Shelley J Whitehead

Kintsugi for the Heart

8 February, 2022

The secret to healing your heartbreak is hidden in a 600-year-old Japanese tradition.

In the late 15th Century, Japanese shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimasa was outraged to find his favourite tea bowl had been repaired with ugly metal staples. He demanded this be rectified immediately.

Using glue to bind the break wasn’t an option, so his craftspeople came up with a better idea. They took the sticky sap of a local tree and lovingly followed the crooked edges with intimate precision. When they were done, they took their most precious resource, gold powder, and gently pressed it into every sticky seam.

This new art of repair was named Kintsugi, and it redefined how the world viewed imperfection. Now the unpredictable seams embodied true beauty. Tapping into the wildly unpredictable, and yet healing essence of nature itself.

These ‘damaged’ items were so desirable, so uniquely exquisite, the villagers started intentionally smashing their cups, their plates and their bowls – to give them an excuse to lovingly rebind those pieces together.

You’re here because you’re broken hearted. You may be in the early stages where you’re struggling to see the light through the darkness of despair, or have moved through to a place where you’re staring at the rubble of your relationship. It doesn’t matter. You have an infinite ability to heal…

You have the ‘powdered gold’ you need to heal your heart and rise from the ashes of your heartbreak.

Healing your heartbreak

You’ll have been given a lot of well-intentioned advice since your relationship ended. Most of it follows the old wives tales of cliches like ‘time will help this pass’. I wish this was true, I really do.

What I see happening in the wonderful people I work with, is more like a time trap. When they come to me they’ve found themselves trapped in a cycle of obsessive thoughts. Unable to escape the pain. Sometimes for many years. And sometimes they’ve tried to move on, taking their unresolved emotions into a new relationship, where it covertly steals joy from their future.

I believe you can heal with the same ethos of the ancient Japanese. That you can tap into the transformative energy of the pain you’re feeling right now to rewire your approach to finding love. To find your special someone, and most importantly, to fall back in love with yourself and to feel excited about your future again.

Your heart isn’t as simple as ceramic, but there is a simple process you can use to get to a place where your life is even more beautiful and embodied than it was before. I call this process Kintsugi for the heart.

Kintsugi for the heart

My process came from the ashes of the ending of my marriage. I had spent the previous decade coaching men and women through grief but experiencing my own heartbreak gifted me the realisation that when a relationship ends, we experience similar feelings of loss that are more commonly associated with bereavement.

Profound grief and emptiness.

There are so many aspects of your life you may be grieving: the end of your shared love, the end of your shared life and the end of your imagined future together.

Coming into this awareness after the initial weeks of desperate pain and despair meant I had a roadmap out of the darkness. And because each step was based on simple, easy-to-do strategies, I started to make rapid progress. I started to heal.

And better than that…

I came to realise my life would be better. I tuned in to what I really wanted from my life. For myself and for my children. And I was no longer afraid to take those steps forward. I stepped into my enchanted life.

This was my Kintsugi.

Breaking my heart open released all of the emotions, forgotten passions, and hidden wants I had neglected for years, and with the support of my simple healing system, I tapped into the ‘powdered gold’ we all have banked in our soul.

Your broken heart has the potential to unlock your inspired future. You just need to stop wasting your time waiting for ‘time to heal’ and instead seek guidance and support to help you process your emotions to ensure you don’t root yourself in the ruins of your relationship.

Shelley J Whitehead
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