In this Episode
- [02:11]HeatherAsh Amara shares her struggles with fitting in and finding her place in the world, leading her to explore spiritual traditions and connect with her roots.
- [07:35]HeatherAsh reflects on the importance of embracing darkness and death in life and finding resilience and connection to nature through earth-based spiritual traditions.
- [10:29]Stephan asks HeatherAsh about her ability to perceive the land’s desires and the messages the Creator may impart.
- [16:27]HeatherAsh explains her perspective on the importance of balance and connection to the earth.
- [18:35]Stephan emphasizes the importance of deep listening, prompting HeatherAsh to discuss the need to let go of preconceived notions and beliefs to truly listen to the land.
- [21:37]HeatherAsh reflects on the destruction caused by a wildfire in New Mexico, acknowledging the grief and trauma it has brought while finding opportunities for growth and learning.
- [23:55]HeatherAsh connects with trees through meditation and prayer, asking for their lessons and messages.
- [27:06]HeatherAsh describes a journey to connect with the roots of the land and nourish them, allowing growth to happen without knowing the outcome.
- [32:14]HeatherAsh explains the importance of embracing all aspects of ourselves, including finding unconditional love and remembering true identity.
- [37:36]HeatherAsh talks about a practice she created called The Warrior Heart practice.
- [43:23]Stephan shares his experience with a transformative process, using Antifragile to describe his growth and resilience.
HeatherAsh, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Thanks, Stephan. It’s so good to be here.
If you could share a bit of your origin story, how did you become so interested in open-heartedness, stillness, native traditions, and things like that?
I had an unusual childhood, and my parents, sister, and I moved around the world. Pretty much every two years, we would move someplace new. Every summer, my parents would take me and my sister someplace to visit—Europe, India, Nepal, and Egypt.
When I was seven years old, I had an experience that changed the trajectory of my life. While walking in India with my family, I remember holding my father’s hand and thinking about my white shoes because I was worried my white shoes would get dirty. So that’s where my head was.
I remember I looked up, and a seven-year-old girl was walking towards me, rags, and bare feet, and we were about the same height. As we came close to each other, our eyes locked, and everything else in the world fell away. And I fell completely in love and realized that the illusion of separation, of different cultures or life, had just dissolved, and my heart completely opened to this connection.
We passed, and I, of course, never saw her again, but I then had this knowing in my bones that I was really fed by being raised in Buddhist culture. I mostly spent my childhood in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore. Seeing people praying every day to the trees doing movement practice, I always felt on the outside, but I always wanted to be on the inside.
When I came to the United States to go to college, I started studying different spiritual traditions. That opened the world of like, “Ah, this is what I’ve been looking for.” It’s that connection to nature, the cycles, and the divine.
Wow, amazing. The seven-year-old girl, have you ever tried to communicate with her telepathically or through some sort of soul connection? She’d be your same age now if she’s still on the Earth plane. Have you tried connecting to her?
I haven’t tried journeying, it’s such a great idea, although I feel her all the time in my heart. I feel like she’s a portal, and I hope I’m a portal in her life to open into that place of connection.Glimpses into other dimensions can teach us about life. Click To Tweet
If you can connect with your future self telepathically and get advice from the 10-year older version of you on how to deal with certain challenges you’re facing, imagine what you could learn and experience through connecting with her. It sounds like you guys are probably a soul family, even though you only saw her that one time. It’s probably not the first time you’ve seen or experienced her beyond this incarnation. It’s my guess, but you tell me. What does your intuition tell you?
Yeah, I think that is probably true. I think all of us have those glimpses into other dimensions and understandings and that when we remember them, they can always be guides for us. I think that’s so true.
My grandmother, who was very spiritual, committed suicide when she was 40. I never knew that growing up because my parents never talked about it. It was really very traumatic.
When I learned what happened, I journeyed to meet with her. That connection still supports me. Like the amount of love and support and wisdom that is bridged from someone I never met, but it’s such a huge part of my life. I love all those invisible threads in the world around us.
The unseen world is more real than the seen world. The experiences you’ve had with your grandmother, do you feel that she is resolved about the suicide? If all the karmic debt, for lack of a better word, has been paid up on the suicide? Because that’s pretty serious business to commit suicide.
