I am not a religious person, but since being diagnosed with cancer, I’ve been trying to be a more spiritual one. I’m learning that I always have been spiritual and that my holy texts are songs. Music anchors me and inspires me. It helps me cope.
My saint and guru is Leonard Cohen. I bought tickets for his live concert the summer before I was diagnosed. One of my first thoughts after diagnosis was whether treatment would prevent me from attending the concert in November. It did not, and I have to say it was one of the best evenings of my life.
Below are five songs that I turn to for comfort and peace. I’ve linked to audio versions for four of them because of sound quality, but with “Anthem,” I’ve linked to video. Cohen must be seen as well as heard.
Leonard Cohen, “Anthem.” For me, this song is about acceptance and living in an imperfect world.
Bruce Cockburn, “All the Diamonds in the World.” This song always reminds me of the beauty in the world.
Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Jubilee.” Letting go of pain is hard, but there’s so much to celebrate when we do.
Tom Waits, “You Can Never Hold Back Spring.” Finally, it does come again.
The Decemberists, “Don’t Carry It All.” I’m so grateful for those who have helped me carry the burden.
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