The following is an excerpt from Janet's upcoming memoir and first book, Field Notes on Letting Go, which will be released next month (pre-order here).

I ponder my life and what needs to be forgiven, as if perusing books on a shelf.

I recite aloud all the people and situations that I have forgiven and imagine the bookshelf clearing off.

As I ponder, I realized there was another shelf to review: forgiving myself. And there were even more books on that shelf.

Stating aloud what books were part of my autobiography—my looking inwards—was an interesting exercise because I was not aware of some of the titles that were uttered spontaneously. And while I forgive myself for these attributes, many of the titles still exist. But here is the difference. I am kinder towards these internal states and habits, these personal patterns. My idiosyncrasies. The cracks in my personal china are lovingly restored and make me wise, powerful, and compassionate.

As Michael Meade shared in one of his writings, The practice of kintsugi or “golden joinery” involves repairing pieces of pottery that crack or break with glue that has been blended with actual gold [read more on the Almanac's coverage of this topic here]. Metaphorically, kintsugi suggests that something may become more beautiful and more valuable after being broken and repaired with imagination and a healing touch. Such a golden repair does not cover up the cracks in the vessel or deny the fact that something precious has been broken. Rather, the splits and broken places become evidence of a hidden gold that heals and illuminates while restoring the vessels of life to wholeness. It is comforting to think of our healed wounds making us more powerful and more beautiful than our original self.

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