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From Fragile to Fabulous

Kintsugi is the Japanese word for 'golden joinery'. It's a term that defines the art of mending broken pots with gold. Just like the noodle bowl in this picture, things that break can be repaired in ways that make them even more beautiful than they were to begin with. I believe we are just the same. Almost every day I journal. Over the years I've crafted a series of practices that I use to help me deep dive into my innermost mind and work out any cracks or blind spots. I also use methods to stabilise my self esteem and rewire my neural pathways towards self-love. One of the ways I do that is by writing an inventory of What I Love About Me (WILAMe). Things that are regularly on that list include:

  • Confident

  • Adaptable

  • Motivated

  • Tenacious

  • Connected

  • Willing to try

  • Willing to make mistakes

The list is long and often includes similar themes to the above. The art of writing in this way has helped shape my neurology and build my self-esteem. In more recent years I began to add 'willing to be vulnerable' to the list. I thank Brené Brown for that. Brown helped to popularise the language around shame and vulnerability that has become a greater part of the common vernacular. Vulnerability is a reframe of what we used to call weakness. What it teaches us is that having and showing emotions is far from weak. In fact, it's human and takes immense courage to show up in what Buddhist Nun Pema Chödrön calls a "Hot Mess". Embracing our hot messiness is a powerful exercise in self love. In effect we are doing kintsugi on our lives. What's surprising is that when we embrace our 'broken' pieces with gold, inevitably deeper and richer experiences awaken within us. For example, a few weeks ago as I wrote my WILAMe list, I witnessed the word 'weak' land on the page. Internally I heard a whisper… I love my weakness…? Yup. As that word came to rest on the page, nestled among her peers – namely confidence, strength and spirituality – I felt something sit down inside of me. Gently and safely, weakness took a place at my table and I poured it some tea. It made me pause for quite a while. Embracing vulnerability is one thing. We've learned to accept that being vulnerable is a friendly welcome to our emotional self. Important work for all of us. But when we drop down below vulnerability, where we actually land is right there among our weak spots. What I came to understand when that word drifted from my soul onto the page is that yes, I am weak at times. And incorporating that into my loving self only adds to my strength. Embracing our softness is like restoring a disavowed piece of our hearts and refurbishing it with gold. When we are able to fully own and embrace every single morsel of ourselves – which will at some point or another include our incapability, incompetence, ignorance, weakness and lack – then we become more whole. The dedicated art of acceptance asks that we not only embrace the parts that we can stomach, but it invites us to honour our 'brokenness'. To be human is to be a mess. To be human is to make mistakes. To be human is to lack the capacity to understand or be strong all the time. What I've learned through the process of writing my WILAMe list for the past 8 years is that reframing our cognition takes time. And courage. And what we seek to gain is not only cerebral but it is deeply spiritual, emotional and encouraging. Being able to stand tall and say I Am Weak defies the weakness. It embodies more strength to own our wholeness than it does to compartmentalise ourselves into small pieces that serve a social narrative. The narrative we must nurture is that of our Heart. The heart does not judge. The heart does not analyse. The heart does not require us to be a certain way at any given time. It simply loves. If we are willing to be like the heart and welcome every part of who we are we might become able see certain parts of ourselves as simply misplaced aspects. Aspects that can be repaired with liquid gold. And in doing so, who knows, maybe our broken hearts will mend and learn to gleam in new and bountiful ways that we never dreamed could be possible. 🌸🕊🌸


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