Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King’s horses and All the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Ever feel like poor ol’ Humpty
— sitting there looking at the broken pieces of yourself scattered on the ground?
Ever feel like you are shattered
— with a broken down body, a ripped to shreds heart and beaten down spirit?
Have you sat on a wall of what you thought would bring security, comfort and protection
–only to F F AAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAA LLLLLLL down with a splat and with little hope left that you could ever be made whole again?
Oh, dear friends, I have been in this place. And, I might add, on more than one occasion.
Before I explain, let me remind you that I believe wholeheartedly that “fitness”, although a noun, is more a verb to me
— meaning, it’s an ACTION. An act of being.
And I believe it is comprised of 3 elements. the BODY. the MIND. the SPIRIT.
It is important for you to understand where my focus lies when I speak of being FIT or HEALTHY or WELL.
For me, those things occur in a triplicate, a trinity.
In my mind, one can only be considered FIT, HEALTHY OR WELL when all three elements of body, mind and spirit are FIT, HEALTHY and WELL as a unit.
So …. much like Mr. Dumpty, I’ve fallen — a FEW times.
-Truth be told, haven’t we all yet for some reason we find it hard to admit?
I’ve fallen off my wall of comfort, physically, have stepped out into the unknown, and have found my outer eggshell, my physical armor, broken into itty bitty fragments. If you’ve lived an active life as I have, you know exactly what I mean.
When the orthopedic surgeon says:
“Hey, if you would like to continue paying my bills — go ahead — keep running long distances. You’ll surely need surgery at one point or another as in a knee replacement. Unilateral? Bilateral? Who knows and who cares because it’ll definitely keep food on my table!”
Or how about the shoulder doc, the spine doc, the MRI techs, the neck specialist who all say:
“Well, looks like you may be out of commission for a little bit. You’re a little broken at the moment. You may need to take some time off.”
Enter the edict of “time off” to help mend those physical broken pieces of my eggshell which translates “Not getting paid”. So instead of being kind to my body I keep going, keep striving, shake it off and keep moving which in turn decreases that part of my trinity’s Fit-ness.
I’ve toppled over the edge of my wall of serenity and found myself staring at the insides of my eggshell, the transparent viscous “egg white” of my spirit oozing out like a festering sore. Have you felt this too?
Lying there on the ground I am stuck in a pool of discouragement, disenchantment, anger, sorrow, fear, worry, defeatism — all of which play a part in breaking down my spirit and messing with my mind. The negativity urges me to go ahead give up as the egg white spreads itself out, leaving a trail behind like that of a slug.
I’ve thrown myself over the edge of the wall of trust to watch with horror the very essence within my eggshell, my heart, no longer intact become broken and runny. Its beat becomes erratic and sends me into a frenzy for breath. It clenches and writhes and it’s as if I can actually feel it escaping the shell and bleeding out.
Dramatic? Perhaps. But I dare say you have felt similarly.
ENTER THE ART OF KINTSUGI
Let me say that it’s not the falling down that’s the problem. Not even the brokenness of body, mind or spirit. These are the elements of humanity and the part of what makes up this thing called life and living, breathing, existing.
It’s the staying broken, the thought process that calls yourself “worthless damaged goods”, the idea that flawed means unusable and shattered means unfixable THAT IS THE PROBLEM.
It’s the falling down and not getting back up THAT IS THE PROBLEM.
The shame is the problem.
Hiding is the problem.
Allowing yourself to believe that you are ineffective because you have cracks in your armor, in the depths of your soul and in your ticker – THAT IS THE PROBLEM.
So let’s not get caught up in the falling down part.
Let’s look at the “being put back together again” part — something that all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t do for our good friend and pal, humpity, dumpity, Mr. Humps.
What is Kintsugi anyway? Bear with me as I get all “English teachery” on you and bore you with my love for etymology and dictionaries.
According to Wikipedia, Kintsugi defined is “Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-etechnique.
As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
Ohhh, friends, I just got goose bumps!!
As a philosophy, kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect.
Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object.
This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself
—highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage … ”
“Not only is there NO ATTEMPT TO HIDE THE DAMAGE but repair is literally illuminated…
–[It] carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions.
The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. ” Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics
What a beautiful concept.
A gathering of all the broken pieces and repairing the vessel by fusing the brokenness with gold or any other precious, valuable metal so that the vessel is whole again with shiny, brilliant lines marking the areas where the brokenness occurred.
