Broken, Shattered—Repaired

Posted by Brenda Yoho

An example of kintsugi repair by David Pike.

Setting out on a family road trip is always filled with excitement. You pack the car full of all you need to enjoy time away and relax. Placing inside the car snacks, great music, and laughter that can make you cry tears of joy. But life has a way of throwing unexpected rocks on our journeys. As we navigate the winding roads of life, we often encounter situations that seem irreparably shattered. We're faced with choices: give up or find the strength to rebuild.

When a rock unexpectedly hits the bottom of your windshield on that family road trip, it's a shock. The damage looks severe, but no one is injured. The trip continues because you know it can be repaired. In life, too, we come across situations that appear broken beyond repair. This is when defeat echoes loudly with victory. Building the ability to identify how to overcome, gain resilience, and discover solutions becomes essential. It's easy to quit, but it's more difficult, and often more rewarding, to work towards reclaiming victory in your life and your workplace.

Consider what happens when you break a cup or a dish. Most people would simply throw it away because it's no longer safe for use, and it seems there's no other purpose for it. But in the world of Japanese art, there's a beautiful concept known as Kintsugi, which translates to "golden joinery." This art form involves repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Kintsugi treats breakage and repair as part of an object's history, rather than something to hide or disguise. It doesn't merely fix or repair a broken cup or item; instead, it makes the broken pottery even more beautiful than the original piece.

As we reflect on the systems we have in place, our routines, and our procedures, we can ask ourselves: are there aspects that are broken, shattered, or in need of repair? Just like the broken cup, we might be tempted to discard these elements because they no longer seem safe or useful. However, there are two fundamental principles we should always keep in mind in both life and our workplaces: everyone should feel good, and everyone should feel safe. These principles may sound simple, but they hold deep significance when considering what we have in place to support everyone.

*Review your systems

*Review your routines

*Review your procedures

After a review of these areas, you will be able to identify specific needs of repair. These steps must be taken as we cannot afford to allow ourselves to reach the point of shattered. Putting back a few pieces is easier to do than working to achieve a recovery of a shattered organization. Work each day on the fine tuning so the big issues can be tackled without having to face the worry of putting many pieces back together.


Incorporating the spirit of Kintsugi into our lives means embracing the beauty in imperfection and the strength in repair. It's a reminder that, much like the windshield damaged on the family road trip, we can mend the broken pieces of our lives and emerge even more beautiful and resilient than before. So, when you encounter something broken, don't just discard it; consider how you can turn its imperfections into something truly remarkable.


"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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