In Honor and Gratitude for the Man at the Cafe

Hello Friends,

i am sitting in a cafe, drinking my morning tea and utilizing the wireless connection to do my work.

Looking up, i notice a man very slowly and deliberately, using a cane, walking into the cafe. His right leg doing most of the work, aided by his cane. His left leg, sliding slowly behind. His walk takes 100% of his attention and effort.

At first, my heart goes out to him with sadness. He is not a very elderly man. i imagine he must have had some kind of unexpected stroke. Next, i find myself feeling awe for his fortitude. Then, as i watch him, he transforms in front of me to a live, in-person, walking meditation of mindfulness. His every step is measured and he must be completely present and in this very moment to be able to take each step. There is nothing else going on for him while he is walking. While he is doing this activity that so many of us take for granted, he must be completely and totally aware of each movement. Nothing is taken for granted, nothing else exists but the step he is taking. If he loses his mindfulness, his complete awareness to this practice, he could fall.

And then, there are the rest of us–so often, running through life, in a hurry, over-worked, wishing we were somewhere other than where we are, doing something other than what we are doing, missing all the miracles in the minutia.

How often do we lose mindfulness, and in the process, experience our own metaphorical fall. We fall from grace, love, connection, joy, and even power when we lose awareness of this exact moment–perfect even in its imperfection.

Every breath is truly a miracle. It is magical. Our breath breathes us–not the other way around. Every moment is a gift beyond compare. There is no comparison to anything or anyone else when we are completely and totally present to the true gift of our lives, in this moment, in this breath, and if we are so blessed, in each step.

Life continuously humbles me. i am deeply and profoundly grateful to my teacher this morning. Even as he has no clue that he was my guide, my guru for this morning’s lesson. i bow to him with gratitude. i pray he has Angels to show up and gift him in unexpectedly beautiful ways as he was for me.

May we all be reminded of the gift that becomes available to us when we completely embrace mindfulness and complete acceptance for what is.



Published in: on February 11, 2010 at 5:35 pm  Comments (38)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

38 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. grazie!

  2. in honor and gratitude for us all
    in the folds of the mother
    as we awaken to her splendor

    and thank you, julia
    for pointing out to us
    a very fine way πŸ˜‰

  3. Thank you for sharing your morning observation. It reminds me of the importance of patience and compassion for self. If I was with that gentleman I would be patient, kind and accepting. If it was me, however, I would not act in kind. In my life now, I am reminded to include my self in my circle of compassion.

    Much love,

  4. BTW: just as you, “…pray he has Angels to show up and gift him in unexpectedly beautiful ways…” I pray the same for you. You are an angel that shines brightly in our world and in my life and I bet you had no clue.

    With love and gratitude,

  5. Dear Julia,
    I am with Theresa, “You are an angel that shines brightly in our world and in my life….” It gives me strength and hope to think that there are people out there like you and the four people that answered this post with such gratitude. In some symbolic way I have invited that man at the cafe into my life the last couple of days. Thank you for taking the time to draw my attention to him.

  6. “How often do we lose mindfulness, and in the process, experience our own metaphorical fall.”

    Yes. So well put.

    Thank you.

  7. Julia,
    I just wanted you to know what an inspiration you are. You are my hero. I teach high school earth science and biology and we are doing a unit on global warming and conservation. I remembered reading about you and feeling very emotional and moved by your story. My students will be excited that I held onto this article about you and will be sharing it with them this week. They’ve been asking about “the tree girl” for days! Thank you for changing my life.

  8. Color me slow.I was at the Neil Young Greendale concert, bought the cd, Sun Green song, Meet julia Butterfly. I just got around to finding out who you are.738 days in a tree, You have to be one of the most determined people I ever read about. Awesome.
    Your my new hero. Mother Earth and I thank you. JP

  9. You are an inspiration!

    Our paths briefly crossed at Women’s Earth Alliance where you are so honorably pushing them forward. I want to share that I posted one of your videos to my blog:

    Thank you for all that you do and all that you are.

    Annie Burke

  10. Hi Julia,

    Reading your post made me think about mindfulness in deed. It also made me remember an exercise a did a few months where I was told to take a leaf from a tree and observe the details of it, touch and feel the texture and try to get as mush as I could in my memory of the leaf. In that process I felt like the whole world stopped, as if time and space collapsed and there was nothing but me and the leaf.

