From a chapter in Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine by Saki Santorelli (quoted with permission), who heard an NPR Morning Edition, a story about a Chicago art museum exhibit with works by “disabled” artists:
Next we hear about a sculptor. A large, powerfully built man who fabricates and welds metal, building huge and sometimes towerlike structures. We find out that this sculptor lost his leg some years ago, is unable to wear a prosthesis, and continues to sculpt with one leg. He is asked if his work now is different from when he had two legs. The man responds clearly, deliberately. “This is what I do now. This is normal.” We come to find out that this sculptor has been chosen to create the centerpiece of the exhibit. He has sculpted a sphere out of stone, perhaps marble or granite. We are told that it was perfect, with an uninterrupted, smoothly polished surface. After the sphere was completed, the artist smashed it, then put it back together with bolts, metal fasteners, and bonding agents. Now–full of fractures–it is sitting in the middle of the gallery, in the middle of America, labeled SHATTERED BUT STILL WHOLE.
Both are true for all of us: shattered and whole, whether riddled with eating disorder symptoms, occasional teeny-weeny panic attacks, sleepless nights, illness or pain of any kind.
Life shatters us. Yet we come to see we are much greater than the sum of our fractured parts. Mindfulness practice leads us to the heart of this truth. Heartfulness practice lets us know our wholeness and leads us to better self-care.