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Scribing the Soul
June 2000

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Kathleen's Current Column

by Kathleen Adams, LPC, RPT
Director of The Center for Journal Therapy

In ancient times, scribes were devotees of the Word. They were the bridges between worlds, charged with the sacred task of painstakingly transcribing the Mysteries into a form that could be referenced by holy men and women. Many centuries later, our modern journals give us unlimited access to the Mysteries of our souls. Through this column, I hope to offer ways that we can approach our own lives with the love and devotion of the scribes of old.

Believe me, after 15 years as a journal therapist, I know there are dozens of good reasons to write things down. But none intrigues, delights or satisfies me more consistently than giving written form to the still, small voice inside – the voice of intuition.

So grab your notebook, blank book, clean computer screen, legal pad, or whatever you write on (it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it feels comfy) and let’s explore five ways to scribe your intuition. Don’t worry about "rules" like spelling, grammar, or if you’re doing it "right." In my journal universe, the only "rule" is allegiance to your own soul and spirit.

Journal to the Self by Kathleen Adams

1. Keep an intuition log. New to the intuition game? Not even sure how to recognize that still, small voice? Start by noticing. Be an intuition detective, gathering clues to what might be intuitive flashes or hits. Just as you might write down five gratitudes at the end of each day, try writing five experiences, thoughts or "random" events that might have been intuition. Be sure to note your body’s response. Did you experience a "pop" or "aha" of recognition, like a lightbulb over your head? Was it a stirring in your tummy? Was it an opening and softening of your heart? Did you get goose bumps? You’ll quickly learn to recognize your own "felt-sense" of intuition.

2. Get curious about patterns. Angeles Arrien says, "If something knocks on your door three times, answer the door." A client of mine – let’s call him Jeff – described to me a sensation in his body, near his gut, "that feels like a hole but is not a wound." Based on the conversation we were having, I said, "Sounds like it might be a yearning." A strange look came over Jeff’s face. He said, "That’s funny. All week I’ve had the chorus of an old Supremes song running through my head – ‘I’ve got that yearning, burning feeling inside me’ – and just yesterday, somebody told me I reminded him of someone who was yearning for redemption."

"Get to a clean page in your notebook," I said. "Give me five minutes on yearning. Write everything you know. Ready, set, go." As Jeff discovered in the write, his intuition was guiding him back to an earlier life experience that wanted to be embraced, explored and expanded.

3. Pay attention to the perfection of "mistakes." Eleanor was feeling mad at herself when she arrived at Monday afternoon writing group. She had just come from a bon voyage party for a friend who was moving away. Eleanor’s assignment for the celebration had been to bring helium balloons. Because she couldn’t see out her rear-view mirror with the balloons bouncing around in her back seat, she pulled over en route and put them in the trunk.

She arrived at the park where the party was being held, scooping up purse and packages as she exited the car. But when she opened the trunk, juggling her armload of stuff, the balloons escaped and floated away. She watched, helpless, as her beautiful bouquet of well-wishes wafted heavenward.

Of course in the end it didn’t matter a whit, and the party was just as lovely with the thought of balloons as with the balloons themselves. But Eleanor still felt abashed.

"What if there’s a bigger story here?" I asked her. "What’s your Higher Self trying to tell you?" And she wrote:

I wanted the balloons to make people smile, and I realize that my story caused lots of smiles…. I’m sure there is also a message for me to stop berating myself and telling myself "how stupid I can be" …. Releasing the balloons that said "Best wishes" and "Good luck" seems now to be like a prayer that I have held in my heart for the world. I have had this wish and said this prayer to myself so many times as I hear of the sadness and tragedy in the world…. Perhaps this is God’s way of telling me that my thoughts and prayers released with a loving intent is all that the Divine Power needs to make this world a better place. And my intuition tells me that I must not berate myself with the idea that what I do is so little compared to what needs to be done. It says that once I release the loving thoughts, they can spread far and wide, ending up somewhere I can’t even imagine, just like the balloons.