Yeah, I feel like she feels very clear in terms of understanding that the time that she was in was not in alignment with who she was. There was a lot of rigidity, and she tried to fit herself into something that never fit her. I always feel that clarity from her. She didn’t have the support to see beyond, I suppose, to fit in.
Do you ever feel that way yourself?
I used to, for sure. Especially when I was in college, I got really big into politics. I had this feeling or sense that I was going to fight for what was right and put a lot of energy into trying to fit into what I felt was the place to put my energy.
I remember the time when I looked around, I was like, “Okay, wait a minute. All of us are angry. All my friends are angry, I’m angry, and nothing’s changing. I don’t fit here.” That was really when I started looking into that connection to the Spirit and the divine and studying different spiritual traditions from around the world. When I started reading about European shamanism, my family background is French and Scottish, I was like, “Oh, this is my roots.”
Give us a taste of what European shamanism entails.
It’s around being in tune with the cycles and the seasons. In Western culture, we tend to be very linear. We tend to be very “if you just do A, B, and C, you’ll get to D.” What that often doesn’t take into account is life. That life is very unpredictable, and it’s mysterious.
For me, when I started studying nature cycles, I really understood that there’s birth and there is death—death is a beautiful, important part of life. And really starting to embrace darkness as well as light instead of creating the duality of this is good, this is bad, nature, traditions, and all religions, we can go back to earth-based spiritual traditions. There’s this coming home to letting everything be a teacher, letting life be our teacher, letting the trees, the plants, and the seasons.
For me, it really taught me how to be very resilient, rooted in my relationship with life, expect the unexpected, and learn how to play with what’s happening. I always tell people that I work with, the community that we have, you can use everything against yourself or use anything to open your heart to be more present, no matter how difficult it is. That’s really one of the big messages of coming back into a relationship with the elements, the seasons, and the cycles.
Right, and then Native American traditions. There’s a lot that you take from that and apply in your spiritual practices and working with your clients, I imagine, right?
There’s this coming home to letting everything be our teacher.
Similar, yes. Again, all earth-based traditions, whether it’s indigenous to the Americas or to Europe, have the foundation of that deep respect for life, death, and connection to the ancestors.
Since I live now in the Americas, I’m very connected to the land where I live. I live in New Mexico. I’m really blessed to steward 180 acres of land that is magnificent. We just lost 175 acres of that land to the wildfire that came through New Mexico last year.
I’m sorry to hear that.
Yeah, it’s been challenging and also beautiful because I’m like, “Alright, frontlines.” We’re navigating so much change. I committed to steward and be present for this land. How do I show up with what it needs now rather than what I wish it was or what I remember it was?
For sure, there’s been a lot of grief this year. Now that it’s been eight months, there’s an opening into, “Okay, what does the land need? And how can we serve and support the new creation that wants to be here?”
Do you get a sense of what the land wants from you or what the Creator is presenting you as the gift or the lesson?Embrace the beautiful dance of life's cycles, where birth and death intertwine, and find harmony in the unity of darkness and light. Click To Tweet
Definitely a piece of, which is what the land has always taught me, is just to slow down and listen. So far, the listening has been just slow. One of the things that’s interesting is even though we lost so much of the forest, the firefighters managed to save and build an adobe building over the pandemic. The community came together, built this community kitchen, and we were able to evacuate the yurt that we had up there.
The infrastructure was all saved in this little island of green trees. For me, that message was, “Yes, we want you to stay and take your time regenerating.” It put me on an amazing path of learning about regeneration, mushrooms, and mycelium. The land’s been like, “Yes, let’s keep going. This is going to be a slow process.” It’s such a good teacher.
She’s no longer in the physical. She passed in 2015 or something like that. The books she’s written, the seminars she’s presented, and all the stuff you find on YouTube are phenomenal. It’s just phenomenal.
She was a hypnotherapist, but she specialized in accessing the subconscious or the unified field, another way of referring to it. Through these deep hypnosis sessions, she would access her clients’ subconscious. She’d have conversations with them and find out why her clients are put into this particular situation and what past life traumas or scenarios are relevant. She started to delve into the time between lives and what it’s like to be back home on the other side of the veil. It’s just fascinating.
