Today, I would like to introduce you to a new word of which I just became aware, YŪGEN, and how it is applicable to grief.

According to the Urban Dictionary, yūgen is at the core of the appreciation of beauty and art in Japan. It values the power to evoke, rather that the ability to state directly. The principle of yūgen shows that real beauty exists when, through its suggestiveness, only a few words, or a few brush strokes, can suggest what has not been said or shown, and hence awaken many inner thoughts and feelings.

Yūgen suggests both subtle and profound meanings; it’s an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words. And this is how it may be applied to your period of mourning.

Your grief, so deep and personal, is sometimes too painful to put into words or too difficult to explain to those who haven’t experienced something similar.

Furthermore, you may be super sensitive to your surroundings, events, and people for they have the ability to trigger memories of your late partner. This evokes deep emotional responses to arise within you, which may be expressed through sadness, anger, disappointment, regret, etc.

Although many of these emotions can be painful, it’s still good to be stirred to remember. This is because your deep memories are where the real beauty of your former life with your partner lives. You can keep him/her alive in your heart by gazing silently on these memories while remaining in awe of the time you spent together.

To illustrate ways to experience the principle of yūgen, Zeami Motokiyo wrote the following poem.

To watch the sun sink behind a flower clad hill.
To wander on in a huge forest without thought of return.
To stand upon the shore
and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands.
To contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds.


In truth, beauty is everywhere – in the smallest moments, in the seemingly insignificant, and in all that we take for granted. If you’re feeling numb and unable to experience any sort of joy, take a walk through nature and experience yūgen in order to awaken to life once again.


The preceding is a sample of the type of tips and thoughts on coping with grief that you can read in the author's newest book, Words of Comfort To Pave Your Journey of Loss, as well as on her Facebook page by the same name. Ellen Gerst is a grief and relationship coach and workshop leader. She is the author of several books on both topics, including: Suddenly Single: How To Move From Loss To Renewal; Understanding Grief From A to Z; and How To Mourn: Help For Those Who Grieve and the Ones Who Support Them. For a full roster of her books, visit her website bookstore, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can also connect with Ellen on Facebook to receive tips on how to find love after loss.

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