I have always loved trees.
In my freshman year of college, I took a Forestry class. I was doing a midterm project and I would go to the library everyday and sit there for hours reading about global deforestation. I would walk back to my dorm each day with tears actually streaming down my cheeks. As I crossed the forested campus of the University of New Hampshire, I would actually apologize to all of the trees for what humans were doing to them. It was as if I could really feel them in my heart. I could feel their incredible being-ness. Their quiet patience and understanding. It felt so loving, so embracing to me. I felt back then as if I wanted to be a tree – to dig my toes deep into the earth and stretch my arms out into the breeze. Whenever I sat down under the safe shelter of a tree I felt a peace that I never found elsewhere. All throughout my college years I wrote many poems about being a tree 🙂
In the summer of 2000, after my healing journey with Dahn Yoga had already began, I went to Sedona for the first time on a retreat. During that time, I had the opportunity to do a 2 hour healing session with an amazing energy & spiritual healer who was working at the Sedona Mago Retreat Center, a place that I now call Mago Garden. This private session was totally amazing, and had a profound impact on my life.
I laid down on a comfortable mat on the floor, in a dimly-lit, quiet, asian-like room. The master healer, a beautiful and kind Korean woman, scanned her hands over my body. As she did so, she began to say, “Your body is so blocked… … why are you so blocked like this? …. You are so young, why is your energy so heavy and blocked? … … It’s like a dark yellow jelly.” At that time I was 23 years old and had only been practicing Dahn Yoga for about 7 months, and had little idea of what was going on inside of me, or what she was really talking about. She continued to scan me – my brain, my chest, my abdomen – and when she finally waved her hand over the right side of my abdomen, the area of my liver and right kidney, she said,
“Tell me about your mother.”
I opened my mouth to say, “She’s so sick,” because I wanted to tell her how my mother had severely struggled with mental illness ever since I was 5 years old, and how painful that was for me, but before I could even get all of the words out, I burst into tears. It was a massive explosion of tears that shot out from my entire being, every organ and cell, and I proceeded to spend the next one hour crying, shaking and wailing at the top of my lungs. It felt as if someone had opened up a hole in the top of my head and turned on a faucet of water. A strong current coursed through my body like a river, pulling out so much hurt, so much fear and sadness, anger and grief, from every hidden corner of me. All of the while, the Korean woman kept saying softly, “Good, very good. Very good job, keeeeep going…”
There was a monsoon inside of me that day. A physical, energetic and spiritual monsoon. After the storm had finally calmed down, the master healer said to me “Good, good. You had taken all of your mother’s illness into your body. That’s how much you wanted to help her. But you yourself were dying. Now, new life is being restored inside of your body. Breathe in the new life. Now your tears are changing into tears of beauty and gratitude. Trees are growing inside of you now.”
And suddenly I saw…not just saw, I felt…a giant tree growing through my body. It’s massive roots spiraled down my legs. The place of great power where the roots and trunk connect was at the area of my second chakra, my core, my dahn jon (lower energy center). I felt amazing strength. The trunk came up and spread out into branches and branches of fresh green leaves, stretching their arms up to the blue sky. Behind the branches, the bright sun shone through at the place of my heart. My heart was filled with golden light, beauty and love and hope. My tears that were once ferocious, had become soft and awe-inspired. I felt alive, truly alive, for the first time in my life. I felt the freedom of life itself born inside of me.
It was an unforgettable experience. For a long time after that I sketched drawings everywhere of what I called, “The Healing Tree”; a tree with strong roots and the bright sun shining over it. In the area of the base of the trunk I wrote, “Be Strong”. In the middle of the sun I wrote “Be Bright” , and across the many leaves of life I wrote “HEAL”. This became my motto for humanity for a while, as I wanted for everyone what I had felt inside of me.
I searched the internet and here is the best photo that I could find that resembles my Healing Tree and emits just 1/10th of the energy that I felt in my body that day:
And this is a poem I wrote about myself in September of that same year, inspired by my healing tree experience and the new spiritual journey that I was embarking on. A journey that I am still on today. I post it here with humble gratitude for my precious path.
Sun Between The Branches
Her voice is sandy like mustard when she laughs, and she is laughing her way to enlightenment, she says.
She is Sun Between the Branches on her best day, and everyday other, whether she remembers it or not.
She knows this at 6am morning blossom bike ride as her cold fingers grip handlebars and she chases the last of the full moon, falling behind the trees. “Don’t Judge”, she hears a voice say and she knows that it is that of the moon, who ceaselessly teaches her eternal love – love with no conditions, no judgements.
And suddenly everything is as simple as this.
Her Soul smiles new day sunlight between the branches and her hips shudder with the power of tree roots. She is the strength she needs to go on, for she is doing Heaven’s work now and she is filled with a message of light: LOVE + HEAL.
And this is all she needs at 6am morning glory or on any day, ever. “I will do my job” she promises – as the moon and trees do, and the blue-sky sun-filled day. I will do my job.