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The Road Less Traveled

October 21, 2012

A path through the woodsThe Road Less Traveled is one of my favourite poems by Robert Frost. In it he speaks about two paths diverging in the woods and taking the one less worn. This action made all the difference in the traveller’s life. The poem came to mind following recent discussions on my Coaching for Creatives facebook page about the journey being more important than the end goal. This is true both for ourselves and the characters we write about. With this in mind you might like to try the following exercise:

– Sit in a comfortable position, take a deep breath, relax your neck and shoulders and close your eyes.

– Take your awareness to your feet, feel the nerve endings in the soles of your feet tingle as they make contact with the Earth.

– Count backwards from 10 to 1.

– Bring the situation to mind that you wish to focus on.

– Imagine you are walking through a wood. You come to a point where two paths meet.

– Explore one of these paths. Take note of who/what you meet/see en route. How do you feel? What do your senses pick up? Once you have walked as far as you wish to on this path, turn around and go back to the starting point.

– Take the other path. Again explore it and register information provided by your senses. Once you have taken note of what this path holds in store for you, return to the starting point.

– This time, you notice a path that was not there before. Explore it as you did the others and note your findings.

– Return to the starting point.

– Focus on your feet and become aware of their contact with the Earth again. Become fully aware of your body, the place where you are sitting.

– Count from 1 to 10.

– Wriggle your fingers and toes. Shrug your neck and shoulders.

– When you are ready, open your eyes.

– Spend some time sitting quietly. Reflect on each path taken. What insights did this exercise bring up into either your own life or that of your character.

You can adapt this exercise to cover a variety of situations, increasing the number of paths according to the number of options available to you.

I started practising creative visualisations about thirty years ago and have found them a useful tool in both my personal and professional life. I hope to incorporate more of them into coaching sessions to develop a more intuitive style and welcome feedback on this one.

Alternatively, you could take an actual walk through the woods and be inspired by the path you take. See ‘Research Tips’ post written on 10th February 2012 and filed under ‘Creative Writing’ section of this blog for examples of  weaving notes taken on a walk into the storyline of a novel.

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From → Coaching

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