Broken Vases & Sacred Spaces (Within)

Our perpetual faced Buddha vase, broken.

Our perpetual Buddha vase, broken.

I love these perpetual (8 faced) Buddha vases, and I especially loved ours. We added a bookcase to our bedroom and I happily moved the vase from the living room into its new, quiet space next to some favorite books and our Tibetan singing bowl. The vase had a good energy, both serene and intriguing, inviting you to slow your pace so as not to miss something. I quickly got into the habit of looking to it each time I walked into our bedroom, multiple times a day, and the way I “checked in with myself” whenever I saw it.

Not four days later, one of our cats shot off the bookcase, knocking the vase to the floor in a flat thud I heard from my office. I was sad to find large pieces of Buddha faces on our bedroom floor. Parts of faces smiled peacefully and unaffected by this daily act of impermanence.

I gathered the bigger pieces and fitted them together to see if I had any missing. For a moment, the large broken shards reminded me of the clay ollas I had excavated in the past, broken by ceremony and ritual and others simply by the weight of earth and time. I thought about this vase and its short existence in my own life. Of course it did not begin its journey centuries ago, nor was it sculpted by ancient hands. But it had already blessed me with a sort of very brief ceremony of ritual thought and action each time I walked into the private space of my bedroom.

I collected the pieces and laid them on the table in my office with the intention of gluing it back together. Looking at those pieces of peaceful faces, I felt their same comforting pull—I know it must sound strange, it’s just a vase. It looked kind of neat in these large broken sections—beautiful ruins in a miniature landscape, almost more interesting in way, a presence with a story and purpose. At once this decorative vase guided my thoughts towards imperfection, beauty, and the value of our personal sacred histories. I decided to leave the vase as is.

It reminds me that here, in my mid-forties I have experienced things that have broken me apart, as most have by this time in our lives. What is that expression? Without the cracks, the light cannot shine through. I am not perfect, and parts of me lay permanently exposed in beautiful, history-rich ruins that beg exploration. I’m guessing we all have these broken bits within ourselves, some more shattered than others—yet carefully collected and pieced back together, or simply and reverently gathered into a sacred pile within. Our story. I feel there is timeless wisdom in that experience, allowing me to stand with purpose and an open heart towards loved ones and anyone who wishes to explore their own ruins or piece together shards of experience.

I like that our Buddha vase will live on in this new form for now, just as we continue to grow in our own ever-evolving forms. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, regarding our sacred spaces within, how do they take form or evolve for you?



This entry was published on August 30, 2014 at 2:34 AM. It’s filed under Other and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Broken Vases & Sacred Spaces (Within)

  1. Deeply moving piece. Last thing I read before nodding off last night. After hearing such shocking news, it afforded me a little peace. Thank you


  2. Nancy Salvatierra on said:

    Thank you Michelle for this lovely, insightful morning meditation! You express as ever so beautifully!

    Sent from my iPhone


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