Japan is an amazing country that I travelled to with my kids and good friends, the Laytons, in the Christmas of 2018. I was blown away by the kindness of the people, the incredible countryside and the orderly and respectful way that millions and millions of people, who live pretty much on top of each other, make it work. The Japanese appreciate their culture and are very pragmatic about how they live. It’s amazing what they can fit into small places and how resourceful they are. There are no bins on the streets, which forces people to take their rubbish with them – to a home the size of a shoebox (well, compared to an Australian home, anyway). Recycling is second nature for them; excessive consumption is not.
The Japanese have a practice known as Kintsukuroi, which literally means ‘gold mending’. It’s a process that repairs broken objects, like cups and bowls, with gold. Instead of throwing objects away, they are beautified. According to art historians, the practice came about in the 15th century when a shogun (military leader) named Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent his favorite tea bowl to China to be repaired and it came back stapled together. It was so poorly done that his local craftsmen were asked to repair it with a gold lacquer. They did a much better job, and the bowl looked unique and became more valuable. The repair turned a problem into a plus. The art of honouring broken things and highlighting the breaks, instead of hiding them, became a thing.
Imagine if we knew that when something about us was broken, or we discovered a crack (as we all do), that we would be given gold. Wouldn’t we just want to find more flaws? You’d have people lining up to declare their brokenness, right? (Okay, maybe that’s too far, but you get my point.)
Hiding our flaws does not serve us. Nor does it celebrate who we really are.
If we didn’t have these cracks, maybe we wouldn’t be as valuable. To celebrate this is to honour ourselves and our humanity. Hiding our flaws does not serve us; nor does it celebrate who we really are. That we are flawsome.
If you want to know more about how to find your inner ‘flawsome’ order yourself a pre-sale copy of my new book; Flawsome: The Journey to Being Whole is Learning to be Holey.