The Unexpected Beauty of a Crack

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole that she carried across her neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.  For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
“I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”

The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the side of the other pot?”

Because I have always known about your flaw, I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”

Each of us has his or her unique flaw. But it’s the particular cracks and flaws that each one of us brings that make our lives together so interesting and rewarding.

Like puzzle pieces that fit just so, our edges and curves help us form a bond that would not have been possible otherwise. When you take everyone for what they are, it is easier to find the good in their singularity. The essence of Wabi Sabi Love.

Today, share with me one of your “cracks” and see if you can find the Wabi Sabi beauty and perfection in it.

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11 Responses to The Unexpected Beauty of a Crack

  1. Lisa says:

    I have heard this beautiful story before. It is a inspiration! My cracks would be my temper but I don’t really see the beauty in that. I also have a hearing impairment. I would say the beauty in that would be I am able to relate to other people’s pain more easily.

  2. honey seltzer says:

    That was so wonderful. I’ve loved an unlikely person for over thirty years, and although he has moved on in his life, I find that I can still feel all that love with only joy.

  3. Amana says:

    “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” –Leonard Cohen

  4. Laurie Larson says:

    A wonderful reminder about acceptance. Thanks, Arielle!

  5. Dr. Joe Vanore says:

    This not just good stuff; this is Wisdom!

  6. Capaz says:


    I’m so gratefull with you for send me this history! Just today, a few hours ago, I was feeling very guilty, because I haven’t the achivement of my pairs, then It was very hoppeful for me. Thanks a lot!

  7. Love the story, timely metaphor of accepting and finding beauty in imperfections, love infinite attention to the flaw that makes flowers happen…thank you.

  8. Loved all the wabbi sabbi shall download thank you for sharing Cracks .i always was Emotional Sensitive sometimes so not always tactful ..

  9. Jewel says:

    This is so timely Arielle. Just today I gave a look at the debilitating shame that surrounds me and my life’s circumstances and I saw how although it has prevented me from going further it is also an expression of loyalty. Loyalty is a core trait to me and indeed my loyalty to what was has not only prevented me from moving on but has also kept me identified with things I wish to diassosciate. The shame is also a reflection of my desire to let go of what’s holding me back and to disassosciate with what has not worked for me. In a sense my shame is a reflection of both my loyalty and my desire to grow. Both qualities are truly beautiful and I honour them and I am learning to honour me for having them!

  10. my crack – i was sexually abused by my cousin when i was little. the crack grew the more i “believed” i had caused the abuse and was guilty and shameful. now after therapy the crack stopped cracking, but it is still there. my instinctual habit of feeling ashamed and guilty is a crack but it has also led me on a path of self inquiry and self development.

    🙂 thank you for the beautiful story. i love when you post stories/parables.