At some point in time, I was a new thing. I was a thing that had not been hurt, had not been beaten, had not been cast out, had not been rejected. Maybe it was only for a day or two (or maybe more) but I dare to think that, once upon a time, I was even loved wholly and completely, if even for a moment.
We all start this way: new. We all start with our hearts in tact, our spirits strong, our connection to soul and self: solid. We start with our ten fingers and ten toes and we hold that newness for as long as we can. Or for as long as life lets us.
A couple weeks ago, when I was in Hollywood, I took part of a peacekeeping workshop. We were to walk through the space and read the words and quotes on the walls and to choose one to consider, discuss. My word was reconciliation. Not because of the word but because of the quote attached.
"Kintsugi is a pottery technique. When something breaks, like a vase, they glue it back together with melted gold. Instead of making the cracks invisible, they make them beautiful. To celebrate the history of the object. What it's been through. And I was just... thinking of us like that. My heart full of gold veins, instead of cracks." ~ Leah Raeder
It got me to thinking about how we were once new. And how we break and how we come to repair our broken parts. It got me to thinking about how I've tried to hide my cracks in the past, tried to pass myself off as new, how I used flimsy bands of Scotch-tape to hold my insides together, hoping that no one would ever see that my pieces could come apart at any moment.
It got me to thinking about how when I finally stopped doing this, I replaced my Scotch-tape with a new title: Broken Forever. Thinking that there would never be anything tough enough to bond my pieces. Not really. Not strong enough to hold water, or weight, or even love. So I looked for other shattered people and pointed at their broken hearts and said, "Me too." I found that it's very hard to find love that way, always sifting through the rubble.
Which got me to thinking about my friends, students and teachers. How each of us was at some point new. And how each of us bears scars worth celebrating. I thought of their gold veins and how beautiful it is when their once-broken parts shine bright. I thought of the raw bravery it takes to display their scars, to hold them up to the world without shielding our eyes.
Which got me to thinking about my broken pieces and how one by one, I've picked them up from the floor and run my fingers along their edges. I've studied them, forgiven them and found beauty in each shattered shape. And how, of course, it's easier to see the beauty in another's broken parts. To find acceptance and worthiness and grace in someone else's story.
But through inches and ounces of self-compassion, I have tenderly discovered the gold in my veins. I have found the gold that celebrates my history, that binds me as whole. You have it too. Not broken but better. Not fragile but stronger. Not damaged.
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