December 10, 2014

Wabi-Sabi + Kintsugi = Resilience

G'Tis the season....for Wabi-Sabi. For those of you who aren't familiar with this term, it is a Japanese aesthetic honoring and celebrating the beauty of imperfection. Wow, what an amazing reframing of our obsession with perfection, especially during the holiday season!

I have written about the concept of wabi-sabi on this blog and you may want to read some of the archived posts. I recently came across another wonderful  Japanese term, related to the essence of wabi-sabi called kintsugi ("golden joinery").

Kintsugi is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Instead of discarding treasures when they become broken, they are repaired with jewel-like metal; acknowledging, with visibility, that while they may have once been broken they are now strengthened, and more valuable because of their repair. What a message of resilience not just for pottery but for ourselves. Repairing with gold the scars of a life well-lived as a indication of resilience is a metaphor that I can wholeheartedly embrace.

Will you join me this holiday season in using the gold and silver glittering decorations as reminders to engage in the practice wabi-sabi and kintsugi? Let's celebrate the beauty of imperfection and acknowledge the strength and courage of repairing adversity with gold.

Happy Holidays...wishing you a month of celebrating wabi-sabi and kintsugi


Susannah Fox said...

I love this idea!

If you have traveled through SFO in the last year, you may have seen a display of sculptures made of broken pottery, joined by gold seams. I actually stepped off the moving sidewalk and went back to look at them more closely -- huge piles of tea cups and vases and tea pots, in organic, wonderful shapes.

Thank you for the reminder to see this in my daily life, too.

Anonymous said...

YES! Great metaphor for life. Thanks.

Wendy said...

Wabi Sabi is such a wonderful concept. I so appreciate you bringing this forward at this time of year. Have you seen this wonderful talk?

Pam Ressler said...

Susannah, What a cool exhibit at SFO Must have missed it when I was there in Sept. I am struck by image of the gold repairs, often we try to invisibly fix to try to forget, yet are rarely successful. Perhaps that is what peer to peer online communities foster -- helping us to join together what seemed to be broken by strengthening ourselves and others with gold?