Imperfection: Beauty in the process

 Imperfection everywherePerfect Imperfection

The more you look, the more imperfection you see. The sun shining through the window can lift your spirits or make you see they need to be cleaned.

Our urge to make things better is good, isn’t it? We all want a perfect world, and if it wasn’t for all those other people messing it up…

If only he would stop complaining…

She should try a bit harder…

It’s all the fault of the government/the unions/….

Or we might be continually beating ourselves up for our failures and imperfections.

Why do I have so little self-discipline?

If I had just done it differently….

We may respond with despair, try and hide our faults,  distract ourselves or push ourselves and others to the limit trying to perfect our lives. Brene Brown talks about how we often miss out on ordinary happiness because we are in search of the extraordinary. If we numb the negative emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.

Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.  William Feather

The Birthday Cake that Taught Me a Lesson

Cake-Imperfection or BeautyWhen your child is 7, every child in the class goes to the party. My daughter was one of the youngest in her class, so we had seen plenty of birthday parties by the time hers came around. Each party seemed to outdo the last…and I was beginning to feel a very inferior mama. And the cakes were amazing–replicas of zoos, princesses, ponies, football fields, caterpillars… Sometimes the party bag that came home seemed more substantial than the present we’d sent to the party. Yet, we didn’t have the money to buy a posh cake and the children enjoyed making and decorating their own cakes.

Fran had a vision for the cake, which she was determined to decorate herself. Her happy smile shows her delight. In my mind, I could hear the comments

“looks like a sandcastle sliding slowly into the sea”

“poor child”

I worried that Fran’s delight would turn to despair when the other children commented on the messy decor..they crowded round her as she walked in

“Wow, did you do that all yourself”  “I wish my mum would let me decorate cakes”

Celebrate the Beauty in the Process

Imperfection beauty in the cracksKintsugi is the Japanese art of mending pottery with gold. The cracks become part of the beauty.  Pete Mayer sings about it beautifully in Japanese Bowls.  If you are interested in learning more about the philosophy of kintsugi, watch this video from School of Life.       Images of kintsugi jugs

It’s quite a different view from invisible mending! So, instead of worrying about our faults and imperfections, maybe we should spend a bit more time looking at how the repairs can shine.

In our rush to be perfect and admired, we rarely take pleasure in the imperfections inherent in the process of creation and repair. The Japanese saw it differently and collectors vie for the valuable Kintsugi. And Fran? Well, she’s an engineer!

I’d love to hear your views and stories. Email me