3 Ways to Embrace Your Broken Pieces
“Until you’re broken, you don’t know what you’re made of. It gives you the ability to build yourself all over again, but stronger than ever”– Unknown
The Kintsugi technique is an idea taken from an ancient Japanese art form. An Emperor once broke his favorite tea cup, he was devastated, as the servers began picking it up and throwing the pieces away he quickly stopped them. Instead of throwing it away he told them to put it back together but using gold to bind the cracks. This made the tea cup even more beautiful than it was before the damage. This philosophy of not just throwing things away because they’re broken, but also embracing how the tea cup now looked once it was fixed, can be used in our own day to day lives. Kintsugi is not just about the art, it’s about embracing imperfections. Understanding that something broken can still be beautiful and stronger than ever if put back together.
Today I am a happy 44-year-old British single mother who lives in the States with my daughter and Maltese dog. I direct movies and help heal by guiding people through their stories. My life is strong and solid, but if you look closer, you’ll spot my cracks that I’ve reinforced with gold to make me who I am today.
Only 6 years ago I was a married woman going through a tumultuous divorce, preparing to find the means to live solely with my young daughter. If that wasn’t enough, it was all whilst pondering a life-altering decision: which country to live in, staying in the UK or upend and move to the USA? My daughter’s acting career pushed us to go with the latter, with the two of us coming “across the pond” with only 6 suitcases. I was left to work out how to support my daughter financially and educationally. I didn’t have the long-term visa I needed to stay in the States, so we had to navigate the legal process every few years, hoping to stay. I was overwhelmed, lost, alone. I felt broken.
I took it day by day, and still do. I slowly refound my footing in this foreign place. I’m continuously picking up my pieces and moving forward. No matter how hard I tried, pressures of being a single mum would creep in, with me doubting if I was doing the “right” thing for us. But eventually I was able to put myself back together, strengthening the broken parts until I was stronger than I’d ever been before. Having gone through this experience, and continuing to strengthen myself with each passing day, I now see my broken shards as my individual powers. Using this newfound knowledge and empowerment, I share my learned methods through my healing practice “Medicine with Words”, hoping to help other “broken tea cups” find their strength to reinforce themselves with gold, piece by piece. It is not easy, and I am still in the process of fixing things, one broken piece at a time.
It’s not always easy to find our broken pieces or acknowledge them. This is the beginning of your journey and the first step is often the hardest.
I use these 3 techniques to help embrace my broken pieces and make them feel more beautiful, special, and unique to me:
Firstly I figure out why each piece makes me feel broken; The first step is embracing those feelings, and making them a stronger part of me.
Next I create a self acceptance mantra. “I accept _________. These pieces are what makes me who I am.”
Finally I repeat “This is me, right here, right now.” I peacefully practice acceptance of the pieces that make me who I am.
The tea cup is merely a reminder to stay optimistic when things fall apart. Each day each piece can remind us of what we’ve learned and where we came from. Instead of denying our faults and broken parts, embrace them all. Putting the pieces back together makes us all so much more beautiful and unique. The gold emphasises the beauty of breaks and imperfections. This now gives a new lease of life and it actually becomes more refined, thanks to the scars.
ASSIGNMENT: Find a pen and a notebook that you like and use it for this whole year. Keep it special just for this year’s activities.
First: Describe yourself as a literary character in the 3rd person. This can be an image surrounded by adjectives, or written as a paragraph, whatever works for you. Include your backstory.
Second: Notice the consistency throughout the descriptions.
Lastly: Add what you think your broken pieces are.
Show your vulnerabilities in this piece. Keep this somewhere safe so you can look back on it in a year’s time.
Don’t hide your cracks, chips, and breaks. Embrace and be proud of each one, for they come with memories.
Read more articles by Elizabeth Blake-Thomas.