Finding strenght in imperfection

The Kintsugi and spirituality: A holistic encounter to talk about resilience, Zen, Buddhism, alchemy, search for the way, and the soul...

Kintsugi and spirituality


The site Buddhist Books Organized a Meeting with Céline Santini With questions of a rare quality, on the occasion of the release of the book "Kintsugi, the Art of Resilience".

Here's his transcript:

Meeting with Céline Santini: Kintsugi, the Art of resilience

Céline Santini, author, by Catherine Delahaye

© Catherine Delahaye

Bonjour Céline Santini et bienvenue sur Livres Bouddhistes ! Merci d’avoir accepté cet entretien, pour la sortie de votre livre Céline Santini – Kintsugi: The Art of Resilience chez First Editions ( I had a great pleasure to read it, it's a wonderful book! Moreover, I see that your book is very successful and that it will be published in several languages! Congratulations! It must be said that the book, in itself, is first of all a very beautiful book: How did you participate in the aesthetics of the book? How did she determine?

Thank you very much for your invitation, and for your compliments on my book! Indeed, he will have the chance to be Published in 9 different languages… Je suis touchée qu’il vous plaise. Concernant l’esthétique du livre, c’est avant tout un travail d’équipe étroit entre la graphiste, l’éditrice et moi-même qui a permis d’aboutir à ce joli résultat. A titre personnel, j’aime les choses épurées, et cela s’est ressenti dans mon manuscrit, et a été parfaitement retranscrit par la graphiste. Nous avons également eu l’immense chance de pouvoir utiliser les magnifiques photos de l’artiste Kintsugi française Myriam Greff To illustrate the concepts of the book, and that has changed everything! The first version of the cover Did not have a visual of Kintsugi , only scars... But we all agreed to add this wonderful bowl Kintsugi Black that makes it possible to understand immediately how this art consists, even for the uninitiated.

Can you introduce yourself in a few lines please?

My name is Céline Santini, I am a writer and coach in personal development and art therapy. I have written about fifteen books, whose commonalities are creativity, personal development, and learning. Their themes strangely follow my life line...

What does it mean Kintsugi ? What is the Kintsugi ? To sublimate scars?

In Japanese, "Kin" means "gold" and "Tsugi", "join". It is the art of joining the gold... The Kintsugi is an ancient Japanese art that consists in repairing a broken object by emphasizing its lines of pure gold faults, instead of hiding them. So it is quite the art of sublime the scars indeed. Whether we are talking about real objects, or more symbolic wounds...

Kintsugi : cover of the Book of Céline Santini

Is it the Zen that inspired the Kintsugi ?

The Kintsugi Invites to contemplation, and to accept the impermanence of things... In this there are clear bridges between the Kintsugi and Zen philosophy.

Is it specifically Japanese, or is it found elsewhere in the world?

To my knowledge, this art originates from Japan. The material used is also Japanese, especially the very specific lacquers (Urushi) that are derived from the resin of Asian Lakers. However, the Spirit Kintsugi Infused throughout the world, on all continents, in artistic creations, in the trend of decoration, and even through music...

How were you introduced to the Kintsugi? Does it require a master to practice it, as with the ikebana or tea ceremony, or even zazen?

I am personally self-taught, simply because when I discovered and fell in love with this art I did not have the opportunity to go and train with a master in Japan with my 6 month old baby! Which, of course, would have been ideal. But fortunately, nowadays it is easy to find all the information in free access (mainly in English and Japanese) on the Internet, and the material is easily controlled remotely. After that it is such a demanding art that it takes years to master it, and I am only at the very beginning of the journey! However, by practicing it, I had the pleasure of intuitively discovering gestures, as if they were part of me and I "found" them...

This book is also an opus where you tell your story. Is this book a catharsis?

That's quite what this book is about healing... starting with mine. Putting words on my pain has contributed to my own healing process, and I hope I can inspire readers along the way.

How did you come up with this idea of articulating the technical processes of Kintsugi , to the human person? Finally, I think the Kintsugi is almost a pretext for you to be able to apply its precepts to the human being...

I will tell you one thing: it has been imposed on me. At first I had the absolute and immediate thunderbolt for this art. The first time I heard about the Kintsugi , I had an enlightenment. As if the soul of the Kintsugi Resonated in me and called me. As if this theme was always waiting for me and was going to help me to assemble the pieces of my own puzzle... And a few months later, I had the incredible opportunity to present a synopsis on this subject. I turned around a bit, looking for the right way to approach it. When, suddenly, I had the idea of making the parallel between the different phases of the realization of a Kintsugi And the intimate process of healing of each person. Stage by step. It was as if I was shooting at a thread and the thread was suddenly rolling under my eyes: the Kintsugi Thus served as a guide to resilience, both through its various technical stages, and in its so obvious symbolic.

