Since its publication a short time ago, HeatherAsh Amara's Warrior Goddess Training has become much more than just a bookits ten lessons have inspired thousands of women around the world to reclaim their power, their passion, and their freedom. In this much anticipated follow-up, The Warrior Goddess Way, Amara goes deeper, revealing three additional pillars of Warrior Goddess living that readers can apply to travel further down this sacred path: Wisdom, Authenticity, and Yes!
- • Wisdom arises naturally when we learn to listen. Not to the voices in our head, but the voices in our cells, our natural discernment, and our creative knowing.
- • Authenticity is embracing your vulnerability, your silliness, and owning all your superpowers. It's accepting and loving what is, not what "should be."
- • Yes! is about celebrating everything. All the time. (Even your greatest defeats.)
In exploring these three pillars, Amara delves into topics such as forgiveness, relationships, and finding your inner stillness. You will learn the art of maintaining emotional balance, cultivating self-respect, practicing heartfelt communication, and the power of consciously embracing life's beginnings and endings. Like Warrior Goddess Training, this book is packed full of exercises and explorations designed to help you integrate the Warrior Goddess Way into your everyday life.
You CAN learn to enjoy everything you do. Your potential for dancing through life is waiting to be awakened. Live the Warrior Goddess Way and claim the woman you are destined to be.
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The Warrior Goddess Way
Claiming the Woman You Are Destined to Be
By HeatherAsh Amara
Hierophant PublishingCopyright © 2016 HeatherAsh Amara
All rights reserved.
The Wisdom of Presence
Common sense dictates that we evaluate our beliefs on the basis of how they affect us. If they make us more loving, creative, and wise, they are good beliefs. If they make us cruel, jealous, depressed, and sick, they cannot be good beliefs or memes.
— Barbara Marx Hubbard
The center point of the Warrior Goddess Way stems from an invaluable inner treasure: a conscious commitment to loving and respecting your beautiful self, without conditions or exceptions. Here is where you make a stand, saying to all of creation: "I am willing to show up for myself 100 percent, in this moment, in this place. I mark my intent to stand firm in the present, to release both the regret of the past and any fear of the future, and to honor what is true and best for me in the Now."
I have found again and again that we have to relinquish hoping, wishing, and wanting things to be different in order to show up for ourselves fully. This end to wanting things to be different can be transformed into a commitment to love yourself for who you are, without judgment, comparison, or avoidance. This is the Warrior Goddess Way. When you can say, "This is who I am now" from a place of presence and loving assessment, you reclaim your power to choose who you want to be and who you want to become.
It seems like a bit of a paradox to say, "To change who I am, I begin by accepting myself for who I am now." Most of us have worked from the self-rejection model of transformation, which says, "To change who I am, I need to punish myself for who I am now."
Take a moment to notice the energetic difference between these two statements. Say them out loud one at a time, and then close your eyes and notice how they resonate inside of you.
"To change who I am, I need to punish myself for who I am now."
"To change who I am, I begin by accepting myself for who I am now."
What do you feel when you speak each of these sentences aloud? For me, when I say that I need to punish myself for who I am now, it's as if I can feel my body contract, and a sense of hopelessness overwhelms me; but when I make the statement that change begins with acceptance, it's as if a deep, relaxing energy envelops me.
It's understandable why so many of us adopted the "self-rejection is necessary to change" model. If you look around the world today, the flawed idea that change begins with self-punishment is presented as fact in many instances. This is especially true for women, who are ridiculed if their bodies don't look a certain way (social media has provided the latest outlet for this type of misogynist behavior) or if they behave in a manner that is considered "unladylike."
The messages we receive as women are impossible to live up to. Be nice. Be bold. Be sexy. Be virginal. Take care of everyone else; you are not important. Be supermom. Be everything your partner wants you to be. Be yourself, but don't be selfish. Don't rock the boat. Don't offend others. Hide your femininity or you'll be harassed. Be feminine or you are not really a woman. All that matters is how you look. Based on these deprecating and contradictory messages, it's no wonder so many of us begin to self-scold because we feel we are not enough or we are not doing it "right."
