Lessons From Leonard Cohen: Dealing With Grief “You don’t avoid the situation – you throw yourself into it, fearlessly.”

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A Manual For Living With Defeat

Lessons From Leonard Cohen – A Manual For Living With Defeat is a collection of Leonard Cohen’s observations that offer insight into living in this imperfect world. (For information about how this series differs from other collections of so-called lessons from Leonard Cohen, see Lessons From Leonard Cohen – Introduction.)

Lesson #2: When Dealing With Grief “You don’t avoid the situation – you throw yourself into it, fearlessly.”

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It is, I think, a matter of tradition. You have a tradition on the one hand that says if things are bad we should not dwell on the sadness, that we should play a happy song, a merry tune. Strike up the band and dance the best we can, even if we are suffering from concussion. And then there’s another tradition, and this is a more Oriental or Middle Eastern tradition, which says that if things are really bad the best thing to do is sit by the grave and wail, and that’s the way you are going to feel better. I think both these efforts are intended to lift the spirit. And my own tradition, which is the Herbraic tradition, suggests that you sit next to the disaster and lament. The notion of the lamentation seemed to me to be the way to do it. You don’t avoid the situation – you throw yourself into it, fearlessly.

From Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before: Leonard Cohen – London, June 1974 by Allan Jones. Uncut: Dec 2008.

More Lessons From Leonard Cohen

All posts in this series can be found at

Cohencentric Lessons From Leonard Cohen
A Manual For Living With Defeat

Oana Cajal’s “So Long, Leonard” Video: You Want It Darker By Leonard Cohen

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Oana Cajal writes:

This video is an expression of our endless love for LC, the Master Reconciliator of Man and his paradoxical, mysterious shadow.
It’s the crack in the wall of our dark times and growing despair.
It’s a sacred tear of infinite sorrow and vibrant hope.
It’s our grief of losing Leonard and our joy of having been touched by his conjuring
faith in the beauty of human imperfections.
It’s our prayer that the voice of God welcomed Leonard in the heaven of flawless verse
and allowed him to serve in the blessed garden of forgiveness.
But, to quote him, “That’s getting too heavy. I’m sorry. Strike that!”
So long Leonard…

Oana and Stefan Cajal’s evocative, Leonard Cohen-themed videos have been cherished features at Cohencentric. All Cajal videos can be found at Oana Maria Cajal.

Leonard Cohen On Why “I don’t see my music as a steady diet for anyone”

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Cohen has been criticised for putting the same kind of chords and melodies to a lot of different words. I asked him whether certain harmonies, music progressions prompted him to produce or whether he didn’t find, the music that important, just the words.

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Well, I only know three or four chords [jokingly]. I’m very interested in the music, I love the music and most of the tunes, a lot of them have more than three or four chords. I know a lot of them have a certain similarity but my talent is very limited. You can only work within your own limitations and I’ve done that. I can certainly understand it if people get a touch of monotony. I think that if people are interested in certain kinds of musical experience they are eventually going to be disappointed, disappointed because they need other kinds of nourishment. I don’t see my music as a steady diet for anyone.

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Leonard Cohen

 

From The Strange, Sad and Beautiful World of Leonard Cohen By Andrew Furnival. Petticoat: December 30, 1972. Image atop post from the 1974 Tour in Europe program; contributed by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted Oct 24, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony With Third Wing Cover Art On Eight-Track Cartridge

This specimen is a personal favorite because (1) as noted before, the 8-track format reminds DrHGuy of the 1970s, which in turn makes him feel all warm and, not unlike the dice that hung from the mirror of DrHGuy’s 1957 Chevy, fuzzy and (2) the cover art for Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony was once thought erotic enough to generate several coverup versions based on local cultural standards and remains delightfully esoteric (see Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony: The Cover Art Cover-Up). In this case, the cover features the UK’s preferred solution – an unbelievably large and even more unbelievably silly third wing was added to one of the angels to enshroud possible intimations of hanky-panky. The 8-track of New Skin For The Old Ceremony featuring a somewhat less outrageous coverup cover art can be viewed at Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony 8-Track

This treat is an offering from the personal collection of Dominique BOILE.

Note: Originally posted Nov 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Q: Which song do you wish you had written? Leonard Cohen: “If It Be Your Will.” And I wrote it.”

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From “Q Questionnaire – Leonard Cohen” Q Magazine, September 1994. Photo by Rama – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr, via Wikipedia, Originally posted Jan 18, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric