When you think of the word ‘masterpiece,’ what comes to mind?  Likely a stroll through a museum or art gallery filled with richly hued paintings created by legendary artists such as Renoir and Matisse and marble sculpture carved by Michelangelo. A slow meander with hands behind your back as you take in the magnificence that surrounds you. Silence captures the echoing sounds of your shoes on the floor and light streams in through high domed windows. A sense of peace enfolds you. Fellow art lovers join you in partaking of the beauty. You sigh in gratitude that you have senses that can appreciate what is in front of you and the emotions they invoke.

How about the idea that you yourself are just as rare and precious as those works of art? You might shake your head at the comparison and yet, you are that. Designed from love and DNA. The accumulation of generations of genetics and a one in a gazillion possibility that you are unique among all of the souls on the planet. That’s pretty awesome when you think about it.

But….you may demur, “I’m more like a paint by numbers picture of a horsey than a Picasso,” since you see yourself as imperfect. What if, instead, you could view yourself as perfectly imperfect? It is said that when oriental rugs are woven, one thread is left undone beneath it with the idea that nothing is perfect.  The Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi (perfection in imperfection) highlights that same sensibility. A chipped tea cup is no less beautiful for its broken place. Kintsugi uses gold and silver dust to fill in the cracks. Rather than disguise the alleged damage, instead it brings attention to it.

We may feel we have so many broken places, so much damage from lifetime trauma. How is it possible to get beyond that to see our own magnificence? One way is to be around people who mirror our beauty. Those who see us as we long to be witnessed. Those who revel in our perfect imperfection. I have many in my life who are my reflections. When my own self compassion meter is running a quart low, they are there to help me refill. When my own lenses are smudged, they assist with reminding me that I need not see things as I do, but instead with clear and clean specs.

I am poignantly aware that I am both masterpiece and work in progress, since I sometimes feel like that cracked cup, with chips that I have placed on it by unconscious choices. May I be ever mindful.

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