We’re navigating so much change.
The story I want to share with you that I recently heard because I’m listening to the audiobook, and it relates to what happened with you and the wildfires. There is this entire planet. Sometimes, we incarnate as aliens, and there’s this entire planet that is covered by this one kind of tree. The bark of the tree was edible, and the bark would fall off of the tree and end up on the floor of the planet. That was just a normal process.
The sentient creature that this woman, the client of Dolores incarnated as in this lifetime, was one of these creatures. It was the only creature on the planet. The only tree on the planet or the only plant life was this tree that they would eat the bark of, and that’s how they survived.
As this creature would lay eggs, those eggs would be fertilized by the male, and each male would have maybe some number of females in her tribe or whatever you’d call it. There were 20 females and one male. He was a very strong male, so he was able to protect his territory.
What happened was the other males would compete with each other for territory, they’d fight, and they would try and get more and more females. It became very unsustainable. The creatures would eat the bark directly off the trees, not just off the floor of the forest, which would kill the trees.
The male of this pack of 20, that she was a part of, was wise. He knew that he couldn’t have any more than 20. That was the maximum. He had to protect his territory, and they could not eat off of the trees themselves. They had only eaten the bark off the floor.
Fast forward to an important date because she has them do that in the process of hypnosis. It was pretty much the same thing day after day. Eat the bark off the floor, lay eggs, raise the babies, and don’t leave too much of a footprint there, as that would end up killing off your food supply.
Fast forward. I don’t know how many years it was, but she was still in that tribe. The whole planet was dead, except for this little area that was the territory of that one male. All the other creatures of that species are dead. All of the trees are gone. Just this one little patch and the entire planet were dead.
The lesson from this is, because this is important, why was this lifetime presented and shown where you could have thousands of lifetimes? This was the one that was brought forth in the hypnosis session. The reason was because it’s all about balance. For you, maybe the lesson relates to this story that I just shared about balance. Do you know the term Koyaanisqatsi?
Life is out of balance, and that’s happening all around us. We can’t save everybody. We can’t take everybody with us as we ascend to the fifth dimension or whatever you believe about how this works. Some people choose to stay behind, and some people choose to stay in the dark. They’re going to be in the group that is on the dead part of the planet or whatever the metaphor is that you want to choose, but it feels like this is relevant to you.
That movie, by the way, Koyaanisqatsi, which is many years old now, is a fabulous documentary of how out of balance most of society is. What are your thoughts on all that that I just shared? I didn’t mean to go on this diatribe about this little thing. I listened to it the other day in the audiobook.
It does feel like we are, of course, very out of balance. That’s part of why I chose to have a piece of property that’s off-grid, and that is built by hand. Healing happens when we reconnect with the earth and learn how to listen. How do we rebuild from the roots up? We, as Westerners, so much want to say, “Let’s just grow stuff, and let’s do more scientific ways to grow things,” without having an understanding of the cycles of life. We are so fast and want everything to happen right now.
This idea of optimization for me is that if I put my awareness in building my roots so that I’m sustainable and that I’m well-grounded where I’m at, and I’m such a nomad but I’m well grounded wherever I happen to be, that then what grows as sustainable.
Healing happens when we reconnect with the earth and learn how to listen.
I feel like with the land right now, I’m getting this really important lesson. In the 70s, the Boy Scouts had come through and planted one kind of tree. Similar to your story, there were ponderosa pines planted too close together. Part of why the wildfire was so bad is that the trees were too close together. They were mono-cropped, basically.
Now, to really look at how to create diversity, and I think this is such an important lesson for all of us, is that in places where we’re trying to be too efficient, we can lose the value of creating diversity in the landscapes that we’re in and in our lives. That part of learning how to be resilient is having a lot of different tools and a lot of different ways that we’re connecting with ourselves, with our communities, with the land where we live on, and learning how to really build from the roots up. That’s been my journey.
