COJOURNAL PROJECT 2015

 

PHNOM PENH and a life away from "home" inspires the prompts sent each week on Mondays.

PHNOM PENH and a life away from “home” inspires the prompts sent each week on Mondays.

WELCOME.

To a place for the curious and open.

This isn’t a place for everyone, I realize, after a year of working on testing, refining, launching, and further refining this with a small group of people who are writing each week with me. It’s for, I’m seeing, a very small subset of the population as it turns out. The ones who care about aesthetics. Quality. Who want to cross over into another space. See what’s there. What other people are thinking. So, we tend to be… international people. Thinking about things. Sometimes writing, but mostly responsible with our careful choices in life to see to it that our basic needs are met. Yet, there still feels like there might be more… Out there. In the creative sense. So we write, from time to time. But… in sketches.

Sound like you?

You know you have the knack for it, but writing the next great novel isn’t your bag. You’re just too… busy. You don’t want to get into something like that, because there’re no guarantees that people will even bother with it. Besides, you’ve got things working out well where you are. Life. Work. Balance. More or less. Still, the idea of finding space to write a little more, not for some kind of work thing but just to journal, seems like not a half-bad idea.

So you clicked over.

You’re here, to see what this thing is about.

If you want to know its history, the Cojournal Project started in December, 2014, in small circles through e-mail threads on Mondays. So much learning, sharing, growing and most important, practice. We are getting on great, and excited about the turn of the year and a chance to co-discover with others what else might get made in the coming year.

The Cojournal Project

It’s writing. It’s journaling.

But it’s not for your boss, for your client, or for your teacher.

It’s for you.

Just… because.

You already know writing is a great way of getting to know yourself better.

Maybe you’ve discovered that already, early on. But what about now? Do you feel pressed for time to get back the space to think quietly about who you are, apart from everyone else?

Questions of identity are always coming up for me, personally. I was born in America, but to immigrants from India, and I married a Japanese guy and now live in Cambodia. My best friend is a Swede, my conversation parties in Phnom Penh are international blends of people who are looking around and wondering things, just like me, and we leave the talk about passports and religions and other things that create boundaries at the door. We are talking, together. In the kind of conversation that’s real dialogue: the kind with a center, and not sides.

Writing is a way for us to talk to ourselves about ourselves. Who we really are comes through.

It’s a great practice, but it’s also kind of lonely.

So what about if we could write–journal style–in very small circles with others doing the very same?

Trying it. Noticing things. Learning by doing, and then, getting feedback from one another along the way?

It’s just… space. For you. To write. To co-discover through cojournaling.

What participants are saying …

I have felt that my writing has grown and that this has been an overall positive experience for me. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s writing and I’ve enjoyed sharing my own on this great platform. —LP

These new “twists” on life, I believe, have come as a result of participating in this wonderful group, reading and sharing one another’s precious details of life.  Thank you again! —HY

It’s a unique project and it’s pretty special. If you’ve been looking for some structure or accountability in your writing—and supportive community in very small groups, this could be for you. Dipika is a compassionate leader and offers some accessible assignments that are helping to shift my writing lens. I love it. —MH

Warmly recommend it. –SG

Not ready now, but curious?

Stay connected. Be sure to click “cojournaling” when you join Dipika’s e-letters from Kismuth, for updates and reminders about cojournaling-related news:

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writingYOU ARE A PERSON who likes to write. Sometimes, you write a lot. You wish you had more time to write more things, so that you could, well, improve, or something. Maybe that means getting a book out, or perhaps it just means writing the story of the thing you just can’t not write, except, you’re not sure what that is yet. You’re waiting to have accumulated enough anecdotes to make it good. But still, something’s missing. And that’s why you figure, maybe it’s okay in 2015 to just give it a go. Start.