As a result, bringing total and complete acceptance of where you are right now can be one of the most difficult changes to make. But the difference you will feel when you live your life accordingly is radical. Acceptance gently opens the door of creative healing and possibility, whereas punishment closes the door with an angry slam.
I should know, because I used to slam internal doors a lot. I acted more like a resentful drill sergeant than a loving friend to myself. The harsh commands of "you should," "you must," and "you have to" echoed through my mind as I struggled to keep up what I thought it meant to be a "good girl."
This desire to be seen as "good" that plagues so many women often starts when we are very young. At seven years old I remember posing for a photograph and trying to arrange myself so I would be seen as a good girl, which in my mind meant quiet, sweet, small, and pleasing to others. I have no idea where I picked these thoughts up — probably from fairy tales and TV shows and the invisible threads of agreements handed down silently through the experiences of my female ancestors. I didn't want to be myself. I wanted to be the little girl everyone loves all the time. And so I developed a habit of trying and failing to live up to an impossible standard, which meant I was disappointed in myself all the time.
But after years of living from this place of self-judgment and self-punishment, I noticed that nothing really changed in my life. I kept ending up in the same situations, relationships, and drama, and I didn't feel happy or fulfilled much of the time. This suffering brought me to an epiphany: real and lasting change cannot be accomplished via self-punishment. And it was when I experienced this realization that I looked my inner drill sergeant in the eye and handed in my resignation. I was ready to trust that there was a better way to grow than through self-pummeling. In that moment, I made an inner commitment to show up for myself with gratitude and love, rather than with judgment, punishment, and the inner anguish and frustration that accompanies this self-berating habit.
Showing up for yourself begins with letting go of being "good" or "perfect" and accepting where you are now, wherever that happens to be. And this is something that I can tell you from personal experience is much easier said than done. Most of us do pretty well when it comes to accepting the things we like about ourselves, but this changes pretty quickly when it comes to the things we don't like. In my own case, it took more time and inner work to fully befriend myself and to learn to witness rather than to scold myself when I come across areas where I want to make changes. That being said, I can affirm that it was worth all the time and hard labor to uncover and give myself the gift of self-love.
Self-love can sometimes be confused with narcissism or self-centered egotism, so let me take a moment to further define what I mean by this term. Self-love is an action, and you practice it every time you look within yourself, listen to your heart, and honor what you hear. This does not mean you don't give care or concern to the feelings and opinions of others, but it has been my experience that most women don't have a problem in the area of being considerate of others. The problem is that many women I know have a tendency to go too far in that direction, putting the needs of others ahead of their own, and when we do this, we aren't being considerate of ourselves. Self-love is what allows you to bring balance to your life and your world. You honor your own needs, desires, and choices, giving them at least as much attention as you would those who are close to you.
When Do You Reject and Punish Yourself?
Self-love and self-rejection can't occupy the same space at the same time, so showing up for and loving yourself in every moment means identifying, acknowledging, and releasing the areas that you are still subtly (or not so subtly) beating yourself up for. As you learn to spot and release these negative thoughts the moment they arise, your life becomes immensely more enjoyable, as you are no longer inhibited by false beliefs about what it means to be the real you.
In Warrior Goddess Training, I covered many of the overt ways in which we reject and punish ourselves — for instance, when we look in the mirror and criticize ourselves for what we see, or when we try so hard to make another person happy at our own expense, or when an intimate relationship ends and we judge ourselves as being undesirable, flawed, or even unlovable.
Even after we are firmly planted on the Warrior Goddess path, these harsh voices can still come up from time to time. But they are also easier to recognize. This doesn't mean they are easy to release, but they are often the judgments that we deal with first once we begin this inner work, because they scream the loudest.
In addition to spotting and releasing your severest judgments, the Warrior Goddess Way is about going deeper, seeing the judgments that, although subtler, can be just as harmful to your inner peace. Like when you punish yourself for making a simple mistake, or internally compare yourself to someone else and then judge yourself as inadequate (or superior, which is actually a setup for feeling inadequate in the future). As Sophie recently wrote me,
I've been working toward being more compassionate and patient with myself. For a small mistake, eating that extra cookie, or forgetting someone's name, I can just get so hard on myself and scold myself internally — until I catch myself, take a step back, reevaluate the situation and the severity of the perceived offense, and calm myself down.
Another one of my students, I'll call her Tanya, has struggled with that subtle but nagging belief that she is not beautiful enough, feminine enough, or smart enough to be loved by another in a deeply intimate way. She turned to drugs and alcohol and food addiction when she was young to drown out these voices, which of course did not work and only created more self-hatred. After years of recovery, she realized that she may have stopped the external addictions, but her addiction to comparing herself to other women and binging on self-criticism was running rampant. One day she showed up for class beaming and literally jumping up and down.
HeatherAsh, I finally understand what you have been saying! I have to accept myself first. I've spent my whole life feeling rejected and believing that I was so flawed as a woman no one could even look at me, much less love me. But that was all me rejecting myself. Yesterday I looked in the mirror and started to judge myself and I was able to stop and just say hello! I accepted this is the body I have, and I chose to love it rather than hate it. I know I still have a ways to go, but this is a new era!
If we are unaware, all the little ways in which we don't accept ourselves can act like the low hum of a refrigerator, continuously buzzing in the background but rarely, if ever, noticed. It is only when we turn to face the noise of our inner negative buzz with compassion and presence that we can see and finally spot and release the damage that we are doing to ourselves, day in and day out.
As women, many of our subtle self-judgments can also be related to the quest for perfectionism, as the messages we hear in society encourage us to be the perfect wife, daughter, friend, boss, mom. The image of perfection for a woman used to be wearing pearls and heels while vacuuming the house and having dinner on the table and a big smile when her kids and husband came home. The modern image of perfection for a woman now involves having a fulfilling and interesting career, being a great soccer mom who does everything for her kids, and doing yoga four days a week in her spare time. The standards we hold ourselves and each other to are so high they make us believe we are never good enough, no matter how much we are doing.
It's interesting that most women I know will readily shake their heads in agreement with the statements "no one's perfect" or "we all make mistakes," yet when it comes to ourselves we have difficulty applying this eternal truth.
And yes, I am writing from personal experience, as I catch myself doing this very thing. Anytime I notice myself utter any variation of the word should, either out loud or in my head, that's my cue to pay close attention to my thoughts, because I am often not accepting who and where I am in the present moment, but instead scolding myself for not being the way I think I "should" be. Present moment acceptance, in each and every moment, is the first step in showing up for yourself. Learning to spot, identify, and release any ways in which you are subtly self-judging or self-punishing is the key to this acceptance. As I explored my "shoulds," I also noticed that at times instead of using the word should I was using its close cousins, if and would, because these subtly helped me create a list of conditions that I felt I needed to live up to at all times. Then, I would internally punish myself for not doing so.
In this way, I was making the positive practices and trans-formative tools of being a Warrior Goddess into whips that could be used for self-scolding. Here are some examples of what I caught myself thinking:
* If I were a good Warrior Goddess, I would be loving and peaceful all the time.
* As a good Warrior Goddess, I should never get triggered and react emotionally.
* If I were a good Warrior Goddess, I would never be afraid.
Consequently, when moments arose where I felt afraid of what people thought of me, got triggered and reacted emotionally, or otherwise behaved less than loving and peaceful at all times, I would begin to beat myself up internally. One day I caught myself doing this, and it suddenly occurred to me that I had transformed the Warrior Goddess principles into tools to self-flagellate. Oh, the irony of it all!
Of course, I know from talking with others that I am not alone. Many women I have worked with have consciously or unconsciously created a list of perfections that is based on what's important to them as individuals. Think about your own life for a moment. Do you have a list of perfect ideals you try to live up to? Perhaps it's a list of Warrior Goddess perfections like mine, or maybe you can relate to some of the examples from women I have worked with:
*If I were a good mother, I would never lose my temper with my children.
* If I were a good boss/employee/coworker, I would never miss a goal or deadline.
* If I were a good wife or partner, I would always be able to make my partner happy.
* If I were a good woman, I wouldn't weigh as much as I do.
* If I were a good friend, I'd always be available.
* If I were a good daughter, I would let my mom live with us even though we don't get along at all.
* If I were a good female, I would always be attractive and pleasing.
* If I were a good Warrior Goddess, I'd be a lot more courageous.
* As a single mother, I should be strong enough to meet all my kids' needs for both myself and their father.
* If I were a worthy partner, I should be able to find a compatible mate.
Take a moment to make a list of your perfection ideals and how you judge yourself when you fall short of them. Notice how beliefs such as these set the stage for the old model of "To change who I am, I need to punish myself for who I am now."
Next, I want you to say this statement out loud: "No one is perfect, including me!" Feel the energy of self-love and self-acceptance when you do so. You can also say, "Everyone is perfect, including me!" because in truth these statements are saying the same thing, as we are all perfectly imperfect. Both statements acknowledge the same truth from different perspectives, like when two people see the same event from opposite sides of the room. Both are true, depending on how you look at them. Which one feels better to you?
The belief that "self-punishment is necessary to change" is so strong that it takes a lot of Warrior Goddess concentration to notice all the ways in which you self-judge or otherwise hold yourself to an impossible standard. We will come back to this a little later in this chapter (and look at how to rewrite your list!), but first let's take a deeper look at the apparatus that makes all of these judgments possible.
The Mind and You
Have you ever noticed that the only place you experience a self-judgment, self-punishment, and any other lack of self-love is in your mind? In other words, your nose does not judge you, your thighs do not judge you, and your hips don't judge you either. On the contrary, your entire body is supporting you, even when you treat it unkindly. In this way, it's more accurate to say that your body loves you unconditionally.
But that's not the case for your mind, is it?
All of your judgments are thoughts, nothing more. So the problem isn't in your body; it's in your thinking. While the distinction that your mind is the only place that judgment can arise may seem fairly obvious, the implications of realizing this are often overlooked. That's because the thinking mind is held in such high regard in our culture that many of us associate who we really are with the mind rather than contemplating the true immensity of ourselves, of which the mind is just a part.
Many ancient cultures and wisdom traditions understood this, and that's why they use the heart as the physical place-holder where the real you resides rather than the mind. Of course, even the heart is just a metaphor, but it does serve as a good substitute or "re-minder" that the real you is so much more than the mind can understand.
The reality is that your mind is not the entire you, but only a part of you. Despite its insistence to the contrary, your mind cannot contain, describe, or fully understand who you are at the deepest level. Your mind has only a teeny, tiny, itsy-bitsy grasp of one aspect of who you are. And not only that, it doesn't do a very good job of describing you accurately, since it often thinks you should be something else. In this way, it's like the mind has a huge handicap, because it cannot understand the totality of you.
Excerpted from The Warrior Goddess Way by HeatherAsh Amara. Copyright © 2016 HeatherAsh Amara. Excerpted by permission of Hierophant Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Warrior Goddess Creed xiv
Part 1 Wisdom
1 Die Wisdom of Presence 3
2 The Wisdom of Stories 21
3 The Wisdom of Forgiveness 37
4 The Wisdom of Apology 55
Part 2 Authenticity
5 Authentic Respect 73
6 Authentic Stillness 89
7 Authentic Awareness 111
Part 3 Yes!
8 Yes! Cleaning and Maintaining the Home of You 135
9 Yes! Relationships 153
10 Yes! Opening to the Endings 173
Afterword: Homecoming and Coming Home 189
Further Resources 199