The Speed of Soul Blog

Carrie Newcomer
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Normal is overrated

Being “normal” is overrated. It’s often when we dare to be more truly ourselves, and appreciate others more truly as themselves that our deepest and most life giving connections happen. It is challenging, because there is cultural, community (or even family) push back. But what a joyous thing that the exact arrangment of atomic elements that is you, has never happened before. You are a wonder, and the world is more wonderous because you are here. What a gift that in all of the infinate strands of time, that my unusual collection of elements got to spend these days with your unique collection of elements. And for that I am grateful.

Wednesday Speed of Soul Conversation -Spiritual Community and Environmental Action

In virtually every spiritual tradition there are sacred texts mandating that we protect creation and help those in need. I’m not sure why some spiritual communities have focused great energy and resource on issues of sexuality (limiting women’s voices and denying social justice for same sex couples). I cannot help but feel that this is misdirected energy and a distraction. I am encouraged when I read and hear daily that more spiritual communities are moving their focus to issues of environment, justice and care for those most in economic need. I’m encouraged when Pope Francis makes public statements like ” let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” I am encouraged that I now read regularly statements made by prominent Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist leaders that love and care for this planet is an issue of conscience and great imperative. Yes, environmental issues and climate change can be a scary topic and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But, then I remember that it will not be one big solution that heals our planet, but rather many solutions, and that each one of us does our small part. The Dalai Lama said “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” When our work for the planet is grounded in a deep and abiding love for this good green earth, we don’t burn out as quickly. We are not so afraid, but instead buoyed up by an interconnected secular and interfaith community. 

Question- So what do you think…should we as people trying to live lives grounded in love focus more on issues of environment and care for those in economic need? Do you have a link to share with us to an organization that has given you hope, resources or connections?

What’s at the heart of it…

Something good happened to my writing when I stopped following the business of music and started following what the songs were about  

I write songs, but I write songs about something. At the point I fully embodied the above quote, something shifted in my life and work. It was like I’d been trying to swim upstream, and now I was swimming with my own inner currents. 

So what is at the center of your life and work? What would happen if you were not teaching math, but educating hearts and minds to the elegance and expansiveness of math? What if you were not doing a nursing shift, but nursing with attention to how deeply you love and care about people and healing. What if you were not checking out groceries, but rather laying hands on every meal, honoring the importance of good food and sharing it with others?

It seems like a small shift, but that perception changed everything for me. I don’t just write songs, I write about finding something extraordinary (even holy) in our daily lives. Writing that way, deepened my work and asked me to personally embody the idea. 

So what will you “do” today…and what best part yourself and what you love will you bring to the “doing?”

The Glass

The Glass is not half full or half empty.  It’s just a very big glass. 

Wednesday Speed of Soul Conversation -Having a Good Ponder

Thoughts about reflection and songwriting…Having a good ponder, mulling over what looks to the outside insignificant, is the true work of the poet/songwriter. It goes along with looking out the window and grinning ridiculously at nothing much. Mulling is a big component of songwriting, right up there with rhyme, rhythm, melody, getting stuck, getting lost, circling around, ecstasy and connection so bright you cannot look at it directly, you can only approach it on the slant or be blinded. 

So, how does mulling, percolating, and taking time to ponder figure into you life? Does it help you cut through the white noise of our busy culture? Is it a priority? Does it happen only occasionally? How does it intersect with your daily life and work?image

Should Corporations Have the Same Rights as Individuals?

As a person who has deep spiritual convictions, the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision really troubles me.  

I cannot frame this case and ruling as a religious question. This case and ruling were about establishing the rights of a for-profit company (not an individual or even a non profit religious organization).  This case was more about establishing whether for-profit corporations can have the same rights as a person.  No, this conversation should not be about religious freedom, That is a right guaranteed to individuals.  This conversation is really about the rights of for-profit private companies.

Even when it comes to the religious rights of individuals, these rights are limited. As  as a Quaker, I am not allowed to deduct from my taxes the money that will go to the creation of war machines or military actions Quakers do not support.  

Because the owner of this for profit company did not want to include certain women’s reproductive health care in their insurance plan, this case has become very emotional and cast in the light of the choice/anti choice discussion…but again, that was not the issue being decided. 

I venture to say if Hobby Lobby had gone to court suggesting they should not have to pay taxes that will go directly into military machines of war because of religious convictions, there would be a different frame on this conversation.  And most likely, the Supreme Court would not have been ruled in favor.  

No, it was not about religion and religious freedom, but rather about how much unchecked power for-profit corporations should have in our society. 

This court has already opened a flood gate of unchecked political money flowing from corporations to politicians and campaigns with the Citizens United decision giving corporations the rights of individuals.  This is taking that decision one step further.  Citizen’s United and the Hobby Lobby decisions both remove individual protections, in favor of expanding the power of corporations.  

I have refused to talk about women’s reproductive health in regards to this case.  I have personal and religious convictions regarding that discussion.  But, again, that is a very different, important and tender discussion.  

Deeply troubling. 

Saturday Morning Market

I am awash with a deep abiding love

For shiny purple eggplants
Real and rounded in such womanly ways.
I am beside myself with wonder
At the many shapes and hues
Of crook necked squash and new potatoes
Earthy red and ocher tan
Goldfinch yellow and luminous green.
I am grateful to tears
For fresh beet greens and rhubarb
Green peppers and swiss chard,
And first vine tomatoes
So fine you go ahead
And eat one like apple
Leaning forward
Without looking
To see if anyone is watching.
I am blessing the names
Of the farmers and bread bakers
Sunburnt and beautiful
Freckled and friendly.
Who make change
And comfortable conversation.
This is abundance
Of the senses
Of the spirit
A true kind of church
Of wide and welcoming
Growing things.

- Carrie Newcomer

Sweet and Fleeting

Friday Quote: (poem instead of a quote today)

In this sweet and fleeting life,
There is no time for the box of dark
You’ve been carrying around.
Let go of regrets and grudges
(they take so much energy).
Let go of endless loops of excuse and explanation.
(the ones you keep recounting when no one is listening).
Let go of all that weighs you down
And dance.

There may be a day
A hard day,
When you feel you must shoulder again
That old box of shadows.
At least for a while.
Letting go takes practice.

But,at the end of the day,
You will be grateful you danced
As often as you could
Grateful you trusted your own rhythms
Grateful you winked
Grateful you grinned
Grateful you snapped your fingers
And rolled your shoulders back
Grateful to who ever has let go of their own burdens
And danced with you.
So Grateful that you danced
In the light of all that is sweet and fleeting.

-Carrie Newcomer

Trusting Your Inner Wisdom

From my morning reflections……One of our true tasks on the road to wholeness is learning to trust our own soul’s wisdom. There is something healed and whole within us that is growing in the quiet and safety of our secret hearts. It grows in small steps and rarely large leaps, so we celebrate the small indicators. But take heart, be assured, listen - a seed is where the widest most gracious branches begin.

Thanks Dad

Thank you
For showing me
How to be comfortable
In the shared silence of a fishing boat
How to throw a slender line
Into the shallows
But not into the weeds.
Thank you for showing me that
The morning fog
Will burn off,
and that waiting
And listening
Are more than half the thing.
Thank you for encouraging me to ask questions,
To never settle for easy answers.
For showing me that even though integrity
May have it’s costs,
You pay it
And live true.
Thank you for showing how to play poker
And sing a hymn with gusto,
How to send a nail stright into a board,
And how to pull it out and start again,
How to bow my head before meals
And place my hand upon my heart
And say,
“This I love”
Oh yes
“This is what I love”

by Carrie Newcomer