June 29, 2021
For over 50 years now I have found journalling to be an incredible tool in reflecting on my life and especially when I am grappling with an issue or dilemma or when I want to get a different perspective on something. I am not someone who diligently writes every day although there have been times when I have done that. More recently I journal whenever I feel the need for reflection.
Recently I was able to attend an Intensive Journalling workshop based on the work of Iga Progoff. His doctoral dissertation was based on the work of Carl Jung and he actually got to work with him. Progoff believed that journalling helps us find our true selves – our life below the surface and our life above the surface. The process encourages us to stop, think and then act. There is no judgment, no mistakes and no comparisons in journal work. No one else gets to read this unless we decide to share it. Over the two day workshop we learned a number of different strategies which we can use in our journalling. One of the strategies I found particularly helpful was entitled Dialogue with Body.
In this strategy you begin by writing down things that have happened to your physical body throughout your life. Then after writing a focusing statement that summarises your current relationship with your body you allow the dialogue to emerge. As I wrote my dialogue I found myself apologising to my body for the way I have mistreated her by not paying attention to the messages she was sending me to slow down and take some time out. As a result the only way my body could respond was by developing illnesses like breast cancer.
It was a very powerful experience and one that I ended up feeling comfortable sharing in the group. Progoff suggests that “the importance of dialogue is where it takes us”. I certainly found that to be true in this case because my dialogue ended with my body reminding me that I could not go back and that there is nothing to gain from living in the future. There is ONLY NOW so I must continue to make wise, healthy decisions.
Sometimes when I am trying to discern a way forward, I take time to sit and listen to the Spirit deep within me and then record what I believe I have heard. Sometimes when I read this back later I am astounded at the wisdom that has arisen. For me this is a type of meditation. My journals also include things I have read which have been particularly meaningful to me. I cut them out and paste them in my journal. Sometimes the word of a song will come to my mind so I find the lyrics and put those in my journal.
Another form of journalling I find particularly helpful is recording my dreams. This is really fascinating because if you can record a dream while the details are still vivid in your memory then you can take time to reflect on the dream and journal about what you think the dream might mean. It is amazing how much wisdom can be gleaned from our unconscious minds!!! Well I could write a lot more but this is probably enough for now.
Dr Sue Fairley