My Journal – Inside Out

cropped-full-width1.jpgAs part of my journey with words, I was introduced to the practise of Intensive Journalling, a process created by Jungian psychologist, Ira Progoff.  I find the process of intensive journal writing moves the recording of my life from the mundane to an excavation of what lies beneath the surface.

I frequently tell people that using this process is like shoving a pitchfork into the garden of my thoughts and turning over the layers of my life. Doing this, I observe, and then identify the clumps of thoughts and beliefs sitting in the subterranean levels of my being.  I find journal writing an intimate process and I am often fascinated by my discoveries.

One of the techniques is called Dialogue with Works. Below is an extract from a dialogue with my writing. It is raw, unedited (except for readability) and personal.

Where am I now with writing? Today is the first time in years when I have spent substantial time actually writing. I feel relaxed and at home with pen in hand – the familiarity  of not knowing what is about to come up for me, and at the same time an awareness of the tendency to try and second-guess what my words will be.

  …  I am energy. I am words, I am connection to the universe. I am what you seek through the mists of your life, through the unclarity of thoughts and the jumble of emotions that toss through you. I am your connection to life, through me you will find the purpose you seek, the meaning you desire, the guidance you request…. take your pen, look within and cast your thoughts on paper. Are you not breathless at what you will discover?

 … the insanity that takes you to a place where confusion does not reign, where stillness is the status quo, where knowing is second nature.  … perhaps you have some fanciful ideas about what it means to be a writer,  … but ultimately, I am your connection.

four person standing at top of grassy mountain
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Gatherings is a technique used to recall events or gatherings, with a particular emphasis on feeling connected to others. The excerpt below was written in October 2000. I first visited Walhalla in 1992 so I wanted to articulate my first impressions of a visit to the town some eight years previously.

I find the process of intensive journal writing moves the recording of my life from the mundane to an excavation of what lies beneath the surface.
 
I frequently tell people that using this process is like shoving a pitchfork into the garden of my thoughts and turning over the layers of my life. Doing this, I observe and then identify the clumps of thoughts and beliefs sitting in the subterranean levels of my being.  Journal writing is an intimate process and I am often fascinated by my discoveries.
 
One of the techniques is called Dialogue with Works. Below is an extract from a dialogue with my writing. It is raw, unedited (except for readability) and, personal.
 
Where am I now with writing? Today is the first time in years when I have spent substantial time actually writing. I feel relaxed and at home with pen in hand – the familiarity of not knowing what is about to come up for me, and at the same time an awareness of the tendency to try and second-guess what my words will be.
 
 …  I am energy. I am words, I am connection to the universe. I am what you seek through the mists of your life, through the unclarity of thoughts and the jumble of emotions that toss through you. I am your connection to life, through me, you will find the purpose you seek, the meaning you desire, the guidance you request…. take your pen, look within, and cast your thoughts on paper. Are you not breathless at what you will discover?
 
the insanity that takes you to a place where confusion does not reign, where stillness is the status quo, where knowing is second nature.  … perhaps you have some fanciful ideas about what it means to be a writer,  … but ultimately, I am your connection.
 
Gatherings is a technique used to recall events or gatherings, with a particular emphasis on feeling connected to others. The excerpt below was written in October 2000. I first visited Walhalla in 1992 so I wanted to articulate my first impressions of a visit to the town some eight years previously.
 
Whenever I visit *Walhalla, I always go to the cemetery. It draws me like no other… I feel as though I walk among kindred souls as I walk among the ancient headstones and read the life stories that feel like my life stories. I don’t feel as though I am walking among the dead. Although their souls are long since gone, and their bodies long since returned to the earth I draw comfort from wandering along the grassy paths that weave between the mounds with crosses and the granite boxes with gold lettering; I draw comfort from being with friends.
 
Death in context with life . . . I’m there now. At a place where, as far as I know, there is no connection no ancestors, no branches of the family tree.
 
The graveyard in Walhalla sits high above the main road, winding through the sleepy town, alone, a vacuum in history and a vacuum, in space.
 
Here, among the granite headstones, and the unmarked graves, the family plots, I wander among kindred souls. I draw comfort from their presence and though their souls are long gone and their bodies long since returned to dust, still I feel their energy.   
 
Here is a group of people to whom I am not a stranger. We have been brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles. We have lived in joy, died in terror and still my soul clings to those memories on some level of my being.
 
This land, where the sun shines strongly, the wind is gentle and the shadows are sometimes longer than the days, draws me like no other land I have known. It is here, I wander among old friends.
 
When I later visited the town museum and library and learned of multiple fires that swept this town, I felt grief and the hand of death guiding me to the fire station: a building that felt as familiar as my own home, though I had never stepped foot there before.
 
Somehow I feel connected to this town; to its joys, its grief, its lives, and deaths, to its people.  Its energy as I walk the steep hill to the church feels familiar like a piece of clothing I have worn before. As I stand in the tiny church and survey its pews and old, old lectern, I wait for the sense of familiarity to identify itself, to tell me who and what it is, to explain why I feel so at home in this town.
 
But explanations have not come forward, and still I am left wondering the cause, but in no doubt, of the connection. Will I ever learn the connection or is the familiarity to tease at the edge of my consciousness forever?  
 
I love to go back. Walhalla beckons me, pulls at my psyche like the string on an unseen kite. Somehow walking the dirt paths, touring the mine, strolling through the hilltop cemetery offers me a sense of belonging I rarely feel in the city.
 
*Walhalla is a small town located in the Gippsland area of Victoria, Australia.