As an analogy here that I think is appropriate, men need to learn how to really listen to the women in their lives because men are wired differently from women, generally speaking, in terms of men like to fix things. Again, in general, it is overly broad. But if we instead focus on listening so that the woman feels heard, let’s say it’s his wife, then the need to fix goes away, and she can solve her own problem. She just wants to feel heard and understood.
The best example of this I can think of is a funny YouTube clip that’s called It’s Not About the Nail. I don’t know if you have ever seen that clip before.
Yes, that is a great clip.
That’s hilarious. That is applicable to this idea of listening instead of trying to fix everything. Because the Boy Scouts came in without listening, they didn’t listen to the land. They didn’t listen to the still, small voice. They just went and planted mono-crops to fix.
Exactly. I have people that are like, “Okay, we’ll go in, and we’ll replant everything.” And yet, we’re in a different time. It may be that the ponderosa forests aren’t sustainable any longer because of climate change. That’s the deep listening of letting go of what I think should be there or what has been there to really listen to what wants to be here now.
As humans, we get to learn how to have that deep intuitive slowing down, going into the roots, connecting to our ancestors, connecting to the land, and listening to what’s next. What’s my next step? So much of the work that I do is around letting go of the concepts, the beliefs, and the agreements of how it should be that we need to fix it and really tune into what’s here now.
In places where we’re trying to be too efficient, we can lose the value of creating diversity in the landscapes that we’re in.
If this had been fixed before the wildfire had been implemented, or let’s put a diversity of trees in place instead, it would not have necessitated chopping down all the pine trees. That would have been a huge deal to implement, correct?
There had already been a wildfire that had come through in the 70s. They had a blank slate then, as well as we do now.
Right. Let’s say it was a year ago we were having this conversation. They were thinking, “Let’s start over. How do we fix things or address this issue of the mono-crop, the trees too close together, and lack of diversity?” This actually was a gift, maybe in disguise, the wildfire that wiped all those trees out.
It’s definitely an opportunity.
It’s hard, though, when you see the destruction, and you’ve experienced it firsthand. You went through that trauma. You’re probably still grieving, I would imagine.
Definitely. It’s ongoing. I think grief is something that unfolds in its own time. It’s an immediate grief of so much loss. It wasn’t just me, it was my entire community. It’s the biggest wildfire in New Mexico. There are multiple generations of indigenous people who lived in the land and lost everything. There’s a big community trauma that happened.
It’s so funny with grief because people were like, “Oh, well, it’ll grow back.” I’m like, “Yes, it will, but give me a moment to grieve.” People want you to move through grief quickly. I’m like, “No, it’s going to come when it comes.” You walk through the land, and you find a piece of the shinbone of a deer. It wasn’t just the forest. It was all the animals, all the bugs, and all the mycelial network. All of it was taken away.
Grief is something that unfolds in its own time.
It is part of life as well. But as we come into a relationship with the cycles, we can allow ourselves to be in grief. We can allow ourselves to be in joy, and that happens simultaneously. I have a sense of excitement of like, “Okay, I’m going to learn how to really be in a relationship with this land and what it wants now.” That’s exciting. There’s meeting incredible people and learning about really cutting-edge science that’s happening now around land regeneration that’s happening all over the planet.
The grief is also there. When I go for a walk, it’s black, and there are acres and acres of black trees. Lots of work to figure out, “How do I do this?” It definitely taught me to “I can’t fix this, but I can listen. I can be in a relationship.”
Often, when we are in that mode of fixing, we’re not in a relationship any longer. We’re in our minds, we’re in our heads. Coming back into the heart, coming back into “How can I bring my presence, my love, my intimacy, my grief, all of it into this moment with what’s needed,” and wait for the insights to come in to arise.
You said earlier that trees are our teacher. Do you regularly connect with the souls of the trees and ask them what lessons or messages they have to share with you?
I do. Previous to the wildfire, I have a fun story. When we just bought the land, I was spending time on it, and I was like, “I’m not connecting for some reason. There’s something I’m missing. I don’t know what I’m missing, but I’m missing something.” I did a bunch of meditation and spent a week up there just getting really quiet. I realized, “Oh, I need to honor and connect with each of the different types of trees on the land.”
