Good Bones and Pushing Water
Upcoming Shows & Stuff
Scroll Down for Info - Dec 4th A Gathering of Spirits Online Winter Concert!
We had a small water crisis at our home this week. The break happened within a wall, and so we didn’t realize at first that a pipe had begun to leak until morning when my husband noticed water spreading from underneath the bathroom wall baseboard. We quickly pulled out the den couch (which shares the same wall) and after being a little grossed out by how much dust and detritus can accumulate under a piece of furniture that has not been moved in a good while, I started sopping up the water. The break was not huge — at least not yet. I tried using towels and a mop to push back the water, but the leak was becoming a steady flow and this was our indicator, a sign that something deep within the wall needed our attention. A small leak can become a larger break and eventually do serious structural damage to a house and home. This is when a wise person stops whatever they thought they would be doing that day and shuts down the main water line to begin the messy work of repairing what is damaged or broken. Although we still have quite a bit of dry wall repair and painting to do, the leak has been mended and the water is back on.
This story is a matter of plumbing, pipes and home repair. But there is a metaphor that came to me during this experience, and I’ve have been thinking about how many times in my personal life I chose to not notice a slow leak or inner call to attention. I’ve been thinking about all the times in my life that I tried to push back the water, or the times did not alter the perpetual motion of my days to address what was seeping under the baseboards. Sometimes my attempt to push back the water looked like overwork (the most revered addiction in our culture) or a selfless form of not taking care of myself (a revered spiritual misconception in our culture). I has also looked like a wide variety of well-honed survival techniques and distractions. But, even though there are plenty of ways to keep trying to push back the water, there comes a time when there is little left to do but open up the wall and start working on the real problem.
Like my house, our essential spirits have “good bones”. We are born with with what Thomas Merton called the “True Self”, Quakers call “The Inner Light”. But then life happens—trauma, tragedy, loss, illness, grief, burdens that arrived as legacy from our ancestors, an unkindness or injustice that echoed for years. All these experiences have put pressure and stress on the good bones of our internal system. It is no wonder that life will brings us moments when we wake up from our sleep and notice water pooling from beneath the baseboards. Granted, sometimes with love and care healing can happen without tearing out entire walls. But there have also been times in my life when I needed to trust my spiritual good bones, tap into trusted inner and outer resources, and start the messy work of attending to what has been stressed or unduly burdened. The process of new growth and healing is every present and always possible. I believe that. But working with what’s been stressed or harmed can require time and it can be surprisingly messy.
Zooming out from the personal metaphor to the community view - right now it feels to me as if our country has been leaking from under the base boards for quite some time. Democracy has good bones, but it needs our direct attention. That being said, I’ve been limiting my encounters with the drumbeat of doom, fear and misinformation saturating social media and commercial news outlets. But I’m not seeing that self care as just pushing back the water. It allowing me to not get stuck and stay actively engaged in my daily work building connections, creating meaningful art, doing the inner work that supports my outer walk in the world, the inner work that grounds me in my deepest most beautiful values, in love and not fear. I have been going to trusted sources to research candidates to see how their views and proposals line up with my most deeply held values. Researching voting records can be of help. Here is a link to a non-partisan website that simply reports how legislators have voted, not just what they say, but who they are and how they have voted. https://justfacts.votesmart.org Maya Angelou once wrote “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.”
For some folks attending to the leaks and good bones will look like knocking on doors, writing letters, driving neighbors to the polls, maybe financially supporting a candidate that really resonates with your values. For some of us, it will be taking the risk of engaging in open hearted conversations with family or friends and speaking the truth even when it feels risky or uncomfortable. For some of us it will be raising our children to be decent, loving and responsible people ( maybe our most political act). For some of us it will be a time of meditation and prayer and daily spiritual practice.
