Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dialogue with Societies

As the holidays approach, we're surrounded by a whirl of activity, but more important and if we're lucky, we find ourselves warmly surrounded by friends and family. But perhaps, the holidays might instead open old wounds and unhealed hurts we've experienced with other people, making it awkward to be together. Perhaps the holidays are a time we renew our faith or, on the other hand, wonder how others can be so fervent. What better time to take a look at "that part of myself that is there before I am." Ira Progoff, author of the precedent-setting "Intensive Journal Workshop" made that statement in regard to his Dialogue with Societies concept.

Dialogue with Societies is one of Ira Progoff's six main variations of dialogue a person can experience with a journal. Using Dialogue with Societies means choosing your race, tribe, religion, ethnic group, socio-economic class, neighborhood or extended family as dialogue partner and musing, discussing, arguing or debating how these larger-than-self influences affect you and what role you play in their midst.

As with all dialogues, you take turns on paper. You write -- and the society writes back. What role do you play in a society and how does a particular society embrace or not embrace you. Do you fit in? Do you want to fit in? What type of dreams do you have that involve numbers of people? Can you be part of a society without being part of a crowd? How has a society changed over the years? Is it for the better or for the worse? Can you feel deep faith and be part of a religion without attending a church? Or can you be an active member of a church and feel cut off from your religion? Are the roots of your society in another part of the world, in another decade, or even in another century? These are all questions that can be applied to your journaling exploration of societies.

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