The Art of Scars

I am currently in the hospital. I had a nervous breakdown. After childhood trauma and many years of unending stress and suffering that increased in intensity, I broke…into pieces.

I had a powerful vision earlier this week:

It was of a precious ming dynasty vase that had been broken into many many pieces and clumsily taped together forming a vase that looked like a vase but couldn’t hold water. The tape was taken off piece by piece and those pieces freed from the tape gently floated swirling slowly in the air until all the pieces had been freed. Nothing remained of the shape of the vase, only the pieces scattered swirling in the air. I am that broken taped-up vase. The tape is now being released and the pieces are drifting apart. It is uncomfortable and frightening. What if I lose one of the pieces? What if they drift too far away? Can I hope to be whole, not taped up haphazardly, but standing strong and complete, beautiful and precious, able to hold the waters of my spirit and the tears of others without leaking?

České Budějovice, Psychiatric Hospital 21.2.21

After sharing my vision with a few people whom I love, they all pointed me in this direction: Kintsugi, the Japanese art of precious scars. I wanted to share this with you, because I believe many of us find ourselves in this broken space wondering if we will ever be made whole. The idea of Kintsugi resonates with me on a very deep level. We can and will be made whole, more beautiful and functional than ever before. Our Creator, our Potter if you will allow, will make from our pain and suffering something wholly new and devastatingly lovely.

Read on, I promise, it’s worth it….

Photo credit: lifegate.com

Kintsugi: the Japanese art of precious scars

Kintsugi is a Japanese art form in which breaks and repairs are treated as part of the object’s history. Broken ceramics are carefully mended by artisans with a lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The repairs are visible, beautiful, and an antidote to the culture of disposability.

Kintsugi means “golden joinery” in Japanese. (Sometimes the process is called kintsukuroi, which means “golden repair.”)

Treehugger.com
Have you ever felt disposable? That your brokenness was so great that you couldn’t be repaired?

In my vision I felt sad that the vase was coming apart and a bit scared that some pieces might be lost. I was also hurting from the beauty of the vase, I felt a need to protect it because it was so beautiful and precious. I wasn’t terribly scared about losing the pieces once I saw that they were floating slowly surrounding the space the vase once occupied. I was concerned that it couldn’t hold water, that what was meant for it to do it couldn’t do in its current state and maybe would never be able to.

České Budějovice, Psychiatric Hospital 21.2.21

There are three types of Kintsugi repair:

The first level is when all pieces are available and the cracks are filled with gold to restore the piece:
Photo credit: lifegate.com
The next level is when small pieces are missing. Those areas are completely filled with gold:
Photo credit: Mansfield Ceramics
Last, when large areas of the piece are missing or shattered beyond repair, the artisan will take fragments from unrelated pieces to create a patchwork design: 
Photo credit: Wabisabilife

We are all a kintsugi work of art, precious scars on display, a transformation of radiant beauty from suffering, torment and pain.

I am deciding to engage in this process instead of trying to keep it together.  The result will hopefully be a breakthrough but it is a weighty challenge.

In terms of idiom, the vision can suggest having been “cracked up” (crazy) already but keeping yourself together in artificial ways (tape is plastic, provisional, a weak bond, a temporary fix etc.). It can suggest also a lack of truth (ie ‘your story doesn’t hold water’). We can live in a way that is not true and sound. In this vision you were taking off the tape. This is necessary even though it means you lose your “shape” and can not be “useful” at the moment. I think that you may decide to lean in to this evisceration and debridement process in order to remove the tape. The floating particles strikes me as a magical, spiritual surprise that boded well for you. You didn’t fall to the floor and become sullied and discarded as a below worthless object that has been spent. In a way, your essence was liberated. The wholeness is there all along and freed from the tape, every particle of you can soar and fit into place perfectly and freely when it is time. There is another secret revealed here. You actually know your worth deep down. You are a priceless treasure.

České Budějovice, Psychiatric Hospital 21.2.21

my scars are precious

my scars are beautiful

Read on, my friends…

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-Rumi

5 Comments on “The Art of Scars

  1. Krista this was beautiful. May you gain strength from the process or re-mending and soon stand strong and precious as a whole.
    ” The labourer cuts up the earth with his plough, and from that earth comes rich and plentiful harvest. The more a man is chastened, the greater is the harvest of spiritual virtues shown forth by him.,”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautiful! Such a life changing view of the struggles one goes through. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    “The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most.”-‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Paris Talks

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Krista, this piece of writing is as beautiful as your heart. You are a gifted writer, able to take all the pain and suffering and shape it into something beautiful, just like kitsugi. The scars give us greater depth to offer compassion and love to others. It sounds like a frightening process, imagining pieces of yourself floating in the air, like a puzzle that can hopefully be put back together and still make sense. Thank you dear Krista, truly, for sharing this part of your life, and your struggle to heal. It is helping me to contend with my own healing that is ongoing. I will try to be like Rumi and invite in these guests in as guides from beyond. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am speechless and in awe! You have an amazing gift, dear Krista! You SEE deep down to the essence of things not just with the outer eyes but also with your inner sight! You heal and you bring healing and beauty to others! You transport me to other worlds… Thank you! My soul communicates with yours in my prayers 🙏💗.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad you have that vision to know that the Potter who made you is faithful and will indeed bring beauty from brokenness. Praying for your healing.

    Liked by 1 person

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