I’m in deep deep sleep, far away from the daily human world… but there’s a persistent buzzing pulling me, Pulling me, PULLING me… then I feel Miguel’s hand pushing me to awake as well… reluctantly I return to a somewhat awake state and answer my insistently buzzing phone.
In an instant I’m wide-awake and out of the bed, while Miguel takes over the phone.
OMG, it’s happening – already! How do I solve this?!
Only six weeks earlier had we been given the go ahead, Miguel was finally to be put on the waiting list for a heart transplant, after an intense full year of evaluations.
It had been a fascinating process. Not only did Miguel’s heart need to be at the verge of failure in order to qualify… the rest of his body needed to be strong and healthy enough to withstand the traumatic procedure of a transplant. Every aspect of his health was scrutinized; physically, emotionally, mentally and even the social structure and support system around him. Miguel passed with flying colors.
We were told it would most likely be at least 12 months, probably more like 18 months, before he would be at the top of the list and could receive a heart. During that time Miguel could never be more than two hours away from the hospital in Los Angeles or we would have to let them know and he’d be temporarily taken of the list. Failing to do so would disqualify him from the transplant list permanently. We both smiled and said "Yes, of course".
Once out of the office Miguel turned to me and said “There is no way I am waiting 12 to 18 months, I will have a heart much sooner than that”. I had seen his intent in action before and knew to trust his words.
In the meantime, life continued and we had much work to do. We went on many work related journeys and each time I’d feel into whether to let Cedar Sinai know or not… I was using my intuition and intent as well - there was no way we were going to miss a new heart for Miguel!
So here we are, on October 9th, in Wimberley, Texas. We had just started a weekend retreat the day before. I had deliberately chosen not to let Cedar Sinai know that we were on tour and out of reach… or they would not have called that night.
OMG… how am I going to get him back in time?!
As I’m waking up everyone else there with us, Miguel Jr and the team, I hear Miguel on the phone with the transplant team in Los Angeles saying “I will be there”… ok, let’s make that happen!
We go to work as a team; checking any possible options to get Miguel back to LA in as little time as possible. We quickly learn that there are no commercial flights out of any nearby airport in the middle of the night. Go figure...!
Chartering a private plane shows to be much more complicated than I could have ever imagined… “Yes, we have planes available, but they are currently out of state, so it will be hours before we can even pick you up” or “Yes, we have a plane here, but there’s no crew available”… endless “complications”.
Eventually we find a plane AND a crew that could be available in reasonable time… now how do we arrange the full payment needed, before they even call the crew? Another round of intense creativity and problem solving and finally we’re all set to go. Hours have passed already.
Miguel Jr stays with the team to continue the retreat per request by his father. I go with Miguel to Los Angeles. He is remarkably calm, embodying his wisdom as always… intense presence and intent, coupled with complete surrender and acceptance of any outcome… a true master in action in his own life.
Six hours after the call, we arrive at Cedar Sinai… the heart is still waiting on Miguel. It’s the heart of an 18-year-old woman… a heart too tiny for most bodies on the waiting list, but perfect for Miguel. Everything is prepared. Within minutes of arrival, they roll him off into surgery.
We are both completely calm and at peace with what is… what may or may not be.
What a blessing to be part of this journey!
I wait for the call at a nearby breakfast place. After years together Miguel and I are deeply connected with each other and I can feel him throughout the surgery…. Especially two moments stood out so so clearly to me that morning – I could feel when Miguel’s own heart was lifted out, and also the moment he was taken of the machines and the new heart started beating on it’s own. I knew then he would be fine, that he would continue this life for now.
Today it is six years later and that new heart is still beating strongly in the chest of don Miguel Ruiz, giving him the opportunity to continuing sharing his intense presence of love and wisdom with humanity. I am forever grateful to the young woman from Washington state who died that night, for donating her organs offering others a new beginning and making the continuation of a legacy of love and wisdom possible, to the benefit of us all. I treasure presence shared, wisdom gained and a heart blown wide open. Thank you!
don Miguel Ruiz, author of New York Times bestseller The Four Agreements.