Kintsugi. The Japanese art of mending broken pieces of pottery with gold. The tale of Kintsugi goes back centuries to the Muromachi period. A Shogun leader by the name of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu broke his tea bowl and sent it for repair. As he wasn’t pleased with the original restoration, he asked his artisans to revamp the tea bowl into a more harmonious dish. By assembling the broken pieces with gold, the artisans found beauty and depth in imperfection. Thus, Kintsugi was born. (source)
Immediately, we fell in love with the spirituality and resilience behind the Japanese art philosophy. As spring is in bloom and May brings in mental health awareness, we thought we would share our take on this matter.
Life is a beautiful rollercoaster filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Somewhere in between, we are riding through it and trying to make sense of it all. At one point or another in this human experience, life might give you lemons. Whether it is emotions of fear, loss, joy, sadness, bliss, anger, confusion, nothingness or everythingness at the same time, it is so so so important to address it.
The whole ideology behind Mental Health Awareness Month is dedicated to reducing the stigma around mental health and to bring a larger awareness to it. In Canada, every one in five people have experienced a mental health related issue. On the other hand, it was reported that out of working Canadians, 75% of respondents said they would be hesitant to reveal their mental health status with someone they worked with. (source) That being said, by writing this blog post, it is our goal to normalize the internal battles that occur within our minds. We wanted to start off this post with the story of Kintsugi because we have such a deep appreciation for the pain and suffering that we experience, as it only makes us stronger and allows us to transcend. To whoever is reading this article, this is a love letter to you.
Holding Space for Yourself:
Your relationship with yourself is the most important, as it sets the foundation for everything else in your life. It is so important to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to take the time to heal. Emotions and uncomfortable situations will always occur, as they are part of the ebb and flow. However, facing the uncomfort and swimming away from the oh-so secure and oh-so cumbrous walls of your comfort zone will allow you to blossom into who you were always meant to be. Of course, it is much easier said than done and we can totally testify to that. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed, leave your house, go to work, get on a plane or do that thing. But please, when you have the choice to sit down or dance, we hope that you dance. You have so much music in your heart and dance in your soul, your song isn’t over yet.
How We like to Hold Space for Ourselves:
- Meditation. Ooh, the things meditiation will do to ya! Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, increase the feel-good hormones of the brain, increase self-awareness and so much more!
- Spending time in Nature. Walking in the woods and hikes have been linked to soothing anxiety and depression. Something we like to do is to hug the trees. Doing so increases levels of oxytocin hormones which releases feelings of happiness and serenity.
- Singing & Dancing. Sometimes you just have to put that song on, sing at the top of your lungs and dance it out.
- Smiling. By smiling, you are tricking your mind into thinking you’re happy even if you may be feeling otherwise. You can’t feel stress, anger, pain, sadness or confusion when you’re laughing, it’s just not scientifically possible. Did you know that a man named Norman Cousins was able to relieve himself of pain and the physical sensations of his illness by simply laughing?
- Learn something new. As humans, we are curious beings. By learning new things or trying a new hobby, you’re improving the overall state of your well-being.
- Speak to Someone. Anyone. Keeping everything bottled in for too long never helps. Even though it may feel like you are alone, you aren’t. Speak to a family member or friends. If that’s not possible, therapy can be very helpful. There are even centers where you can go to group therapy or an AA meeting.
- Being creative. It is in our nature to create. Whether it’s taking an art class, writing, cooking, doing pottery, knitting, gardening or doing yoga, getting into the creative flow helps with anxiety, depression and processing trauma.
Holding Space for Others:
When an individual is having trouble with their own mental health, it can sometimes affect those who surround them. It’s important to understand that everyone is on their own journey of healing. Some tools that we consider helpful are to just be there for the other person. Even if you don’t understand what they may be feeling, support them through their hardships. Another thing is to just tell the person that you love them. Love is such a powerful force and you have a lot more to give, than you might know.
Spreading Love from Our Heart to Yours:
- You are Beautiful
- You are Soulful
- You are Creative
- You are Enough
- You are Not Alone
- You are Sublime
- You are Strong
- You are Loved.
A Little Something Extra:
Mental health is something we take very seriously. As the saying goes, “The outer world is a reflection of the inner world.” When the mind is chattery and hazy, we are often left with resistance and angst to what may be occurring in our lives. To the contrary, when you are at peace with yourself, your life unfolds with grace.
It is our belief that the highest form of being one can experience is the act of giving. Giving does not necessarily consist of material goods or monetary donations. You can also give through your time, attention, kindness, patience, positive thoughts, prayers and love. No matter how small or big, giving is giving. It is the bringing of more light into our world.
Below, we have inscribed the link to the website for Ami Quebec, a non-profit organization founded by four couples in 1977. They focus on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, increase awareness of internal struggles, help family members of those struggling with their mental health and so much more. Please feel free to browse their website! If you’re feeling up to it, they accept donations and new volunteers.
Ami Quebec: https://amiquebec.org/