4. Be a scribe for the still, small voice inside. Recently I was frustrated to bits with a business project that just wasn’t flowing. No matter how much I tried to stay fluid and open to guidance, I found myself stopped at every turn. Each time I hit the wall, I did an intuition check – asking inside if this project was the right thing to be doing, and if this was the right time to be doing it. I consistently got "green light" answers, which made the discontinuity with my experience even more baffling.

Finally, in utter exasperation, I sat down with my journal. "What is it that I’m not seeing here?" I asked myself, and then I got quiet and sat in silence. Although I had written about this situation many times, I knew there had to be something deeper that I was missing. Slowly, words began to form in my mind. I wrote them down, at first haltingly, then more quickly. Within ten minutes, I knew what had been eluding me. The project was in fact right, and the timing was also right. But there was one element of the project that needed a subtle shift. Once my intuition pointed it out to me, I instantly saw the enormity of the positive difference that subtle shift would make. So I committed to it, revisioned the project accordingly, and immediately found myself back in flow.

5. If words won’t come, try drawing or collage. Sometimes intuition would rather speak in symbols than in English. Jane, a woman who is struggling to liberate herself from a marriage that feels like a slow death, e-mailed me this story:

Last night, late, after working really hard on something, I was about to fall into bed and decided instead that I felt too separated from my art. I thought I would take just a few minutes and make something, to reconnect. At first I just smudged colors and made a background. At that point I was going to put it away and save it for another project, but I decided instead to draw abstract lines. I drew a few and felt awkward about it. Thought, well, the paper’s ruined now anyway, I might as well keep going. I drew a shape I thought looked really dumb. Kept going anyway. When I had just about filled up the whole thing I put down the pastels and thought, now WHAT am I going to do with this. Can I somehow salvage that pretty background? Erase the lines? Cut it up for collage?

I stepped back about three paces and looked at it again, and had the wind knocked out of me. It was a bird, as clear as can be. Not a literally interpreted bird, but a sort of primitive interpretation of a bird. I had drawn a top knot on its head, even, and not realized it was a bird. I have to tell you it gave me the chills. So then I sat right down and wrote to my most ardently skeptical artist friend about it, …and uploaded a scan to her. Finally went to bed, wondering if I had been touched by something or other, or if I was imagining things. This morning I got up to find a post from above-noted skeptical friend. I mean skeptical. This woman is a wonderful artist but is a just-the-facts-only type. Here's what she said. Jane. It's the phoenix.

Now THAT gave me chills. I went to read the myth of the phoenix, and how only one ever lives and when it senses its oncoming death it goes to its nest, sets itself aflame, sings as it burns, and a new phoenix arises from the ashes. Yikes. It's hard to think I was not touched by something.

Yes, it certainly seems as if Jane were touched by something – something that is reaching out to touch each one of us. Every day our souls reach out and speak to us from ancient mythic realms, assuring us that we are profoundly loved, that we are astonishingly wise, and that communication with our own deepest knowing is as close as the next clean page or clean screen of our journals.

© 2000 Kathleen Adams. All rights reserved. Artwork © 2000 by the artist. All rights reserved.

Kathleen Adams LPC, RPT is a Registered Poetry/Journal Therapist and Director of The Center for Journal Therapy in Lakewood, Colorado. She is the author of four books, including Journal to the Self and The Write Way to Wellness. Her upcoming seminars include the annual 5-day women’s writing retreat in Colorado in July, and The Write Way to Wellness 2-day workshop in Portland, Maine in late August. She would love your feedback on this column; please e-mail kay@journaltherapy.com or stop by her website, www.journaltherapy.com


Read Kathleen's Current "Scribing the Soul" Column

Read Kathleen's Feature Article on Dream Journals:

Writing in the Dark: Cracking the Soul's Code Through Dream Journals


Visit Kathleen at her Website:



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