To organize an "intensive journal," based on psychologist Ira Progoff's method, divide a looseleaf notebook into 12 sections. Following directions below, begin by making entries in the first four sections. Then make entries in other appropriate sections as thoughts and insights arise. Log the date and time of each entry.
1. Period Log. Begin by writing "It has been a time in which," and describe inner and outer events that come to mind about the most recent period in your life. This helps you place yourself within "the rhythm of time."
2. Twilight Imagery Log. Sit quietly, with eyes closed and let yourself feel the content of the period just described Relax and let imagery, impressions, emotions and symbols form in your mind. When you are ready, record them. This gives you an interior perspective on your life.
3. Steppingstones. List about a dozen key points that have occured throughout your life. Select meaningful emotional, physical, occupational and relational milestones. This gives you a sense of continuity and a picture of your life as a whole.
4. Intersections: Roads Taken and Not Taken. Select one steppingstone that marks a time when you made a choice. (Avoid the most recent.) Begin by writing, "It was a time when," and record your impressions and recollections. This may help you sort out unresolved issues, since "things we regret don't die -- they go underground."
5. Life History Log. Read your "intersections" entry and let it stir specific memories -- in detail -- about that period. This is a place for collecting past experiences, without judgment or interpretation.
6. Daily Log. Think back over the past 24 hours and trace moods, concerns and thoughts. This is an ongoing record of what is happening to you.
7. Dream Log. Jot down dreams as you recall them -- without analysis or interpretation. "Dreams," as Freud said, "are the royal road to the unconscious."
8. Dialogue with Persons. Pick someone -- living or dead -- of inner importance to your life. Write a statement describing where the relationship is, then list their life steppingstones. Read the entry and record whatever it stirs in you, beginning with the statement, "As I consider your life I feel . . ." Write the person's response and continue the dialogue. This can help clarify relationships.
9. Dialogue with Works. Pick an activity you care about, and write down your thoughts and feelings about your relation to it. List the "steppingstones" in the life of this work as if it were a person, speak to it and let it respond. Read over the dialogue and record your reactions. This helps clarify your relationship to work.
10. Dialogue with the Body. List some remembrances of bodily experiences throughout your life -- such as times of illness, sensuality, athletics, food and drug use. Read over the list, and write what stirs within you. Let your body speak back. This helps you connect with your physical experience.
11. Inner Wisdom Dialogue. Pick a person you consider wise -- a teacher, minister, parent, author. Imagine that person's presence, speak to him or her about your concerns and record the discussion. This can help you get at your inner verities.
12. NOW: The Open Moment. Briefly state a vision, prayer or plan for the next moment in your life. This helps you focus where you are going.