Kintsugi - Attaining Unbrokenness?
First, let me say thank you to everyone for all the posts, messages and comments to yesterday’s blog. I was moved, as I am many days. So many days. Your comments and thoughts are such a blessing, like an extended conversation that leads me to a deeper understanding of you, myself, life, the universe. But mostly myself.
Someone asked me the following:
“If it were obtainable, would you like not to be broken? If so, what would you give up to acquire unbrokenness?”
I have been haunted by the first question since it was posed. Would I change the trajectory of my life, choosing to remain whole and complete, unbroken if that were possible?
After much thought and hand wringing, no. No I would not. And my reason is actually because of the second question posed. When I thought about it, about what I would have to give up to acquire unbrokenness, I couldn’t think of anything that is currently in my life, that I would willingly exchange for unbroken status. Nothing.
Not a person. Not a memory. Not a trajectory of my life. Not one single thing. Not even the pain, anguish, despair, alcoholism, depression, or trauma. None of it. Even as it overwhelms me now in several areas of my life. Areas that are important to me. Areas that I struggle over, hard and often. I still would not change it if I were granted such ability.
There is nothing that I want to give up about myself. I mean there are always things to change. But I like me, most of the time. Even the very broken parts. In fact, I think it is in these sharp, edgy crevices of myself that I have found the most deep and abiding love I have ever known. And had I not been stranded there in the pit of my own despair, I would have never come to know myself. I need the broken me, she introduced me to this more evolved me...and I thank her immensely for her tenacity and love and support and sticktoitiveness.
Another person commented, that my blog yesterday reminded her of the Japanese art of Kintsugi (the artful method of pottery repair where gold is used to fill the cracks of the broken piece. The mended piece is thought to be more valuable and beautiful than the original piece because the brokennenes and careful mending).
And that was my feeling, I didn’t know it until I read her comment. But that is exactly how I feel about my brokenness. I feel like I am more beautiful and valuable because of my cracks, and because of all the gold repair that I have carefully mended over the years. What once was a gaping hole, a large crack in the foundation of my self, has been remediated over the years with therapy, EMDR, 12 step work, love, kindness, self acceptance, lots of long walks in deep woods alone, writing, poetry, books, conversations with people I respect and love, countless hours on the phone with my sponsor and never, ever giving up on myself, even when I so desperately could not see a better tomorrow.
All of the above is the liquid gold that has healed me, put me back together resulting in such a more complete and wonderful version that I can no longer begrudge the needed repairs. They could have been my ending, but they were merely transitional in my life. Places in need of repair, that when tended to, resulted in a more complete, valuable and amazing work than I started out with, before all the brokenness happened.
So how can I now wish or wash away all the breaking? How can I believe that if I were granted some magical ability to erase all the trauma, pain, heartbreak and insanity that I would? How many people have been helped by my sharing of my own self destructive ways? How many lives have been altered because I was crazy enough to try to heal? Even if it were only my own life that was bettered, wouldn’t that be enough?
I think so.
Life will break you. It is just what life does, I guess. And perhaps we are all Kintsugi healers, being asked to withstand the temporary pain of the molten gold being poured over fresh wounds, cauterizing the fractures, the brokenness, and then standing still long enough for the mending repair to set.
It is not an easy process to be sure. And painful, yes. But I was asked would I change it? No. I would not. Not even the worst of it, and how that has shaped, warped and altered my ability to love, commit, show up and be present for this life. I would not change it, not even if I were granted that.
Perhaps it is a very easy answer because I am not being actually granted the power. Perhaps if I stood with power in hand, I might make a different choice. Theoretical ideas are fun to toss about in my mind which result in easy retort. But I hope that if I were someday granted the ability to go back in time and stop the horrific awfulness from occurring that I would stand by, comforting my prior self, and I would lovingly tell me, that I will survive, and it will be hard. But someday, some fine fucking day, I will look back at all that tried to level me and I will laugh. And I will throw back the shameful shade I lived in forever, and I will laugh at it all. I will see how the breaking was part of my becoming and without it I would never be this me that I am right now, writing in the darkened din of my bedroom. Lighted only by the computer screen, quietly tapping out the life that has become a beckoning song.
And I pray that I would pick this exact road again. Do it all the same. And I would enjoy every minute of it. Most especially right now when everything is changing and I have no idea what I am doing but I will fully admit that I am having the best time on earth doing it. This life, this one right here. Right now, this me. With all my past and heartbreak and crap that almost killed me. I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t give it up for something better. Instead, I remain happy, joyous and free because the past has become the greatest asset I have ever been given. And pain, horror, and shitshows have their proper and rightful place. I live, I love, I learn. And I have come to know that pouring gold all over it, results in a better more amazing product than I started out being...