The holidays make me pensive – do they do the same for you?
If you know me or have read some of my posts, you probably know that my grandmother had a huge influence on me. Even though she passed away many years ago, I think of her daily and she continues to inspire me. I loved her philosophy on life – she lived life to its absolute fullest all the way to the very end, despite being a bit broken due to some key losses: the love of her life, the majority of her vision, but never her passion for living. I remember looking at her in awe of her incredible beauty both inside and out – well into her 90s she had gorgeous skin that seemed to be backlit, but that may also have been due to her beaming smile and great laugh.
I have a fascination with the elderly and their wise ways. I have related to people much older than I am since I was a young child – I suppose I am an old soul. I cherish the little tidbits of wisdom that have been passed on to me over the years – wise ones with a lifetime’s worth of experience who could quickly and effortlessly spew out one-liners that would have taken me years to learn on my own. Now don’t get me wrong… I didn’t always take this sage advice, but the time spent was always wonderful, and of course looking back now I often wish I had. Yet at the same time, I realize that if I hadn’t made the mistakes I’ve made over the years, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I’ve been thinking too about how, really, we are all a bit broken, aren’t we? We all have our issues, our quirks, and characteristics that make us unique. We have all had failures with successes, down times with good, cried both tears of joy and sorrow. But being broken – it really can be quite beautiful, I think. Because it’s what you make of those fault lines, it’s how you recover, it’s how you see yourself when the dust settles.
Naturally, I have to relate this back to my career and to art – my passions. The very wise Japanese have a practice called Kintsugi, which dates back to the late 15th century. This is the art of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer resin that is mixed with gold, silver or platinum. The repair of the broken object thus becomes a highlight, and actually makes it more beautiful than it was before, as opposed to something that needed to be disguised. I think this is such a beautiful message and certainly one we don’t hear enough – that perfection, something that seems to be asked of us on a daily basis, is not what’s necessary and actually just the OPPOSITE is what’s lovely. Seeing someone for their true brokenness, which they proudly highlight in gold, silver, and platinum… what could be more beautiful than that?
I hope that you will take a moment to embrace your own faultlines and those of the people around you who matter most. Share some of your wisdom with others and listen carefully to the experiences shared by loved ones this Thanksgiving. You may just see that there are many beautiful lines of gold, silver and platinum.