Over the many years I have practiced in the behavioral health and wellness field there is one phrase I hear over and over again:
“I feel broken”
Feeling broken, feeling like a hot mess, like a train wreck-whatever we name it in the moment-is a complicated country in which we all have landed, though the length of stay there may have been different for each of us.
I have a story I often share with clients about the bowls used in the Japanese tea ceremony. In this ceremony the tea bowls, because they are part of a sacred ceremony, are viewed as sacred objects. When these bowls break, as porcelain has been known to do with use, they are not thrown out but instead mended with precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. This technique, known as Kintsugi, takes something broken in pieces and renders it even more valuable and beautiful than the original object.
When seen as a philosophy of life, this process views the breaking of something, and the repair, as part of the history of that thing rather than something to push away or cover up.
As humans we all negotiate complicated emotional landscapes. That journey can sometimes feel long and we can feel as though we don’t have the the right maps to guide us. The result can feel like we are broken travelers on a broken road. But it is this brokenness, and the mending, that leaves us even more beautiful if we let it.
As Leonard Cohen said, “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”