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Image by Luca Bravo

My Story

In the summer of 2007, I suddenly craved being in the mountains, hiking in the trees. Unusual for me, this demand increased in me until I found the respite I required in the Columbia River Gorge, Falls Creek Falls Hike.

I would hike to the falls, usually the only person on the trail, and sit in blissed-out meditation and ask for guidance. I would receive messages and poems. I wrote and I searched, I was on fire. Something big was moving through me.

Just a few weeks into this, one afternoon I was bounding down the trail, and I abruptly stopped in front of a big fir tree. It was as if the tree stepped in front of me. I said, "You have been here a long time, maybe you know something.” Instinctively, I placed my hands, palms flat on the trunk and leaned in with my forehead touching the tree.  I was jolted by the immense presence I experienced radiating from this tree. No mind, no ego, just pure loving presence. 


I had instant recognition that the life force moving through this tree was the same as the life force moving through me, and all things. Same, same. This is huge. Oneness opened before me. Earth, trees, people, ants, grass, wind—all of it, experienced as the same life, same. 


This connection with the fir changed my life direction and me forever. Trees are beings with no ego interference with a constant flow of presence. This is what I craved.


Over the next few months, I was initiated by the trees. This is the only way I can explain it. I spent as much time as I could with the trees and was given layers of experience that brought me into a focus, curiosity, and surrender. My passion grew with greater depth and awareness. 

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Image by Erik van Dijk

My first meeting with the fir was in early July. In mid-September, I was in an accident and received a traumatic brain injury. I had many symptoms at first but did not know I had TBI as it had not yet fully expressed. I also did not have a clue about what traumatic brain injury entailed. It was not in my orbit.

The heartbreak of my brain not working and the incalculable loss I experienced left me feeling broken and disheartened in the extreme. 


Any day that it was possible, I would get to the forest that was about 15 minutes away. There, I lay on the earth among the roots or curled up next to a tree and was nurtured. I was better when in the trees. 


Gradually, I improved, but not nearly enough. Still, way outside the normal that I had known previously, in the fall of 2016 I was able to take my urgent, heart-open request to the trees. I spent hours moving from one tree to another asking all of life, with the connection and support of trees, for healing.  

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It was then that I met the hornbeams.


Hornbeams are not especially stunning trees, and they are not huge, but they are mighty. They called me, and as I tuned into their energies and super alert community, I was overcome by peace and a bit of hope. 


The peace transmitting from these trees is like nothing else. In this atmosphere of home and complete connection, I sat among the hornbeams and made my request for healing.


As I tuned in, I was told that I would meet someone soon who would be like a partner for me and to be open to this person. Soon, via internet connections, I met Jacqueline Best, a potent energy healer.


Over about a year, on facetime, we healed me. It was deep and very personal. I often felt like she was taking my hand and leading me back from the underworld, but she did not let go or look back, as so often happens in the stories. 

Healing allowed me to go deeper with the trees. I began meeting the different species included in my Tree Transformation Cards. Meeting trees and deepening my connections has become central as this is such a mind-boggling, heart-opening discovery.

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Trees know us and what we need to be awake and vital and to fulfill the mission of our life. They can transform us. I am in awe of these experiences.

It is such a joy to share this and to see others (you!) feel this life-changing connection.

-Flora Rudolph

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