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Tree Hugging

MARY GULIVINDALA Location: Riverside Park, New York


Photo by Timothy Jane Graham

“I believe we need to hug trees more for what they give us than what we give them. I tune into the energy, texture and anything else that comes up inside me. I also think about the tree. The who, what, where, when, how and why. I offer up a prayer of thanks. I have done this unconsciously for myself as healing work”.
I just left Kripalu up in the Berkshire Mountains in Stockbridge, MA. I am an assistant faculty member at Kripalu. I assist Alison Shore Gaines who facilitates juice cleansing retreats throughout the year. I assist twice a year. My father died in October of 2009. Four months later in February I assisted Alison in a workshop and was grieving the passing of my father. I believe you have to feel it to heal it and my intention on working through his death took the form of adopting a beautiful big Spruce tree. It just spoke to me. It had the same characteristics as my father. Wise, old, flawed, strong and planted. I would visit him everyday and sit under his shade, journal, meditate, cry, laugh and pray. I would dance. This tree is now a huge part of my life. The FIRST thing I do every time I drive up the long driveway at Kripalu is stop the car, get out and hug, pray and experience that tree. I always sit with it during my stay. I mentioned it to a guest of the fast last week July 2011who just lost three family members in 18 months and was a mess. She came back and told me she found three trees together that are now her family.


Mary’s Dad at Kripalu, Massachusetts (next to him is her mom).



I am inspired, creative, passionate and fiery. I have been through and will continue. I will put it down and hope you pick it up. I am exposed, vulnerable, honest and authentic. I am sarcastic and witty. My favorite thing to do is watch life and laugh and cry.

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