Over time, social media shapes the ways we think about issues and impacts how we perceive who we are. Today’s guest, author Jackee Holder, shows how journaling, walking, and time spent in nature help counter this imbalance by revealing and reflecting genuine thoughts and beliefs. These practices, Jackee observes, help us evolve into the most authentic version of our selves.
To learn more, listen to our interview, or read below to see highlights from our talk.
Walking and Writing Among the Trees, with Jackee Holder
Jackee is passionate about walking, trees, writing, and journaling. Author of four non-fiction titles as well as a host of e-books and the curator of over one hundred journals, she has a committed and ongoing practice of pen to paper and feet to the ground. Jackee holds a Master’s degree in creative writing and personal development from Sussex University in the UK and a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychosynthesis Counseling. Through both personal and professional experience, she has benefited from the healing and therapeutic properties of her weekly urban city walks and thirty-year practice of journaling.
An Introduction to Psychosynthesis
When we talk about Jackee’s experience in the field of psychosynthesis, her enthusiasm shines. Boiled down to simplest terms, she describes psychosynthesis as a spiritual approach to psychotherapy developed by Italian psychiatrist, Roberto Assagioli. This approach aims to develop the whole Self, with a capital “S,” which Jackee explains is different from our day-to day self. In this context, Self describes the part of us that often emerges during difficult times to rise above challenges and to walk the path we’re meant to travel on. Self is the essence of our authentic selves.
Journal to Connect with Your Self
Jackee describes herself as a prolific journaler and remembers how writing down thoughts and feelings was especially important when she became a new mother. After her baby was born, Jackee noticed the ways her journal writing grew more intentional and focused. The pages of her journal provided precious space to write about all she was grappling with during this significant new season of life. Through journaling, Jackee crafted a narrative that helped her to realize who she was becoming and where she wanted to go next.
Journaling helps us get closer to our Self by cultivating:
- and connection with our own ideas and beliefs.
Jackee’s Journaling Tips and Techniques
Jackee’s journals aren’t limited to text. Lists, doodles, and ideas framed in shapes converge to represent a landscape of her ideas.
To overcome fear of the blank page and to keep your pen moving, Jackee recommends:
- Jot down a single word or simple sentence that feels meaningful. Let this be enough when you are beginning.
- Write down observations. Note your response to what’s happening around and inside of you.
- Use journal prompts. This practice can help ease anxiety that may surface when faced with the blank page.
- Write as fast as you can. Outrun your inner critic, and disregard concerns about grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. The point is to get your thoughts down onto paper.
- Make a list. Sometimes this will feel more manageable than writing a complete narrative. If you like, you can return to the list later on to further flesh out ideas there.
- Draw and doodle. Try anything that allows you to engage with that blank page.
Walk to Connect with Your Self
Walking daily supports Jackee’s writing life. Once she begins her exercise routine, ideas begin to fill her mind. When she’s finished walking, Jackee heads straight to the café, pulls out her journal, and pours those ideas onto the page.
Much research has been done that proves the impact walking has on the reduction of:
- anxiety and depression
- high blood pressure
- cardiovascular disease
- type 2 diabetes
- unhealthy cholesterol levels
- premature deaths
Spend Time in Nature to Connect with Your Self
Nature is restorative and healing and also supports Jackee’s writing practice. It’s among the trees that many people find it easiest to connect with their authentic Self.
Jackee cites a fascinating study in which hospital patients recovering from surgery were divided into two groups. Half of the patients stayed in rooms with windows that provided a clear view of trees. The other half of the patients had windows as well but did not have a view of trees. Patients with a view of nature required less pain medication and were able to return home earlier. A number of similarly designed studies have reported the same findings. Clearly there is power among the trees!
Jackee’s Action Steps to Help You Connect with Your Self
- Gather a lightweight notebook that’s comfortable to carry.
- Take a walk that leads to a green space.
- Locate a comfortable tree you can be near.
- Journal for seven minutes about everything you see and feel inside of that green space.
- Keep your pen moving.
- If words don’t accurately express what your’re feeling, draw what you see and feel instead.
When asked to leave us with final thoughts, Jackee chose to quote author Julia Cameron.
“I’m a better and more honest woman for having taken to the page today and admitted my locked away feelings of the years. I am larger and better and softer and kinder and more open than I was resisting knowing what I knew.”
If you enjoyed this conversation with Jackee, we think you’ll find our talk with psychotherapist and founder of the Center for Journal Therapy, Kathleen Adams worth a listen. Journal Therapy: An Innovative Tool for Self-Discovery.