Finding Beauty in Broken

The Mane Intent

Can you appreciate the beauty reflected in what’s broken?

We recently concluded our 12th group of Building Internal Resilience Through Horses with an activity called Kintsugi. Kintsugi means “golden rejoining”, and refers to the Zen philosophy of acknowledging flaws, embracing change, and restoring an object with new found beauty. It’s a wonderful metaphor for resilience.

Building Internal Resilience Through Horses is a 10-week equine-assisted learning and expressive arts program for young women 13 – 18 years of age who’ve experienced trauma or family violence. It’s a research project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada reflecting partnership between The Mane Intent, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre and Trent University.

On the final night of our group, participants are invited to pick a piece of pottery, break it and then mend it back together using a mixture of glue and gold dust. For some, gluing the pieces together takes time and patience, just as our healing journey does. Each piece is as unique as we are and our beauty is reflected in our brokenness.

This special technique is believed to have originated in the 15th century when Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu accidentally broke his favourite tea bowl and sent it to China for repairs. When it was returned to him – pieced together with metal staples – he requested that his Japanese craftsmen find a more aesthetic way of repairing it.

At the end of our evening, we go around the circle, reflecting and sharing how we feel about the new piece that we had created. We find renewed beauty in that which is imperfect. Wabi-Sabi is another Japanese world view focused on the acceptance of imperfection. It’s an invitation to find beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting with peace the natural cycles of life – both high and low. It’s an invitation to celebrate the way we are versus the way we should be.

Our final group of Building Internal Resilience Through Horses will begin in March, 2020. If you know of a young women who might benefit from this program, please contact Katie McKeiver at Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre at 705-748-5901.

About the Author: Jennifer Garland is the Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent, offering Health and Wellness Workshops and Individual and Team Effectiveness Coaching. Jennifer’s intent is to bring horses, donkeys and humans together to explore new possibilities and find new meaning in lived experience.

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