What is the Intensive Journaling Method and why should you care?
The intensive journaling method is a rich and transformative way to get into the story of your life. Not all of your story is nice and tidy and not all of your story is terrible, but it is still your story and your story is important and deserves to be told, even if it's just told to you.
Sometimes when we look back over the course our lives have taken we are overwhelmed with negative emotions or feelings of failure: Why did I do that? What broke that friendship? I am a failure! I am broken! I let everyone down!
For some of us the reverse is true. We can only see the silver lining or we can only see what others have done to us and can't see the part we, perhaps played: Why did they abandon me? What have I ever done to deserve this? Why is everyone is against me? No one is trust- worthy! No one is faithful!
The list goes on and on! There is always truth in the lists we play out in our minds, and that kernel of truth is what keeps us running those tapes over and over. What if I had done this or that? What if I had been more loving? What if people didn't fail me? What if love lasted? What if I was more lovable? What if I had married him/her? What if I had gone on to university? What if I wasn't such a sucker? What if that conflict had never taken place? ETC.
We are only seeing a pin prick of our life story and it is often the part we get stuck in. This is neither bad nor good, it just is. We can only do what we know how to do when we know how to do it. This may seem like a cliché, but it's the truth. I have spent my life chiding myself for not being farther along than I am, not knowing certain healthy behaviors earlier than I knew them. That chiding has done me no good, in fact it has been the source of a lot of self abuse, that if I had known different at the time I could have avoided. Now I know. What I try to do now is see where the new healthier behavior is and notice it. That doesn't mean I will always know what to do with it, but when I acknowledge it, I am giving it space to show me a different way.
I have learned some of this skill of noticing through the intensive journaling method. Going back to a conflict that broke me and exploring it, seeing if it has anything to show me, looking to see my part. 9 times out of 10 there is a moment of reflection that is a nugget I can take away into my future relationships and future conflicts.
This method is complicated, but once you have it you can journal with anything and everything:
roads not taken
broken relationships by you or some else
This is a tool to bring awareness to the forefront! It is a tool for listening to our inner voice and learning to trust it! It is a tool for opening dialog that changes situations, or at least let's us see more than a pin prick. It is just a tool, but tools can transform.