The Foundling, my last CD, was not commercially successful. It left me reeling, wondering what success means when it comes to creativity. Art and commerce are almost always at odds, and I am being taught, again, that in spite of the trappings of Nashville, the music BUSINESS town where I live (sales charts, radio charts, soundscan, the fame game, the industry sales magazines that focus on money, money. more money and then there’s … money) success is all a matter of interpretation. Did the work connect? Did the work help to heal the person who created it? Did the work bring truth and beauty into the world? Was the work useful to other people in their life journey? Will the work endure the test of time? These are the true measures of success in art. Any other measuring stick is a false one.
The following video deeply moves me. My friends Catie and Liz are courageous, which to me means they walked through fear and did what needed to be done anyway. They did the right thing by their children. They truly love their children, and they put them first. They took them to find their original families in Guatemala, so that they could live in the light of truth for the rest of their lives. These are not easy stories; adoption stories are NEVER easy stories.
That’s why I wrote the Foundling, try to and make sense of my own confused messed up story. I am deeply humbled that the songs of The Foundling were part of the reason that Catie and Liz’s kids now know their birth families. The not knowing has primal, lifelong, ramifications. That I was able be of service to the spirits of these two beautiful children and this beautiful family is humbling, and makes my understanding of success clearer. The Foundling succeeded on levels that are not commercial, on levels that are far more important than money.
Here’s a beautiful thing I learned from Catie and Liz’s story. The human heart is built for expansion , it is DESIGNED to open. Hearts can and do hold many family’s. My story is not blessed with a warm hearted re-union with my mother. But the failure there is not in the human heart.
Also, the heart has a knowing, it has information that mind does not have. When your mind does not know what your heart knows, the results are often mental illness, addiction, depression, anxiety, attachment disorders, and a laundry list of other diagnosis that adoptees often suffer from. Knowing is better, even if it hurts.
In the end, this is what I was looking for when I wrote The Foundling.
I found what I needed to find on my vision quest of The Foundling. This is success. A deep and true success.
I need to spend less time in Nashville, and more time in the real world. They told me that sooner or later music city would screw up your head. I’m getting mine put back on by people like the ones in the video above.
Catie and Liz, Celia and Lucy, I love y’all. What a beautiful, true, loving family.