S&H Staff Writer Julie Peters sits down with author HeatherAsh Amara to explore meditation, self-abandonment, and how women should embrace the warrior goddess within.
HeatherAsh Amara is a spiritual teacher who has worked closely with Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements. She is also the author of The Toltec Path of Transformation and Warrior Goddess Training. Warrior Goddess Way, which was published by Hierophant Publishing in 2016, is full of encouragement for women who want to find a path of courage and integrity.
S&H: In your book, you discuss the concept of ‘ripeness’ when it comes to stories about our lives, forgiveness, and other concepts. What is ripeness in this sense? How do we know when a particular story about ourselves or our lives is ripe?
HeatherAsh Amara: Ripeness explains when something we want to shift in our lives is at that ideal stage. When a fruit is unripe, it isn’t ready to be eaten; if we try to eat it, it is often bitter, hard, and not at all enjoyable. The same can be said for our personal issues. We may want something to shift and change, but if it isn’t ripe and we try to force the process, it can be bitter, hard, and not enjoyable!
However, when something is ripe, it is ready to transition; you are ready for change and you don’t have to force the process. You’ll know if something is ripe if you’re able to think about the shift without any judgment—about how it should happen or what the outcome should be—and whether you are “getting it right.” It’s not about getting things right or wrong. If this is still your thought process, then you are still judging yourself and emotionally attached to the situation. When you are able to look at a situation from a neutral perspective with openness to the outcome, then it is ripe and you are ready to shift it.
When you talk about self-acceptance, you also talk about self-abandonment. Can you tell us more about self-abandonment? What are some signs we are in it?
As women, we often abandon ourselves. One of the most common ways I see women abandon themselves is when they let their own wants and desires take a back seat to another person’s. Women are brought up in society to be pleasing, nurturing, and supportive. This often takes the shape of saying ‘yes’ when we want to say ‘no.’
There are many ways we abandon ourselves. Some signs that you may be abandoning yourself can be things as simple as helping others at the expense of your own self-care (something moms are experts at); suppressing your own feelings and needs in order to maintain a nonconfrontational environment; not speaking up when you actually have something to say; and diminishing your own importance in this world. When women do these things, they are abandoning themselves in favor of another. Whether it is to their partner, family, work, religion, or society at large, they are not bringing forth the wholeness of who they are and that is a loss for all of us.
Talk about the difference between self-importance and self-deprecation and how respect can help us find a middle ground.
While they might seem like they are in opposition, self-importance and self-deprecation are two sides of the same coin. We can usually easily see self-importance and respond that it isn’t something we want to emulate. But, self-deprecation basically says, ‘I’m the most important at being unimportant.’ It’s the same; they are both the extreme and neither are true.
Many people think meditation is a very difficult practice that requires suffering and discipline above all else. I loved the perspective in your book that meditation should fundamentally be pleasurable, especially for women. How can meditation be pleasurable and why is that important?
People often associate meditation with discipline—it conjures up images of devoted monks sitting in silence for hours on end. While this can be one form of meditation, it isn’t really what we do in our day-to-day lives. Meditation can be fun. Meditation can be anything that you bring your heart, your love, your presence, and your mindfulness to. Meditation can be as soothing as vacuuming a carpet while you embrace the rhythm of the back-and-forth, the hum of the machine, the energy of cleansing, and the pleasure of being fully in a simple moment. Meditation can be grocery shopping and mindfully sending love to all those you pass as you walk the aisles.
In our fast-paced, hectic world, it’s important to find what kind of meditation works for you. It can be the quiet sitting on the cushion with the incense burning; it can be a beautiful ritual we make out of a regular routine; or it can be as simple as five minutes of fully present love and opening to nature. Whatever meditation is for each woman, it is nourishing and rejuvenating and she can have that each and every day—even if she doesn’t have a quiet hour to sit in stillness.
More from HeatherAsh on how to embrace the warrior goddess way.