One of the most common requests I get from potential customers is the request for a specific number, pattern, or placement of breaks in a stone, and I have to turn down each and every one of these requests because I have no control over any of those things.
The method I use for breaking the stones (which is the only thing I have ever gotten to work) is a blunt force trauma of pounding on them with a hammer and chisel until they break.
Those breaks occur in whatever number, pattern, and location they will with no observable predictability in almost all cases.
The recent pair of kintsugi earrings shown in the image above is a great example.
The two red tiger eye stones are as similar as they get—same size, same shape, same stone type—and were broken in the same way at the same time with the same method, but look at the vast difference between the two!
One resulted in a single, simple break, and the other produced a complex, challenging break pattern.<
Despite the similarities between them, each stone brings its own unique characteristics of crystal structure, weak points, inner tensions waiting to be released, inclusions, and other (often unobservable) differences that dictate its response to the trauma of breaking.
Isn't that just like each one of us?
Even when we face what appears to be the exact same type of loss or trauma as another, our reaction to it is likely to be very different because our personalities, histories, belief systems, patterns of reacting, and emotional and psychological profiles are very different.
What completely shatters one person may be a minor setback to someone else and vice versa.
One of the most commonly cited gifts of kintsugi gold that people discover as they heal from an experience of brokenness and heartache is a greater sense of compassion for others who are hurting.
As valuable as this gift is, it's important to remember that each of us breaks in our own way and heals in our own way and in our own time when facing heartbreak. We do more harm than good when we try to force another to experience loss, trauma, grief, and heartbreak in the way we did.
In the same way, when you are the one facing heartbreak, comparing your experience to someone else's or to the societal "rules" of grief that you may encounter is equally unhelpful.
The next time you are tempted to think that you or someone else is "doing it wrong" when dealing with loss or heartbreak, remember the example of these stones and their unique break pattern.
We break how we break and must likewise heal how we need to heal. What matters is that we choose to do what is needed to heal and that we choose to find and treasure the gold of that healing.
All other comparisons are useless.
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