What I want my son to know...

What I want my son to know:

 I wish I could tell you that being true to yourself is easy and that as long as you speak out loud what is in your heart, you will be supported and understood.

Unfortunately that hasn’t been my experience as I have found that even if you take your time to find the right words, breathe deeply to center yourself and take time to speak your feelings carefully to others, they may still not understand you. And that’s OK.

My wish for you is that you learn the difference between how others see you and how you see yourself, because let me assure you, some days there will be a big gap between the two.

It’s on those days that I want you to imagine my big arms are wrapped around you and my loving voice is in your ear and I am reminding you, that you have a true heart, a brave heart and it is your job, your vocation, to live your life compassionately. This compassion begins in how you think about yourself.

 It is your duty to learn to have your own back and to be able to tell yourself that you are doing the best you can on any given day.

It is your responsibility to speak kindly to yourself as you would a good friend because you are the best friend you will ever have, and the one constant companion you will hang out with for your entire life, start to finish. This relationship is worth cultivating.

The balance is in receiving yourself with compassion and receiving others in the same way, as sometimes they clash. Someone may want you to do something for them, that you feel you just can’t do. They may misunderstand you and believe that you are not supporting them. This is a tug of war that doesn’t have a clear winner so my advice is this: learn to hold the balance between what someone wants and needs you to be vs what you need you to be. This line can and will most definitely get blurry, possibly even with me, your mum.  The best advice I can give is let your body discern what is true for you, regardless of what the outside world says.

Receiving feedback about yourself or something you’ve done that doesn’t match how you feel you are can feel scary and painful. I have practice in this myself, and I have found that every situation is unique but what has been consistent is that when the feedback feels like it’s accurate, I will have a physical sensation inside my tummy that tells me that yes; this could be true about me. It’s like my body agrees even if I don’t really want to hear it, I feel the truth of it. That is actually an empowering place to be because with awareness comes choice and the opportunity for ownership followed by change.

Other times I have received feedback that as much as I felt pressured to receive it and own it for myself; I just couldn’t because it just didn’t feel right in my body. I didn’t feel it as my truth.  I imagine that when we do find and claim forgotten parts of ourselves, there is a moment of recognition that tells us that yes, this is us.

I imagine that sometimes you will need to be able to walk alone, understanding that you can’t please everyone. Other times, you may sense that you have an opportunity for personal growth and change and have an opportunity to step up in relationship and be a better man.

So many times in my life, I have felt confused and shaky about decisions I have made and if they were the ‘right’ ones.  What helps me in those moments to feel grounded when I am feeling unsure and uncertain… is I imagine that I am back in that  moment when I made the decision and I imagine I can feel how I felt in that moment in my body and in my heart. And even if things have gone pear shaped since making that decision, I can soothe myself from the inside out by saying that “I am doing the best that I can.” If you can get clear on how you felt when you made the initial decision, you can stand solid and grounded on the truth that for whatever reason, you made a choice, and you’d make it again, given the same circumstances.  Then you may need to accept and surrender to what unfolds from those decisions. Small decisions may have big ripples in your life.  And that’s OK. Things don’t always turn out as we planned. Your great-grandmother (Gramma Boom, my mum’s mum) had a saying that she was always glad that her life didn’t turn out as she’d planned because God’s vision was so much better. Have faith that there is a divine plan beyond what you can imagine.

I hope you learn how to ask yourself big questions about who you are and what you believe. I hope that you decide for yourself how to explain the mysteries of the universe and to feel a deep comfort and grace in what you believe. I have worked with so many people over the years and what I have seen with my own eyes over and over is how there is a magical and miraculous flow to all of life, that runs deep within each of us. What we focus on and think about affects how we experience the world around us and how the world around us experiences us. We CAN change our lives and who we are. I have done it and I have supported so many people to do the same. So I know it is possible.

Please strive for what it is that you desire and that you care about, live by your own personal code of ethics and your personal value system, and know that you are capable of powerful personal vision-all you have to do is spend enough time alone and out in nature to hear it and feel it. You will know what to do with it…the power to create from personal vision is one of the biggest gifts I am passing on to you for it is one of my natural talents and it is now in your DNA as well. Use it to create joy in your heart.

Stand strong in your truth, be the first to apologize when you’re in the wrong, and learn how to own what is truly yours and to hand back anything that isn’t. And acquire the wisdom to know the difference. I call that wisdom my gut instinct. It will never lead me astray. The times that I haven’t listened to it, always ended badly. End of story. I love you. I believe in you.

Leanna McNeil