I am Jenny Ann
A rebel mystic with a story to tell
My name is Jenny Ann Holden. I am on a mission to heal the wasteland.
Raised in the wild landscape of the Pacific North West, on unseeded Quw'utsun (Cowichan) territory, I was instilled with a deep reverence for the natural and mythical world from a very young age.
Growing up as I did my nervous system didn't have an easy time adapting to other human's. I have always felt more at home in the imaginal realm or playing in nature. Trauma hit my body and spirit hard at the age of 15 after a series of sexual abuses. I decided it would be easier to live in my head, to disconnect from the world. I entered a relationship with a man who would emotionally abuse me for the next 17 years.
Even though I was struggling at that time, I knew deep down that I was meant to make a positive contribution to the world. If it wasn’t for this knowing, I am not sure I would have survived my 20’s. I still remember the exact moment when I realized the amount of suffering and violence in the world. I decided I would conquer my social anxiety and fears and go to university to study political science. I wasn’t sure that I had it in me but my angel of a grandmother did and she encouraged me to be all that I could be. So, this is what I did for the following 10 years.
I was a dedicated student and activist and spent countless hours into understanding political systems, power dynamics, historical influences, and human behaviours that I sensed that was at the root of collective trauma. I was particularly interested in how the deep longings inside of people catalyze to form social movements and cause systems to change.
It was within this inquiry that I began to awaken to my pain and trauma. At this point I didn't understand how sexual and gender based trauma lives in the body and that I was suffering from C-PTSD but I found healing in the understanding that for hundreds of years women have been fighting for their freedom and supporting other people to do the same.
Right before my grandmother passed away she confided in me that she felt that she had so many stories that she had not shared with the world. This was hard for her as she was losing her voice to Parkinson’s. Although her body could not give me the words that she longed to speak, her heart said it all and from that moment on I knew my work would be to help women tell their stories.
I have always been a storyteller. I believe that it is in my blood. It is my soul’s calling. When I finished my graduate studies I went to work at a non-profit, helping them tell the story of climate change to thousands of youth. Our vision was that if the next generation could feel empowered to “be the change” then climate change could be fixed. Our relationship to the planet could be healed.
Although I still believe this story and teach it to my own nieces, my North Star guided me to a deeper layer in the story. I realized that in all my study and work that an essential piece was missing. The body. I was teaching empowerment but within my own body I was completely disempowered. I was tolerating emotional abuse and becoming increasingly emotionally numb and mentally unstable.
I was being controlled by my deepest fears and pain. It all felt so intolerable so I literally went into hiding for two years. I quite my job and began the slow and difficult journey of ending a relationship with a narscisit who I had learnt to rely so heavily on. I am still healing from the emotional toll of reclaiming my sovereignty. Early on in that process I learnt about trauma and the body from Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk. I needed to work with my body to heal.
This is when I began to really feel my C-PTSD and the relationship between individual and collective trauma. I was living within a patriarchal paradigm and completely disconnected from my body and feminine power. I was completely numb and burnt out. At my lowest moment I contemplated suicide. I had zero capacity to feel safe around others so isolation was how I survived. What I believed saved me was the care of my family and the creative life that began to flow through me as I gave myself space to feel into my body.
It is always darkest before the dawn and it would not be that long before the storm clouds would break and I found myself standing strongly in my power, passion and purpose once again. And this time, having moved through my first (i anticipate more), dark night of the soul, I received so much embodied wisdom of the roots of collective trauma. My capacity to feel within my own body while resonating with the collective challenges of our times, be it climate change, rape culture, colonization, income inequality, homelessness allowed me to understand the power of the body to heal personal trauma while staying in relationship to the ways that everyone is interconnected.
I heard the call of the wild. I learnt the healing power of nature and reconnected to my animal body and began the journey of discovering all her magical gifts to self-heal. I already knew that in order to heal trauma we need social connection. I wasn’t really ready to do that with other nervous systems as mine was still very dis-regulated, so I turned to art. I learnt that I had a gift for photography and I began to make self-portraits. They became these powerful healing ritual. I met parts of myself that had been exiled and I lovingly tended to them. Eventually I began to feel safe enough to share these images through social media.
As a writer, poems and stories would often flow. As a political scientist, sometimes I would find myself tapping into the wider social field and offering these insights forward.
Eventually other women began to reach out and asked if I would make portraits for them. Creating photographic art as a form of expressive therapy taught me how to find safety to be seen. I have offered this unique medicine to nearly 100 women in a few short years, helping them embody and share their stories. This is what my grandmother wanted.
I have spent the last three years developing skills and knowledge on healing emotional, physical, and intergenerational trauma through the body. What I have learnt is that we all have the need to be seen, to be felt, to be heard, to be held. It is a lifelong journey to meet these needs. There are times when it is easier and times when it feels impossible and we wonder if we will ever feel good about ourselves again.
