Céline Santini
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This bowl is here because it represents life, my own life, but also yours, as in life itself. We can observe patterns on the inside, reflections, because sometimes it's like if life handed us a mirror. There are irregularities, cracks and hollows, because life is that too, it's made out of ups and downs. Overall, you can agree, life is rather beautiful. Most of the time, everything goes goes, everything goes well And like this bowl, everything is smooth, everything is round, everything is soft. Only, sometimes, not everything happens exactly ... (Interruption of sound) (Laughter) (while laughing) OK! (Applause) Mic problem! Should I start again? (Audience) No. No? Really? OK. Only sometimes not everything happens exactly as planned, simply because we cannot always predict everything, control everything. If you decide to move forward with your life, you will take risks, for example, when walking- maybe the risk of tripping. And while juggling with all the elements of your life, there too, you will take risks, the risk of taking a plunge and almost falling! Finally, we are all looking for the same thing, that is, a certain balance. So, sometimes, this balance, we think we will reach it, we are almost there. it hangs only by a thread. But it hangs! So this is the moment when we start to relax, we may even release our grip Come on, Should we try? Just a second. (Clinking of the bowl that breaks) But sometimes, we fall. Sometimes we break up. And like this bowl broken into three pieces, we all have fault lines. Pain is something very personal. Sometimes, it is a physical pain that we experience. For example, an accident, a disability, the aging body, an illness And sometimes, it is a more emotional pain: for example a dismissal, a mourning, a divorce, depression But regardless of the type of suffering, we have all experienced it, in one way or another. We all have scars. Today, as you may have guessed, I will talk to you about pain, and suffering. but also about repair and resilience. So, what is resilience in physics? It's the ability to absorb shocks. And in psychology, for the human being, it's exactly the same thing: it's the ability to absorb the shocks in our life, and to bounce back, to rebuild. And there is an art that perfectly symbolizes the spirit of resilience. This art is called kintsugi. "Kin" in Japanese means gold. "Tsugi" means “ join”. The art of golden joining. This art consists of highlighting with gold, the scars of a broken object, when you could have chosen to hide these repairs, or just throw it in the trash. And it's the perfect metaphor for resilience: because, paradoxically, the object becomes more beautiful, stronger, and more precious, for having been broken! And for us, as human beings? Well, it's the same thing. I'm going to prove it to you, by asking you all here, a little question: Since you were born, in percentage, how many difficult tests have you survived, so far? In fact, I don't need to ask each of you individually your answers, because all answers will be the same. Because if you are here and alive, it's because you have survived 100% of the tests in your life, so far. And sometimes, there are even cases where you could be transformed on the way. And that is the famous saying: "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger". You may be wondering how this art was invented, who had the crazy idea one day to put gold on an object, when they could have decided to throw it in the trash. In fact, it is an art dating back to the 15th century in Japan. The Shogun of Japan , these were the chief of the armies, used his favorite tea bowl every day, a beautiful Chinese bowl. Only one day, like this bowl, he broke it. So he decides to send it back to China for repair. He is ready to wait months for that. You can imagine at the time, the transportation, all the waiting time. After all this time, the bowl comes back with a repair called "staples". with metal staples along the crack. So, the problem is that not only is it quite visible as a repair - it's not very discreet - but in addition, it does not solve the problem at all since the bowl still has its crack, it is not waterproof. So the Shogun, not very happy asks his Japanese craftsmen to find a better solution. And it was that day that the art of kintsugi was born. Like many other Japanese arts it is an art that is extremely meticulous, delicate, rigorous, and requires a lot of preparation and concentration. But what is really wonderful about kintsugi is that beyond the final result, which is really fabulous, that speaks to us, that speaks to our subconscious, every step of the creation of a kintsugi is significant: because in each phase you take a step closer to your own healing. There are six of these steps. I will explain them one after the other, because it can give you the keys to your own transformation if one day you have to face a test in your life. So the very first step is the one where we are like this bowl: broken! We feel shocked. We even have the impression that we will never be able to get up. We are literally in "a thousand pieces". Yet, the first thing to do is to get some perspective on the situation. to evaluate it, to observe where the pieces are, how many there are, and what they look like. It's about gathering together, as one would pick up pieces of a puzzle that would have been scattered on the floor. Then comes the second step: the one where we start to pick up the pieces. We will gather the pieces with the sabi, a mixture of flour and lacquer. We were talking about a puzzle earlier: it's like a puzzle indeed, but in 3D. In terms of emotional healing, it's the same principle. It's the moment when you start to pick up your pieces, to heal, to fill your gaps. Only sometimes, as in this picture, we may miss a piece of our puzzle. And in these cases, we must not hesitate to use another object and integrate it into our repair, because it means that in life we ​​can rely on others to rebuild. You have to look for it on an object that is even more different because it's going to make very interesting mixes, which defy the imagination, where one plus one equals three. Then comes the third step; It's the step of patience. We will put our our object delicately in a box for several days to let it dry. We have to be very careful, as the scars are still fresh. We would all like to heal our pain, our suffering, in a snap, a second, a session. But, kintsugi is there to remind us that sometimes, there isn't another solution