Kintsukuroi

“There is really only one way to restore a world that is dying and in disrepair: to make beauty where ugliness has set in. By beauty, I don’t mean a superficial attractiveness, though the word is commonly used in this way. Beauty is a loveliness admired in its entirety, not just at face value.

The beauty I’m referring to is metabolized grief. It includes brokenness and fallibility, and in so doing, conveys for us something deliciously real. Like kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with powdered gold, what is normally seen as a fatal flaw is distinguished with value. When we come into contact with this kind of beauty, it serves as a medicine for the brokenness in ourselves, which then gives us the courage to live in greater intimacy with the world’s wounds.

To become a fully fledged member of the ecosphere, each of us must find a way to make a contribution of beauty medicine to the world. Most of us don’t think of our gifts as contributions, though they are clearly called ‘gifts’ for a reason, but this may be because they’ve never been properly received.

I’ve heard it said that home is the place where your gifts are received. Indeed, for those who have never had their gifts acknowledged, a true sense of belonging is rarely felt. After all, how can you belong if you are but partially appreciated? If we are honest with ourselves, most of us will also admit that we are stingy with our gifts because we underestimate their worth.

As we apprentice ourselves to the way of nature, we begin to understand that all of life is in a continuous cycle of giving and receiving. It is the honouring of this cycle that makes us feel at home in ourselves and in relation to the rest of nature. In order to experience true belonging, we must not only acknowledge the gifts we are receiving, but also give our beauty away, no matter how it may be received by others.”

Excerpt from Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-pa Turner (belongingbook.com)

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