Tree of life

The pictures, podcast and poems below illustrate the wonderful narrative of living, dying and expressions of grief.

These images will be turned into cards and posters that can be ordered and purchased from Ali at the NZ Yoga Centre. Any profits from the sale of these images will go to creating our yoga centre ‘Peace Garden’ in Marton, Rangitikei. (These images are subject to copywrite.)

For more information email Ali at



Funeral Day

Grief sat beneath the heart’s tree,
Mourning what was lost.
Tears welled up and formed a pool.
The pool spilled over into a stream,
The stream rushed out and merged with the great sea of emotions.

When those first tears reached the foaming tide,
Sea birds took flight, startled by the tears’ crystal intensity,
Moved by such gravity, repelled by the presence of unfathomable grace.

Rising to the surface, gentle fish carried each tear down to the ocean depths,
Seeding pearls of courage, compassion, and undying love.
The pearl mala I hold before you has been harvested from those raw emotions,
Shining now with the quiet beauty of liberated peace.


Each image is part of a narrative… the cock and bull, the honeybee and jay…


The king eagle represents my father’s death and his rising spirit. The image is borrowed from a poem that Dad wrote some years ago (see below). 30 years ago, Dad sustained a terrible injury from a fall 15 meters from a roof, which left him permanently blind and head injured. But, he still managed to lead a full life, and maintain incredible inner vision, as the poem below illustrates.


Dream River

A special kind of magic happened on that river run,
When Me-bunn-bia and Headway joined together, for some fun.
We were all shapes and sizes, but we didn’t give a damn
“‘Cause once we got our bums on seats,” it all fell into plan.
We paddled down the river in our Indian canoes,
It all seemed so instinctive,
We knew just what to do.
The scenery was fantastic, with its browns and greens and blue,
The hills rose up quite sharply and disappeared from view.
We rafted up the second day, where old gum trees had formed a bay,
Above us in a leafy glade, was dappled light and filtered shade.
There, a pretty kingfisher sat; just waiting for a silver sprat.
Along the banks were water fowl
And in the trees, a frog-mouthed owl.
Truly, this was nature at its best, where we had paused to take a rest.
Soon we were paddling on down the stream,
It seemed to me, to be a dream.
I raised my eyes up to the sky
That’s when I heard the eagles cry…
Free-ee, free-ee
They called to me
Then I thought in Aborigine…Mee-bun-bia (where eagles fly)
Where eagles fly, then why can’t I?
I bent my head, and said a prayer,
My body felt as light as air.
A rushing gust of wind swept by, it sucked me up into the sky,
Up above the world so high,
Like an eagle in the sky, and there was I; and I could fly!
I cried “Mee-bunn-bia, the air is clear” ; Mee-bunn-bia, I have no fear!”
I cried out “free-ee!!…” and spread my wings in ecstacy.
I wheeled and reeled and heeled and squealed;
“Free-ee, free-ee, now I can see!!”
If I can see then , so can you
And now I will tell you what to do;
You don’t give up, you don’t give in!
Keep on smiling – wear a grin.
Take a deep breath….say a prayer, before you know it,
You’ll be there.
Yes, a special kind of magic happened on that river run,
When Mee-bun-bia and Headway joined together for some fun.
Next time we pack-n-paddle, we will plan and we will prepare;
And you can tell’em down the Murray; you can tell-em we’ll be there.

By John Tilley



If you would like to invest in our ‘Peace Garden’ please consider placing an order for a pack of greeting cards or posters. Contact Ali for more info on postage and printing costs.


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