Why am I doing this? I make space for people. It’s a natural thing. I used to do this as a brand designer for my other project, Design Kompany. But the more I live and the more I get to know other people, the more I’m learning that one small conversation somewhere that happens to come along can open a gate to inner creativity in ways nothing else has done. The Cojournal is a virtual project that connects, in small circles, people who want to write more pages, more often, and better. When it began, that was the major objective. The surprising and happy side effect is that people are uncovering their own themes. Writing is a way to tell yourself about yourself—how you see things, what’s important—to yourself. Writing in a safe space that’s just amongst a few other people doing the same, well, that’s the cojournal project.

No judgment. No formality. No grades, and no expectations.

Prompts arrive every Monday, and discussion follows in very small groups. (Here is the first one, “Find your time.”)

It’s for people who have always been curious.

You wanted to know what was going on in places not near you, you wanted to make friends with people who had ideas about things that you never considered. Talking together gave you whole new ways of looking at the life right around you, and you welcomed in later life any chance to go abroad. You tried new foods, when prompted, and you listened to new music if you were lucky enough to be introduced. You learned about authors, artists, philosophers, poets, and others who were from Russia and Japan and South America and Iceland. Travel photography might have been something that was interesting before the digital era. You liked the idea that you could snap a real shutter, not get that shutterlike sound effect, but really release the real thing and then develop film and wait for the images to come back so you could sit down somewhere comfortable and warm, perhaps with a cup of tea, and open the freshly printed packet with time and focus and attention. And that thing that we are missing most: love.

Love for the word. Love for the making. Love for the images that we can create…

Logistics about how it works

How it works. Monday prompts inspire small groups (4-5 people per group) to write independently or together about a specific topic. Meant to take 20 minutes or less of focus per week, the idea is to make space to practice. Hold each other accountable, or be held accountable by me! As host I remind you of what your goals were at the start and check in regularly to keep you on track. After a free two-week trial, if we decide it’s a good fit, the cost is $7/week, payable by PayPal.

Experience to date. Since its start in January 2014 this project has witnessed the opening of doors to hearts that are personal and intimate in ways that we couldn’t have begun to imagine at the start. The 1:1 conversations between host Dipika Kohli and the participants in Europe, Asia, and both US coasts are moving and shapely, and the 4:4 conversations that bring together people in all layers and places who are sharing in the journey of telling their own stories, together, in a whirl of self-reflection and the buddings of self-awareness, are beautiful to witness, too.

Experimental, iterating, and organic. Because the work to discover one’s own deepest self begins with looking closely at what’s in front of us, but also being able to abandon the notion that to write is to create a work for some sort of Purpose (often ‘publication’), we are able to simply free ourselves to speak. There is no grading system here. There are no rules. Content is the only bit that matters, it’s the yield that comes from thinking within and thinking together, sometimes, it depends on the week and the prompt and how people are moved to share.

Designing space: a philosophy

I USED TO WORK in newsrooms. In the early 2000s we heard a ton about blogs. How that was going to revolutionize the way we talk, think, and write. We learned, too, in the years since, about authenticity and story becoming more of what people wanted to hear about,” says Dipika. “I wanted to create a space where people who might not be able to start the process of self-questioning for self-awareness could do that, in a way that wasn’t so hard to start, so they could enjoy the things I saw clients of Design Kompany beginning to enjoy: figuring things out, from the inside. People who care are the ones who are making it work. People and their honesty are what is driving this project.

The big thing about this is there are no “right” answers. Only the journey to discover, along the way, what becomes true for us and us alone, and to figure our way back to the time when we were small children figuring things out as we went, not worried about how people perceived us or what we looked like or how we sounded. We just wanted to know things. And we asked ourselves many questions. We asked each other, too. T.S. Eliot said, “We must not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive at the place where we began, and to know it for the first time.”

That is the history and love and conversation that is behind this. A year in the making, for some of you who care about making more time and space for getting back to creativity. For you.

How to apply

HERE IS how to be considered for this project. Apply through this form:

Fees

Cost is USD $7/week. It’s pay-as-you-go, and you can cancel anytime. A free two-week trial starts as soon as you create a PayPal profile: just click here.


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