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Wednesday, 18 November 2015 15:18

What happened when I chose to be a tree

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The setting: I am living in the Philippines and visiting my friends on the island of Siquijor. It took a few boat trips to get here, but I made it.

For most Filipinos, Siquijor is a mysterious other-world island of witchcraft and the unknown. This tiny island province is famous for its mountain-dwelling mangkukulam/mananambals (healers) who brew traditional ointments for modern ailments.
I was curious about the healers of the island and hoped I could meet a “mananambal”. When I asked my friends about “mananambals” and expressed my interest in meeting one, there was a slight pause in the room and an air of uncertainty. Soon however, I found myself in the back of a car, on the way up a mountain in the rain, with the hopes that I would meet my first “mananambal” and have a session with him.
It was an adventure up the mountain and after a few stops and conversations with other locals, I found myself in front of a small house, on the top of a drenched mountain side, about to enter this mananambal’s home.
Meeting the Mananambal: This was a profound experience for me. I felt for a moment, like I was in a “National Geographic” episode — about to meet a wise healer, who spoke a different language, knew a different medicine, and who could definitely impact my life. My friends translated the experience for me, however much of the translation wasn’t necessary as I truly felt the deepest respect for this man and was ready to hear what he had to say.
His home was small and bare, simple and clean. He only had the necessities he needed. He invited me to sit in a chair in the centre of the small living room. The energy healing session began.
I had no expectations for my healing session. I was open to this experience and looking forward to what he would say about me, my life, my health and future.
He stood in front of me. Eyes closed. Chanting. As if he was reading my energy or assessing my body and my life. Murmur murmur. Chanting chanting. My friends sat in chairs at the edge of the room near the wall, watching intently and translating when needed. The mananambal moved around me, speaking, whispering, and chanting as he went. Words can not describe my experience. It was definitely a “you had to be there” moment.
The end result was this: He looked me in the eye and said “Be a tree”. (I was confused).
My friends translated for me. (I was still confused).
He went on to say: “No more boats, no more planes. No more windows. No more travel; be a tree. You are a tree Christine. You look like a tree; you want to be a tree. Stop moving an be a tree.”
He gave me a remedy to help me be a tree. I thanked him. A deep part of me knew what he meant. The rest of me took a while to figure it out.
Up until that moment, I had always been a traveller. Born in Canada, yet I had worked, lived and travelled across Europe, South America and Asia. Not having roots and being the “foreigner” was familiar to me. Yet I longed for something more.
There is something wonderful about “being a tree”. When I finally learned how to ground myself and stay connected to my truth, my heart centre and self, I had a solid foundation on which to stand. When I live “like a tree”, I am strong and my roots are deep. I can reach farther beyond my dreams, and my branches reach high.
The Lesson: At first when told to “be a tree” I was resistant. I thought that meant I would be stuck and couldn’t go anywhere. However when I finally listened to this message, it brought me great freedom.
Since I have learned the value of “being a tree”, I have come to know and perceive, that having roots not only connects me to others and builds my relationship in community, but those people are there to support me when the winds of my life come a blowing. More so “being a tree” connects me to myself.
I now live a life “like a tree” — grounded in my truth and knowing of who I desire to be and how I desire to feel. Then no matter where I travel, I am always exactly where I need to be: grounded and centred in myself and loving every minute of it.
My Invitation: As we enter the holiday season, I share this story with you. This can be a busy, crazy, chaotic time, when we are pulled in a million directions or look for happiness outside of ourselves. My advice to survive the holidays: be a tree
(Visit Christine at; Twitter@ChristineCiona or Facebook/KIVAsacredstudio)

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