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Natural Awakenings Boston

The Light Pours In

Dec 29, 2016 11:05PM ● By Keri Layton

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, conceded his battle with leukemia in November. His death inevitably left us poring over his poetry; his words framing our reflections. The most resounding echo, an excerpt from his song Anthem, reads:

I can’t run no more with the lawless crowd
While killers in high places say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned up a thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Indeed, there is a crack in everything. Every day the connection between community and individual health can be seen. It’s seen in women whose skin conditions or gastrointestinal problems can’t clear up until they leave abusive relationships or work conditions; men whose blood pressure normalizes once they quit high pressure jobs or see their kids through stressful times; fertility that improves when the diet is cleared of environmental chemicals from the food industry; or children who develop headaches and fatigue in despair over bullying.

We are waking up to the task ahead, and the reality of our role in protecting the people in our community and the values we hold dear. Finding our way to a strong and inclusive future will not play out exclusively in the halls of government. Change will come through food choices, intentional kindness and participation in our local communities. Our health itself is now a vehicle for change.

Naturopathic medicine is not yet licensed in many states, including Massachusetts, but the landscape has changed dramatically. Patients look for naturopathic medicine because they see it for what it is—empowerment medicine. This atmosphere didn’t change overnight. The change came one conversation at a time, with patients and lawmakers recognizing that our lives create our health and the vibrancy of the Earth, and that our community dictates the capacity for each person to thrive.

We must ring the bells that can still ring. The world will change and we will guide a gentler course. We don’t need to stand on a national stage, but we do need to stand up. Be present. Be mindful. Listen. Take the opportunity to connect with neighbors. Refuse to accept intolerance, injustice and inaction in our own lives. Choose health.

There are so many cracks in everything. And the light is going to pour in through every single one of them.

Keri Layton is a naturopathic doctor practicing at Winchester Natural Health Associates, 10 Converse Pl., Winchester. For more information, call 781-721-4585 or visit