Wabi-sabi embraces anything that reminds the viewer of the natural world. It spurns uniformity for what is asymmetrical and rough. It embraces flaws and imperfections, and anything that is natural and unself-conscious.  In today’s Japan, the meaning of wabi-sabi is often condensed to “wisdom in natural simplicity”.

Kintsugi 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. The method is similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object rather than something to disguise.

As a philosophy, kintsugi is similar to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear from the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken; it can also be understood as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting cracks and repairs events in the life of an object, rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage. The philosophy of kintsugi can also be seen as a variant of the adage, “Waste not, want not”. Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of mushin which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change, and fate as aspects of human life.

These concepts can be implemented in healing from chronic illness or recovering from trauma. That is why we have embraced the Wabi-Sabi lifestyle. We look at the path we have taken with all of its trauma, illness, and loss as part of an overall journey to a more beautiful form, both inside and out. We own our battle scars as a thing of beauty, as a symbol of our strength and wisdom.

Spread the love