Honoring Ira Progoff
Updated: Aug 23, 2018
For real diehard journal writers, Ira Progoff, Ph.D. is the father of it all. Oh certainly people have written journals for centuries, but Progoff created a journal writing system that stands about all others. His work was developed in mid-twentieth century and he died only a few years ago.
Progoff created a Journal Feedback Method of journaling that involves several different sections of the journal, all interacting with one another. The idea was that through the interplay with all of those parts, one could continue to grow and develop---and indeed, flourish, by using one's journal. While it's more complex than what I am interested in working with on a daily basis, I must honor and respect the work he has done.
Not long ago I reviewed At a Journal Workshop, which is the revised version of his original book. I loved being reminded that he decided to create such a journal system after worrying, back in World War II days, about what would have happened if ALL the important books of the world had been destroyed. After contemplating this issue for some time he realized that we ALL have access to the great wisdom of the world within ourselves, and could all, if need be, contribute to the wisdom reserves.
The imagery that shapes this process is quite a wonderful creation, and one that addresses the spiritual life we lead without any religious or spiritual language. He suggests that our journaling is about reaching down the WELL of our existence. We are guided to drop lower and lower into our well which is the only one we can pursue since we can't reach down any one else's well. As we drop down further and further we enter an underground stream. There the boundaries that have kept all the wells separate blend together. There are no more walls or boundaries and we all share the same underground stream. We don't stay in this place, however, but dip in to be refreshed and replenished and then carry those feelings back to our daily lives. The wisdom of all of us is available, simply by taking some time to sit in the stillness.
I often share this imagery with my journal groups. People generally are deeply moved and regularly find insights and a deeper sense of peace. Once again you may see why I call this "Journal Magic".
As you do your own journaling today see if you can take some time to be in the stillness. Breathe gently and close your eyes and picture yourself moving into your own depth, down the well of your existence. As you reach those waters of universal connection, let your questions of today be washed and cleansed, and be enriched by the deep power of our connected spirits. Let yourselves be nourished by this time, after which you can write about YOUR discoveries and insights.
My own desire is to ask for understanding of our world's problems as I enter that underground stream. May we all find peace and understanding as we realize our very deep and wonderful connectedness.
My best to you all, and I hope you, too, feel the sense of honor and respect as have I, for Ira Progoff, Ph.D.