A famous quote by Leonard Cohen says, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
It’s from his song, Anthem, and when I hear the words of this master poet I get chills:
The birds they sing, at the break of day Start again, I heard them say. Don’t dwell on what has passed away Or what is yet to be. Yeah, the wars, they will be fought again The holy dove she will be caught again Bought, and sold, and bought again The dove is never free. 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 first came on my radar in the early 90s when I heard Jeff Buckley sing Hallelujah. I have sung Cohen’s most famous song myself many times, most notably in the Tank, a sonorous empty water tower in Rangely, CO. It’s just me with my friend Tim Kirwin on violin and reverberation that lasts for miles. I’d like to think Cohen would approve of this haunting version:
Tim flew me from SF to CO to record in the Tank on my 47th birthday. What a gift! That was almost three years ago (August 24, 2017), as I now approach the 50 year mark.
Back in the early 90s, I was in grad school writing my thesis on women in the American civil rights movement. I researched key players and events, bringing together black and white, male and female. John Lewis’ recent passing reminded me of those fearful times in the decades before I was born. I always associate the photo below with Lewis, who got many cracks on the head during the 1961 Freedom Rides.
He was so young then, only 21, but already clear about his message and his voice. Dedicating a lifetime to service, here’s a quote from Lewis 50 years later:
You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light….Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won.
Here’s to celebrating the power of voice, the power of words and song. We all have a voice, even if we don’t always know how to express it in poetic ways. “Forget your perfect offering,” and love your own true light, cracks and all.
August 1 marks a new season – connected to communication, the throat chakra and the color sky blue. Three chances to join our next Seasons and Chakras meditation:
Saturday 8/1, Wednesday 8/5 and Saturday 8/8 at 11 am PDT / 12 pm MDT / 1 pm CDT / 2 pm EDT. Please check your time zone.