I went and did prayers, meditations, and talked with this big mama pine tree. There’s a grandma Douglas Fir tree. Both those trees survived, which is incredible, with the Oak trees and the Juniper trees. I went and built altars and talked to them, and then everything opened. All of a sudden, the land was like, “Okay, come on in. You see us.”
When the fire happened, I could watch where the fire was—I was literally sitting in my truck. I checked, and the wildfires in my neighbor’s land. I knew it was going to come through. I just cried and cried. As I was crying, I started singing to the trees. What else do you do?
I just imagined myself there. I sang to the trees, apologized, and told them I loved them as the fire went through. Now, this is the amazing thing about the connection to the land. The trees now look like almost all of them are dead, but they’re actually picking certain trees. The dying trees are sending the resources to specific trees that they think are going to live.
That’s part of what my prayer and my connection to the land have been. It’s just helping the reorganization happen because the land has been in shock. Also, so much was devastated. It’s having to go really far to find a tree that might survive because they talk through the root systems, through mycelial networks.
There’s been trees that I was positive were dead that are coming back. I know it’s because of all the prayers from not just me but the community, the wisdom of the trees. All of that together is helping to bring things back and helping to keep the grandma tree. It’s a 400-year-old Douglas Fir at the Northwest edge of the property.
The first day that I went up to the land, I had to go see if she made it. I was walking through her crying, and I thought, “It’s completely dead.” I come around the corner, and there she is, untouched.
It’s just amazing that connection that happens when there’s deep love and respect. It doesn’t mean the wildfire doesn’t go through. The wildfire went through, but there are also miracles that happen when you have that connection to the land. They still teach me, call me, and inform me.
Yeah, miracles are everywhere. What would be an example of a journey that you might have taken that involved this trauma, the loss of the trees and different community members coming together, grieving, and working together to try and rebuild or just cope? What would be an example of a journey that you took in regard to that?
It’s just so important for us in our journeys to connect with our ancestors and the ones that have gone before us.
So many of the people that are a part of our community are online. Obviously, because of the pandemic, we couldn’t be together physically. But there was a ceremony that we did, a journey that we did, where there was a group of us that were physically on the land and had built a circle, had connected there, and called in all of the surviving trees, as well as the community. There was this beautiful journey of going into the womb, where the darkness, where gestation happens.
Part of the journey that we did was going into that womb darkness, letting ourselves connect with the roots, and opening to how we feed the roots from the pot. How do we nourish the roots from the depths of the earth and let them go up through without needing to know what’s going to happen? What’s the growth going to look like? Is it going to work by just deeply opening our hearts, feeding the soil, connecting the ancestors, and then letting that go through the land?
That’s one of the journeys that we’ve been doing is that connection into the mystery through the earth, through the ancestors, and also understanding there have been lots of people that have been part of that particular part of the planet for a long time. It’s just so important for us in our journeys to connect with our ancestors and the ones that have gone before us, as well as the ones that are coming after us.
That’s been my prayer, calling in the ones that are coming after to help teach me how to be a better human and more connected to the land as well. Ancestors and descendants are all on that healing path.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with Neale Donald Walsch. He wrote Conversations with God, and he wrote a children’s book called The Little Soul and the Sun. He’s amazing. The way he describes how we’re all candles in the sun is really poignant. We are these little beings of light who want to experience what being light is without the ability to do so because we’re in the sun.Empower yourself to learn from every experience. This acts as an opportunity for unconditional love and self-growth. Click To Tweet
God creates darkness and gives us the opportunity to experience being forgiving, unconditionally loving, and so forth by contracting his light and making room for creating darkness. And then we can light up the room, but we need somebody to forgive. So then we have other souls who agreed to be the villain in our movie and our story. We forget that that was the agreement, and they do horrible wretches to us that are unforgivable, and we completely forget the soul contracts that we had with them.
Looking at things from that perspective for a moment, I’m curious to hear how ancestors and descendants in that whole Native American and European shamanistic tradition, the native peoples type of tradition, fit into that model or that concept of us being these little candles in the sun and being supporting actors in each other’s movies.
