Leonard Cohen's death brings fresh meaning to his songs

Guest writer

I grieved deeply and sunk, with my abundant tears, into a low mood when Leonard Cohen died in November. In my 20’s and 30’s, I enjoyed his music and the resonance of his voice.  However, I did not know then the power and meaning of his poetic creativity. Like most young women at that age, I had other priorities:  to achieve a high academic standing and engage in an active social community, to get the job, the apartment, the car, and other material symbols of success.  Cohen’s music was in the background of my busy and “outward focused” lifestyle.

Difficult circumstances in my forties bluntly got my attention and I began the exploration and healing of my wounded soul – for me, the unique, individualized expression of the Universal Spirit. What was vital and helped me develop the most courage was to accept support from those who created a safe, loving space as I opened to the freedom of who I was meant to be. My 50’s was that time when I journeyed deeper within to meet what was hidden beneath my defensive veneer of confidence. I had drifted away from Cohen’s poetry to music. Or so, I thought. I now believe the energy of his messages sustained me and helped me flourish.  

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His death, as the words and music of his living, ushered me into a deep reflection of my own life. The intense grief has diminished and my mood has lifted. I was surprised though at my deep sadness and continual tears. They needed to flow to remind me of their purpose. Saying good-bye to his physical form and the end of his masterful endeavors leaves me sad. I have felt the tears of raw regret as I listened to more of Cohen’s words of wisdom that I missed in those earlier years. Might they have helped me heal then instead of at a later age?  Could I have used the spiritual energy he expressed in his passion to inspire me for better choices and actions?

As I reconnected with this spiritful messenger, in my sadness and regret, more tears surfaced – those of joy! Many of his songs are familiar to me except the one I was drawn to hear now with depth and understanding: his “Anthem” and the specific words: “There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in”.

Ah, the “cracks” of our existence invite us to heal, and grow and learn. The death of Leonard Cohen cracked my heart open and released unexpected tears of gratitude. I am thankful to transition through age with what is, for me, a spiritual experience. I am honored to guide others as they share what is meaningful in their forward movement of age.

A longer life means more cracks in the heart AND more opportunities for the light to shine through – the light that guides us on this life journey of grief, sadness and joy. Thanks Leonard for giving me so much in your living and even more in your dying. You inspire me to go deeper within, to shed the tears, to embrace more cracks and turn up the light for the next years.

Dr. Glo (Gloria) McArter, counselling therapist, speaker and writer, encourages individuals, couples, and groups to use curiosity, courage, wisdom, and worthiness to nurture good health and wellbeing. As a spiritually independent seeker, she inspires an authentic and vulnerable relationship with the universal energy source of many names. Dr. Glo knows that opportunities and possibilities that are explored and accepted will enhance meaning and purpose in the continual evolution of years and age.  

Gloria McArterYou can read more articles from our interfaith blog, The Spiritual View HERE  

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