Paths of Heart


[These thoughts are taken from the book Living Revision: A Writer’s Craft as Spiritual Practice, by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrews.]


Before starting a new project:

  • Does the path you are considering expand you–stretch you beyond your comfort zone–and invite you to grow?
  • Does the path you are considering increase your sense of connection with other people and the world in which we all live?
  • Do the enthusiastic stirring of your heart persist even as you experience obstacles and setbacks in your project?

Some exercises to (re)discover your heart:

  • Remember the beginning: In ten minutes, write you earliest fond memory of writing. Then reflect on what came alive in that moment. Was this a first step on a path?
  • Locating love: What loves are you pursuing in your current writing project? Make a list then speculate about each item. What might it take to nurture each particular love?
  • Remember to surrender: What might your current project be asking you to surrender for the sake of creating a clear and compelling story for others, to invite them along on your path?

And always remember that with each new writing project, you are indeed setting out on a path of heart. How you choose to travel it is up to you and you alone.

About Richard Haverlack

Richard Haverlack has been writing the memoirs of hospice patients for more than eight years. He has recently written a book, A Memoir of Memoirs - Writing Stories Told at Life's End, which is about the poignant and enlightening experiences he's had in doing this work. Richard is a volunteer for the Good Samaritan Hospice near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He also is active in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institution at the University of Pittsburgh where he studies as well as teaches.

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