Embracing Change

By Naomie Happi


From the early stages of life, we are taught how to adapt to change. We learn how to adapt to new relationships, to the weather and new lifestyles. As the years go by, we not only learn how to adapt to change, but we also begin to change certain things in our lives. It could be a change of environment such as the country you live in or more simply, a change of hairstyles. It does not matter how drastic or mild the change is, one thing will always remain the same; life is unpredictable. Therefore, what should one do when faced with a life-changing incident that they can neither adapt to or control? What happens when the plans you mapped out are changed, destroying the dreams you once had? What can we do when our relationships are broken or changed?

There is an old story of a Japanese Shogun, who during his breakfast broke his favourite tea bowl. Greatly disappointed, he immediately sent the broken tea bowl to a respectable country for repair. Upon the return of the tea bowl, the Shogun was horrified by the horrendous metal staples that were used to repair the broken pieces. Outraged, he commanded all the craftsmen in his kingdom to devise a more appropriate solution to fixing his favourite tea bowl. The next day all the craftsmen in the kingdom came together to develop a solution. Their idea was to create a design that did not disguise or hide the damage but, that incorporated the damage. The craftsmen collected the broken pieces and carefully glued the tea bowl together using lacquer combined with the most expensive gold powder in the kingdom. With time and patients, they fixed something that was once considered as damaged and created something much more magnificent. This design pleased the Shogun and paved the way for a new method of repairing pottery. Today this method is known as Kintsugi, which when translated means to join with gold or “golden repair”.

Kintsugi is a concept adopted from the Zen Buddhist philosophical approach to ceramics. The art of Kintsugi retains a pearl of particular wisdom that not only applies to pottery or porcelain but to our individual lives as well. Firstly, it is a reminder that in one way or another, we have all been broken down by certain unpredictable life events. Think back to a time, when something powerful changed the course of your life. Whenever a change occurs the most common response is, ‘why me? or where did l go wrong in life?’ this way of thinking comes naturally for everyone, however, if we continue to think in this manner over some time, knowingly or unknowingly we begin to jeopardize exponential growth in our lives.

Change is powerful. Over the last few months, we have witnessed how change can have a strong impact on the lives of many. Life, as we know it has drastically changed. However, it is our responsibility to either have a positive or negative response to this change. Perhaps, as we continue to better ourselves during this period of lockdown, we can also start to repair any broken dreams, relationships, goals or plans. It all starts with you positively accepting that things have changed, then, the next step is, maintaining your self-growth or the growth of your recently repaired relationships and lastly, you taking a positive step towards change so that you can begin to redirect your life towards the dreams and plans you once had. Any broken relationships or dreams can still be repaired and the ability to experience how you repair, adapt or learn from that experience is where the real golden repair is. Feel free to comment down below on your thoughts about change.

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