by David Hodges
One of the things I learned from the Intensive Journalling
people was the value in viewing a journal as not just a
record of what happened and what I thought day by day, but
as a kind of filing system for all sorts of different
As Progoff says, I divide my writing into Logs, and
Feedback. I'm glad that the LiveJournal site lets me put in
HTML codes, so I can clearly identify what kind of writing
I am doing. An entry with no heading is just a spontaneous
entry of what is happening or has happening during the past
few minutes or hours. A entry with a Dream Log heading is
just what it says, a record of my dreams. Often I will give
feedback to the dream right in the entry, or reflect on it
later. Since food is a fun part of my life, I want to
include a Food Log too (and won't forget to mention this
delicious Haagen-Daz coffee ice cream I am eating). (Jerry
mentions food a lot in his journal too!) The Fortune Cookie
log speaks for itself. I anticipate a Meditation Log, a
Yoga Log, a Books and Movies log, etc. Maybe even a Cigar
Log. (I'd have a sex log but there wouldn't be much to put
in it. :-))
I want to get into some of the more reflective methods of
journalling too. The Dialogs are particularly revealing.
Dialogue with Self, with society, with I AM, with Dreams,
with the Body, with my job, with Haagen-Daz coffee ice
cream, with depression, etc.
The thing that makes Journalling so interesting is the
amount of connections you build up over time between
yourself and the various entries in your journal. It makes
for a surprising order and beauty - like the Net of Indra.
The energy that is released is that of creativity of the
most unforced and spontaneous kind, and that, I think, is
the healing, energizing, empowering, self-realizing power
Doing the journal online adds a new level to it. For one
thing, it isn't quite private - there is something a bit
exhibitionistic about it, and it is fun to get feedback
from friends about it, and to see what your friends are
writing. But for another, the Internet makes it easier than
ever to make a journal entry. No matter what computer I am
at, I be able to sit down and dash off an entry, as long as
it has access to the web.
Well, I guess I've said enough. Besides the ice cream is
gone. Which reminds me of the only drawback of Internet
journalling as opposed to writing in my leather notebook in
cafes: They don't serve lattes at livejournal.com, and you
don't get to flirt with the girl at the counter.
One of the best - and oldest - workshops available on
journalling teaches Ira Progoff's "Intensive Journal"
method. I went to one of their workshops about 10 years
ago, and I got a lot out of it. But I found the loose leaf
notebook approach, with lots of tabbed sections in it, got
unwieldy, and I lapsed back to my more sequential method
which I had been using since I was in high school. Of
course the Internet then was unknown by the general public
and the thought of doing my journalling online would never
have occurred to me.
There is a website at http://www.intensivejournal.org with
information about Intensive Journalling. And an excellent,
book, "At a Journal Workshop: Writing to Access the Power
of the Unconscious and Evoke Creative Ability"
Here is a lengthy quote from Ira Progoff about his method.
The Intensive Journal workbook contains both "log" sections
and "feedback" sections. In the log sections, we record the
factual data of our lives. The feedback sections are used
to carry out the active exercises that generate the energy
and momentum to propel us forward to develop our lives
further. The workbook also is divided into four main parts
or dimensions that each have their own realm of human
experience, content, and characteristic ways of expression.
These are: "Life/ Time," "Dialogue," "Depth," and
"Meaning." Each of these dimensions in turn, is divided
into subsections or "miniprocesses."
In the Life/Time Dimension, we deal with the other level of
experiences, our personal life history. This dimension
includes the major periods or phases (Steppingstones) of
our lives, important choices made (Roads Taken and Not
Taken) and provides a vehicle for reviewing these periods
to gain a perspective on the continuity of our lives.
Through these exercises, we explore in detail new
possibilities and interests that were not developed yet as
a way to broaden our range of opportunities in life.
Working in the Dialogue Dimension, we enter into a dialogue
relationship with each of the major facets of our lives:
personal relationships, work and special projects, body and
health, events and society. By "walking in the shoes" of
the other person or object, individuals deepen their
relationship with that aspect of our lives, avoid blockages
and preconceived notions and gain insights that otherwise
would not be possible. In the course of these dialogues, we
often find that we write things that we do not know that we
In the Depth Dimension, we explore our symbolic messages in
the form of dreams and imagery. The exercises provide a way
for individuals to bring these elusive images up from their
depths to the surface to be developed further through
various non-analytical techniques. By developing our
sensitivity to these messages, our intuitive capacities are
strengthened that provide new energy and leads for our work
in other dimensions of the workbook.
The fourth dimension, the Meaning Dimension, focuses on the
fundamentals of life: values, priorities, and ultimate
concerns that motivate people. We focus extensively on
connecting to larger than personal aspects of society
whether through symbols or experiences. When people become
connected they are strengthened inside. Individuals also
utilize the dialogue techniques to learn from a person,
whether from the past or present, who can teach us
something about life.
This dimension also includes Entrance Meditation techniques
that are used throughout our Journal work, that provide a
neutral way for entering into our depths to tap into these
symbolic feelings. The Meaning Dimension is helpful to
people because they can only be fulfilled when they have
meaning in life. Meaning also produces a great energy that
can have very positive effects on their lives.
Interviewer: Initially, the amount of sections seems
overwhelming. A person could spend hours on their journal
daily. Is that what typically happens?
Ira: The Intensive Journal workbook is not overwhelming.
Rather, the Method helps individuals get a handle on the
many elusive and challenging aspects of life. Because the
workbook mirrors the contents of our lives, the Method's
structure and organization helps people to write down their
journal entries in a systematic way and to develop them