. We would then begin to see the people around us from a different perspective. Our modern media culture has become fixated on perfection (what they deem perfect changes over time; at the moment that standard tends toward the inane, the plastic, the uniform, and the anorexic, to put it bluntly); but this perspective can often blind people to the beauty of the unique and the diverse.
We should never be ashamed of our uniqueness; never be ashamed of grey hair, scars, or unique body features that make you who you are. Eating right, exercising and treating ourselves with TLC are all that’s wanted; beyond that, we are what we are, warts and all. We are all pieces of Kintsugi in the making, fearfully and wonderfully made. Cracks just let your light shine through…
‘Tis the Season
Sometimes despite the best of intentions real life takes over. I’ve been silent in cyberspace for nearly a fortnight as real-world events took precedence over the virtual world. I try to post only when I find something interesting to share or to write about, and can take the time to make it worth my time and yours; but we all know those times when our energy and concentration power are required by more pressing events or situations, and so I hope you’ll pardon me for having been silent.
With Christmas approaching, perhaps your thoughts are turning toward the season of giving, of slowing down to spend time with friends and family, and perhaps it’s also a time of contemplation about the past year and the future: What would you change if you could? How can you move forward and learn from mistakes or challenges, and take positive steps to see things change for the better in the coming year? I don’t mean New Year’s Resolutions; those rarely hold for more than a week or two, because they are purely decisions of the head, and if our hearts are not in agreement with those choices, it’s only a matter of time before they fall flat. If it’s a decision of both head and heart, why wait until the New Year? The old adage holds true: “We cannot be guided unless we are moving.” The greatest journey begins with the first step, followed by the next, and the next… eventually we’ll arrive at our goal, but only if we step out first.
I recently watched a TED talk by Brother David Steindl-Rast, of the Gratefulness movement; for him one of the keys to finding moments of gratefulness in everyday life is to “Stop. Look. Go.”: To pause in our hectic lives and take a moment to smell the roses; to open our senses to the world around us and become grateful for the things we take for granted, such as clean, flowing water on tap (even cold and hot), or for the roof over our heads. The more we look around, the more we’ll find to be grateful for. The “Go” part of that equation is to act on that gratefulness – passing it on to those around us. Positivity and smiles are contagious, and they are magnets that draw people; negativity and scowls are also contagious, but they will repel and isolate us. We all have times of trials, difficulties and challenges; how we choose to face them decides whether they master us, or serve us. One example from my own life was this past summer, described in the article, “I got Staffa’d“; I chose to be grateful in the midst of it, and it made it much easier to master it.
Whatever you’ve got planned over the coming weeks, I’d encourage you to take a moment to stop, look and then go; become aware of things in your life to be grateful for, look around and see how you can bless others, and move forward with a fresh awareness of the beauty of life.
Ps. If you’d like some ideas for advent calendar- and stocking-stuffers, click here.