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Within the New Path to InclUsion Network we used the Theory-U developed by Otto Scharmer and the presencing institute (www.presencing.com) as a framework to guide our learning and activities. 

Overview

(Guided) Journaling leads participants through a self reflective process following the different phases of the U - process. It allows participants to access deeper levels of self-knowledge, and to connect this knowledge to concrete actions. In the sensing phase it can support immediate recording and processing what has been learned through observing and listening to others.

In combination with other forms of deep reflection and contemplation (e.g. guided meditation, visualising and embodiment practices as well as individual time of solitude in Nature) it can strongly support individuals and groups into the ‘presencing’ phase. Partners of the NPI project were asked to record their reflections through journaling throughout the project. Journaling was used formally with guided questions as indicated below and informally to record reflections following an exercise such as the dialogue walk as well as reminding participants to continually reflect and record any significant insights which emerge for them.

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Within the New Path to InclUsion Network we used the Theory-U developed by Otto Scharmer and the presencing institute (www.presencing.com) as a framework to guide our learning and activities. 

Overview

(Guided) Journaling leads participants through a self reflective process following the different phases of the U - process. It allows participants to access deeper levels of self-knowledge, and to connect this knowledge to concrete actions. In the sensing phase it can support immediate recording and processing what has been learned through observing and listening to others.

In combination with other forms of deep reflection and contemplation (e.g. guided meditation, visualising and embodiment practices as well as individual time of solitude in Nature) it can strongly support individuals and groups into the ‘presencing’ phase. Partners of the NPI project were asked to record their reflections through journaling throughout the project. Journaling was used formally with guided questions as indicated below and informally to record reflections following an exercise such as the dialogue walk as well as reminding participants to continually reflect and record any significant insights which emerge for them.

 

Purpose:

Guided journaling leads practitioners through a process of self-reflection that moves through the U-process. This process allows participants to step into a deeper level of reflection than in an un-guided journaling process, and identify concrete action steps.

Principles:

  • Journaling is a personal process. Never ask participants to share their journaling notes in public.
  • After completing a journaling practice you may create an opportunity to reflect on the experience of journaling. Again: emphasize that participants decide what they want to share.
  • Journaling means that you think through the writing not to think and reflect, and then write up the reflection. With the instruction emphasize that participants should just start writing and see what emerges.

Uses and Outcomes:

  • Access deeper levels of self-reflection & knowledge
  • Learn how to use Journaling as a reflective tool
  • Connect self-reflection to concrete action steps
  • Use with…Awareness or embodiment practices

 

Example:

The journaling questions below were used within our 3 day Presencing Workshop as an activity of deep reflection. Considerable thought had been given to the location of this workshop to provide an environment which would be conducive to reflection and exploration and we were fortunate enough to find a beach location outside Lisbon at reasonable cost.

Participants were engaged in exploration of their personal journeys of purpose in their work. Following a series of sensing activities, to raise awareness and explore their own current situations, the questions were intended to take them further towards a deeper understanding. The activity was followed by inviting participants to find a quiet place for reflection and thought.  Participants moved outside of the building into the grounds and onto the beach and could be seen walking or sitting deep in thought. They were not asked for feedback on their return however it was clear that many were moved by the process.

Julie Lunt – a project member describes her experiences of journaling as an emerging realisation that her work, which had for many years been inside organisations either training or working organisational change in person centred practice, was not the place to be if she was to be a real change maker towards inclusion. She had known for many years that organisations create a barrier to inclusion and often struggled to support people to be a real part of their community. What she had recorded in her journal brought to the front of her thinking, that what she was doing was reinforcing this situation and if she was to make a change she needed to shift the focus of my work away from training within organisations providing services for people with disabilities to becoming more community focused. This was just the beginning of a change in thinking which continued to evolve within further workshops in the project and the development of prototypes. She is now part of a team in her local town involved in the development of a summer festival and seeking to highlight how people with disabilities are fully involved and contributing. She has also begun working with people who have a personal budget, their families and support teams using ‘Presencing’ activities to explore the future for the person and how to support them in that future.