I was really blessed to study as an apprentice for many years with Don Miguel Ruiz, who wrote The Four Agreements. One of the early teachings when I first started studying with him was this beautiful cosmology that is very similar in that each of us has a big soul. The big soul is a part of us that’s connected to life, eternity, oneness, or, we can say, the sun. That is our connection to the divine, and that goes from lifetime to lifetime, that big soul part of us.
When we incarnate, we all get a little soul. The little souls are our personality, our ego, the part of us that forgets and thinks we’re separate. Actually, when we were little, the little soul and the big soul were connected. Kids are phenomenal because of their deep love, their connection, and their joy. It’s because that little soul and big soul are still talking. There’s a bridge.
Yeah, they see angels. They hug trees. It’s magic.
Yeah, exactly. They’re just pure expressions of life and love. As we start learning language, as we start getting domesticated, we start bringing in rules and agreements of how we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to look like.
One of the things that we talk about is that, at the current time, we’re in the dream of the planets based on fear and scarcity. It’s really easy for us as we’re learning language as we’re domesticated usually from right, wrong, good, bad judgment, all those things. That creates this whole matrix, where the little soul starts looking toward the rules, the agreements, and who it’s supposed to be rather than looking to the big soul.
The beauty is that as you clean up those agreements, you come back home to the divine that’s already inside of you. It’s not outside. The trick of personal growth is sometimes we’re like, “I just have to fix myself; I just have to fix my little soul, and then everything will be better,” or make the ego go away, and then it’ll be fine.
What I’ve seen is that when we embrace all of ourselves, we embrace the little soul, the big soul, and the agreements and recognize it’s all this perfect experience for us to be free on the inside. We have all these experiences that help us remember who we really are. It becomes more of a joy than cleaning up whatever arises in our lives.
Instead of using everything against ourselves, we start using everything like, “Okay, here’s the next piece to clean up.” That place of more and more unconditional love has definitely been my experience as I’ve navigated some rough times. I come out more loving, more present, more grateful and that we all have that choice. It’s not easy, though.
The beauty is that as you clean up those agreements, you come back home to the divine that’s already inside of you.
One essential ingredient in this process, and I learned this from my Kabbalah teacher, is that one of the essential ingredients to a spiritual life is having awe and fear of the Creator. But let’s focus on awe.
You’ve talked about unconditional love. That is amazing. It’s a step beyond awe. You have to develop that deep reverence, respect, and awe for the Creator before you can get to the place of unconditional love. You can’t skip that step. If you don’t have the awe of the Creator, it’s going to be really hard for you to get to that place of unconditional love, of being unconditionally loving, which I believe to be true.
An example of experiencing awe would be to lay on the grass in the countryside at night, see the stars and the Milky Way, and just be in awe and gratitude for what the Creator has created for us. Maybe think of how infinite God is and the universe of our understanding.
What I imagine instead of going outward to the edges of the universe as I’m experiencing or trying to imagine infinity, I go in. I imagine the universe being infinitely large in my sacred heart space. Contemplating the vastness of the universe as an exercise and experiencing awe in God, I think the true infinite universe is inside of us and not outside, not out in the sky at the edges of the universe, because there are edges to that universe. There is infinity inside. What do you think about that?
Yeah, I agree. The beauty of learning how to hold ourselves in a new way so we can travel inward to find that glory, that expanse, and that connection beyond words and understanding. So often, part of that journey is learning how to sit with our emotions, be with our bodies, and open through the stories we tell ourselves to keep ourselves safe.
Part of that journey is learning how to sit with our emotions, be with our bodies, and open through the stories we tell ourselves to keep ourselves safe.
That’s one of the places that I’ve explored deeply inside of myself and with others. So often, we can’t access that deep love and reverence inside of ourselves because we’re afraid of our own emotional bodies. We’re afraid of the old emotions, the fears, and the trauma. We don’t know how to access through, or there are so many stories around not being worthy, blaming others, feeling guilty, or all the things that we can create as humans, all those energetic agreements that we create to learn how to turn, face ourselves, and be with whatever emotion is there.
