There is a fascinating art form originating from Japan called “kintsugi” (a name formed from the Japanese root words meaning “golden” and “joining”). In this form of art, broken pottery is repaired by using lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum. Rather than being hidden, these cracks are instead highlighted, enhanced and made to reveal an entirely separate and distinct beauty. Kintsugi is connected to the philosophy of “wabi-sabi” which means “finding beauty in broken or old things”. This is not really a philosophy of items but a deeper spiritual concept informing a healthy approach to the world around us.
This idea of making the cracks more beautiful rather than trying to hide the break is an amazing metaphor for post-injury growth. Survivors should not feel the need to hide or be embarrassed by their injuries. Survivors never asked to have brain injuries, the events simply happened. But there is a great deal of opportunity to use an injury and the rehabilitation process to take beautiful steps forward in life. Some TLC patients have taken their experiences and used them to educate others about brain injuries. Rather than shying away, they put themselves out front and center so as to benefit others in a powerful way that typical rehabilitation professionals do not have access to. These survivors can speak from the authority conferred by actually having lived through the injury experience, lending their words an innate credibility that similar statements from health care and rehabilitation professionals can sometimes lack. Other TLC patients have used their injuries as impetus to reach out to family and rekindle strained relationships. Relatives who had not spoken for years were able to be reunited through response to these injuries. Still other TLC patients have used their injuries to take their lives in healthier directions, such as returning to school, getting better jobs or cultivating sobriety. Each of these steps forward is a way of taking the breaks in life created by brain injuries and repairing them with a “golden joining”, so that the survivors engage the world in an undeniably changed but potentially more beautiful and impactful way than before those changes wrought by their injuries.
Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center! Visit us at: http://tlcrehab.org/