Beauty of the Mosaic

Rosalina Chai

Reading by Liz Helgesen (Download file)

Awakin FeatureFor as long as I recall having memory, I've found mosaic incredibly mesmerising. Alongside the increasing presence of grey hair on my head grew my awareness of how aptly the mosaic can serve as a metaphor for perceiving and understanding the human condition.

Mosaic is at once intricate yet majestic. And it is precisely its brokeness that lends mosaic its perception of fragile beauty - the space between the tiles is as much an intricate part of its language of beauty as the mosaic tile itself. And isn't this true too of our humanity?

Whilst there are numerous titles out there extolling the necessity, power and beauty of our essential brokenness, more often that not, our daily interactions with our fellow human beings appears to be motivated by unconscious "should-ism" that demands perfection of one another. What is it about brokenness that we find so offensive?

What would happen when we accept and embrace that being broken is an essential part of humanity's be-ing? What would happen when we cease to label brokenness as bad? What would it take for us to cease labelling brokenness as bad? I can imagine one certainty ... more peace.

Accepting and embracing brokenness is not the same as using another's brokenness to feel better about ourselves. Rather, it is an acknowledgment of our common humanity. When I accept my own brokenness, and do not judge myself harshly because of it, I find myself capable of more compassion towards others regardless of whether I am aware of the form of brokenness they've experienced.

Finally, it is the coming together of many many many mosaic tiles that the meaning of its language of beauty is expressed. We were not meant to be alone in our brokenness. We were meant to come together, so that another form of beauty may be birthed through the collective.

I would like to leave you with this story.

At the beginning and end of time, Truth was a beautiful glowing orb. One day, the orb was shattered into shards that outnumbered the stars in the universe by one to infinity. These shards became souls. Thus it is that each soul represented one part of Truth. But Life intervened, and many souls believed that they were Truth, and so Hatred was bred. But some souls held onto the memory, and attempted to remind the souls who've forgotten.

I do not know the end of the story as it is yet to be written. But I do know that when all the souls are reunited, the space between the shards would be where the light shines through. And that Truth's beauty would then take another form.

Roslina Chai is an author, mother, and "seeker of beauty, curator of experiences, and holder of space."  She lives in Singapore, and the excerpt was originally taken from her blog.

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the notion that we were not meant to be alone in our brokenness? Can you share a personal story of a time you could see beauty birthed through the collective mosaic? What helps you commit to finding the 'space between the shards' where the light shines through?

Add Your Reflection:

6 Previous Reflections:

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    On Dec 14, 2016 sadaf wrote:


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    On Sep 28, 2016 Poonam wrote:

     I work and teach Mosaics...and yet never thought of it, in terms of brokenness and the acceptance of that
    What interested me more, was the grouting...or the material we use to fill the spaces inbetween the tiles...It brings about the cohesiveness in the piece. Without the grout...the broken tiles wont make sense....and the colour of the grout matters a lot. The wrong colour can kill the piece...
    See what I am getting at ?
    Like in life...totally depends on what we surround ourselves with... Happiness , joy, positivity, compassion OR negativity, anger sadness.
    We can make or break what we surround (the grout) or immerse ourselves with.
    About the tiles....I feel the broken ones, and the different ones add to the character of the final piece...Just like us ! The brokenness and experiences make us what we are.... interesting  individuals.

    Thanks for this... I will never look at a mosaic piece the same way again.

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    On Mar 9, 2016 Daisy wrote:

     This is the first time I read something about the Mosaic. Thank you. It is very much true that our brokenness put together by collective persons can heal and build one another. If we stay independently nothing much good happens. Each individual would build up ones inner strength and try to bring about something creatively. It is possible only when the inner feeling arouses that others are with me.

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    On Feb 24, 2016 Vivian wrote:

    Each of us need to heal and we need to help and support one another to do that. When the broken pieces, when each of us, come together, we will create a beautiful world together that can make more sense. It's like we are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, meaningless when disconnected, but making sense when connected and formed as a whole. We live in a relative world, that means we are interdependent of one another regardless of our differences.

    1 reply: Amy | Post Your Reply
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    On Feb 22, 2016 david doane wrote:

    Each of us is broken and has healing to do  That is the human condition.  Collectively we are interrelated, we interbe.  That is also what it is to be human.  We are broken together.  When I hold the awareness that we broken individuals are one and beautiful, I see that the broken collective mosaic is one and beautiful.  Someone said we can be stronger at the places that we are broken -- we can also be beautiful in the ways we are broken.  What helps me find the light shining through the space between the shards is reminding myself that as individuals and collectively we are intricate, fragile, and beautiful, just like a mosaic, and keeping my eyes open to see what is rather than see my prejudices and  expectations.

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