Shattered Plans

I was standing in line at a delicious taco joint in Asheville, NC and saw a photo on the wall of a beautiful pottery bowl. It looked like it had gold strands delicately painted in zig zag, meandering lines on the outside. It somehow shimmered in the sunlight coming through the window even though it was a photograph. 

There were words underneath it so of course I made Bixby place our dinner order and I got out of line to investigate. I thought it would be the origin story of the painter or the potter that created the piece. Maybe somehow connected to the restaurant? I am a sucker for a human interest story and had to know more. 

I am also a sucker for a story about serendipity, which leads me to tell you the story of this gold flecked pottery today. 

Shattered Plans

My carefully planned goals are not coming along as planned. I am not sure who is running my life, but she needs to be fired. Time is somehow bending and moving faster than I remember it does. Unless of course it is my body recovering from a long bike ride, then time drags. 

Time I block out to do a Sustainable Sue project is stepped on with a late meeting from my day job (which more often than not lately is turning into an evening and night job). I plan to swim on a Saturday and Sunday only to have lightning close the pool intermittently. Meal plans are torpedoed by the grocery store not having the ONE INGREDIENT we needed for BOTH recipes. 

Truly none of these is a big deal, it is just having to reshuffle a shattered plan repeatedly is tiring. Last weekend I just left the proverbially shattered plan on my desk and read three books. I’m not sorry about it. 

Which is where the serendipity comes back in. The taco stand’s photo of the gorgeous pottery with golden strands streaming through was kintsukuroi (Japanese for “golden repair”) or kintsugi (Japanese for “golden seams”. The technique of kintsukuroi has roots in the 15th century and is making a comeback in today’s world. An artist uses lacquer and gold pigment to repair a shattered piece – sometimes more beautifully than the original creation.

Once I saw that photo and description in Asheville, I saw kintsukuroi everywhere. Most recently on a mindless scroll this weekend after abandoning my shattered plan in my office. If I could play fast and loose with the metaphor here, I used the lacquer of naps and gold pigment of reading to repair a shattered plan into something much more peaceful. 

Instead of feeling wrung out and left with a racing mind on a Sunday night, I actually felt ready to take on a work week. 

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. Think back to a time where it felt like things were going against you. With the benefit of hindsight, was the shattered plan replaced with a better outcome?
  2. In the weeks ahead, when (not if) your plans fall apart, can you purposely hold space for a “golden repair” of your own? 

Let empty space on the calendar take the shape naturally instead of filling it. You might be surprised at the beautiful creation you end up with. 

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that work for you.