MEND Season 3 - Episode 50

The Ashes & The Phoenix with Heather Heintz


I hope the holidays went well for you.  I hope the conversations were life-affirming.  The food and rituals, too.

And if not… perhaps the holiday hangover left you with just enough “ick” to help seed a new way of doing things differently next year.  

A new way of crafting ritual and meaning and conjuring celebration.  

I think it’s important to remember as we move into the staid rhythm of the holidays that the traditions our mainstream, consumer-driven culture are steeped in… are only suggestions… not written in stone templates that we must follow.  

So, if the over-eating and the over-spending and the numbing out with too much booze and shopping and sugar - doesn’t really sit with you - let this be an invitation - to create something that DOES.  

But that’s not what I want to talk about with you today.

Today, I am deeply excited and honored to bring you a conversation that actually got recorded nearly a year ago.  

At the time, I was offering a small online course around the different faces of the Goddess.  Each month, we worked with the energy and mythology of a different archetype. Using each as a way to cozy up to a different aspect of our own divinity, our own depth, our own shadow.  Our own Light.

The month this talk was recorded, we were channeling the energy of the goddess Dhumavati.  A crone goddess who looks anything but. In pictures we see her seated among the ashes, her face and hands covered in soot.  We see her leaning on a delapidated, old wooden cart that has no horse. No bull. Nothing to carry it forward. We see her in rags, her face deeply lined and wearing the full marks of her age.  

What is her boon, you ask?  

Why did we choose to sit inside the metaphorical ashes with her?

What did we hope to learn?

To answer this, I invited my teacher - Heather Heintz - to come on the call.  

Heather is a long-time yogi, mama & Buddhist Chaplain, living and working on the Big Island of Hawaii.  

I first met her a decade and a half ago when I started going to her little home-built studio - Balancing Monkey - on Mohouli St - and fell in love with the practice in earnest.  

Whatever this woman had to teach I wanted to learn.

Years after I had left the Big Island, I continued to read Heather’s words and keep up with her story.  

I watched agape, when, in 2011, she set up a blog called High Five Max.

The mission?

To create a space where she could communicate with and parent her son.   - Max - who, after 8 days in the world, left his body.

Here, Heather recounts the journey she took inside that space with her firstborn son.  The fallout and process of being in and learning from and allowing her Grief - the Ashes - to teach her what they had come to impart.

She talks about the journey this took her on and the work that it has called her to now inside this world.

And , yeah, there’s some yoga chit-chat in there, as well.  

I learned so much rolling out my little sticky mat those happy years in Heather’s studio.

I want to say, I learned immeasurably more, reading her words - her heart - her journey through profound and unfathomable LOSS.  And watching her sift through and clothe herself in those ashes. And emerge - the phoenix - heart burst wide open to hold the whole damn world - and to carry others through those same dark places.  She gave - and continues to give me - and I hope you, as well - a picture of the type of person I want to grow into being and offering this darkened world.