When Julia “Butterfly” Hill was born on February 18, 1974, little did anyone suspect that she would create a ripple effect across the planet with her conviction to create change despite all odds and she would one day ironically shed her outer materialistic ego layers to undergo a true transformation of her soul, says Radhika, in her weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life, endurance, hope and change. Native Americans believe that a wish whispered to a butterfly will be granted when the butterfly flies up to the heavens. Butterflies also represent resurrection, since they are born as caterpillars and then become butterflies.
When Julia “Butterfly” Hill was born on February 18, 1974, little did anyone suspect that she would create a ripple effect across the planet with her conviction to create change despite all odds and she would one day ironically shed her outer materialistic ego layers to undergo a true transformation of her soul.
Julia spent her early days travelling across America in a camper with her family. When Hill was seven years old, she and her family were taking a hike one day when a butterfly landed on her finger and stayed with her for the duration of the hike. From that day on, her nickname became ‘Butterfly’. She decided to use that as her nickname for the rest of her life
After a near fatal car accident at the age of 22, she started questioning her choices in life thus far and how a life spent in pursuit of creating a positive impact for the future was the only life of any meaning.
Henceforth, Hill embarked on a spiritual quest, giving up her childhood religion. She set off on a road trip and fate brought her to California, where she joined a group of protestors who were protesting to protect ancient, giant redwood trees against clear felling by a logging company. As a mark of protest, Julia initially climbed a giant red wood, with an intention to live on it for up to a week. Julia began tree-sitting in a 600-year-old, 180-foot-tall Californian Redwood Tree she named, with love. However, as fate would have it, the one-week protest ended up being a total of 738 days.
Throughout her ordeal, Hill weathered freezing rains and 64 km/h winds, helicopter harassment, a ten-day siege by company security guards, and attempted intimidation by angry loggers.
Julia, in particular, described an especially savage storm during her stay on the redwood that taught her an important life lesson. Julia speaks of how she was broken mentally, emotionally and spiritually during her long stay on top of the red wood when the worst storm came, sounding like wild banshees.
Julia was on a quest to let go of her attachments in life, her attachments to things, relationships and emotions, but the storm taught her that she was still attached to her fear of death itself. Weathering the storm, the biting cold, rain and winds left her with no choice but to let go of her fears. She decided to howl and rage with the storm, bending like the mighty redwood when nature demanded rather than breaking. She realised how trees that try to stand too strong in the winds are the ones that break and the epiphany hit her that to bend and flow was the way to make it through this storm and the way to make it through this life.
She didn’t set foot on the ground for 738 days, protecting the beloved redwood tree. Hill made a deal with the lumber company and came down out of the tree December 18, 1999, as a resolution was reached in 1999 when the Pacific Lumber Company agreed to preserve Luna and all trees within a 200-foot (61 m) buffer zone. During the two years sitting in Luna (the redwood tree) she attracted worldwide attention for her non-violence in defense of the forest and for showing the power of one determined individual.
Since her tree sit, Hill has become a motivational speaker, a best-selling author, and the co-founder of the Circle of Life Foundation and the Engage Network, a nonprofit that trains small groups of civic leaders to work toward social change.
Our lives can be a message and inspiration for humanity on how nature is our greatest ally and greatest teacher and how even the worst storms are blessing in disguise for those willing to reflect and flow in the waters of life.
Photos from the Internet
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