    I think that in the world we live today, it is hard to slow down (see, make a pause, breathe and feel alive and reconnect with our divine potential, to feel what is it that our heart is really inspiring us to do in order to fulfill what we came to the world to fulfill and do it with awareness and harmony.

    I’m actually going to go out and take a leaf and do the exercise again, I live in Montana and the woods are just a few steps away πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Dear Julia, I have just arrived from listening to your wonderful video clip on No Impact Man’s blog. I thoght oh wow, oh pease let Julia Butterfly have her own blog, so I can read her, follow her journey. And here you are, with this beautiful poem to mindfulness. I am a humble student and admirer of Thich Nhat Hanh myself.
    I wish you luck in your choice of new home – the Bahamas or Jamaica does sound rather wonderful πŸ™‚

  12. I view meditation and mindfulness as reservoirs of potential mental energy that balance the constant pressure to dissipate and evaporate our consciousness.

    Speaking of evaporation, Julia I thought you would be interested to see this:

    The shrinking temperature gradient between the coastal and inland areas of California has led to less fog in the Redwood forests, potentially drying them out.

  13. you continue to amaze me, while most are focused on extraordinary feats at the winter olympics your noticing a simple man walking for his morning coffee. =) some one else would have tried to rush him offer an arm ,chair? whatever but you let this man complete his task unharrassed; a true angel. still praying for you to find a proper nesting place. Are you sure you want all that heat, me’lady?

  14. john lennon says,

    life is what happens
    while we’re busy making other plans.

  15. Happy birthday Julia!!
    Happy birthday!!

    After meeting you i’m vegan now!
    Thank you.

    Claudio (Damanhur Firenze)

  16. Happy Birthday, Julia!

    I am so grateful I met you at the World Peace Yoga Conference last October and that you have reflected what is good and powerful in myself. Since we met, I give thanks for all of the plants I east and ask that my life honor theirs.

    Thank you for your example of courage and love in service to a higher purpose. Today (literally), my ‘tree’ is fighting a school board that wants to remove our neighborhood from our school and force my children into a new school. Your example of how one can make a difference gives me great inspiration.

    Blessings, thankfulness, love, and Happy Birthday!
    Michael from Michigan

  17. dontcha kinda wish tree-sitting was considered an Olympic sport? you’d kick ass

  18. That just made me laugh out loud Gee!!! i LOVE laughing! Thank YOU!

  19. Yay Claudio!!!! Joyous Vegans!

  20. julia, have you ever had the feeling of being much closer to someone who lives overseas,like you (that i don’t know at all) than to the many people we know who live next to us, who seem simply foreigners ?
    this is what i experience when i read your passages for rising awareness and i see your image on the web.
    is it possible to speak directly to you with e-mails to exchange our points of view ?
    i’ve been writing from home, Bergamo, Italy
    pleasure of writing to you

  21. The question that rises to the surface for me is; How do we create world understanding and cooperation?

  22. Time out for sleep – after getting about half way thru “Butterfly” – which I happened across while searching for videos having to do with monarch migration – – –
    Between that – and your post – and your laughing – you are really something else – – –
    sincerely – thank you

  23. Happy Belated Birthday Julia! I hope you find exactly what you are looking for this year–roots and everything else πŸ™‚

  24. Hi Marcello!

    My life is so incrediblly full that i can barely keep up with what i am already committed to, so i really have to be mindful and not take on “chatting” and conversations via email and other forms of communication. i thank you very much for your interest and your care for our world. And, yes, i often feel like the one who is the foreigner. In those moments, i do my best to create connections with people even when (and especially when) it feels difficult.


  25. Julia,

    First and foremost, I have been a big fan of yours for a while and love the pieces like this that you post. It can sometimes be a challenge to go through one’s days fully aware and with eyes open; and, your posts are such good reminders of that! (Your post from March 9th, 2009 is a personal favorite of these.)

    But, Dear Julia, why capitalize the “Dear Friends” and never “i”? It could be viewed as saying that your friends could be viewed as better than you and you are a lesser being, not worthy of capitalization. Personally, I think you should give yourself the same importance as others…

    I do not mean to be critical, but am genuinely interested in your logic… for I am sure you have thought this through thoroughly and I would love to hear your viewpoint.

