Do you know why teenage life is the best? Because you are neither a child nor an adult and at that stage no dreams are impossible to achieve. That is the age when we dream of our glorious future. That perfect Job, that perfect marriage, the perfect life towards riches and happiness. But as the years pass we realize life may not always be fair. Sometimes we are dealt with blows for which we are never ready. We break into a thousand pieces dejected, disheartened, destroyed or depressed. It could have been due to any of the traumatic experiences like a failed exam, failed marriage, loss of job or any financial loss.
What can one do to face such events? There are two options; either to give up, which is very easy, or face the harsh reality and get your act together. The latter part is a slow process and requires patience. But believe me, the end result will give birth to a new YOU. You might think it is easy to preach to others, but difficult to practice. Have you heard of the Japanese art of kintsugi?
Kin = golden and tsugi = to join.
It literally means, ‘to join with gold’. When objects like a vase, crockery or ceramic bowl breaks, the first things we do is collecting the pieces and throw them in the dustbin. The Japanese philosophy of wabi—a historical term that dates back to the 16th century, which describes the beauty of imperfections, teaches us that you should not throwaway the pieces, rather try to join /repair them with utmost care and respect. Kintsugi is a practice of repairing broken objects by sealing the cracks with lacquer and dusting them with gold powder. The golden powder highlights these breaks and makes them stand out in strong, meaningful and positive manner.
All of you know Oprah Winfrey. She is one of the most successful and richest people in the world today, but Winfrey didn’t always have it so easy. She grew up in Milwaukee, Wis. and was repeatedly molested by her cousin, uncle and a family friend. She eventually ran away from home, and at age 14 gave birth to a baby boy who shortly died after. But Winfrey’s tragic past didn’t stop her from becoming the force she is today. She excelled as an honors student in high school, and won an oratory contest which secured her full scholarship to college. Now the entrepreneur and personality has the admiration of millions and a net worth of $2.9 billion.
In 2003, kris Karr was a 32-year-old New Yorker just enjoying life. But then, a regular checkup at her doctor’s office resulted in a diagnosis of a rare and incurable Stage IV cancer called epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, existing in her liver and lungs. Instead of succumbing to the disease, Carr decided to challenge her diagnosis head on. She attacked her cancer with a brand new nutritional lifestyle, and turned her experience into a series of successful self-help books and documentaries. Eventually, she launched her own wellness website, which is followed by over 40,000 people. Today, Karr is revered as one of the most prominent experts on healthy living.
Steven Spielberg was rejected from USC, twice. You read that right. One of the most prolific filmmakers of all time, the man who brought us “Shindler’s List,” “Jaws,” “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park” couldn’t get into the film school of his choice. Maybe, just sometimes, education can be a little overrated. In the end, Spielberg would get the last laugh, when USC awarded him an honorary degree in 1994. Two years later, he became a trustee of the university.
We all at some time or other have faced our battles and in the process are scarred for life. We must hurt in order to grow, fail in order to know, and lose in order to gain. Because some lessons in life, are best learned through the pain. Our past experiences make us strong and resilient. The art of kintsugi makes us realize that it is these flaws which make us so unique.
Rumi said: what about my eyes?
God said: Keep them on the road.
Rumi said: what about my passion?
God said: Keep it burning.
Rumi said: what about my heart?
God said: Tell me what you hold inside it?
Rumi said: pain and sorrow.
God said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
The struggles and challenges forge us into a person where “the whole is greater than the sum of all the parts”.
To end let me quote Candice Kumai. “The struggles will become your story, and that’s the beauty of Kintsugi. Your cracks can become the most beautiful part of you.”