I still believe democracy has good bones and it is possible to keep building upon what it’s essentially solid (if not fully realized). But because of a variety of external and internal pressures, circumstances and choices, as well as some deformed ideas promoted by really bad actors, we are currently faced with a moment in history when it its time to sop up the dirt and water and do the hard and messy work of fixing what is broken and shore up the basic structure. Time to turn off the broken water line that is flooding the system with fear, division and lies and come together to address what needs to happen for preserving the good bones of our home and house.
This week I voted for leaders who I believe are building on the good bones of democracy. I did not vote for anyone who is promoting weakening the structure by making it harder for people to exercise their right to vote, or removing women’s rights to full citizenship or promote winning elections by lies or subverting the cornerstone of democracy, the peaceful transfer of power.
The pipes are seriously leaking my friends, but the bones are still good, and we can still join together in the effort to fix them.
How do you nurture what keeps your personal internal system strong? What resources have you called upon when when you notice that there is water seeping beneath the baseboards?
Well…if you have not yet, vote. Your voice matters and you help to keep those good bones strong and build upon them.
Dec 4, 2022 7:30 ET MANDOLIN ONLINE A GATHERING OF SPIRITS WINTER CONCERT
With Gary Walters & Allie Von Wasserman Summers!
I hope you'll join me on Dec. 4, 2022 at 7:30 PM ET for "A Gathering of Spirits" Online Winter Concert with Allie Summers & Gary Walters! This will be a cozy and informal show for the holidays- requests are welcome! We’ll also be giving away a pdf of some of my fav cookie recipes!
SPECIAL OFFER - If you are a Supporting Subscriber to my Substack page you will receive a FREE ticket to this show (with lots of other fun perks like new demos, song labs, videos and more). Nothing to do…I’ll be sending you personal Supporting Subscriber email with easy instructions with a link and passcode to get your ticket!
If you would just like to join us for the show, you can purchase your tickets at https://boxoffice.mandolin.com/products/carrie-newcomer-livestream-ticket-12-4
I’m so happy to be performing next week Nov 11, 2022 7:30 PM at the UMC Artist Series in Fletcher NC. I’ll be joined by the wonderful Gary Walters on piano. I hope to see you there soon. Here’s the link. https://tinyurl.com/4dsdb29d
I’m so happy to announce my show with the amazing Gary Walters on Nov 12, 7:30 PM at the Northside Drive Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. Its been awhile since i’ve been in the Atlanta area and really looking forward to returning! Here’s how to get ticketshttps://tinyurl.com/62k9cdbv
I’m very excited that I’ve been invited to join the Gandhi 3.0 Gathering in India this January. Hosted by the amazing folks at ServiceSpace.org. In a time of disconnection, ServiceSpace.org continues to create opportunities for connection, conversation and changing the world through daily service. A deep bow of gratitude to Nipun Meta and the entire ServiceSpace community! I’ll be sure to post photos and reflections from the gathering!
November Song Lab
Hi folks, I just posted my November Song Lab - featuring the song “A Small Flashlight” for my Supporting Subscribers. I love sharing these song labs. There is a free one in the archives for everyone who might be interested in what happens in the song labs. Here’s the free post for the song Sanctuary link below!
If you are in the Bloomington Indiana area…Handpicked Music is presenting a wonderful new artist. I really love her work, and I hope you’ll check out the show.
Holiday Sale is Coming Soon - Nov 24 thru Dec 4th
Watch for my upcoming annual sale! My biggest discounts for the year! Featuring a You Can Do This Hard Thing 100% Cotton Pigment Dyed Ball Cap (Charcoal Black with White embroidered Logo!
Thank you!! I needed that.
Interesting that in today's prayer group, this very topic was discussed. Not the leaking pipe but the state of the country and beyond. My way of getting in touch with the "good bones" is meditating to hold the space for the Loving and the Light of God (Goddess, Spirit, or whatever noun one feels explains the belief in the Light of the World) to enter and prevail. I also found it interesting that the Quakers refer to "Inner Light" as I have been initiated on a Path of Sound and Light through a Spiritual group called "Inner Light Ministries" - I truly believe that Light will prevail over Darkness and that the Good Bones of Democracy will prevail. Namaste.