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Stepping Stones

I have written before about the practice of journaling as a chronicle of growth, a canvas for problem solving, and an entry point into the subconscious. One creative approach, called “Stepping Stones,” was developed by Dr. Ira Progoff in his Intensive Journal workshop.

“Stepping Stones,” writes Dr. Progoff, are “indicators that enable a person to recognize the deeper-than-conscious goals toward which the movement of his life is trying to take him.” They are the significant points of movement along the road of our lives, how we got from there to here, and what steps we selected along our path. Here are some examples of Stepping Stones:

I was born. My sister was born. My father left. I got married. I began a career. I was unable to have children. I followed my heart. I remarried. I lost my job. I am being reborn.


Innocence. Divorce. Coming Home. Patterns and Cycles. Falling in Love Motherhood. Creativity

Contained in each Stepping Stone is an entire phase of one’s life, with memories and stories of years. Each phase may represent a varying amount of time • perhaps only a few months and perhaps many years.

When creating a list of Stepping Stones, select those periods that seem to have had significance on how we are living our life today, letting no more than a dozen or so come into the foreground. Writing about a Stepping Stone allows us to find lessons that were incomplete or heal wounds that weren’t fully nursed. Note that Stepping Stones are neutral in that they do not designate failure or success; they simply symbolize the movement of our lives.

Coaching Challenge: Use your heart to choose a Stepping Stone to contemplate. Then, begin your writing with this Springboard phrase, “It was a time when•” Allow yourself to fully experience the story through your writing and write until you are finished.

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