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Kintsugi & the Path of Life

replica of my favorite kettlebell

As I've thought about possible subjects for this post, I've scanned my seemingly endless list of potential topics, of course, but have found that all I need to do is not look, but listen. Listen to the signs, the messages. Hear the sources of inspiration that come to me every day. And be open. It is in this way that "Kintsugi & the Path of Life" came to me.

"It's the path of life, Pete," his message began. Steven then continued to describe his 98 year-old mother-in-law's move to a new place in New York City. His words have stuck with me since I read them this morning. Yes, I've thought, it IS the path of life.

I receive a daily feed I in my inbox from Medium. (Tip: I love this site, which allows me to customize the subject matter of articles I receive. There it was, nestled among the many messages competing for my attention-- a truncated subject line, "Connection Is a Core Human Need, But W..." I'm a sucker for immediate gratification and move on impulse-- think $15 chocolates in the check-out line-- so I clicked...

Connection Is a Core Human Need, But We Are Terrible at It

As I was drawn in by its prose, I thought "yes, this is it...this is the essence of El Cap-- connection." Of course I was going to find this article, or it was going to find me. Its messages of emotional truth, authenticity, trust, vulnerability, faith, and persistence, speak to me. If we are willing enough to reach out and connect with others in a real, authentic way, we connect with ourselves, and in doing so, we summon the courage and support we need to embrace the future-- the essence of my El Cap adventure...


I am an explorer of sorts, usually willing to invest some time in places where the outcome is unknown; after all, something GREAT could be around the next corner! The contrary seldom comes into play. So it is with this mindset that I instinctively clicked on the link at the end of the article and jumped to a new page, opening a window to Kintsugi. the ancient Japanese art where broken things are repaired, rebuilt and displayed with pride. The result is changed...different, stronger, more unique, and evolved...but its soul the same. In the ensuing moments of exploration and falling in love with the art (ok-- I admit, when I fall, I fall hard!), a notion and perspective to which my coach introduced me was visible. It stems from a recognition and admission that my disease has changed me; that I am different than I was; that I have been broken. But I rebuild and repair. I see my new path. I take a first step. And then another. I am stronger; I am more courageous, I am more special. "PeterBis," she says. A French word for which there is no direct translation, "PeterBis" is who I am now, with the scars, wounds, and blessings that have led me to this day. It comes with new, open windows and new possibilities and dreams, new chances and opportunities and changed and frontiers for me to pioneer. "Own it; Embrace it," she says.

I make a choice and commit to show up as I am today, with all the broken pieces, celebrating both the broken and unbroken parts of my spirit. It's not easy; some days it's really hard, inconvenient and annoying and lonely. But this is my life right now. This is the path of life, as Steven said. Connections-- connections and building and rebuilding with pride...yes. Connections, kintsugi, and the path of life...

"I’m like one of those Japanese bowls That were made long ago I have some cracks in me They have been filled with gold

That’s what they used back then When they had a bowl to mend It did not hide the cracks It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows from every time I broke And anyone’s eyes can see I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind All of these jagged lines Make me more beautiful And worth a higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls

I was made long ago I have some cracks you can see See how they shine of gold."

-Peter Mayer

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Apr 24, 2019

Pete, Nichole here, thinking about what a journey it's been for you since your/our days at the preschool, when challenge for most of the Abbott folks meant getting the kids there with lunches and matching shoes. So much about your world is different, except your positivity. My friend who's an author has a saying, "you get stronger at the broken places," which it sounds like she could have gotten from you. What you write here so thoughtfully reminds me of the Japanese concept wabi sabi — celebrating beauty in imperfection, the way things really are instead of the way we think they should be. The bowl with the crack. Sounds like you already know this. Because your essays show the…


Frank Giorgio
Mar 27, 2019

This is amazing. If we think about it, we’re all broken to one extent or another. But it is ultimately those cracks that make us who we are. You’ve found a very eloquent way of presenting that my friend. Now, to go and fill mine with golden glitter glue!


Mar 17, 2019

Hi Pete, It's Diane Sackos, Jeff's sister. Enjoy your blog. Great theme on this day. keep posting I enjoy your reflections at work when I have some downtime. You are in my prayers.


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