can beauty help you in your grief?

I was listening to a podcast from On Being yesterday. I try to listen to this, or something similar, once a week or so. If I’m honest, I’ll say that I intend to listen far more than I actually listen.

When I do manage to make this time for myself, I am almost always nourished. Listening to people talk about love, life, science – any of these deeper, interior realms – almost always makes my daily life a little better.

A little more beautiful.

And that’s what I want to talk about today: beauty.

First, I want to clarify what I mean by beauty. Beauty isn’t “pretty.” It isn’t “cute.” Beauty has a fierceness to it, a depth and a resilience inside of it, a meaning below the surface of external things. A sense more than a picture.

That’s the kind of beauty I mean.

I spent the afternoon wandering the Chinese gardens here in town: the careful attention to detail, the repetition of pattern and line, it all came together to create something beautiful and soothing. Everything had a rightness, a relationship with everything else. It felt good there. Even though there was sadness alongside of it, knowing how much Matt would have liked it there, the overall feeling was one of – rightness. Beauty in the architecture of place.


Beauty is healing. Beauty is medicine.

It’s not that being in beauty, or noticing beauty, makes things better. If you’ve read my words for any time at all, you’ll know I bristle against anything that suggests your pain can be easily cheered up or fixed.

Beauty doesn’t so much fix anything as it creates more space in your heart.

It makes space for your pain to unfold and be heard, to be held in something nourishing and deep.

Beauty is something that brings you closer to your own core. It sits beside you somewhere, even when your world is in deepest, darkest pain.

Maybe beauty is even closer to you then. Maybe it’s a companion.

I know it is for me.

I’m wishing you some moments of deep beauty in the coming week. Wherever it can be found, lean into that.



flame-heart-100How about you? How has the presence of beauty supported you in your grief? If there aren’t enough places of deep beauty in your life now, how might you find them? And even more important – how will you know when you’re there? Let us know in the comments.