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Kintsukuroi (“golden mend”) is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery using lacquer resin laced with gold or silver.

As well as a form of repair, kintsukuroi has a deeper philosophical significance. The mended flaws become part of the object’s design, and some people believe the pottery to be even more beautiful having gone through the process of being broken and repaired.

Through kintsukuroi, the cracks and seams are merely a symbol of an event that happened in the life of the object, rather than the cause of its destruction.

Like pots, bowls, cups, and plates, we endure our own bumps and scrapes. We experience drops from a dizzying height and unexpected knocks.

Sometimes we experience things that plant the seeds of shame: rejection, betrayal, abandonment, failure. So we try to avoid experiences that leave us vulnerable to these feelings as much as possible, lest the people around us see the evidence of just how imperfect, flawed, and “not good enough” we really are.

In other words, we stay hidden in the cupboard, right behind the best silver, because we don’t want to get a chip, a crack, or a complete break.

Our experiences don’t define us, but they do influence us. We can decide to hide, or we can decide to embrace these experiences that have shaped us in some small way, the experiences to which we’ve applied our own special coating of gold-laced resin. We can decide to cover up, or we can decide to walk out into the world as ourselves, mended breaks and all.

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A piece of cracked pottery that has been repaired with gold

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