Home Articles Channels Daily Retreat Inspiration Classroom Boutique Community Singles Resources Contact

SoulfulLiving.com :: Personal Growth, Spiritual Growth, Self Help and Self Improvement

Your #1 Online Resource for Personal and Spiritual Growth Since 2000.
Mandala and Chakra Pendants
New Age Gifts and Products, Buddhist and Tibetan Jewelry, Meditation and Yoga Supplies
Mandala Art Prints



Our Sponsors:

The Mandala Collection :: Buddhist and Conscious Living Gifts
Inspirational Gifts

Energy Muse Jewelry
Energy Muse Jewelry

Body of Grace
Eco-Friendly Gifts

Yoga Download
Yoga Download

The Mandala Collection
Give a Gift with Soul

Nessa McCasey

Writing Our Hearts Out
A Quarterly Column
July-Sept 2005

by Nessa McCasey

We are very pleased to welcome Nessa McCasey to SoulfulLiving.com as our newest columnist!  With each new issue, Nessa will offer a poem or short writing based on our magazine's theme and will provide techniques for creative expression that you can use to explore the topic yourself.

Balance -- Creating a Map to Take You There

This is a difficult topic for me to feel informed about, but I am trusting my great companions: poetry and writing to inform me, as well as you, so here we go!

Honestly, my life has been seriously out of balance this past year and so often I am earnestly seeking to right myself again from some place that I am simply laying low. With my father's fast decline due to Alzheimer's and then his sudden death this past December, combined with my son's descent into severe mental illness on top of autism, and then my own diagnosis of celiac-sprue disease (an intolerance for gluten, found in all foods containing wheat, barley, rye, and often oats), months have gone on and on without any real resolution beyond these circles of grief. The continued warring of our nation is disheartening to me and to so many others, I know.

My dreams have become chaotic for the first time in my life. My inner world at night is like being in a theater with scary, frenetic movies that I would never choose to watch in my waking hours. At times I have considered that they were provided to help me understand what my son was going through, but I don't know if that could be true. While all of this was going on, I was trying to continue with daily tasks, such as going to the grocery store, as if everything was normal.

Some days, my sense of well-being is overwhelmed. Something as simple as hearing about the news of a hurricane developing in the Gulf of Mexico becomes too large for me to swallow. Instead, I want a world around me that is safe, known, and above all -- compassionate. But how will this be possible in our impersonal and harsh world? I have to create my own haven with my writing practice. I use breathing -- in and out, over and over. I use my words, writing poem after poem until my soul has finished screaming for the day and my eyes are finished crying again after finally emptying my heart.

Every day that I am frustrated, I turn to reading poems and writing my own. I teach this in small groups to others working their way out of difficult situations. I want to offer this to you, telling you that it does work. I have seen how writing helps others, and I feel it work within my own life.

Here's a poem that I found today.

Where I Got My Map
by Naomi Shihab Nye

I unfolded a stone.
I dug a hole between the lilies
planted a  blue button
and covered it over.
I lined up one hundred acorns
on a sidewalk,
I turned around three times.
I almost did something
then didn't.
I wrote my name in the weeds
with a finger.
Only bugs could read it.

(Come With Me, Poems For a Journey, by Naomi Shihab Nye, Greenwillow Books, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2000. Copyright protected; printed here for educational/therapeutic use only).

Writing Ideas

I wanted to write my own map after reading this poem. Why don't you try to do that for yourself, too?

1. Write your own map to the place of Balance.

2. Perhaps you will want to describe how this place (Balance) looks to you. Name it. Draw or make a collage of it. Make this place become REAL to you. Fill it with the characteristics, the colors, the smells, the sounds that help you to feel healthy and fully You.

3. From this place you will be able to... (Fill in the blank with all that you can do from this place of Balance.)

Once you have created this as fully as you wish, you will have a place to return to again and again. You can revise it, you can create another version, you can discard your previous version and start creating it all over again. The choices are all your own in your writing, just as they are as you create your own life.

Once I worked with this idea for quite some time, I started doing some organizing of my paperwork. One piece of paper at a time, which led to a phone call and then another, until there was space again for peace in my brain. Soon I started making soup, which led to peace in my soul. And then later, when I ate that soup with my family, I offered peaceful digestion to my body. This is my own circle of peace, created by writing my map to Balance.


© Copyright 2005 Nessa McCasey.  All Rights Reserved.

Read Nessa McCasey's Past Columns:

Oct - Dec 2004 - Letting Go and Moving Forward: Writing as a Map of Progress

Aug - Sept 2004 - Writer’s Block and Then… Moving Forward Again

April - May 2004 - Identifying Our Crossroads

January - February 2004 - Daring to Dream Out Loud

December 2003 - Joining Together with Our Words of Grace

November 2003 - Midlife Questioning: One Writer's Path to Learning

October 2003 - Can We Write (or Read) Our Way to Serenity?

Nessa McCasey
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: poetnessa@writersofwrongs.com


Email Nessa at:


Daily Soul Retreat at SoulfulLiving.com
Soul Retreat Goodies!

Support SoulfulLiving.com
Show Us Your Love ♥


Energy Muse Jewelry
Energy Muse Jewelry

Wild Divine Meditation Software featuring Deepak Chopra
Meditation Software

Energy Muse - Sacred Yoga Jewelry

Copyright © 1999-2014 Soulful Living®.

Soulful Website Design by The Creative Soul®.