The subtle gifts of kintsugi gold

Posted by Kenetha Stanton on

The experience of loss and brokenness is hard to miss.

The crushing weight of grief.

The paralyzing despair of failure as a dream lies in shattered pieces around us.

The breathtaking ache of always reaching for someone or something that is now forever beyond our grasp.

The fear that churns through our bellies and makes it hard to breathe.

The heart-wrenching sting of fresh cuts every time we brush up against the sharp edges of the jagged edges of our broken world.

The mind-numbing pain that fogs our thoughts and makes it hard to function.

The searing loneliness of wandering alone through a desolate landscape of loss.

The desolate longing for the broken shards of our world to make sense again.

All of these powerful emotions make their presence known with an overwhelming insistence that we cannot ignore.

I've yet to meet anyone who can't relate to these experiences of loss at least at some level.

By contrast, the gifts of kintsugi gold tend to be so subtle that they can be easily overlooked and undervalued.

Identifying the gifts of kintsugi gold

There are, of course, times when the gifts that come in the wake of brokenness are obvious.

For example, maybe you find the perfect job for you only as a result of having lost a job you thought you'd stay at forever. Being pushed out of the comfortable nest of the familiar job was heart-breaking, but it also opened new vistas for exciting possibilities you'd never considered before.

In a case like that, the connection between the loss and the new and improved replacement is as obvious as wrapped gift with a bow on top.

But obvious gifts like this tend to be highly personalized and don't apply in every situation.

Most gifts of kintsugi gold look more like character building, expanded worldviews, and deepened wisdom.

These types of gifts are much more widely applicable, but they are subtle, growing so gradually into the healing edges of our scars that we may never notice their appearance. We may be even less likely to make the connection between the brokenness and the (mostly unnoticed) gifts that resulted.

This makes it hard for us to clearly identify the gold of our healing in most cases unless we search diligently to find it and make a intentional point of naming and nurturing those gifts.

Naming the gifts of kintsugi gold

In my own experience, naming the gifts of kintsugi gold that I see emerging in my scars has been an important part of healing. It allows me to focus on nurturing growth instead of focusing only on the loss.

This shift in focus makes space for healing to accelerate and expand. (But as I've written about before, it still does not mean that the gifts feel like they are "worth" the price nor does it mean that the gifts are the reason why the brokenness happened.)

The re-focusing on finding this treasure in my scars is exactly what draws me so strongly to the metaphor of kintsugi for living, but I've noticed that I tend not to be specific when I'm describing the gold I've found here on the blog.

The gifts of kintsugi gold feel so personal and so private that it's hard to write about them. and all of them are still definitely works in progress where I can hardly claim "success."

I can also only share my own experience, which is shaped so strongly by my circumstances, my history, and my personality (especially my character flaws) that is is hardly applicable to everyone. However, I also realize that publicly naming my own gifts of kintsugi gold might provide inspiration to others who are seeking to identify their own gold.

To that end, I've been working on naming and defining the gifts of kintsugi gold that I've uncovered in my scars over the last few years. Starting next week, I'll be doing a series to name and explore each of the gifts I've discovered so far in the hopes that these will assist others in finding their own gold.

I'll hope you'll join me in this exploration of the subtle gifts of kintsugi gold as you seek the treasures in your own scars!


Other posts in this series

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