 

Set Up:

People & Place

  • Journaling Practice can be used in groups of any size. The exercise follows the co-sensing phase meaning that participants have already moved through the left side of the U-Process.
  • It is important that the room is quiet and no noises or other distractions in the environment interrupt the participants.

 

Time

  • A minimum of 45 minutes is required. Depending of the context this process can take up to 60-90 min.

Materials

  • Pen and paper for each participant

 

Sequence

Step 1: Preparation

Prepare a quiet space that allows each participant to enter into a process of self-reflection without distractions.

Step 2: Guided Journaling Questions

Read one question after the other; invite the participants to journal guided by the respective question. Go one by one through the questions. Move to the next question when you sense that the majority of the group is ready. Don’t give participants too much time. It is important to get into a flow and not to think too much.

Guided Journaling Questions:

  1. Challenges: Look at yourself from outside as if you were another person: What are the 3 or 4 most important challenges or tasks that your life (work and non-work) currently presents?
  2. Self: Write down 3 or 4 important facts about yourself. What are the important accomplishments you have achieved or competencies you have developed in your life (examples: raising children; finishing your education; being a good listener)?
  3. Emerging Self: What 3 or 4 important aspirations, areas of interest, or undeveloped talents would you like to place more focus on in your future journey (examples: writing a novel or poems; starting a social movement; taking your current work to a new level)?
  4. Frustration: What about your current work and/or personal life frustrates you the most?
  5. Energy: What are your most vital sources of energy? What do you love?
  6. Inner resistance: What is holding you back? Describe 2 or 3 recent situations (in your work or personal life) when you noticed one of the following three voices kicking in, preventing you from exploring the situation you were in more deeply:
    1. Voice of Judgment: shutting down your open mind (downloading instead of inquiring)
    2. Voice of Cynicism: shutting down your open heart (disconnecting instead of relating)
    3. Voice of Fear: shutting down your open will (holding on to the past or the present instead of letting go)
  7. The crack: Over the past couple of days and weeks, what new aspects of your Self have you noticed? What new questions and themes are occurring to you now?
  8. Your community: Who makes up your community, and what are their highest hopes in regard to your future journey? Choose three people with different perspectives on your life and explore their hopes for your future (examples: your family; your friends; a parentless child on the street with no access to food, shelter, safety, or education). What might you hope for if you were in their shoes and looking at your life through their eyes?
  9. Helicopter: Watch yourself from above (as if in a helicopter). What are you doing? What are you trying to do in this stage of your professional and personal journey?
  10. Imagine you could fast-forward to the very last moments of your life, when it is time for you to pass on. Now look back on your life’s journey as a whole. What would you want to see at that moment? What footprint do you want to leave behind on the planet? What would you want to be remembered for by the people who live on after you?
  11. From that (future) place, look back at your current situation as if you were looking at a different person. Now try to help that other person from the viewpoint of your highest future Self. What advice would you give? Feel and sense what the advice is and then write it down.
  12. Now return again to the present and crystallize what it is that you want to create: your vision and intention for the next 3-5 years. What vision and intention do you have for yourself and your work? What are some essential core elements of the future that you want to create in your personal, professional, and social life? Describe as concretely as possible the images and elements that occur to you.
  13. Letting-go: What would you have to let go of in order to bring your vision into reality? What is the old stuff that must die? What is the old skin (behaviors, thought processes, etc.) that you need to shed?
  14. Seeds: What in your current life or context provides the seeds for the future that you want to create? Where do you see your future beginning?
  15. Prototyping: Over the next three months, if you were to prototype a microcosm of the future in which you could discover “the new” by doing something, what would that prototype look like?
  16. People: Who can help you make your highest future possibilities a reality? Who might be your core helpers and partners?
  17. Action: If you were to take on the project of bringing your intention into reality, what practical first steps would you take over the next 3 to 4 days?

Step 3: Reflection on the Practice

Split up the group into pairs, and invite participants to reflect on their experience. Again, mention that journaling is private and that each participant decides want she or he wants to share.