Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of repairing a broken bowl with golden seams along the cracks, celebrates the concept that the item is now even more beautiful for having been broken.
Many years ago when I was suffering deeply, a friend and teacher who is a Native American shaman offered me comfort with these words: A broken heart holds more. Five words that brought solace. It was a saying I mulled over, like a new flavor in the mouth, turning it, savoring it, and slowly absorbing it.
As our heart breaks open and heals over the raw exposed areas, it becomes larger. It grows. To me, it is like an island being formed from lava and transforming into a rocky outcropping soon to be covered in greenery and flourishing with life, where none had existed before. Our very woundedness that feels so barren and lifeless actually helps foster new life. New growth will appear where there was no footing for it previously. Now we are larger and we can hold more.
I have been broken. Many times. Now I feel that I am as a beautifully shining vessel, proudly mended. I feel wizened for having survived so much, such hardships I do not mention because they are old and over, but each one felt absolutely near to breaking me. My healed scars are hard-earned trophies, testimony of dark places I have survived and surmounted. I know the valley of the shadow of death, too well, and the view from the mountaintop is all the more cherished for having earned the climb.
It is in our darkest times that, I feel, we are forced to surrender. I was at least. Perhaps those who resist surrendering everything to our Higher Power remain in the valley of the shadow of death for longer than they need to. Or perhaps they keep returning there. I know I did years ago, repeating hurtful behaviors and patterns, finding myself in the same type of painful situations (that dark valley) again and again, until my knees finally hit the ground and I remembered to ask for help.
In the early nineties Marianne Williamson wrote about suffering and learning at last to surrender. Here are excerpts I found comforting during some of my darkest times. May these words help someone today.
“Until your knees finally hit the floor, you’re just playing at life, and on some level you’re scared because you know you’re just playing. For many people, things have to get very bad before there’s a shift. When you truly bottom out, there comes an exhilarating release. You recognize there’s a power in the universe bigger than you are, who can do for you what you can’t do for yourself. All of a sudden, your last resort sounds like a very good idea. How ironic. You spend your whole life resisting the notion that there’s someone out there smarter than you are, and then all of a sudden you’re so relieved to know it’s true. All of a sudden, you’re not too proud to ask for help. That’s what it means to surrender to God.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
Even though the darker it gets the more alone we feel, we are actually never alone. But it is ourselves who must reach out and ask for help. We must reach for the Light. Let us remember. May we remember to ask for help, may we find strength within for the climb, and may we discover the exquisite beauty of our golden scars.
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE