HeatherAsh Amara answers the question:

What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?


This was such a hard question, but when I really tracked back through my life, at all the kindness and the beauty that I've experienced from people, I really settled on an experience I had with my mentor and my dear friend, don Miguel Ruiz, which was him kicking us all out.

So here's the story. So I started working with don Miguel in 1994, had a dream about him, and then over the next six years really, really intensely studied with him, and was incredibly dedicated to the work and to learning as much as I can, and learning to teach. In 1999, a group of all the teachers went to Egypt, and it was a really incredible trip, because it was the first time any of us had traveled to Egypt together, and we traveled all over the place together. But this was the first time that we had gone to Egypt.

And it was also the first time that Miguel had called together his senior teachers. And so, about four or five days into the Egypt trip, he brought us back into what they call the Holiest of the Holies, this incredibly sacred spot. And he made the announcement that he was disbanding our group, and that he was setting us all free. And I was in complete shock for days after that. And I remember sitting and just being like, This can't be happening, this is my family. And I fought it for a while, and really tried to hold people together and to figure out how could we continue.

But something happened in my body. When Miguel made that announcement, it felt like something broke, not in a bad way, but like something separated inside of me. And what I knew is that I had to take the teachings out into the world, that I had to go forward on my own and integrate what I had been learning. And Miguel was incredibly supportive of that. So there were a lot of people that continued to study with him. There was another group that he started not too long after that called Dreaming, and my body was like, "Nope, you can't go." And it was such a strange thing — I was one of the most dedicated students, and suddenly I knew I couldn't continue to work with him in the same fashion.

And so I took all my energy and started the Toltec Center of Creative Intent in Berkeley, and Miguel was incredibly supportive. I remember when I had the brochure for that first Center in Berkeley, and I showed it to Miguel, and he was like, "This is really good, sweetheart. You're taking action. This is good. Keep going." So he completely encouraged me to find my own way; he was always incredibly supportive and loving, and also let me make mistakes... let me figure it out as I went along. He never questioned my decision to not go into this particular dreaming circle. He always trusted that I was doing what was right for me, and he always welcomed me back with open arms.

And I think that was one of the biggest shifts in our relationship is that, when you're around somebody who's completely unconditionally loving, for me... when I would be in relationship with Miguel, whenever I would see Miguel, when I first started working with him, there was always a sense of fear and awkwardness, and not wanting him to see me because I knew he could see through everything. And so it felt really vulnerable to be around him.

And after I went off on my own and started teaching more seriously and opened the Center, probably a couple of years after that, I found Miguel. I was in Las Vegas and Miguel happened to be in Las Vegas as well. So I went to see him and it was some... I don't remember what event it was, he was hanging out with a bunch of people, and I just went and sat in front of him and looked into his eyes and held his hands and just said, "Thank you." And there was no fear. There was no need to withhold myself or to feel... I don't even know how to explain it. I just felt wide open, and love — I just felt immense love for him.

And that gift of him letting me find my way and come back again, to be equals, to really respect who he will always be in my life as that incredible mentor, but that he also gave me the spaciousness to go out and find my own feet, to find my own capacity to love, and then be able to mirror and see that reflected in his eyes from that experience. So I would say that was definitely one of the kindest things, the nicest thing that anyone has done for me — is give me my freedom and still be present for when I came back to share what I had learned.

A leader in mindfulness and empowerment, HeatherAsh Amara is the author of the bestselling book Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be... The Seven Secrets to Happy and Healthy Relationships with don Miguel Ruiz... and the newly released The Warrior Heart Practice: A Simple Process to Transform Confusion into Clarity and Pain into Peace.

The heart of HeatherAsh's teachings stems from her long Toltec apprenticeship and teaching partnership with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, and her teaching partnership with the Ruiz family. 

In 2001, after studying under Ruiz, HeatherAsh founded Toci — The Toltec Center of Creative Intent, a non-denominational religious organization based in the wisdom of the Toltec and The Four Agreements

Over the past 30 years, she’s taught workshops and apprenticeships and trained teachers. She now travels the world working with people to integrate the wisdom of the ancients into their modern lives.

Click here to visit HeatherAsh’s website.

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This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 3: Ancestral Healing Summit