The Kintsugi It's also the art of recycling! Instead of throwing, we fix, we renew! What is its ecological scope? Does it also apply in this way, to the soul? I am talking about a "ecology of the Soul".

The Kintsugi Date of the fifteenth century, but was rather unknown for centuries, even with some Japanese: the Kintsugi Still quite confidential. It is therefore interesting that it is at the moment when the ecological consciousness is amplified that it emerges! Moreover it can be noted that 3 books on the symbolic of the Kintsugi have just come out at the same time, of 3 different authors, in 3 different points of the globe! The Kintsugi Well indeed invites to keep and recycle, instead of throwing... We can even talk about upcycling! And, of course, indeed, this metaphor transposes itself to the soul: the Kintsugi Can speak symbolically to any injured person, regardless of the type of injury. The Kintsugi Is there to remember that, even wounded or broken, our soul has a value, which it is worth to honor and magnify with pure gold, such a Kintsugi Living...

Page 38, you mention the many ways you have travelled! Your book also teems with eclectic processes, well-being techniques and self-knowledge that you have experienced. Now, have you been found? Have you found a way (you also talk a lot about yoga and ayurveda)?

Personally, I believe that we never really "find", and that when we start the journey of personal and spiritual development we never reach the destination, since we can always progress... I do not know where I read this phrase that speaks to me immensely: "You want to know if you have fulfilled your life mission? It's very simple: Are you still alive? So it is that you have not yet accomplished everything.... »

But to answer your question, if I only had to choose one way to represent myself, it would be the way of the Kintsugi, the Kintsugi-Dô, which literally "snatched me" and that I got a little appropriate on the way, because it speaks of resilience , art, creativity, patience, and reminds us how unique we are in the world...

A parallel can be made between Kintsugi and alchemy

Are you personally eclectic, or do you participate in a particular spiritual tradition?

I was educated by a doctor mother, very Cartesian and rational, for whom shrinks in all their forms were charlatans! So I'm part of "zero" spiritual education question! However, this did not prevent him from having very beautiful values, which she transmitted to me throughout her life by her example: in particular respect for others, the love of Truth, reliability, courage, the value of work. But I had to discover many things by myself, and indeed I experienced many ways. Today, I see above all their commonalities: finally fairly simple principles, often based on the examination of conscience and values, respect for oneself and others, good hygiene of life, healthy eating, meditation and Let go...

The more I advance on the path, the less I attach myself to dogmas or teachings, I believe that the way is within each of us and that we really have all the answers in us... It was something quite abstract to me at the beginning of my path, which I understand better and better throughout the journey...

What I particularly appreciated is that this book allows to apply the steps of the Kintsugi to oneself, to its being: there is something alchemical (perhaps Taoist?) in the process that you detail. Do you relate to alchemy?

It is my pleasure that you feel this connection to alchemy, for indeed, for me, the Kintsugi is clearly an alchemical process! Passing through several stages reminiscent of the work in black and the work to the red by the layers of lacquers successive, it is a question of turning our own lead into gold to be reborn, transformed or even transmuted...

The Kintsugi Is it essentially about pottery, or can it be applied to other objects?

Traditionally the Kintsugi Applied to pottery, but it can be transposed to absolutely all objects and all supports: glass, wood, plastic... Even a Tupperware would become unique in the world and sublime after being "Kintsugué"!

Your book is divided into six parts. The titles of the Parties and the chapters that make up them are injunctions: Discover, break, assemble, etc... It's like a course-it's also putting the reader in confidence: What intimate connection did you want to establish with the reader?

The notion that comes to mind when I read your question is that of transmission. It is as if this book allows me to convey to the reader the keys of understanding that I have gleaned through the different experiences of my life, whether they are difficult or positive. I see the reader as my mirror, at different stages of my life, which raises the same questions as me and to whom I try to answer or, in any case, to give leads. I also learned a lot from writing the book!

Your book speaks of the "protocol" of care of objects, which allows you to double it from another taking the reader for the purpose of care: it is this resilience that you are talking about. We too can be broken, and repaired, and sublimated. But when we apply the Kintsugi To an object, we act as an outside person – or, how can we self-repair within the framework of the Kintsugi ? It should not be someone else who should apply the Kintsugi What if we're broken? Can it be a medicine (to be up-to-the-tip)?

