A Tree of a Spine

a tree of a spine picture julia randall

It starts with a memory of the grass. Tall strands, finished with purple fluff that hangs like a haze around it all, rippling like fur in the wind. That purple fluff is somehow compelling enough to draw me back, keep me going down the little Maui lane until I find it again. My last walk of freedom before my back treatment. The grass waves happily as I take a few strands and give my thanks.

I keep walking. The sun makes me squint. In the distance in front of me, I see a dull ribbon of ocean bracketed by whiteblue sky and green fields. This treatment has been with me for a while, hovering like the purple fluff of the grass seeds. A procedure involving lots of needles and my own blood, injected into my spinal ligaments to kickstart regrowth. Hard to believe that from tomorrow I will be spending weeks resting. Drawing energy in. Regrowing cartilage, forming new support for this spine that has leaned more and more painfully to the left as the years pass. But it is time. Time to invest in myself, to offer myself the loving action of listening to my body. I pass a beautiful tree with shining leaves of yellow and red. Take one of each color. Give thanks.

julia randall tree of a spine blog post

The dirt track ends abruptly. Dead end, I think with an edge of disappointment, until I see an opening.  A path to the sea, overgrown, and a cedar tree. I take a few needles, give thanks.

It becomes clear within a few minutes that this is not a worn route. I sacrifice my new walking shoes (bought yesterday for re-alignment purposes) almost immediately in a dark, dank bog. I keep going. Onwards. Through. Sweep my cedar needles in the mud. Give thanks.

Brambles. Everywhere. Hugging ankles and thighs. I wish I hadn’t worn shorts. But they have beautiful berries, and they are intermixed with a little fern-like plant that snaps closed each time I touch. So cute. A leaf that actively responds to my touch! I take a few fronds, give thanks.

a tree of a spine blog post

I scale a few rusted gates, a movement practiced from years growing up in the country and yet guarded and painful at the same time, reminding me why I am here at all. There is a moment when I doubt my ability to continue, almost laugh at myself for trying. I am surrounded by shoulder-high grass and brambles. I remember seeing a sign in the airport saying there are no poisonous snakes in Hawaii and this memory, along with a full body breath, lets me continue. In my path I find treasures; red berries, beautiful flowers, a passionfruit. I hold them, give thanks.

And then, it is over. The end of the fields. The end of the road. The beginning of the wild. I am blocked by barbed wire, and I am not as close to the ocean as I had fantasized when I started this adventure. Then I see it. The tree. Small and knotted and sturdy and upright. On a ridge overlooking a small valley and the huge Hawaii waves. On the other side of the barbed wire.

julia randall tree of a spine blog post

I place my bundle of wild treasures down underneath, do an arm balance on the post and somehow manage to get across without getting scratched. Flood of joy and light. I find a fairy spot to sit underneath, perched so close to the edge of the ridge that if i slip I could fall.

There, I pray.

I give my gratitude to this island and this earth and all its beings, seen and unseen, for welcoming me here and offering a space to heal.

I give my gratitude to the waves for rolling over and over, cleaning, cleaning.

I give gratitude to the fiery sun for showing me what true light is, and to the wind for blowing away the cobwebs of my life.

I am healing, I say.

I am growing.

I am standing strong.

Please. Help my spine to grow straight, strong, painless, buoyant and open.  

Help me be the most radiantly free being I can be, so i am better able to do my work and help others to be their shiny selves, too.  

I blow my prayers deep into my beautiful bundle of treasures, sharing my spirit and my journey with this fragment of the rainbow I have collected. And I place it down, under the tree. An offering to the land. An offering to the spirits. An offering to myself.

The walk back is faster. I’ve received the message. This isn’t going to be easy. There’s going to be moments of doubt, and pain, and beauty, and light. I’m going to have to let go of my metaphorical shoes, and climb some awkward hurdles. But, in the end, I’ll get there. I’ll find my moment of peace. I’ll grow my tree of a spine.

After all, the whole universe is listening.

julia randall bio

Jiya is a deeply connected leader who roots her teaching in the healing energy of nature.  Her teaching invites students to explore their own, unique unfolding, through profound awareness and trust in the wisdom of the Self.  Through her studies with teachers and shamans across the world, Julia has developed a powerful sense of energetic connection and a strong set of philosophical and intuitive teachings, which she shares through creative hatha and yin yoga, sacred fire and medicine ceremonies, kirtan and healing therapies.  Jiya is also a talented musician and sound healer, who seeks out native chants and medicine songs from around the world to complement her work.