Letting Our Light Shine Through

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in

{Leonard Cohen}

Over the course of my life, I have been very fond of saying that my time to shine is the exact moment when the cracks start to show and things begin to unravel.

I have a penchant for the exact second when things shift from pretty to vulnerable, when we allow ourselves to be truly witnessed by others. For some of us, this happens only rarely, in glimpses and moments of exhaustion. For others, it is the continual practice of becoming, unwinding, and unfurling.

Shining Through the Trees

And, yet, my own personal relationship with vulnerability has always been a cautious one. Carefully constructed. Unravelling, but still pulled together. Comfortable in my emotional risk taking.

Lately, in gathering with circles of women, I’ve begun noticing two things happening simultaneously.

This is my prayer for the uneasy tension that so many of us feel when we tell yourselves that we have to hold it all together.

Reinforcing our worn-through parts

We all have parts of our lives that wear thin, like the elbow of your favorite sweater or the knees of the jeans that you wear to garden. Those parts of our lives are thinned by the constancy of use and movement. It is the place where our guard has been relaxed and we’ve been battered down.

Psychically, these are the places that are familiar territory for us, but where we are desperate for a resolution.

Gathering with women is a balm for the parts of our spirit that feels worn through.

That, in allowing ourselves to be witnessed, fully and completely, we are able to reinforce those worn-through parts.

When I was five, my grandmother taught me how to knit, and I remember marveling at how her needles clicked together as she translated pattern to sweater. When I imagine repairing my worn-through parts, I summon the expertise of my matrilineal knowledge, calling upon her swiftly clicking needles to heal the parts of my spirit that is calling for reinforcement.

We seek to repair ourselves in many ways, some healthy and some less healthy. We cocoon ourselves up, hiding ourselves away from the world. We protect. We become bright, sharp-edged things and we bang around – knocking over everything in our path.

I want this to be a space where we can show up, and heal ourselves through our communal desire for wholeness, for maintaining our structural integrity, even as we grow and change.

This is a place where we can gather, reinforcing our worn-through parts and inviting all of ourselves to the table.

A place that evokes the intention of coming as you are.

This place is yours as much as it is mine.

Letting our light shine through the cracks

Even as we work to heal ourselves, to summon up the strength of those clicking needles to reinforce our worn-through parts, we must hold this to be true: we are beautiful in our vulnerabilities, and there is power in the light that shines through the cracks. 

You do not need to have it all together.

In fact, you do not need to have any of it together.

When I imagine the cracks in my life, I focus on two images. The first is a chick cracking out of an egg into the early morning light. It is exhausting, big work to crack out of that egg, but I would imagine, as the light begins to stream through the crevices, the job becomes less like grudge work. Instead, the task becomes the beautiful act of greeting the day and basking in the light.

The second image, is of a can with intricately designed holes poked in it. From the outside it looks simple, but when the lights are turned out and the candle is lit, light flows through all of those holes, casting designs on the walls around it.

As we grow, as the cracks begin to present themselves and we begin the work of showing up and owning our growth, let us be the chick and the candle. Let us summon up all of our strength and allow glimpses of our light to be seen.

We will survive the shining of our light, the emerging of our spirit.

We will survive the mending of our worn-through bits.

We will embrace the full depth of our lineage. We will call upon our angels. We will open ourselves up to everyday magic.

We will survive the sting of rejection and the pain of being misunderstood.

We will tend to our inner light, our wild and unruly and beautiful spirit. Tending to that light is our only job.

We will survive, even if we have failed many times before.

And with time, and with unhindered gentleness, we will become. 

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4 thoughts on “Letting Our Light Shine Through”

  1. This is beautiful. Your words have pulled me through hard times and brought me to amazing places in the past year. This blog has changed my life and way of thinking. Thank you for that and for pieces like this. You are one of the most inspiring women I have ever come across.

  2. Mara, was just on the Elevate call tonight and thought I’d checkout he blog. This is my all-Imelda favorite quote, on my vision board now and oh so wonderful. Thanks again for taking time tonight. Was super helpful for me to reframe productivity to include self-care.


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