I love the look of Kintsugi. You know, the Japanese pottery with the intentionally decorated crack in it? The ceramic vessels have an incredible, gold streak adorning them, boasting their history and celebrating their imperfections.
People should be more like that.
There’s a theme that keeps popping up this week – the quest for perfection and the almost impossibility of attaining it. Some people believe it’s a “go-nogo gauge.” Whatever it is –their life, their work, their children, their relationships – it’s either perfect or a fail. That may be true if you’re talking manufacturing tolerances for pacemakers, but in most things…no.
An artist friend is preparing for a solo show and can’t seem to get his work “perfect.” I wonder why he tries so very hard. What I like best about his work is the interesting, varying, marks that make it unique. Some would call them imperfections – I just call them interesting. It’s what makes the work breathtaking.
I’ve yet to trust anything that I perceive as perfect. (click to Tweet). For me, that sort of glossed over, mass-production, lipstick, superficial crap is just not worth a second look. It’s esthetically unsettling. Show me some drips and bubbles and blemishes…there we go! And, if we’re talking about someone’s character or past, I have to wonder if those people who can do no wrong have plans to run for public office. I prefer people with a history…a couple unique cracks. But, maybe that’s just me.
I don’t like it.
I don’t trust it.
What if we quit trying so hard and trusted that it/we, were enough? Trust your work is enough. Trust you are enough; and you’re right where you’re supposed to be. Seriously, could it be any other way? I believe that’s key, because in that trust there is “spiritual dust”…a magic that adds spice and flavor to who you are, what you do. That trust is the gold crack of your Kintsugi.
As I write this, I must confess, I’m not completely clear about if I’m writing for you, or for myself. We are, after all, mostly the same. I searched “imperfection” on my website, looking for related links for my dear readers and found lots and lots of related posts. Interestingly, many seemed to be written to remind both you and me of the path, the “Andres” philosophy of imperfection. Sometimes I intended for those posts to talk one of us off the ledge when I one of us gets stuck, striving for the illusive, impossible perfection. Seems I sometimes struggle to embrace my own wabi-sabi, through I can so easily support and validate yours. It’s part of a spiritual practice – acceptance of imperfection, developing an actual appreciation for it and the art of forgiveness when imperfection bumps you on the nose.
I revel in our humanity and all its messy complications. I embrace you, the history of you, with all your bumps and cracks. I like it when we make mistakes, because not only does the act help us validate one another, but it also serves to teach us. Mistakes = Growth (click to Tweet). True as that is, we continue to strive for the impossible, and cast aside the pleasingly imperfect. We do it with people, we do it with work, we do it with ourselves. Please, don’t let shame drive you to hide your scars– they’re part of who you are. I hope you will join me in the celebration of our Kintsugi…since we’re all just a little bit cracked.
“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen Selected Poems 1956-1968
May your crack be a glittering gold,
A special thank you to Morty Bachar at Lakeside Pottery for the images of the beautifully imperfect bowls. With some skilled attention, they’re better than new.