Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: There is a crack in everything God has made. The great Leonard Cohen picked up on that, turning it into the chorus of his song “Anthem”:
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
I greatly admire Leonard Cohen for his poetry, his music, and his willingness to look so long and deeply into his own heart that he was able to provide inspiring reflections—through poetry, songs, and music—to lift the lives of untold millions of people.
These lines from “Anthem,” in particular, speak to each of us being fully present and unhesitatingly embodied in the self we happen to be in right now.
Don’t get stuck on the notion of coming up with a perfect self that can somehow make a perfect offering. Instead, see how your life has been formed, exactly as it is, with all the missing pieces and shards and jagged edges, and see which part or parts of you can nonetheless come to the moment – can rise to the occasion – and bring its skills, wisdom, depth, energy, excitement, and love.
There will always be imperfection, but there will also always be light and love that shines through even in the most terrible of situations and circumstances. My mom always told me that what matters most is that we “do our best” and, on some level, each of us really is already doing our best. So if for any reason you’re feeling bad about one or more of your selves, do your best to just let go of and move beyond whatever judgment or negative feeling you might have.
The truth is that at any moment, no matter how cracked and imperfect that moment might seem, we can let the light and love that shines through the crack of universal imperfection into our hearts, and then re-radiate that light and love back out into the world.
Jordan Gruber, J.D. is the author,
with coauthor James Fadiman, Ph.D., of
Your Symphony of Selves:
Discover and Understand More of Who We Are