Kintsugi: Lessons on Flaws, Regrets and Acceptance

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Kintsugi: Lessons on Flaws, Regrets and Acceptance

It has been a while since I’ve sent a newsletter because I’ve been traveling quite a bit to help a private client. And no matter how good a job I’m doing with this client, there’s still a nagging feeling of how I’ve dropped the ball on the part of my business that requires I write the blog and send the newsletter. 

Logically, I know I can’t be everywhere and do everything but that doesn’t stop the feelings that send quite different messages.  These churn out the familiar self-talk of, “Why can’t I just do everything like I planned”, which descends quickly into, “I’m just not good enough” and as someone in recovery, this eventually settles into an echoing, “I am broken.”

From this familiar place of, “I am broken”, how do I put myself back together again?


In yoga this morning, the teacher introduced me to the Japanese art of Kintsugi. This is the process of repairing broken pottery with a glue made of gold, silver or platinum.  The results are stunningly beautiful.  

Ruthann Hurwitz

Ruthann Hurwitz

Beyond the repair of a broken bowl, within this system there are profound lessons that apply directly to recovery. They are known as wabi-sabi, mottainai, and mushin.

1. Wabi-sabi is a call to see the beauty lying within the flaws.

Just like the broken pottery’s flaws are repaired into shining metallic lines of beauty, our flaws, as Wounds, are repaired as they turn into our shining, generous gifts.

We feel flawed, broken, by our Trauma, Abuse, Heartbreak and Loss but it is only through our work with them that our authentic gifts can be shared with the rest of the world. Our beauty lies with our flaws.

What’s one gift you’ve received that’s come about from a flaw?

2. Mottainai is the expression of regret when something is wasted.

Through addiction, a lot is wasted. Different people have different regrets. For me, the most painful one was the loss of so much time. 

With a brutal honesty, this regret was one of the primary pains at my rock bottom. If I didn’t feel this then, I wouldn’t have stopped.  

What do you regret from the waste that occurred through your addiction?

3. Mushin is learning how to accept change. 

The pottery is broken; it is never going back to the way it was before. Period. So before it can ever be repaired, there must be a complete acceptance of this fact. From here, out of this hard honesty, a new and evolving repair can begin to take shape.

What is one change you’ve accepted in your recovery that proved difficult to do?


The art of Kintsugi is a wonderful example of how a simple, physical process can be used to create powerful recovery practices. It’s more than the repair of pottery - it offers us insightful ways to put ourselves back together again.

What do you think of Kintsugi? Do you have any activities that provide insights like this that aren’t normally associated to it?  I’d love to hear how they’ve worked for you and maybe how you’ve shared them with others. Please send any and all my way.



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