Writing Our Hearts
by Nessa McCasey
We are very pleased
to welcome Nessa McCasey to SoulfulLiving.com as our
newest monthly columnist! Each month, Nessa will offer
a poem or short writing based on our magazine's monthly
theme and will provide techniques for creative
expression that you can use to explore the topic
Identifying Our Crossroads
Perhaps the most often used of all poems in Poetry
Therapy is this one by Robert Frost:
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Copyright Material – Presented Here for
Educational/Therapeutic Purposes Only
An interesting exercise is to write down all the
places where the road diverged for you: where you had a
choice to make in your life, creating a timeline of your
life choices. Going to college, getting married, having
children, taking a job, changing jobs, moving, divorcing…
each of these major life decisions involved your making
a choice between doing that and not doing that. Doing
something or not doing something. How different your
life would have been if you had not made the decisions
you have made in your life! You might find
regret* or deep satisfaction or a hearty mixture of
these emotions as you look back over the choices you
Try decorating the timeline in any interesting way.
Maybe there are photos that you can use to illustrate
the journey. I have done this several times, adding on
to previous work on my timeline, illustrating with color
and sparkles and anything to keep my interest. It has
become its own reward, such an interesting and beautiful
piece that marks my life’s passages. I have
appreciated the honesty I can have with myself in
looking over past choices.
Once in a while, we have an opportunity clearly
presented to us, allowing us to make a conscious choice.
Does that make it easier for you? Often it does not. I
have a choice presenting itself to me right now. I
recently went on a tour of our town’s homeless
shelters, and it is very obvious that I could volunteer
my time there doing poetry therapy with people. This
could also be a literacy avenue for so many who need
basic skills. I met one woman in particular who
especially intrigued me, though inside myself, there is
much fear about doing this kind of work. I am so
different from them – will I be able to stand up to
such diversity, truly different from the life that I
lead? This is a decision that feels like a crossroad.
Will I turn to meet new adventure on this unworn path?
I will let you know how it goes, in future columns
here. I know that it is good for me to act as witness
for the kind of change I hope to see happen in the
world. Please tell me how you do this, too, how your
life choices are creating your own future and how you
think it will impact our shared world. There are so many
writings out of this one view, transitions/crossroads.
Please share with me and with others what you envision
for yourself. It is always interesting and so often
helpful to read how others live.
Here is the response from last month’s request for
YOUR words in Dreaming a New World. Mary Dean Carter has
sent in a short poem that says so much. Oh, if only the
world was as our words can describe it! Thank you Mary!
This is so beautiful and full of hope…
May we know the joy of fulfilling our dreams
May we dream the world alive and awake
May we awaken our dreams with joy
When we open our mouths to sing,
May we hear the beauty of our own voices,
May we see the beauty of the earth as
We sing the world a lullaby of peace.
— Mary Dean Carter
My hope is that we will use our words to heal
ourselves, build our own lives into what we want them to
be, and, together, to create the world that will shine
hope for all. I will be honored if you choose to share
your writing with me.
* Please seek the support of a qualified mental
health professional if you have a deep emotional
response. You can also contact me if you would like to
discuss your writing further.
© Copyright 2004 Nessa McCasey. All Rights
Read Nessa McCasey's Past Columns:
- February 2004 - Daring to Dream Out Loud
2003 - Joining Together with Our Words of Grace
2003 - Midlife Questioning: One Writer's Path to
2003 - Can We Write (or Read) Our Way to Serenity?
Nessa McCasey, A former technical editor for NASA, street/performance poet in Denver, corporate writer, single mom, marketing communications specialist, and church music director. She is charting a new path for work and life in the profession of Poetry Therapy serving as a State Representative for the National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) where she facilitates group or individual poetry therapy sessions and presents poetry and writing workshops to jump-start others in their own powers of creative expression.
You can reach Nessa at: email@example.com
Email Nessa at:
BACK TO "SOULFUL
THOUGHTS"BACK TO "SOULFUL