I have a reverent respect for hitting rock bottom. Not because I like pain or suffering, but because of what I’ve learned from being there:
Crashing and shattering into pieces is not meant for us to fall apart. It’s meant for us to break into place.
There are lots of metaphors to describe transformation. A butterfly in a cocoon. A seed taking root in the soil. A diamond in the rough. I love them all. But one, less known, is the Japanese philosophy “kintsugi,” or, the art of broken glass.
Kintsugi is a method of pottery that mends broken ceramics together with a beautiful gold, silver or platinum lacquer. The idea of kintsugi is that the new creation–the broken pieces put together and melded with gold–is even more beautiful than the original, untouched pottery.
This particular metaphor of transformation speaks to me because it takes the very pieces that were broken, and makes something even greater with them. I, too, was the shattered pottery. But being in a million shards gives us a million new ways to rebuild ourselves into a beautiful work of art.
In order to rise…
We must fall.
In order to transform…
We must break open.
In order to be free…
We must reclaim ourselves.
When we embrace our vulnerabilities, love can mend the shattered shards of our hearts–like the golden lacquer–and we can see the light of day again. Hitting rock bottom is our invitation to rebuild the pulverized pieces of who we were, into the transformed person we are called to become. It’s not about putting the pieces back in the places they were, but realizing our imperfections add to the masterpiece that we already are.
I am the kintsugi; broken and beautiful.
And so are you.