other than to let time take its course, to let time do its work. This is not necessarily obvious, in the society in which we currently live. On the contrary, everything accelerates. Who here still has the patience to wait? Whether to seek information on the internet, to download a movie or a series, to date ... What we tend to forget is that if we are too impatient, the wounds, that are still fresh, may reopen, even get infected. So you really have to learn not to rush the steps And I invite you to think about it for yourself. In your life, do you tend to be a little too impatient and to hurry? Then comes step number four, the repair phase. So we'll take the object out of the box. It has now dried up nicely. And we will sand each of its fault lines. And we'll put a first coat of lacquer, a layer of black lacquer. This is important because it will make the object completely waterproof, So our Shogun will be happy! Then we will put it back in the box, let it dry, take it out, re-sand it, and then we had a second layer of lacquer, a layer of red lacquer. What does it remind you of, these beautiful bright red lines? It depends on people but, personally, it reminds me of a blood network, veins. And it's a bit like that: it's as if life was returning to the object, as if it were revived, as if its heart was beating again. And for us, it's the same thing. It's the moment when we feel ready to relive, to put life back into our lives, to catch a second wind. And maybe our heart starts beating again, for the first time in a long time. For now we are ready, we are ready for phase five. This is the phase we have been waiting for since the start the moment when we will finally be able to put gold on the wounds. On the last layer of lacquer, the layer of red lacquer, which is still wet, still fresh, we will gently sprinkle a powder of pure gold. And each particle of gold will interact, mix intimately with the lacquer, until recreating the illusion of a flow of gold. And for us, it is an extremely powerful moment, because it is the moment when we are ready to bloom! We are ready to recognize our own value, because we too, after all, like a living kintsugi, deserve to put pure gold on our wounds. And finally comes step six. This is the final step. So our object, from the beginning, was gathered, healed, sanded, sealed, covered with gold, it has been restored. But what we must not forget is that gold is a metal. So, like every metal, we can polish it. So, for our kintsugi, we will make it sparkle. And there it will emerge in all its splendor. And for us, it is this very important moment where we are finally ready to accept the beauty of our scars. And that's important! Because it means accepting the beauty of our past, the beauty of our entire journey, with all of its flaws. It is accepting oneself in our entirety, with our strengths and our weaknesses. And like an object that has been through the whole process of kintsugi, all that healing energy, there is a moment when one is ready to expose oneself. Me, if I'm here in front of you today, exposing myself, it is because I have reached this stage. Personally, it took me two years. two years, day to day, because it's pretty amazing. It was on January 29, 2017, that I discovered kintsugi for the first time. And I remember, because I took notes, because I felt it would be important. But then I didn't know it was going to take me there. So here is the context of the time. 15 days earlier, I had just learned that I was going to divorce again. My second divorce. That I would be raising my two daughters alone, including a four-month-old baby. So you can imagine my emotional state. That day, by chance - but is there such a thing as chance? - I bought a magazine that I never usually buy. Why did I buy it? Because on the cover it said: "How to make a successful divorce!" (Laughter) So that appealed to me! So I open it, and there I see the word "kintsugi". I had never heard of it! But there is my little inner voice, and a kind of thrill that runs through me that says to me: "Go see, it's important for you". And one must always follow one's intuition. So I went to see: I typed "kintsugi" on the internet, and there I saw these beautiful golden lines that spoke to me, that resonated with me. It's as if the soul of kintsugi resonated with mine. It's as if I already knew kintsugi. It's as if, seeing these lines, I told myself: "Remember, in the past you have managed to survive other trials, perhaps even more difficult ones. And here you will survive again!" And then I discovered the six steps I told you, and every step of the way there were pieces of me that are still repairing themselves until today. Until this bowl. This bowl represents life. My own life, but also yours, with all the force of resilience. I think this bowl is more interesting than before. It has a strength in it, the strength of its journey It has the beauty of its imperfections. It's perfectly imperfect, like me. It looks like me. So now, I'm facing a dilemma because I have a choice between two solutions. The first solution is that I can put this bowl in a cabinet. It will be well protected, nothing will ever happen to it again. I will be able to look at it it every day. Then, there is a second solution, The one I prefer. I will tell you, I tend to follow my instinct and this is the solution that attracts me the most. This bowl, I will use it every day. And then, I will surely take new risks the risk to move forward, maybe to stumble perhaps to fall, maybe break or hurt myself again. BUt now, I know that it is OK. Because I will always be able to put new fault lines in gold, and it will be even more beautiful! Finally, kintsugi is a nearly alchemic process that speaks of transmutation, because as in alchemy, one seeks to reveal eternally the beauty of an object as a long life elixir would do. And as in alchemy, one seeks to change one's own lead into gold. The kintsugi speaks of transformation, your transformation. We don't know what the future will look like. Life, as we said earlier, is made of ups and downs, and we cannot predict anything. I don't wish it, but it is possible that you will face new challenges in your life. If that's the case, I invite you to connect to the energy of kintsugi, to remain optimistic, to remember that you also will survive the shocks of your life. You also deserve to put pure gold on your wounds. You as well will become more beautiful, stronger, and more precious for having been broken! I really invite you to turn your fault lines into lines of strength. Thank you (Applause)