Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "journal"

The Power of a Journal in a Sacred Space

06/16/16 | View Comments

Journal entries reveal insights into gratitude, love and life.

Over the past year we have shared the thoughts and feelings left in the journals found under the bench in every Open Space Sacred Place the TKF Foundation helped to create. These #Benchstories capture just a few of the thousands of journal entries written by visitors to the gardens over the years. In the journals we catch glimpses of the healing and transformative effects momentary time spent in nature can have upon the individual.

There is the initial discovery of the Open Space Sacred Place followed by a moment’s respite on the bench. While seated on the bench, the visitor may notice the cord attaching the journal to the bench or the protective box located under the bench where the journal is kept. From there the discovery may move to a reading of journal entries left by others. Finally, the peacefulness of the space lends itself to personal reflection or even the act of writing the entry itself allowing the visitor to discover something about her/himself that they weren’t aware of before.

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Don’t forget your pen

10/06/15 | View Comments

In addition to the health benefits from interacting with nature, urban green spaces provide opportunities for self-reflection and quiet. One overlooked benefit of community green spaces are the benches and places to rest, think and write.


Each community green space supported by the TKF Foundation includes an iconic bench. The benches are made from reclaimed pickle barrel wood that is more than 100 years old. They are an integral part of each civic sacred place. A specially created waterproof, blank book and pen combination – located beneath the bench – invites visitors to an Open Space Sacred Place to articulate their experience. Visitors share words or images of the experience of being in the space. These are now shared with our online readers through #benchstories. More than a simple diary, record, or log of daily events, each journal is a collection of inspiring thoughts and reflections that attest to our need for opportunities to connect with each other and be in nature.

For many, writing in a journal can provide therapeutic and creative benefits. Writing in a journal about daily events, your feelings, your goals or something that troubles you are all known to benefit health in different ways.

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Introducing “Bench Stories”

06/11/15 | View Comments

Bench StoriesFor nearly 20 years, the TKF Foundation has been committed to the idea that time spent in nature can trigger profound human experiences. This can be as simple as a stress relieving break from work, to sitting under the shade of a nearby tree, to the healing power of a walk in the woods during a time of great loss or trauma.  Time spent in nature gives us the chance to think, reflect, restore and most importantly, heal.

Unfortunately for many, access to nature is limited. These limitations include both a lack of green space within the city and the time constraints placed upon the individual to experience even brief moments with nature. This is why the TKF Foundation believes it is so important to bring nature to the individual, often in places where the healing forces of nature are needed most.

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Take a deep breath, listen to your self.

06/02/15 | View Comments

In our Open Voices blog we typically share insight from community leaders. This month, we shift our focus from the designers and researchers and take a moment to examine the real, lived experience of an open, sacred green space.

Last week our hearts were moved by the inspiring and revealing journal entries in a West Baltimore Open Space Sacred Place.

Throughout the country, small public green spaces offer a moment of respite and a place of healing. These spaces, supported by the Nature Sacred program, feature a bench with a waterproof community journal tucked inside and available for anyone who wishes to contribute their thoughts. Fern Shen of the Baltimore Brew writes:

“One way to learn what people are thinking and feeling in Baltimore’s struggling Westside, where worldwide attention has been focused since Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, is to go to a tiny pocket park called The Choose Life Memorial.”

An entry in West Baltimore's Choose Life Memorial park. Photo: Fern Shen

An entry in West Baltimore’s Choose Life Memorial park. Photo: Fern Shen


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    TKF Foundation

    410 Severn Avenue,
    Suite 216
    Annapolis, MD

    Tel: 410.268.1376

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    About Us

    We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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