The pink dragon veins agate heart shown in the image is one that I worked on this last week. It reminds me an awful lot of me.
This particular stone came with a number of imperfections that existed even before I broke and repaired it. You can see a few of these along the right edge in the picture where there's some pitting on the stone's surface and some unevenness along the stone's edge.
Breaking the stone added a whole lot more trauma that left it in multiple pieces, including areas that completely crumbled away. The somewhat druzy-like nature of this stone both contributed to its tendency to crumble and left even the pieces with some amazing beauty as the stone so easily lit up inside when in the light.
As I repaired this stone, I repaired only the broken places that were created by my breaking of it. Even as I engaged in the kintsugi repair process (which always manages to be both frustrating and inspiring in turns), I was constantly aware of the natural, pre-existing imperfections in the stone hovering outside the edges of my work.
I found myself frequently fixated on those imperfections so strongly that I lost sight of the beauty of the repair work I was doing to make this broken stone whole again. This was especially true since I was focused so close up on the small details as I worked.
On the other hand, once I got done and was viewing it from a greater distance, it was easy to see only the beauty of the repair and the stone itself. I'd forget about the imperfections until I picked it up and felt those small uneven places along the edges.
Of course, that would swing my focus back again only to those imperfections.
It seems I'm too often only capable of seeing beauty or of seeing imperfections (or broken places). I swing from one to other extreme, but the reality is that both the beauty and the brokenness exist intertwined together all the time.
My life is like that.
There are things about my life that are truly beautiful and amazing. There are broken places that have healed in ways that have made me a better person as I've grown and deepened through the healing process.
There are also imperfections and broken places that never seem to go away. Some of them are newer broken places that are in the process of healing but haven't made it all the way there yet. Others are pre-existing traits that I haven't yet wrangled into more helpful (or healthy) patterns. And still others are old wounds that go so deep that I'm not sure I'll ever get healing to soak all the way into the depths of them to repair the ways they have twisted my ways of responding to the world.
Sometimes I get so inspired by the ways I am seeing healing and growth blossom in my life that I temporarily see only the beauty, which can make me complacent about continuing to do the (often hard and uncomfortable) work of healing and growth. More often, I get so busy focused on the remaining imperfections and broken places that I see only the brokenness, which leaves me depressed and discouraged.
Just like the heart in the image, though, I am both. I always will be.
I see most accurately (and most healthily) when I am able to keep both in view at the same time. My life is beautiful and filled with healing and goodness, AND it is riddled with brokenness and imperfections. I am also beautiful and filled with healing and goodness, AND I am riddled with brokenness and imperfections.
That's one of the fundamental truths that kintsugi living has to teach me. The beauty and the brokenness are both true. They coexist in the same space and the same time.
It is in seeing and embracing both of them together that I am able to see the true wabi sabi beauty in all of who I am and what my life has to give as they work together to inspire me to continue growing and healing.
How do you tend to see yourself and your life? Do you more often focus on the beauty or the broken places?
How does it feel to take a moment to hold both in view at the same time? How does that inspire you in your own growth and healing work?
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