I understand your question... In fact, it is necessary to be supported by external aid when one suffers. But I noticed that the Kintsugi has an immediate effect on some souls in whom it resonates. This is not the case for everyone: the Kintsugi Leaves some people indifferent. But for those Kintsugi "Calls", the effect is intense, and works live, without intermediary: simply contemplating a Kintsugi , things can be repaired instantly in us, on the surface. But the fault lines of the Kintsugi Will move our own, and it is in depth that it will act in a second time when we let this symbolic infuse in us, and especially if one realizes his own Kintsugi Personal, representing our wounds, our scarring, and our unique splendor.

The Wabi-Sabi, which I have already talked about on Buddhist books, is an important notion in the Kintsugi . What importance is given to him here?

The Wabi Sabi invites you to recognize the beauty of imperfect and weather-skating things... In this the Kintsugi Fits perfectly in this trend indeed: objects that have suffered the wear of time or have been broken can be rehabilitated, and their imperfections not only accepted, but underlined and glorified...

You evoke the poison in your book, and the three poisons are an important notion in Buddhism: explain this to us please.

I will be very honest with you: I did not know this notion of the three poisons, and I am very sorry because it would have been indeed very relevant to talk about it in the chapter that invites to transform its poison into antidote... I think that the more we advance in its evolution, the more we leave a binary and dual thought to go towards an acceptance of oneself, with its traverses and its imperfections. We realize that things are not so trenched, "all white or All Black", and that our wounds, our traverses, our poisons are also part of our experience, our journey of life, of us... and that it is necessary to accept us in full, with our weaknesses and our Imperfections...

Kintsugi and spirituality

In the stages of the Kintsugi, he has this stage where, if there is missing a piece that we could reattach, we recreate it... or we take it to another! But how to do with the soul when it misses a piece?

Obviously, it seems more difficult to "reglue the pieces" when we are missing a part... But I have noticed that the most beautiful Kintsugis are often the ones that fill the gaps with external inputs. Then there is an alchemy, a symbiosis between two pieces that a priori everything moves away, and the combination of two banal objects can even prove sometimes explosive! Transposed to the reparations of the soul, I think that this symbolic invites to open to the external contributions, beyond the fears and the beliefs. We all have a tendency to live folded on ourselves, by browsing the same familiar circuits. But it is often out of our comfort zone that the most rewarding experiences are going on. The Chris-Tsugi (it is the name of the Kintsugi which combines various influences) invites the otherness in us. Also, to answer your question, if we are missing a piece, and if we were going to look for it outside to try out new and transcendent associations!

At the end of the day, the broken and repaired object is even more beautiful than it was before the accident... No accident, no second beauty! And the accidents of life are inevitable... It is even said that someone who has not taken a beating in life has not lived. This art of Kintsugi is a kind of initiatory path, a symbolic path, isn't it?

That's quite what I could say better... By living protected in an ivory tower, we make sure a life without a hitch... but perhaps very dull. The Kintsugi reminds us that our accidents, our wounds, our ordeals have made us suffer but have allowed us to grow on the way... Paradoxically, we are much more beautiful, more resilient and more precious to have been broken!

Towards the end of the book, you say that the broken and repaired object has reincarnated! Tell us more about it please!? It's intriguing for a Buddhist like me!

The object is repaired with gold, it is sublimated: so it is not only repaired, it is also transformed. It is in this that we can speak of renaissance: we will never be the same person as before the event, we are reborn to oneself. For me, our trials are initiation and make us grow and evolve, inviting us to be reborn several times during our life, like a Phoenix reborn from its ashes... So it is the opportunity of a reincarnation in itself, in the course of the same life! Our trials are often the occasion of awareness, progression, evolution, second chances...

This art of resilience, the Kintsugi , it is a long way, which requires time, care, observation, meticulous, in short it is an art, a wisdom, a thought, an action: an art of living in sum! But there is a beginning, and an end. So it's mostly a technique?

For me, the art of Kintsugi is more than a technique, it is above all a very powerful metaphor that directly affects our unconscious and our soul and therefore continues to infuse even after repair. It is also interesting to note that the lacquer used in the traditional Kintsugi technique continues to harden during the weeks, months and years following the repair. I see a parallel with our intimate wounds, which continue to heal over time.

You also evoke tattoos on scars, such as those that appear after a mastectomy... The human also can become the object of the Kintsugi!?