To learn, to turn, and face ourselves and really look at the story I’m telling myself so that I can get to the truth and get out of the tangle. I see so many of us. We’ve really tangled and are so masterful at this. We tangled our emotional content from the past with the stories that we’re telling ourselves. It keeps us out of that sacred temple inside of us.
What would be an example of you going through that yourself?
My God, it’s such a great story. I created a process called The Warrior Heart Practice. It was something that dropped into me fully formed, talking to a friend who was really suffering from something, and then I started using it on myself.
An experience where a friend and I, for a couple of years, had been deciding if we were going to be in a relationship. We both felt very mature because we were learning how to be friends and not jumping into the relationship. It’s really a beautiful process. Then I decided one day, “I’m in, a hundred percent I’m in.” At the same time, they decided, “I’m out.”
We’re both going to Mexico. I’m waiting for this human, and I’m like, “I’m so excited, let’s do this.” The conversation goes like this, “Let’s do this, I’m in. Let’s take a week by ourselves someplace and just see what’s here.” Their response was, “Okay.” I’m like, “Oh, no, what has happened?”
What happened was, literally, on the journey to Mexico, they realized it was a no, and then they met somebody on the bus ride to where we were. I was teaching for a week. I got to teach for a week while watching these two humans fall in love. There’s a backstory to this, so there are all other things.
That was my state, where it was really difficult to show up. My heart was breaking. I went and sat and was like, “All right, sweetheart, what are you feeling?” The practice is to start with just, “What are you feeling?” without trying to fix, change, or understand, and I just felt this really deep disappointment.
And then, “What’s the story?” Then, I went into what I call the ‘story room.’ That place of sitting and just being with the disappointment and sorrow I was feeling without trying to fix or change it. I’m just letting myself be there and breathe through it. And then, looking at, “What’s the story that I’m telling myself?”
I always say, when you go into the story chamber, just let yourself see what’s there. Don’t try and make it spiritually better or be nice about it. Go into the mess. I got into a mess. There were all these agreements around men always picking younger women. “I’m never going to have another partner like my husband.” “The marriage has ended.” “I don’t want to do this anymore.” “I’m only going to get hurt.” I just sat with that.
This is the practice. What I’ve found for myself is that when we can just be with our emotional body without telling ourselves a story about it, but just let ourselves feel whatever we’re feeling and be with it with love, being with that part of us as if you were sitting with someone who is really sick or dying, just bringing your love and your presence and witness.
The same thing with the story. What’s the story? I sat and let the story just be messy and yucky. What’s the truth? What’s actually true here? What I recognized as I sat in that truth space and got really quiet as they got to choose.
They got to choose who they loved. And my whole body relaxed. It wasn’t a concept. It was like, “Ah, got it.” The next piece was I got to choose, and my heart just blasted open. It’s like, “I get to do this differently.”
The fourth chamber of the Warrior Heart Practice is intent. What do you want? What’s the one word or the quality that you want to bring forward into whatever the experience is? My word was love. That’s always what I come back to. How do I love more? How do I become more unconditional? How do I show up with deep respect for life?
The unwind for me because with the practice, you start with the feeling, you then look at what the story is, you then step into what’s true here, and then you get clarity around what your intent is, and then you go back. I went back through the process. Truth, I get to choose. They get to choose. I want to love in the situation.
The universe has crafted this so perfectly that I’m in this situation where I get to learn how to surrender, let go, and love.
It’s very different when you go back to the story chamber because you’re open to what’s here, what needs to happen, and what’s my next step. The complete reframe I got was so beautiful. “I’m getting a Ph.D. and letting go.” The universe has crafted this so perfectly that I’m in this situation where I get to really learn how to surrender, let go, and love.
When I went back to the story chamber to close, I was trying to close with what I am feeling now. I still felt disappointed. But that eventually just faded out. It allowed me to then go back and do a very difficult situation, be there from my heart, and let it help me to become more loving and present, and let go of the old stories that I’ve been carrying. That’s an example. It took about 15 minutes to get myself out of the pain that I’d been experiencing.
Wow, thank you for sharing that. What a great, powerful process you outlined here with those four chambers: the feeling, story, truth, and intent. What a different outcome, I imagine, you would have had if your intent word wasn’t love but instead was resilience.
