Tag Archives: kintsukuroi

Dancing with Speeches #22 Noel Pearson

It is National Reconciliation Week and this week’s dance is with Noel Pearson’s Eulogy for former Australian PM Gough Whitlam.

Reconciliation Week and my attention always turns to those who know what it is to turn around, not turn away. Whitlam continues to inspire me by his sheer audacity and speed of reform and at his funeral Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson took our breaths away with his eulogy. Pearson gave a litany of reform born from Whitlam and stated eloquently that reform always trumps management.  There is no reconciliation without action.  Action that is pointed and unlocks possibilities, builds equity and shines a light on the assumptions on why reform is necessary.

This is the kind of reconciliation I want: acts of restoration, accountability that brings together what was broken and torn apart and in the healing what is made new is more beautiful than what it was before it was broken.

The Japanese art of kintsukuroi where the broken vase is melded together with threads of gold and silver to be more beautiful is the gift of reconciliation complete. No denying of the broken pieces in the first place and deep recognition that healing happens in the crucible of heat and flame where the craftsmen and women are required to apply their science and their art to bring together the pieces. This is re-form. The form has been restored and it is made new. It is not just a case of managing and handling all the pieces so that they fit together again. It is a recognition of where the edges are; and instead of hiding them with some invisible glue, making those edges glow and shine and enabling them to be the strength to binds and make whole.

The alchemy of bringing together the elements is the gift of the artisan. The reformer works with their hands and their words are their tools. There are no mechanics although moving bits start to emerge as a movement is built. There are high quality ingredients and fidelity to integrity, for without these, there is no authenticity – only management.

Noel Pearson Delivering Whitlam Eulogy

Yes Noel, I agree “Reform trumps management” so let us re-form and with the artisans of democracy bring about justice and equity so reconciliation makes us all whole.


I have written about kintsukuroi previously:

Good Friday 2014

November 2014 : Made by Disappointment

Made by Disappointment

Dear Sor Juana,

Managing our disappointments is an invitation to take up a new challenge to move from the broken to make something new and perhaps more beautiful, like in the Japanese tradition of kintsukuroi (which I have written about before to another). It is a signifier that has been broken – trust, hope, confidence – was worthy of being kept whole yet that wholeness was no longer its truth.   Moving through the disappointment is transformational, a liberation. This is a letting go, and an enabling. What was held in the container, now broken, is released. What ever the container is, be it the heart or the head, that container has served as a charging station and now this new thought or emotion is released and while not fully formed, is applied, to make a new way.

Disappointment is in many people’s lives, the rug being pulled out from under one’s feet, is an everyday experience.

Disappointment arrives after …

Hours of labour to be reduced to a single syllable response – no.

A generation of dreams to be washed away by the flick of a pen.

An agreed commitment is betrayed.

Unfavourable results presented as non-negotiable and intractable.

As disappointment wriggles its way out of the body, into the ether and into conversations it starts to transmute, empower and eventually transform. Disappointments inevitably are a call to action with redemption sewn into the seams.

I have been witness to many disappointments in people’s lives recently, and in some cases midwife to releasing those disappointments. There is the recognition that letting the disappointments linger is part of the grief, and then letting those same disappointments serve as the bedrock for a new way. As the awareness comes, it is like the gold of kintsukuroi making something more beautiful because it is broken.

Instead of By Appointment to some regal authority, how about we consider the idea of beautiful people being made By Disappointment?

Disappointment is just the initial meeting with the frontier of an evolving life, an invitation to reality, which we expected to be one particular way and turns out to be another, often something more difficult, more overwhelming and strangely, more rewarding.
David Whyte, 2003