It is true that the metaphor of the Kintsugi Spontaneously speaks to people who have suffered psychological and emotional injuries. But in fact, one can also seize the symbolic of the Kintsugi To support the healing of the body. Many artists are inspired to cover definitively (therapeutic tattoo) or temporarily (scars covered with gold foil) traces of certain wounds (mastectomy, caesarean section, stretch marks, self-mutilation...) that have A strong resonance for people who have suffered. And that supports them immensely in their healing process. In this the Kintsugi is a form of art therapy.

What is the hardest step in the art of Kintsugi?

It is in fact extremely personal, depending on the experience of each and the things that we have to work intimately. For example, for some, the hardest will be the first step, the one that involves accepting the injury, because they simply are in denial and refoulement, and claim that everything is fine... For other people, it will be to make the decision to repair themselves, because their lack of confidence in them makes them deny their value and believe that they do not deserve to put gold on their wounds... Some have more trouble with the contemplative phases, of patience and waiting, which put them in front of themselves while they tend to veil their face by diluting themselves in projects and action... Others are paradoxically struggling to move to a key stage, the one where the gold powder is sprinkled, because it means the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, and they prefer unconsciously to cling to their past: as painful as it is, it is familiar to them ... Finally, others stop just before the final stage, which consists in polishing the gold scars of the object to make them shine, because they have trouble with the completion of things and will prefer their whole life to stop at 99 ° while it is at 100 ° that the water boils, in A form of recurring self-sabotage...

Everyone can appropriate this art of Kintsugi . All the steps you describe: It reminds me of the ritual sewing in Zen, where the sewing of the Kesa, the Rakusu, the Zagu, the pouches are as much an opportunity to meditate. The Kintsugi is a spiritual teaching! What about meditation?

Indeed, the art of Kintsugi is very contemplative, and is akin to other Zen arts such as calligraphy (Sho do), the tea ceremony (Sa do), archery (Kyu do), etc... What I have discovered in writing the book is that the way (the C) is finally very personal, and that the form it takes is only a pretext to speak to the soul of each. That is why there is a multitude of arts of living and ways, so that everyone can find the one that resonates in him. The one who found me is the way of the Kintsugi, the Kintsugi Do... Will she call you, too?

I will have a thousand questions to ask you, so I now pass on to these few traditional questions of my interviews: what would you like to add about your book on the Kintsugi ?

When you discover the existence of the Kintsugi for the first time, you know instantly whether it calls us or not. If it resonates in you, I invite you to plunge into its delights, it is a path, a way to the discovery of oneself.

What is the best spiritual teachings you know?

The listening of his body, of his inner voice, of his soul, of his intuition, of his internal GPS, of his higher self... Whatever the name is given to him: all the answers are already there.

What do we have to fight for today? What does every human need special attention?

There are some causes that I am particularly keen on personally, particularly the upbringing of children and the defence of animal rights.

But I believe that each fight is unique to everyone, and that they should not be prioritized. To each one to do his share of hummingbird according to the call of his soul...

What are the 3 essential books, important to you, not necessarily Buddhist, which you would like me to speak on Buddhist books?

I am very interested in the Énnéagramme, which gave me many keys. In particular I can recommend the book of Sandra Maitri, "The 9 Faces of the soul, the spiritual flourishing by the Énnéagramme". This is a book that I read regularly and in which I always find another level of reading.

Of course, the four Toltec chords, which no longer show up... These principles infuse me little by little...

And then, and this choice will surprise you, the Barbapapas. Like all fortysomething, they have of course cradled my childhood. I invite you to read them with an adult eye, because they speak directly to our inner child and carry very beautiful values: anti-racism, acceptance of differences, re-enchant the daily life, protect nature and animals...

Kamidana Kintsugi Kintsukuroi

Sum up, literally, in three words, three adjectives please:




Are you ready for another book?

I prepare... 5! But I feel above all that I still have in the bottom of me the book, one of which I do not yet know the theme or the face, the inspiring initiation novel that will emerge one day, when my fault lines still have a little moved...

Thanks again for this interview! Buddhist books will always be open to you! The last words are for you!

Thank you very much for these very profound questions to which I had an unbelievable pleasure to answer!

To conclude, I invite each of you to understand that you can transform each of your fault lines into lines of strength...

Céline Santini. Kintsugi-do. First editions. Resilience. Suffering. Favorite. Maintenance. Meeting. Interview

Thank you very much to Jonathan Zui Ho for these wonderful questions. Find the whole interview, and many more, on the website Buddhist books,

As well as The Chronicle of the book "Kintsugi, The Art of Resilience" by Buddhist books.

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