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Scribing the Soul
November 2000

Click Here to See
Kathleen's Current Column

by Kathleen Adams, LPC, RPT

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.

"The Good News"

America in November: Food and Gratitude.
This month I offer a feast of poems, one for each week of the month, with writing prompts following. May your soul be deeply fed!

November 1-7
The Good News

The good news
they do not print.
The good news
we do print.
We have a special edition every moment,
and we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
that the linden tree is still there,
standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
to touch the blue sky.
The good news is that your child is there before you,
and your arms are available;
hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
and help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
smiling its wondrous smile,
singing the song of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow your head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow
and preoccupation
and get free.
The latest good news
is that you can do it.
~Thich Nhat Hanh,
in Call Me By My True Names

What is your good news? Make a list. Can you get all the way to 100? (It's okay to repeat!) Read your list aloud to yourself. Savor the sound and taste of your gratitude.

November 8-15
The Traveling Onion

When I think how far the onion has traveled
just to enter my stew today, I could kneel and praise
all small forgotten miracles,
crackly paper peeling on the drainboard,
pearly layers in smooth agreement,
the way knife enters onion
and onion falls apart on the chopping block,
a history revealed.

And I would never scold the onion
for causing tears.
It is right that tears fall
for something small and forgotten.
How at meal, we sit to eat,
commenting on texture of meat or herbal aroma
but never on the translucence of onion,
now limp, now divided,
or its traditionally honorable career:
For the sake of others,
~Naomi Shihab Nye
in Words Under the Words

Choose a "small forgotten miracle" to revere and praise. Three or four times this week, write for 10 nonstop minutes about your chosen wonder. Let yourself deepen each time.

November 16-21

For sixty years I have been forgetful,
every minute, but not for a second
has this flowing toward me stopped or slowed.
I deserve nothing. Today I recognize
that I am the guest the mystics talk about.
I play this living music for my host.
Everything today is for the host.
~Jelaluddin Rumi
14th century Sufi mystic and poet

This week, reflect on the miracle that is your body. "Not for one second" has this flowing of blood, of brain, of heart "stopped or slowed." Even if you have suffered serious illness or injury, your body has kept you alive and breathing. Rejoice! Write love letters to your body this week. Be lavish in your adoration!

November 22-28
(Thanksgiving Day is November 23)
My Son Makes My Mother's Potato Soup in Prague 

Looking for his path in Europe
he calls me on Cape Cod
where I am looking for
mine by the sea.
How do you make potato soup?
He knows it's not a recipe
but a way of doing things.

Really, he knows how it's done;
he's made this soup before.
He wants to hear me say it.
In a medieval city, language
he doesn't know, he wants
his mother's voice moving
over familiar contours.

Celery, I say. Onions, butter.
Leeks? he asks (what are 
the allowable variations?)
The potatoes, of course, and cream.
His soup is a success; it always is.
Two days later he is hired
by a cafe kitchen
and on a December Sunday he
serves my mother's potato soup
to the public of Prague.

She has no memory of soup, nor how
to move in the kitchen.
With domesticity's destruction
I too have stopped cooking,
and I have no daughter.
But in a city its founding princess
named Threshold, happy Czechs
eat my mother's soup.
~Kathe Davis, NAPT member
from an open reading at a National Association for Poetry Therapy conference 

What is a time-honored recipe from your personal history that "is not a recipe/ but a way of doing things"? Write the recipe in your own words, in your own hand. Feel the "familiar contours." Inhale deeply and write the memories evoked.

November 28-30

I was just thinking
one morning
during meditation
how much alike
and baking powder are:
getting what is
best in me
to rise,
the hint of eternity

I always think of that
when I eat biscuits now
and wish
that I could be
more faithful
to the hint of eternity,
the baking powder
in me.
~Macrina Wiederkehr
in Seasons of Your Heart

What is rising within you through the "baking powder" of hope and gratitude? Reflect back on the month of November 2000. How have you been "faithful/ to the hint of eternity"?

© 2000 Kathleen Adams.  Copyright for poems is held in the name of the individual authors.  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 one of the leading voices on the power of writing to heal and 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 July 8-13, and a one-day Journal to the Self workshop in Denver in late July. 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 Past "Scribing the Soul" Columns:

Current "Scribing the Soul" Column

October 2000 "Soul Food: Exploring Affirmations in Writing"

September 2000 "Diary of a Headache"

August 2000 "Making Up the Truth"

July 2000 "Pockets of Joy"

June 2000 "Five Ways to Scribe Your Intuition"


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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