Yeah, exactly. That’s what’s so fun about this process. Whatever word you feel will change everything about how you go forward and what choices you make.
Yeah, it’s more than a word. It’s a vibration. That vibration spreads throughout your world, not just you. It gives you the lens through which you see your life experience and the world.
One thing I learned that was really helpful, specifically about resilience as a term, is that it didn’t serve me as well as the term antifragile. I learned about antifragility from a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
When they opened the system up, what they recognized was that trees need wind to stabilize. That’s how we grow.
The explanation of it is that certain systems, such as your immune system, mother nature, and the environment, are able to not only withstand a stressor, but to actually grow from it. It’s required. It’s part of the unfolding. Your immune system never getting stressed doesn’t bode well for you. I’m not resilient. I’m antifragile. The stressors help me blossom and grow into who I’m really meant to be in this world.
So true, so beautiful. In Arizona, they created a biosphere that closed down an environment for three years. And within the environment in the first two years, all the trees grew really fast. I can imagine scientists were like, “Those are our trees.” In the third year, all the trees fell over.
When they opened the system up, what they recognized was that trees need wind to stabilize. We need pressure, like you’ve said. That’s how we grow. I always laugh now in our community. We say you are a worthy obstacle. When something happens, it’s a lot of wind. We’re like, “All right, yes, this is going to make me stronger.” Antifragile is a good word. More present. The community is so powerful.
If our listener wants to read your books, want to learn from you to a greater degree, if they want to work with you, attend one of your retreats, and you also have a community called The Circle, what’s the next step for them?
The website is warriorgoddess.com. I’m on all the social media, most of them Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Come check out what’s happening there. We always have beautiful events that are happening and ways to connect.Welcome your emotional journey without judgment or a narrative; simply be lovingly present, as you would with a vulnerable loved one. Click To Tweet
Awesome. Thank you, HeatherAsh. I really appreciate your vulnerability, candor, and wisdom, and I’m sure the listeners did.
Thank you so much. It’s an honor to be here.
Thank you, listener. It’s an honor to have you in my community and as a listener or viewer on my YouTube channel. Do something out of the ordinary that inspires people. We’ll catch you in the next episode. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.
Connect with HeatherAsh Amara
Checklist of Actionable Takeaways
Connect deeply with nature and the elements to find my balance and resilience. Spend time listening to the land.
Honor the cycles of life, death, dark and light as my teachers. I shouldn’t see these cycles as good/bad or try to avoid the difficult parts.
Allow life to be my teacher. Spend time observing and connecting with the natural world and reflect on the journeys of my ancestors. Be open to the lessons that come from simply living my life fully.
Use every situation, even painful experiences, to open my heart and practice being present.
Rebuild and heal from the roots up. After hardship or loss, resist my urge to quickly “fix” things. Instead lean on my foundations and source. Listen closely to my inner guidance.
Welcome diversity in my relationships, activities, beliefs and environments. Accept that there are many “right ways” to live.
Let go of my concepts, beliefs and agreements about how things “should” be. Tune into what is here now.
Become fully present in love, intimacy, grief, and joy. Wait for insights to arise, and have courage to completely face myself. Move through stories to find truth and clarity.
Connect to mystery through my ancestors, nature, and life cycles. Nourish my roots without needing to control the outcome.
Start my journey with HeatherAsh Amara and visit warriorgoddess.com to find a wealth of resources, including information about author-led events, retreats, books, and more.
About HeatherAsh Amara
HeatherAsh Amara is the author of the Warrior Goddess Training series, The Warrior Heart Practice, A Little Book on Big Freedom, Awaken Your Inner Fire, and co-author of The Seven Secrets to Happy, Healthy Relationships with Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. She is dedicated to inspiring depth, creativity, and joy by sharing the most potent tools from a variety of world traditions. HeatherAsh studied and taught extensively with Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, and continues to teach with the Ruiz family. Raised in Southeast Asia, HeatherAsh has traveled the world since childhood and is continually inspired by the diversity and beauty of human expression and experience. She brings this openhearted, inclusive worldview to her writings and teachings, which are a rich blend of Toltec wisdom, European shamanism, and Buddhism.
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