I’m Like One of Those Japanese Bowls

kintsugi bowl
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 I’m like one of those Japanese bowls. You’ve heard about them, right? Cracks filled with gold?
When the Japanese mend broken objects,
they fill the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history
it becomes more beautiful. 
~Barbara Bloom

The practice is called Kintsugi, and I first heard of it in a song called Japanese Bowl, by an artist I mention often–Peter Mayer. Kintsugi, according to Wikipedia, is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, thus treating breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to hide.

kintsugi bowl

 I love the analogy Peter makes in the song. Here are the lyrics:

I’€™m like one of those Japanese bowls
That were made long ago
I have some cracks in me
They have been filled with gold

That’s what they used back then
When they had a bowl to mend
It did not hide the cracks
It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows
From every time I broke
And anyone’s eyes can see
I’m not what I used to be

But in the collector’s mind
All of these jagged lines
Make me more beautiful
And worth a much higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
I was made long ago
I have some cracks, you can see
See how they shine of gold

It reminds me of the idea of imperfect perfection 🙂 Examples of imperfect perfection abound: a crooked smile you find especially endearing; a scar that serves as a reminder of something that was an adventure or that resulted in something amazing (c-section anyone?); a trait that has taught you something valuable…you get the gist.

I personally believe that we don’t necessarily have to experience the imperfection to see/experience the perfection–although I certainly do still! From this flawed perspective, I appreciate the song’s message and relish the idea that my imperfections make me more beautiful and valued. ♥️ Life is much easier when we approach it with the idea of mistakes having value instead of striving for seemingly elusive perfection.

Take a listen to Peter’s rendition of Japanese Bowl here:

If you’ve been too hard on yourself or others for their imperfections, try to develop “the collector’s mind” and be more accepting. As you develop this mind, you will see shining gold everywhere.  Or, to quote from Mark Twain’s 1892 novel The American, Claimant,  “There’s gold in them thar hills.” 🙂

Happy gold prospecting!

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About Cate

I am a retired RN–stayed home after my second child was born, having worked for 10 years. I am in my mid-50s now, and I enjoy blogging, designing mugs and more and spreading a bit of positivity in the world.

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