Can I get an AMEN?!? PREACH ON!
I wish I could tell you that, like the shattered clay pots, you can rely on the loving, caring hands of others to mend you. But do I have to remind you about “all the King’s horses and all the King’s men”?
They couldn’t put the Dumpster back together again.
Hmmm. There are some things that must come from inside of you, and I believe this is one of them.
Let me explain … for me — my brokenness of spirit and heart are ultimately spiritual which in some cases can lead to a breaking down of body … lack of sleep, leading to exhaustion, leading to potential injury and even a wearing down of the body as I try to beat it into submission so that I don’t have to pay much attention to what’s broken in my spirit, my mind or my heart.
I know that some of you believe differently than I and that’s OK. I want to explain to you how my story usually unfolds. Your story may unfold differently, but this is my reality.
I am a deeply spiritual person. Inside of me, within my spirit, resides a God that sees my brokenness and groans with my pain.
Sometimes I drift from Him and go about my life in MY way and on MY terms.
Sometimes I listen closely to His still, small voice.
Sometimes I take advantage of His loving kindness and use it for my own personal gain and other times I cling to his mercy and grace because I know that my very existence depends on it.
Inside of me His Spirit give me tools for GETTING BACK UP, for COMBATTING THE NEGATIVITY, for REALIZING MY VALUE despite the brokenness, for UNDERSTANDING that sometimes, under the purifying fire (the falling down) the precious gold is made that will repair the damage from great fall.
I don’t have to hide.
I don’t have to carry shame like a heavy pack on my back.
I don’t have to wear a Scarlet Letter that highlights all my damage so that the world can look at me and call me ineffective.
I don’t have to look at all my shattered parts and pieces and define myself by the damage.
I don’t have to remain an UNFIT body, mind and spirit with little hope of being whole again, much less FIT.
NO, DEAR FRIENDS.
That spirit inside can gather the pieces and have clarity to know that the fire I’ve been through will be used to refine the gold, purifying it so that it shines with utmost brilliance as it repairs every single last piece of me that has fallen apart.
No one else can completely fix me. It is not anyone else’s job to fix me. The fixing is way above their pay grade. They cannot convince me, coerce me, manipulate me, shove me into the fixing. I daresay they can only truly “help” at a bare minimum. It’s the job description of the One alone who owns the still, small voice and ME.
I have been given the tools within my soul, but it first takes an acknowledgment on my part and of my own will, of each part of me that is broken. I have to answer these questions:
How did I get here?
When did I get here?
Where did I come from that put me here?
What happened that created the fall?
Why did I eventually fall off the wall?
Some of these answers may indicate that your fall was your own doing. Some may point to things that have occurred to you that were outside of your control and became the impetus to your breakdown of body, spirit or heart. Either way – acknowledging the broken pieces is the first step.
The 2nd step is a willingness to be repaired. Sometimes it feels easier to wallow for a bit in all the brokenness. To sit there as a willing bystander, watching the damage unfold without putting in any effort to do anything about it. That’s ok. For a while maybe, but eventually, by making no decision at all — you’ve indeed made a decision, right?
The 3rd step is to begin to
GET BACK UP
For me and my reality, I then have a choice to engage with God, seeking his help to lift me up and repair the areas of scattered debris at my feet and using the tools I’ve been given to begin the restoration process.
Trust me, the getting up is not easy. It hurts almost just as much as lying there among the sharp pieces of broken glass. You may get cut up a little more. There may be wounds that, when stretched from the attempt to stand, begin to gape again. You may fall down again as you try to stand.
But I assure you — the GETTING BACK UP is possible–
–despite those setbacks.
And you know what?
Once the art of your personal Kintsugi is applied to all the cracks, even to the setbacks that came about while trying to stand,
—the brilliance of your vessel will be blinding!
The golden threads of repair become a road map leading from one broken/restored piece of your life to another broken/restored piece, to another and another. A road map that will light the way for the next time you fall off that wall and breaking into pieces your body, mind/spirit or heart.
And unlike our good ol’ friend, ol’ pal Humpty Dumpty — you can rely on the experience of every “great fall” from your past that has been repaired, restored, renewed and know with certainty that indeed you CAN be put back together again!
With all my BEST to YOU,