What kept me going through my own personal struggles was the knowing that if I could learn how to hold myself through the storm of life that my compassion, discernment, and ferocity to move through and beyond assumptions of right and wrong, of blaming others, of beings stuck in denial, that no matter what happened to me or within me, I would continue to live a life of purpose.
We are not designed to thrive in isolation and sharing myself with others when I am hurting is still not easy for me. I can still experience crippling self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness.
My embodied sacred story is learning how to meet the pain that holds us back from our power and to move with grace towards the vision that we have of a transformed world.
In the next iteration of this purpose, I will be stepping into the role of leader and educator. Very few hold a deeply embodied and integrative understanding of individual and collective trauma and I have been studying these last few months with acclaimed trauma healing professionals.
One of whom, Kimberly Ann Johnson writes this: you can become a part of the redistribution of resources and of what has been considered specialized knowledge.
During these coming decades there will be massive growth in the demand for accessible and easily integrative trauma therapies. Learning how to meet our pain in order to accesses the gifts that live within our bodies is perhaps the only hope we have as a human species. I will to share this message within the institutions that I spend a decade studying. I will create easily accessible curriculum with leading-edge professionals. I will write books and create films.
I am a wild woman on a mission
I wake up every morning with an unshakable faith in my soul's calling. I walk, crawl, dance, and create my way through the world with a deep remembrance of how to meet the thresholds of life. With deep trust, presence, and devotion, I am an emergent prayer for a future free of suffering and oppression.
Each soul has a purpose to fulfill. Our life experiences are portals into deeper alignment. When we learn the language of the soma we are able to alchemize our shadows into our gifts and accelerate our impact. For hundreds of years our gifts have been suppressed, manipulated and controled.
When we re-wild and re-embody we re-member. We experience our wholeness and anything is possible.
Are you a wild woman on a mission to align with and embody your life's purpose?
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I start working with you?
I am available for a wide range of possibilities. I have worked with so many different types of people and groups in my life and am always open to new opportunities that may not be listed here. I am growing my online offerings and programs which you can view in the menu. My signature offering is my embodied branding and therapeutic photoshoots.
What is your training/academic background
I have a graduate degree in Studies in Policy and Practice. I know this is a mouth full. Essentially I have an advanced understanding of how systems create behaviour (and visa versa). I work with individuals who want to create policy or culture change. I have worked in the field of climate change, violence against women, homelessness, and reconciliation.
Do you bring a trauma-informed approach?
Yes! The coaching industry has a long way to go in this regard. As I mentioned in my bio, I have a very interdisciplinary understanding of trauma that meets at the crux of the individual, intergenerational and collective. I am a survivor of adverse childhood trauma, rape and domestic abuse. I recently completed a certificate in Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy.
I feel called to work with you but am not ready to fully invest, what should I do.
Oh I so feel you! It took me a long time to invest in my first mentor and I still find it hard. That is why I share so much of my wisdom on social media. You may also join my membership which is an incredible and safe space to feel into what is alive for you right now to to begin to move towards your soul's calling.
Principles of Practice
As my body of work transforms I offer forward these touch stone principles of practices that I bring into all of my offerings.
There are entire ecologies of despair and hopelessness that we must meet if you are to re-embody. Somatic practice is a tool for remembering how to listen to our bodies. When we listen to our bodies we hear more from the wider ecologies that we are apart of. I teach clients how to listen to their bodies and the land.
Our bodies are a storehouse of ancestral memory. I help my clients navigate within the ancestral realm through embodiment, working with well ancestors as guides and clearing through the rubble of ancestral trauma so that they can alchemize the trauma of their lineage into their legacy for the future.
Your nervous system state is a big part of what guides your purpose. If you are in a constant state of activation, your trauma triggers are alerting you to the need to regulated. I guide my clients to meet these triggers and gain greater compassion, understanding, and resources to soften into your body and move out of survival energy.
Inner Image Alchemy
How you see yourself is huge! When we re-embody we meet some pretty outdated and straight up toxic images we hold about ourselves. I help clients access the imaginal realm to transform these images and to embody new ones that reflect authentic self.
Stories are our connective tissue. During times of disconnection, finding the courage disarm our hearts and speak into our sacred story, brings great personal and collective healing. I help clients connect to their sacred story, find the courage to speak out loud, and to creatively birth into the world.
We just don't know what is ahead of us. We are being danced into an era of massive change. I have consciously known this for two decades and have been learning tools to become resilient in mind, body, spirit and business during transitional times. I help clients learn strategies and principles of emergence so that they can become more resilient.