Repair

I am back to blogging, possibly in a shorter format. Today I was inspired by the idea of repair. A long time ago I bought a pretty pot from the charity shop. It was painted with a blue floral pattern and has spent a happy life in our bathroom, stuffed full of toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste.

One day the pot was knocked off the washstand and broke very neatly in two, like an easter egg. Normally I would have popped it straight in the bin, but I was inspired to repair it by a talk I had heard about adoption. They talked about the Japanese tradition of kintsugi. It involves taking broken ceramics and increasing their worth by carefully repairing them with lacquer and powdered gold.

I did not use lacquer and powdered gold; instead I used Araldite epoxy resin and some gold coloured embossing powder that you melt with a hot air gun. I am incredibly pleased with the result. The pot is back, and better than ever, and now stands at eye level, absolved of its toothbrush holding responsibilities. And what was its most broken bit is now its most beautiful bit.

This is a good analogy for the rest of our lives. In the adoption talk I learned about the ability we can have to repair relationships with children affected by trauma and grief. This teaches the idea that repair in relationships is possible. In fact, relationships that have been repaired through the sincere efforts of both parties often become stronger.

Repairing relationships often presents the opportunity to get to know yourself and the other better. It requires compromise, compassion, and vulnerability, which are all great strengths. There often needs to be an apology, which can be enormously hard on its own, often needing one to overcome feelings of guilt or shame. Or it may require great generosity of spirit in allowing someone space in your life again.

This is not to say that all relationships can or should be repaired. If one party continues to be too damaging to the other, then it is likely that a clear boundary will need to be established in order to stay safe and healthy. Understanding when this is appropriate can be very tricky, and often requires a great deal of support to see clearly, and to cope with any doubt and grief that may come after.

The idea of repair works on so many levels, including an environmental level. There is a very real movement to create laws to help save our planet by making manufacturers offer more repairable products. This is called the right to repair and you can find more information about it here https://therestartproject.org/ 

I feel like the key message here is that when things go wrong, there might be an opportunity to salvage something even more valuable from the mess.

So it may be worth spending a moment to think of the times you have repaired anything at all, and the satisfaction it brought you. There may be more opportunities in your life to make important repairs, and there may be situations that are beyond repair that you have not yet accepted. If you are stuck in such a situation it may be helpful to reach out for the support of a counsellor. If you are in Exeter, in the UK, then you could drop me a line to see how I might be able to help you.

Warm regards. Will.

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