Thank you to Divorce Specialist Danielle Barbereau for this inspiring blog post. Contact Danielle HERE if you want to find out more about how she can help you.
As a coach, I have always been fascinated by metaphors; the images used by my clients to express how they feel when some words aren’t quite enough. These are so telling. So, I often attempt to elicit an image when clients struggle to express their feelings. That morning, when I asked my client how she was feeling, she stunned me by saying, ‘I feel like a beautiful piece of Kintsugi pottery’.
I had to look it up. Also known as ‘golden repair’, Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by reconstructing it with gold or platinum. Instead of discarding the broken item, the artisans display and honour it. The repairs are seen as integral part of the history of the object, which should be celebrated, rather than discarded. Furthermore, by being repaired with precious metals, the broken item becomes more beautiful and more precious and valuable than it was before.
The image felt so powerful. Far from feeling broken and obsolete after her gruelling divorce, my client compared herself to a precious piece of ‘Kintsugi pottery’. Someone may be damaged, they may feel broken, shattered, old, irrelevant (all words used by clients to illustrate the effect of a breakup), but they can rebuild their lives.
‘There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself’ (Hannah Gadsby). In my view, emerging and rebuilding oneself after a devastating event, means that people become not only stronger, but also even more precious.
I realised that this is how I feel about my work. My role as a divorce coach is to emulate the artist who picks up the pieces and creates something new and unique. My work enables the delicate and precious repairs and helps ‘put my clients together again’. As they become stronger, they find a better version of themselves and become more resilient and more special for it. Emerging from pain and grief is undoubtedly a process of reinvention.
Ask someone who has survived a painful breakup. They often declare feeling completely free, liberated. They look forward to the rest of their lives. This is because they have worked through and made good of the pain.
Recovery is about healing beyond the broken. Kintsugi.
My client added: ‘Danielle, you thread gold into the fabric of my life’. Another beautiful metaphor and indeed, the most stunning compliment! Thank you
Would you like to Contact Danielle for one to one support? CLICK HERE
I am a regular contributor to Family Law publications, conferences and collaborative divorce Pods. I am a member of the Association For coaching. Book: I wrote ‘After the Split’, The Definitive Guide to Recovery when Relationships Break Down’ (2015 and the 2nd edition in 2020), for anyone seeking to survive the ending of a relationship. You can buy the book HERE