FOOD FOR THOUGHT: BROKEN THINGS

Spring Mannheim - March 2014

I’ve read an interview of a couple that has been together for more than 65 years. When asked about their secret for a long-lasting and happy love, they answered: “We made it work because we were born in a century in which when something was broken, we actually fixed it instead of simply throwing it away.”

I find this quote quite inspiring and full of wisdom.

It also reminded me of the Japanese art and philosophy of Kintsukuroi or “repairing with gold”. Kintsukuroi is the art of fixing ceramics by joining the broken parts together with something precious such as gold or silver. This aesthetic method is also a poetic philosophy of existence: Kintsukuroi means embracing the imperfections by emphasizing the cracks of an object. The breaks and the repair belong to the life of the object: They make the ceramics even more beautiful. The damage actually turns the pottery into a unique treasure.

Kintsukuroi

It makes us wonder, right? Our generation is more about wanting everything shiny and perfect. We want the latest trend: The latest iPhone, the latest iPad, the coolest car. A hole in the shirt? Throw it away. A mark on the iPhone? Buy a new one.  And it often goes the same way when it comes to:

– love: The relationship has just become a little bit too difficult to “handle”. It’s easier to stop here and start something fresh and fun somewhere else…. for a while. And then, it gets weird again.. so we go and look for something even more entertaining. Easier that than actually working on overcoming a “plateau” in a relationship…

– food: When a tomato is too ripe, when a banana is a little brown or when a pear has too many brown marks, we are likely to throw them away. We have so many more perfect fruits and veggies, right? Why eating those weird-looking products?

But did you know that it’s actually healthier to eat the bananas that are really ripe (and therefore the ones that are black/brown) and that we made the best jams out of the ripest and softest fruits.

Did you know that you could turn a broken glass into a romantic piece of jewelry or a torn scarf into a (decorative) sailing boat? It’s also all the philosophy behind Hermès petit h collection. When I used to work at Hermès, I was mesmerized by all the beautiful objects that Pascale Mussard designed out of broken materials, left-over leather fabrics or defective ceramics. She is gifted to give all these damaged goods a second (and wonderful) life. She is the queen of upcycling and treasure hunting. She knows how to look at things differently and how to breathe life into items that seem to be discarded. She sees beauty everywhere and in the little things.

So next time, we want to throw something away, we should wonder how to give the object a second life. Next time we want to throw a ripe banana away, we should consider throwing it into a blender and just make a cream out of it: We won’t even see the brown marks anymore. Next time we want to throw a torn jeans away, we should just think and see if we cannot turn it into a cool summer shorts.

And… next time, we want to give up on somebody, on a relationship, we should see how to bring a new life into the relationship, how to work TOGETHER on making this connection grow stronger. I guess everything is a practice. Our partner will never be perfect. And we are far from being perfect as well. So why not making this work by seeing our life as a piece of art in the making. It will take consistency, courage and strength to work on it, but I’m sure it will be a unique and wonderful artwork to stare at afterwards!

Let’s shine today and open our heart.

NAMASTE

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