Reaching for a bowl in my cupboard last week, the precarious pottery tower tipped over and, before I could catch it, one of Gail’s celadon green bowls tumbled to the ground and broke. It’s design of black leaves now lay in several pieces on the ground. 

I gasped,  “Oh no, oh no, not one of Gail’s bowls.” (Gail being the cousin by marriage I’d grown to love who passed away almost 10 years ago.She was a potter and my cupboards and table tops are full of her creations – large bowls, soup bowls, mugs, dinner plates and one small green bowl, my favorite.

Carefully picking up the 4 shards,  I see that it can be glued back together and a photo of a Japanese pottery bowl where the cracks had been filled in, like veins with gold, crosses my mind.

In fifteenth century Japan, a shogun damaged a precious Chinese bowl, causing cracks to splinter across the small vessel. Fearful of the cracks growing, the shogun took the bowl to a craftsman and asked him to repair it in such a way that it would become more valuable than before. The craftsman filled the cracks with lacquer resin sprinkled with powdered gold. Called kintsugi, “golden joinery” in English translation, the technique became highly desired. More than just a means of repair, kintsugi promotes a hopeful philosophy; unexpected damage can be an opportunity.

We all have the power to transmute and heal our pain and fill all our cracks with gold., go through the flames and like the phoenix rise from the ashes.  It doesn’t matter so much what is happening as does our ability to look for the gift even if we can’t see it yet.   

 When a friend handed me Elizabeth Lesser’s book, Broken Open, How Difficult Times Help Us Grow, I was going through a rough time and the book affirmed the growth potential of heartbreak.  I try to affirm the same growth potential for the people who come to see me whether they are suffering from PTSD, a recent loss, a break-up, a difficult situation at work or at home or inner turmoil.   We often start by blaming others for the way we feeling and how things are and/or we blame ourselves.  Either way we are victims and are powerless.


It’s when we take responsibility for our side of the street that the gift appears; the silver lining is revealed, the lesson is learned and we can cut the cord and move on – lighter, freer and profoundly grateful for something that we initially experienced as ‘bad” and tried to push away.


How many times have you heard people say that the illness or the business collapse, the loss or otherwise unwelcome event or experience had turned into a blessing in disguise – had revealed something of great importance – had changed their lives for the better.


Cracks in the surface of the earth indicate the shifting of tectonic plates – earth changes, foundational movement that leaves the world different.  The same phenomena goes on within each of us, especially during difficult times when solid ground suddenly shakes and quake, our lives are turned upside down leaving cracks in our surface where we spill out and get to look inside when the dust settles.


Dropping a bowl led me to kintsugi, got me thinking about unexpected damage and opportunity and about my work and how, broken open, people have a lot in common with cracked bowels emerging more valuable than before from the repair shop of life, the cracks filled in with gold.  


Leonard Cohen said the cracks are how the light gets in and I read a law of attraction blog the other day which recommended leaving the door ajar and a window cracked to keep the channels open and make room for not only light but miracles.  I saved the shards.  Either I’ll glue them back together or one day I really will make that garden table out of all my broken bits of pottery.




8 Responses to Broken Open by Anne Nayer, msw – Coach Paradise

  • Anabelle Fernandez says:

    My dearest Anne,

    Enjoying several days In Rincon… This beautiful blog hit me like an arrow through my heart ( in a good way)! Your wise words always enlighten my path! I am so blessed to have such a beautiful Sage as yourself in my life! God bless you always! All my love, Anabelle

  • Anne says:

    Thank you so much Anabelle. I feel the same way about you. Enjoy Rincon. Think of you, that I’ll call, that I’ll visit. You never know. xxxAnne

  • Deb Belluomini says:

    This one got to me, Anne. Job hunting at age 59 is not a terribly positive experience but I’m looking for the light shining through the cracks. Trying to stay open to let the good come in!

    Thanks for a needed message today.


  • Jane DiCola says:

    Exquisite Annie. Light thru cracks…
    Bless You for your profound healing work and guidance to gently awaken, explore… Blessed to have you, Sanghoma, in my heart. May the cracks (in your life) be filled with kindness, sweetness & unshakable strength…

  • Anne says:

    Thanks Jane – glad you like it and it spoke to you and that you took the time to let me know. We are all pretty ‘cracked’ – xxx

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