Let me tell you a story about the Pepper Tree....
There once was a boy who grew up alongside the pepper trees. First spindly and unlikely to develop in the hard, sandy soil, they grew into huge trees with canopies as wide as the depth of their roots.
The young boy too turned into a young man, tall, and with as much depth as the roots of the trees. Every day he would pass these trees, watch their long willowy branches dancing with the wind, rub their leaves and smell the spicy pepper scent, and wonder if life was easier for a tree.
Sometimes he'd make meaning from his life when he watched them, and sometimes he'd just enjoy their presence and marvel at their stature, until one day he got so busy with his own life and moved so many places where there were no trees to ponder, that he forgot about them.
Now it just so happened that the journey life took him on, placed him on this particular day, under this particular tree, and as he looked up to the heavens for the answers to questions that sat in his heart he saw the wavy, willowy branches of the Pepper Tree dancing in the breeze above him.
He watched these majestic trees once again and knew that he too had been bashed by the wind, heartbroken by the rain, and made stronger with the sun. He also knew that just like the tree, his strength was in his roots, his wealth was in the fruits of his journey, and his true beauty was only felt when he was rubbed...and all this meaning he took inwardly as he inhaled the aroma of the pepper tree once more.
And so became his ritual; every morning on his way to work, he would give a silent nod to the trees that lined his journey. He would rub their leaves and inhale a mantra. And every evening as he came home to his family, he would pick a piece of the Pepper Tree as a gift for his daughters.
Together they would sit, as he rubbed the leaves and told them the story of the strong pepper tree, and just as the story would end, he wold open his palms and release the scent of the Pepper Tree. As if drawn towards a magic flame, each of his daughters would instinctively place her face over his open palms and inhale the smell of the pepper tree.
In this way, and in this ritual, they were handed down the sacred knowledge of trusting the journey of spirit and of relishing the experience of being alive in this human form.
This is my memory, possibly one of my strongest childhood memories, embellished by the unknown and the passing of time, but still, every time I pass these sacred trees I feel connected to a man who touched my soul, who handed me wisdom I'm only now discovering. Having witnessed his passing, as I inhale the spicy aroma of the Pepper Tree I am reminded to hold the gratitude for the gift of life, just as it is.
Julie Tenner is Co-founder of Nourishing The Mother and is The Pleasure Nutritionist. Julie is a Naturopath, specialising in women’s and children's health, with specific focus on awakening women to their full potential – health for the mind, body and soul – creating lasting life change for you and your family by “coming home” to your magnificence.