with the Divine
Kathleen Adams, LPC, RPT
To me, soulful living is
consciously and constantly co-creating my life with
the Divine-By-Any-Name. It is living with the absolute
certainty that I am guided, purposefully and lovingly,
by "Ö.Someone, whose hands/ infinitely calm/
hold up all this falling". How did I come to this
awareness, and how does it play out in my one mundane
From the time I was a small girl I was
aware of synchronicity. I didnít have a name for it
then, but it was what I thought about when I climbed up
into the wide arms of the pear tree in our back yard. I
thought about my sense that things didnít just happen
for no reason at all. Rather, I was certain that they
happened for very specific reasons. Events that seemed
inexplicable Ė my dog being run over by a car, getting
booted out of first grade and pushed into second because
my 8-year-old sister (who now holds a doctorate in
elementary education!) had taught me to read Ė were
necessary preludes to some future life experience, I
thought. I remember feeling comforted by this awareness
at the same time that it confounded me, and I especially
remember the palpable presence of angels in that pear
tree who whispered assurances that yes, what I pondered
would indeed come to pass.
Fast forward to the teens. My clear
channels of connection to my intuitive self got buried
under pubescent hormones, and my wise child surrendered
to a teenager who valued boyfriends more than angel
friends. Fast forward through college, where social
activism, campus protests and peace rallies took
precedence over the inner life, and where no higher
meaning whatsoever could be made of the killing fields
of Viet Nam. Fast forward through my 20s and a failed
marriage, a whirlwind courtship, a second marriage, and
a promising career as a professional writer. Fast
forward to the age of 31, when I suddenly and
startlingly became a widow.
The event 20 years ago that resulted
in my husbandís death was a near-death experience for
me, and I came out of it absolutely changed. In those
instants when he was dying and I was not, all the wisdom
of my childhood poured back into me, and I became
undeniably clear that Spirit and Soul were in an ageless
dance of meaning and purpose. I came to the other side
of that experience knowing at my core that I had been
given back my life, and without any hesitation at all I
turned it over to God, trusting that I would be guided
to the people, places and situations that would lead to
fulfillment of my highest purpose and destiny.
In 20 years, I have never doubted
this, nor have I been disappointed.
Shortly after that awful event that
ended my husbandís life and began my own, I found
myself in a modified Intensive Journal Workshop led by a
former colleague of Dr. Ira Progoff. I had no idea that
people who werenít professional writers wrote
journals; I assumed that I wrote a journal because I was
a writer. The awareness that others also took solace and
comfort in writing was a profound discovery.
Equally profound was the guidance that
I received when my writerís journal became
specifically focused on my interior life. I realized
almost immediately that through my journal I could
consciously and intentionally enter into co-creative
partnership with the Divine. I began to recognize my
journal as the incubator for the laboratory of my life.
For a while I experimented with a sort of spiritual
"name it and claim it" game, where I wrote in
specific detail what I wanted to create or manifest, and
then carefully logged the synchronicities and
serendipities that drew me to the outcomes I desired. As
I matured I learned how to balance the clear, focused
statement of my own will with the surrender of my will
to Divine Will.
Three years after that first Progoff
workshop I received a message to teach a journal writing
class. The messenger was a friend who casually mentioned
that she and others in our circle had a hard time
getting started and staying with this journal thing.
Could I offer some pointers? The message, however, was
from Spirit, and it was the first time I consciously
took to my journal a co-creative endeavor that did not
originate from my personality self.
God/dess didnít let me down. The
curriculum and processes for what became the Journal to
the Self workshop flowed through me as if I were taking
dictation. I would pose a question to myself, sit with
it until the urge to write began, and then flow out the
answer. Today, nearly two decades later, the Journal to
the Self workshop is still taught essentially the way it
presented itself to me in 1985.
I taught the basic class, and its many
variations, more than 100 times in the first three
years. Then one day I sat down at my IBM typewriter and
rolled in a fresh piece of paper. Several hours later I
had a stack of paper next to me and what undeniably
seemed like the first two chapters of a book. I wrote Journal
to the Self in two phases. The first phase took
about three weeks and netted 150 finished pages that
sold on first submission to Warner Books. Then a long
dry spell occurred, during which I began to doubt
whether or not I could pull this off. My journals were
fat with anguished writes about self-sabotage.
Consistently I wrote Soulís response: "Just wait.
Itís not time yet. Be patient." Impatiently I
practiced patience, and the day came when I shut myself
in my "office" (in those days I was writing in
the laundry room) and didnít come out for eight days
or nights except for naps and snacks. I spent the next
month revising, and submitted the completed manuscript
Journal to the Self
was released January 1, 1990 to immediate critical
acclaim. I received my first reader mail within two
weeks of its release. The reader was a 17-year-old girl
who told me she used Journal to the Self to start
a journal about her ongoing sexual abuse. Within three
entries she had the courage to hand the notebook to her
mother, who immediately packed up the children and left
the stepfather. More letters followed, each telling a
story of triumph over despair, discovery of unknown
resources, clarity of vision, increased possibilities.
It was about this time that I began to
deeply acknowledge that Soul and I were in a constant
covenant, a voluntary and sacred commitment. I once
again dedicated my life and my work to God. I make this
rededication every day, and I formally ritualize the
rededication each year on November 5, the anniversary of
the first Journal to the Self workshop. This covenant is
at the heart of what it means to me to live soulfully.
There are times when it is not easy, but it is always
interesting and rewarding, and usually it is fun.
Co-creating my life with Soul and Spirit is the greatest
adventure I can imagine.
„ Copyright 2003 Kathleen Adams. All rights reserved.
Kathleen Adams LPC, RPT, is a
best-selling author, speaker, psychotherapist and
visionary. Her first book, Journal to the Self
(1990, Warner Books) is a classic that helped open the
gates to the current cultural phenomenon of therapeutic
writing. Her most recent book, The Write Way to
Wellness‘ (2000, The
Center for Journal Therapy) is hailed as a map for
understanding body, mind and spirit. She has also
written The Way of the Journal (1998, Sidran
Kathleen is a beloved teacher
whose innovative work has helped hundreds of thousands
of people heal, change and grow. A tireless advocate for
the healing power of writing, Kathleen has received the
Distinguished Service Award from the National
Association for Poetry Therapy and has earned the
designation Registered Poetry Therapist. Email
Kathleen at email@example.com.
Visit her website at www.journaltherapy.com.