Have you ever noticed? There’re many social and environmental challenges around the world that we are aware of today, and while we rationally acknowledge all of them as very important we personally resonate more with some, and not so much with others.
We all have causes that make us feel a deeper resonance, a sense of “this is so important” that goes beyond simple empathy: when we are exposed to these very specific situations there’s a feeling that runs deeper and that feels in-tune with a pain we felt, or a profound fear we have.
“How can I save you from what I felt?”
“How can I prevent you from living that which I fear and that which I would find so unbearable?”
This is a tricky one.
It’s tricky because while empathy is one of the cornerstones of the impact and sustainability sector, we often avoid to examine the underlying roots of that empathy and especially the ways in which they manifest through our conscious or unconscious behaviours and actions.
So while our experienced pain and wounds are potentially our most powerful source of empathy, deep caring and desire to serve others, they can also become our biggest trap if we act from those wounds in an unconscious way, potentially falling into the Saviour Complex or perpetuating mechanisms of co-dependency with our actions or projects.
Something important to say is that none of this should be a source of shame and, as I was reflecting on this, the art of Kintsugi came to mind.
Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), as you might already know, is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind invites us to embrace flaws and imperfections, but that’s not the direction my thoughts took as I was thinking about this.
Kintsugi to me symbolises the opportunity that for-impact entrepreneurs and professionals have to elevate the paradigm of how we do “impact”.
For the first time in history we have the tools to:
- become aware of our breakages;
- learn how to embrace those imperfections as a powerful source of grace and connection with others, our communities and nature;
- Break the pattern of pain and co-dependency and hold the space for true empowerment.
Leonard Cohen used to say: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”
I believe that that’s also how our light gets out: in the form of conscious actions and projects that answers to today’s social and environmental challenges in new, better ways than even before.
What comes up for you as you read this?
Happy March, abrazo