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
Joining Together With Our Words of Grace
Living gracefully is how I have always dreamed of my
own future as an old woman. My vision has been as a
woman who moved gracefully and without stress or
pressure. The woman in my mind’s eye was Kathryn
Hepburn and as I learned more about women poets, I chose
many of them as models for growing my persona into age.
Muriel Rukeyser, Denise Levertov, Marianne Moore, May
Sarton. They were all lovely and yet fiercely poetic,
creative, and themselves.
No doubt we all have different visions of grace and
how it looks. What are the qualities that speak to you
of living gracefully? Is it a quiet strength, a
sturdiness of character, or a determined way of living
purposefully? Is it in the kind of shoes you might wear
or is it getting on with life (and its physical wear and
tear) without complaining? Writing about your own
interpretation of grace will help you to find it within
your own habits and lifestyle.
One aspect of graceful living involves gifting
others. December is a particularly appropriate month to
think about how gifting others can affect you; what
happens to you when you get into a generous mood,
offering little and large gifts of your time, energies,
and finances as you desire and are able? And how will
your gifts make others feel? Helping others to feel
full, sated, or happy is a generous manner of living
that I consider graceful.
The times when I have felt that my actions in some
way made the world a little better have also been when I
felt a "flow" in my living that seemed very
graceful. When I become self-absorbed with pain,
depression, and stress, I move about the world with a
clumsy gait. I have found, however, that when I am
walking around in that disjointed manner, I can help
myself through a simple process. As in the poem below,
prayer and meditation brings me out of myself into the
larger world, and that creates a feeling of gracefulness
for me. Will it do the same for you? I hope so. Read the
poem aloud to yourself, slowly. See how you feel as you
are reading and then again when you have finished
reading the poem. Write about your reactions.
by Lisa Colt
May we reveal our abundance without shame.
May we peel back our sleeping wintery layers
like snakeskins, like the silk chrysalis,
like clothing cast off during love.
May we unravel with abandon like lover's knots
before knitting ourselves back to the heart.
May we settle into our own rhythms as tides do-
within the borders of the moon's calling.
May the music of our souls
be accompanied by grand gestures
and the persistent clapping of hummingbirds' wings.
May the milky fingers of the moon
reach down nightly to cherish and unveil us.
May we turn our bodies generously in its light
like tranquil fish glinting underwater,
like precious stones.
When we open our mouths to sing
may the seasons pause in their long journey
to listen and applaud.
(Published in Claiming the
Spirit Within, edited by Marilyn Sewell, 1996.)
Copyright Protected – For Educational/Therapeutic
Through the example of the author’s listing of
requests, we can write our own Prayer. What graceful
world might we create with our requests and wishes?
May we ______________
When we open our mouths to sing, may ___________
How would you fill in these sentences? You might have
your own ideas or you might choose to borrow an image
from Lisa Colt, included in her poem above,
"Prayer." Those images that first come to your
mind are likely the most important to you. Close your
eyes for a moment and let images come to you. Use the
poem above as a guide to start you out on this wonderful
journey of dreaming a graceful way of living for
yourself. Change the pronoun to "I" instead of
"we" if you prefer.
I would like to collect the wishes and dreams of
everyone and present a collaborative poem here at
To get you started, here are a few examples of how
the lines will collect:
May we realize our power to help each other make a
May my own light shine brightly to make a difference in
how another might see.
May the winds blow a good season of growth and
May peace flow on all hearts.
Please email me here at SoulfulLiving.com, at: firstname.lastname@example.org,
and send your own lines to me and I will do the rest. I
have done this kind of collaboration with others—it is
inspiring and exciting to see your own words amidst
others, ultimately creating one large combined vision.
We are very powerful when we combine our energies. As
we can individually inspire ourselves to live gracefully
on this planet, we will also combine our efforts and
make a difference beyond ourselves. There’s something
especially rewarding about this, too. You will feel a
sense of grace unlike anything that material sources
will give you. This is a connectedness with others that
brings divinity into awareness on this earth. And yes,
that is GraceFull.
with poetic care,
© Copyright 2003 Nessa McCasey. All Rights
Read Nessa McCasey's Past Columns:
2003 - Midlife Questioning: One Writer's Path to
2003 - Can We Write (or Read) Our Way to Serenity?
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
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