    Your humble student,

  26. Dear Julia,

    I’ve just recently purchased and read your incredible story about your life in Luna. I was rather young when your adventure took place, so it wasn’t something I heard much about. You’re truly one of the most inspiration people I’ve ever come across. Reading your story made me feel as if I were there with you. I felt your pain (and Luna’s), as well as your triumph and successes. You’ve changed my outlook on so many perspectives in life, and I thank you so graciously for that. Because of everything you’ve work, and continue to work for, my three-year old will one day be able to see the beauty of the redwoods.

    My fiancee lives in California, and he’s promised to take me to see them during my trip out there this summer! I’m very excited!

    Thank you,

  27. Hi Braid,

    Thanks for the reflections. For a very long time now, i just don’t capitalize “i”. No reason. It is just what flowed through, so it is what i do. DOn’t over-analyze. : ) Much Love and Gratitude,

  28. first of all, happy birthday, even if in delay.
    i’m grateful for your reply and sincerity, a bit embittered for our lost conversations..
    yes, i can sense the moments of discouragement you go through from time to time but don’t worry, don’t get too entangled, everything is the great mistery’s plan and you are protected and loved by those peoples who live in the stars you come from.
    as far as i can see, you are the friend i would have ever liked to meet.
    anyway, maybe on a lonely night, dead tired, connecting with your dearest friend luna-tree, listening to the subtle dance of the stars inside of you, you can recall there is an italian friend indeed, looking forward to hearing from you.

  29. Dear Julia,

    Thank you for this Blog and for gifting more people than you could ever know with your inspiration and light πŸ™‚

    Peace and love,
    (Sheffield, UK)

  30. Thank you Justin for presencing me to the fact that this blog reahces people from different places all over the world!
    i very much appreciate your taking the time to le tme know!


  31. dearest Julia.
    ohh goodness! you are completely and totally my hero! and i am so so so glad my english teacher brought you up in a conversation one day. if it wernt for her i would never had known how magnificently awesome you are! you have inspired me in so many ways, and because of it i am totally amped on life!
    haha well happy belated Valentines day

    love Merry! :))

  32. Thank You Merry! i am so glad my story inspired you to be amped on life!


  33. This reminds me of Pauly…remember him from my sailing days? We were engaged until I realized the impossibility of a union without Christ and I asked God to give him a new girlfriend…which He did, and then I met Kevin three months later.

    Anyway, the thing that drew me to Pauly was the immense fortitude he has and the great man that lives within the shell of a body so much the worse for wear! He taught me so much, and helped me heal so much better than I ever could have without him in my life…I was finally “Daddy’s” girl.

    Pauly has such a full life and a heart full of love, which he shares with his forever girlfriend whose name just happens to be Joy. yo momma

  34. Hello Julia,

    I’ve been a fan of yours for a very long time – ever since I heard about a girl living on a tree! I never got your full name until very recently (and even then I could only make out “Butterfly”!)

    This might seem a bit off-topic from your last post – but I hope you don’t mind. Just wanted you to know that your work is very inspirational. As much as I’ve tried – I have never been very effective in stopping or reducing the rampant deforrestation which has taken place in this country (Malaysia) – I fear that before long, we would have lost EVERYTHING that it took Nature over 130 million years to create.

    As a child – and as a student in University – I used to spend countless hours on trees. (Yeah, I had books up there – even doing Calculus!) At the same time I realised – as I sat there – in a country where the population is still growing, more and more land will be needed for agriculture. And it won’t be easy convincing people that the rainforrest is even more important than money generated from agricultural by-products.

    It would be cool if I had your insight on the issue. Later this year, I may be publishing an online magazine or blog – aimed at trying to get people to appreciate what they have around them. Your views on the issue would certainly be very greatly appreciated.

    It is always an amazing to find a kindred spirit in this world – even one who lives half-way across the world. Thank you for existing, Julia Butterfly Hill! =)

    Yours sincerely,
    Mathew Titus

  35. Hi Julia,

    I must say that I agree with Mathew that “your work is very inspirational”. I recently found out about you when I downloaded the Miro player and there is a video feed from Global Oneness Project.

    I think that even though we live in a world where everything is speed, we need more awareness as to where we live, how we live and how to preserve where we live so that there is harmony.


  36. In a very real sense you have encapsulated reality.

    Thank you.

  37. This is so inspiring ❀ πŸ™‚

  38. yes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: