To the Son I Never Had: A Love Letter to Men and Boys by HeatherAsh Amara

 

Last year I wrote a blog called “To the daughter I never had” where I shared my experiences spending time with an ex-boyfriend's budding-into-teenager daughter (read that blog here).

I received so many emails from women who were deeply touched by the writing and message of that blog and were so grateful to share it with their daughters. I also received several emails from men asking, “can you please write a blog like that so I can share it with my son?”

So here are my thoughts on what I would want my son to know as he grew into adulthood.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​This is also a love letter to all men who are on a path of healing and working toward dismantling the old paradigm of domination, patriarchy, and repression. I see you and am grateful for you. May these words help clear the old structures and wounding so that we may all step beyond the shackles of harmful gender-based roles and agreements.

An important reminder: there are many beings who do not identify with the limited and binary definitions of men and women. These people are the visionaries and leaders of a new way of being, the vanguards helping us all to move beyond the stereotypes and false simplicity of masculine vs feminine. I'm not meaning to exclude anyone from this blog. “My son” is for anyone who is male-identified or gender fluid.

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Dear One,
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We live in changing and exciting times. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift, and you are a part of that new wave. And while this time brings new possibilities and ways of being it can also bring confusion, mixed messages, and a sense of not knowing where you fit in or how to respond.

In my parent's lifetime, your grandparents, the world was very different. Roles for men and women were highly segregated and formulaic; men were supposed to make the money and take care of all the finances and women were supposed to stay home and take care of the children. Men were seen as superior; women were seen as inferior. Men were taught not to have feelings or get too attached; they were supposed to be stoic, solid, and always in control. Women were seen as overly emotional, needing of protection, and weak. And women were believed to be good at housekeeping and child raising only, except when we were at war and women were brought into the workplace.

Of course, there were exceptions even 50 to 60 years ago; women became pilots or doctors, men stayed home and took care of the children. However, it was extremely rare, and there was a lot of pushback whenever someone stepped out of those old designated roles.

I'm telling you this because it is important to understand where we have been, in order to know how to step more mindfully into where we are going. The attitudes and beliefs of your great grandparents, your grandparents, and your parents will continue to be carried forward by you in many subtle ways unless you very consciously choose to change them. Many of these old beliefs are still held in obvious and subtle ways by our culture and by the people in power. And you also need to understand, so you are not surprised or confused by people's reactions to you, why there may be times you get very strong messages from your elders or your peers to be different or “toe the line.” You might be called “sissy” or “pussy” or “just like a girl.” You might be harassed for being too “feminine” or for “being pussy-whipped.” But these insults only work if you believe that being likened to a girl is bad. And that is what the culture is still trying to use to keep men and women in boxes and behaving “as they should.”

Being a man does not mean you have to be tough or unemotional or responsible for everything. Growing from a boy to a man is about finding your center, living from your heart, and fiercely loving.

Whether you are sexually attracted to boys or girls, how you choose to dress, what you are passionate about, and how you want to show up in the world is part of the adventure of learning who you are. Please don't let anyone outside of you tell you that you should be different. There will always be people who will tell you that you are doing it “wrong” or who will judge you because of your choices. I will always stand by your right to choose. That is your birthright. And your choices are precious and powerful and I will support them unconditionally.​​​​​​​

Know, however, that not everyone will. If you stray from the invisible line of what is “proper” according to someone else’s standards, you may find they demean or even actively try to hurt you. But there are also so many role models that can inspire you to be fully yourself. These are people who have gone against the old rigid definitions of “masculine” and “feminine,” people who step outside of those fixed and tiring gender lines, and have blazed a new trail. You will also be blazing a new trail with your being.

In regards to your sexuality, which is a beautiful and powerful part of you...

Get to know your own body. Everyone is different, and as your hormones come on line you'll find lots of things changing with your body. It is natural and beautiful to feel desire and to feel turned on by some of the people around you. And it can be confusing to know how to be in those relationships. Start by getting to know how you like to be touched, where your body is sensitive, and what makes you feel good. Pleasure is one of the greatest gifts of being human, and your body is a buffet of sensations and experiences, from learning what textures, smells, and colors you like, to learning how to bring yourself to climax using your hands while being connected to your heart.

Take your time being sexual with others. There is no rush to connect sexually with someone else; no end goal as to what it should look like. Go slow. Listen to your own body and heart. Learn to “court” lovers by getting to know them: what they like, where they struggle, what they dream about. Share who you are. Be vulnerable. The best sexual relationships come from intimacy, though there is nothing wrong with being sexual with a willing partner that you don't know... this can be a wonderful exchange of energy and passion! But always remember there is no rush. Savor the moment of touch and connection.

Why consent is so important. This is hard to talk about, but it is so very important. There are as many as 1 in 3 girls and women who are sexually assaulted at some time in their life, and as many as 1 in 8 boys and men. There is a tremendous amount of wounding around sexuality for many people, both intentional and unintentional. Women are especially wired to “freeze” if they feel they are in danger. There is an old belief that women should be sexual even if they don't want to be. It can be easy to overstep boundaries if you fail (even unintentionally) to communicate clearly with your partner. First, never be sexual with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs and cannot truly give consent, because their normal functioning brain is impaired; they may not be acting from their most centered place. If you are not sure, ask. If you feel there is a wobble or a hesitation, ask more questions or wait until your partner is clear headed and they tell you they are really ready and willing. And always check in with yourself about whether or not you are wanting to be sexual; never let yourself get pressured to do something you do not want to. Honor your body.

Learn to hold your desires and respect others. Being sexually turned on by someone does not mean that you must be sexual with them! You will be excited and lit up by many people in your life, whether you are single or in a committed relationship. This is one of the lovely things about being in a body, feeling that sense of desire and yumminess around other people. You don't have to repress it or pretend you are not turned on, and you also do not have to act on it or share it with others. Learn to feel that inner fire and use it to fuel your joy, creativity, and passion for life. If you are in a committed relationship take the energy that sparks you and share it with your partner (I mean share energetically, not necessarily verbally unless your partner is very open!) Don't be ashamed of your sexuality or feel you have to deny that life force moving through you. And know that you get to decide how you run that energy through your body.

Get to know your partner's body. In movies and books, people effortlessly and passionately fall into each other's arms and know exactly how to please each other. That is not always the reality! Sometimes it takes time to learn how to pleasure your partner, and to show them how to pleasure you. Be an open-minded and open-hearted student of each person you connect with sexually, as all bodies and people are different. Ask questions, try new things. Variety and exploration are the spice of sensual connection. And know that especially for women, you can do something one day that will drive her wild, and then do the exact same thing the next day and she will hate it. Women's hormones change so drastically from week to week that you will need to learn to read where she is in her cycle and how she likes to be touched or held, for example when she is ovulating vs when she is menstruating. There are books and videos that can help you learn how to pleasure a woman or a man to have multiple orgasms, to ejaculate (woman), or to orgasm without ejaculating (man).

Lead with kindness and compassion. The old model of “manhood” is tied up with always being strong and never showing emotions. Many men have not been allowed, or have not allowed themselves, to connect with their emotions and inner needs. Because this is modeled so strongly by many men in business, in the movies, and in the media, the old model can be easy to slip into. Always remember that knowing your emotions and being vulnerable is your superpower. When you are in touch and fluid with your emotional body you are connected to your intuition, your wisdom, and your heart. Emotional intelligence is a kind of literacy that you can learn; it will serve you well, so don't be afraid to get the support and resources you need to connect and work with your emotional body.

Many thanks to the women and men I've talked to who have raised or are raising boys, who are not afraid to be their full selves. It makes me cry every time one of my students writes to me to share how her son is saying things like, “I don't mind if you call me a girl, girls are powerful” (from a young boy with long hair who is called a girl by a stranger) or “Yes, I'd like the pink shirt, mom. I'm not insecure around my masculinity” (from a young man whose mom double checks his choice of shirts). The paradigm is shifting, boy by boy, man by man. Yes!

High five to everyone raising conscious boys, and to all the men reparenting themselves and healing their wounded inner child. We need you. We see you. We love you. Thank you.
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Blessings,

P.S. If you are a woman who has a male-bodied or gender fluid partner, friend, or sibling, share your love and appreciation with them today.

Resources for boys or for raising boys:

https://www.fatherly.com/parenting/teach-young-kids-consent-respect-sex/

http://rolereboot.org/family/details/2018-01-teaching-boys-consent-needs-start-earlier-think/

https://goodmenproject.com/families/the-healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/

Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys by Cara Natterson

It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

Resources for men:

Fire in the Belly by Sam Keen

The Superior Man by David Deida

The Mask of Masculinity by Lewis Howes

Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson

The Hidden Spirituality of Men by Matthew Fox

King Warrior Magician Lover by Robert Moore

To Be A Man by Robert Augustus Masters

The Mankind Project: https://mankindproject.org/

The Good Men Project: https://goodmenproject.com/

Ask Men: https://www.askmen.com/

Lewis Howes' podcast: https://lewishowes.com/podcast

HeatherAsh Amara is the bestselling author of the Warrior Goddess Training books as well as the recently released Big Freedom: Discover the Four Elements of Transformation, and the coauthor with Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. of The Seven Secrets to Healthy, Happy Relationships. You can find out more about HeatherAsh’s powerful work here.

 

 

What are the Secrets to Healthy and Happy Relationships? Find out below...


 

The seven secrets to healthy, happy relationships—commitment, freedom, awareness, healing, joy, communication, and release—can help you at any stage in your intimate partnering, whether you’ve been with someone for many years or are currently single and want to prepare for a partnership. While much of what we have to say will focus on romantic relationships, the truth is that these seven principles can help you create deeper and more meaningful connections in all of your relationships.

The first three secrets— commitment, freedom, and awareness̶̶̶̶—are what we call the foundational secrets.  In our view, these are the bedrock upon which all healthy relationships are built. As you read them, you may notice some areas in your thinking and actions around relationships that need improvement. The good news is that these first three secrets can show you how to repair  faulty foundations, and replace old ideas and beliefs with new and stronger beams of support going forward.

Commitment- This foundational secret is not what most people think. Making a commitment to yourself rather than anyone else is the first step in creating a healthy and happy relationship. Instead of trying to change or mold yourself into who you think others want you to be, commit to finding out who you really are and what you really want. From this place of self knowledge and self love, you can then fully commit to another. The key is in releasing the areas in which you judge yourself or play the victim, and taking full responsibility for your own happiness.

Freedom- As you commit to loving and accepting yourself for who you really are, your next step is to extend this same freedom to your partner, supporting them to be true to themselves. This includes giving up any of the subtle or not so subtle ways you may try and manipulate them into behaving as you think they should. This doesn't mean you won't set boundaries of what you will and will not accept in a relationship, but in allowing your partner the freedom to be their true self, you will instead reveal the deep truth that intimacy thrives when couples feel free to be who they really are.

Awareness- Until you become aware of what is going on inside you, including things like your unconscious beliefs, subterranean fears, and old emotional wounds, they will continue to pop up and create problems in your relationships, making it very difficult to form a deep partnership with another. The good news is that the very act of becoming aware of them lessens their hold on you. Awareness also helps you expand your conscious understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and your relationship deal breakers. This self-knowledge is crucial in building a strong foundation to your partnership.

The next three secrets— healing, joy, and communication—are the transformative secrets. When you bring the teachings and tools we provide in these chapters into your interactions with others, you can prepare for a future partnership, improve and enhance an existing union, or rebuild the framework of even the most damaged structures, transforming them into a clean, spacious, and sturdy way of being.

Healing-   By the time we reach adulthood, virtually all humans have experienced some type of profound loss, traumatic experience, or deep emotional wound. If we push these experiences deep inside us rather than heal from them, that trapped pain will fester and eventually erupt in the form of an emotional or even physical outburst, often at the expense of our unsuspecting partners. Healing from these past experiences, as well as any unhelpful beliefs they have created, is the first secret to transforming your relationship with others and yourself.

Joy- We’d all like to experience joy in our lives, and this is especially true for our relationships. In fact, the pursuit of joy is often what prompts us to seek a relationship in the first place. This chapter discusses concrete ways to cultivate joy in your romantic relationships, such as creativity, play, and sexual pleasure. Creating joy is often the key to transforming relationships that have grown stagnant, and the regular practice of it will help your relationship feel fresh, new, and vibrant.

Communication- While communication is one of the most useful human gifts, it’s surprising how many of us struggle to communicate in healthy and productive ways when it comes to our intimate relationships. Sure, most of us do well when it comes to things we agree about or that we share in common— but the greater challenge is to converse with each other in the midst of issues or topics that challenge or divide us. Learning how to speak our truth, even when our partners don't like what we have to say, is often the most difficult. The tools in this chapter will help you do exactly that.

The seventh and final secret— release—provides guidance on nourishing your relationship on an ongoing basis. This last secret is where you learn the skills to perform the necessary and sustaining maintenance that will keep the construction of your relationship solid, even in the midst of changing and challenging times.

Release- This secret can seem paradoxical in nature, because it often involves not doing rather than doing.  Our relationships offer us hundreds of little ways to release what we often want to hold on to, such as the need to be right, the need to have the last word, and most importantly, the need for things to stay the same. The truth is that change is a constant in life. Sometimes these changes are trivial, sometimes they are momentous; but couples in happy and healthy relationships embrace the constant of change rather than fight it, while simultaneously honoring the part of each other that stays the same. Release is the key to balance between loving the static and the loving the change.

Ready to dive in and learn more? The Seven Secrets to Healthy, Happy Relationships is available now from all major retailers as well as from our website here. AND, if you order a special multi-book package from our website, you can order The Seven Secrets to Healthy, Happy Relationships for just $10 (including free shipping the US)!

Or click here to read the first two chapters and learn more about the foundational secrets, Commitment and Freedom!

 

Talk to Yourself Like a Buddhist

Change Your Words, Change Your World

There are hundreds of books, workshops, and classes that teach us how to communicate effectively with others, but very few of us pay attention to how we speak to ourselves.

Best-selling author and communication expert Cynthia Kane believes this is a travesty, and she is sounding the alarm! Kane writes that there is an unreported epidemic of negative self-talk in our culture today.

Many of us speak to ourselves in demeaning and hurtful ways, using language we would never use with anyone else. To make matters worse, we often don't even realize when we are doing this, as these old mental tapes play in repeating loops without our awareness.

In Talk to Yourself Like a Buddhist, certified mindfulness and meditation instructor Cynthia Kane introduces the Middle Path of Self-Communication, which consists of five mindful practices--Listen, Explore, Question, Release, and Balance--all of which are grounded in Buddhist principles.

This book will show you how to:

  • Identify your negative self-talk and explore the underlying self-judgments that produce it
  • Release the judgments that are poisoning your self-communication
  • Practice a system of balanced internal communication based on truth and compassion

When we speak to ourselves negatively, we set a tone for our day and our interactions with others in the world. Talk to Yourself Like a Buddhist can teach you how to turn off the enemy in your mind--and create a new relationship with yourself and the world around you--simply by noticing, investigating, and changing the words you use to speak to yourself.

About the Author:

Cynthia Kane is a certified meditation and mindfulness instructor. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, Yoga Journal, and the Huffington Post—and is the author of the bestselling book,How to Communicate Like a Buddhist. She lives in Washington, DC, and offers workshops and private programs.

Visit her at www.cynthiakane.com

Awaken Your Inner Fire

Your Inner Fire is the vital energy within you, the unseen force that gives life to your being. Perhaps because this energy can't be measured in a lab, many people live without any idea of its existence, or the importance of tending to it.

In this groundbreaking book, best-selling author HeatherAsh Amara introduces you to the fundamentals of your Inner Fire, and explains how the four major aspects of your being--the mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical--all interact with this powerful energy.

Amara teaches that when you view these four aspects through the lens of your Inner Fire, you can radically change how you think, feel, and live in the world. In these pages, you'll find practices, meditations, and explorations to put the concepts to work in your life.

By tending to your Inner Fire, you will learn how to:

  • Find your true work in the world, regardless of any job you do or role you play.
  • Use your Inner Fire as your own personal North Star, allowing it to guide you when making important decisions.
  • Move beyond busyness, stress, and overwhelm and live in joyous creation
  • Implement a new daily practice to live in balance no matter what life brings.

Learning how to tend your Inner Fire in a world that is constantly trying to hook your attention is a challenge--but this book invites you to take new perspective on who you are and how you relate to the world.

About the Author:

HeatherAsh Amara is a teacher, guide, and author of numerous books. As the founder of the Toltec Center for Creative Intent (toci.org), she has facilitated hundreds of workshops in the Toltec tradition and taught extensively with don Miguel Ruiz.

Wisdom of the Shamans

For generation after generation, Toltec shamans have passed down their wisdom through teaching stories. The purpose of these stories is to implant a seed of knowledge in the mind of the listener, where it can ultimately sprout and blossom into a new and better way of life.

In The Wisdom of the Shamans: What the Ancient Masters Can Teach Us about Love and Life, Toltec shaman and master storyteller don Jose Ruiz shares some of the most popular stories from his family’s oral tradition, and offers corresponding lessons that illustrate the larger ideas within each story.

Ruiz begins by explaining that contrary to the stereotypical image of “witchdoctor,” the ancient shamans were men and women who fulfilled several roles within their communities: philosopher, spiritual guide, medical doctor, psychologist, and friend.

According to Ruiz, their teachings are not primitive or reserved for a chosen few initiates, but are instead a powerful series of lessons on love and life that are available us all. To that aim, he has included exercises, meditations, and shamanic rituals in an effort to help you experience the personal transformation these stories offer.

The shamans taught that the truth you seek is inside of you. Let these stories, lessons, and tools be your guide to finding the innate wisdom that lives within.

About the Author

don Jose Ruiz was born in Mexico City and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. When he was 21, he came to live in the United States with his father, don Miguel Ruiz. He lectures and gives workshops around the world and dedicates his life to sharing the ancient Toltec wisdom by translating it into practical, everyday life concepts that promote transformation through truth, love, and common sense. He is the coauthor, with his father, of The Fifth Agreement.

The Gnostic Mystery

An ancient mystery in todays Middle East . . . Jack Staunton, an American businessman, makes a pilgrimage to war-torn Israel in hopes of rekindling his Christian faith.

While traveling with his friend Punjeeh, an ER doctor from Jerusalem, Jack acquires an ancient scroll written by the Gnostics, a mystical group of early Christians, and his spiritual quest takes an unexpected turn. The scroll makes the startling claims that the Gnostics were the original followers of Jesus, and that they retained secret knowledge of Jesus that was not included in the Bible.

With the help of the ingenious Chloe Eisenberg, a professor of Philosophy and Religion, Jack and Punjeeh navigate the dangerous terrain of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in an attempt to decipher the puzzle of the scroll and bring the Gnostics revelations about Jesus to light. Threaded with the searing realities of today’s Middle East, The Gnostic Mystery is packed with historical facts about the Christian religion. The thrilling mystery makes a compelling case that the origins of Christianity are far different than we believed . . . until now.

About the Author:

Randy Davila is the President of Hierophant Publishing and Hampton Roads Publishing Company.

Between the two publishing houses, he has overseen the publication of books by authors such as don Miguel Ruiz jr., Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Neale Donald Walsch, Richard Bach, Jack Canfield, and many more. Randy regularly teaches author workshops at venues around the country. For his current lecture schedule, please visit www.insighteventsusa.com

Randy graduated with distinction from the Classics, Philosophy, and Religion department at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, where he co-founded and wrote for the award-winning publication The Free Press. His spiritual short stories have received the Place of Peace award. He lives in Boerne, Texas, with his wife Rachel, daughters Mia and Charlie, and their dog Teddy.

Rumi’s Little Book of Love

Rumi, one of the most celebrated mystics of all time, chose poetry to communicate his deep spiritual experiences.

His language, that of love in its purest form, speaks to us today as it did seven hundred years ago, surpassing time and bridging cultures.

These poems, most of them translated into English for the first time from the original Persian, were carefully selected from two thousand of Rumi’s quatrains.

Arranged thematically, they take us on a journey of the soul.

Persian calligraphy enhances the beauty of the poems.

Discover the depths of a mystic’s soul. Fly with him on his beloved’s wings.

Fall with him into the despair and fear of losing his beloved forever.

Discover the beauty and love contained in this wonderful little book of poetry.

Time Loops and Space Twists: How God created the Universe

In his most important book since Taking the Quantum Leap, Fred Alan Wolf, PhD. , will explain how our understanding of time, space and matter have changed in just the last few years, and how with these new ideas we have a glimpse into the “mind of God.”

Making comparisons to Hindu Vedic and Judeo-Christian cosmology, Dr. Wolf explains how the universal command of the Deity “Let there be light” now takes on a new scientific meaning: Everything is literally made of light and the reader will learn how Quantum Physics proves this is so.

While This is a book for lay people, with numerous illustrations using cartoon characters throughout the text to illustrate the ideas presented. Written in everyday language and using simple mathematical examples, this book explain some of the new and best ideas Quantum Physics has to offer.

About the Author:

Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D. works as a physicist, writer, and lecturer. His work in quantum physics and consciousness is well known through his popular and scientific writing. He is the author of fourteen books, including Taking the Quantum Leap, which was the recipient of the prestigious National Book Award for Science.

Dr. Wolf also appears in a number of movies, including What the Bleep do We Know?, a full length feature film staring Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, and the follow-up film Down the Rabbit Hole, as well as the now famous DVD The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

Invoking the Archangels: A Nine-Step Process to Heal Your Body, Mind and Soul

No one is truly alone. Every person can, at any moment, call upon not only one Archangel but seven specific Archangels to bring blessings and protection – you just need to learn how to ask. In this instructional book, Sunny Dawn Johnston will show you how to call out to each individual Archangel, to know them by name, and to develop your own special relationship with every one of them. Sunny details the qualities, gifts, and traits of each of the seven Archangels, and in her heartwarming prose, she forms a clear picture of the abundant energy, vibration and unconditional love that each of the Archangels have for us.

Through the inspirational Nine Steps, Sunny guides the reader from a place of low vibration, pain or darkness into the healing light and everyday presence of the Archangels. She surrounds these teachings with vibrant, personal insights from her own story – including the poignant memories of when she herself first began to call out to the Archangels and opened herself to receiving their love and guidance.

Read Invoking the Archangels to learn how to call upon the Archangels with an open heart and experience transformation of body, mind and soul.

About the Author:

Sunny Dawn Johnston is a psychic medium and spiritual teacher. She is the founder of Sunlight Alliance LLC., a spiritual teaching and healing center in Glendale, AZ. Sunny has been featured on many television and radio shows including Coast to Coast with George Noory and Good Morning Arizona. She has hosted an international radio show as well as two Internet radio shows. Visit Sunny at www.sunnydawnjohnston.com.

Pearls of Wisdom: 30 Inspirational Ideas to Live Your Best Life Now

An oyster can’t produce pearls without first suffering with a grain of sand. Each of the chapters in Pearls of Wisdom: 30 Inspirational Ideas to Lead Your Best Life Now gives guidance to readers on how to turn their own grains of sand into pearls.

With four New York Times Best-Selling Authors, including Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Jack Canfield, Chris and Janet Attwood, and Marci Shimoff plus 25 of the best up and coming self-help authors, each chapter contains a fresh idea for a positive life change. With each chapter as diverse as the cast of authors who have come together to create this unique book, there is certain to be an idea to help transform anyone’s life.

Pearls of Wisdom contains the greatest ideas of today’s top self-help authors, combining traditional and new techniques, affirmations, theories, meditations and practices to lead readers from the struggles they deal with in their current situations to a higher, enlightened life; not merely an existence.

For anyone who has thought, “Am I really living the best possible life I could be?” Pearls of Wisdom grants the answers for any of life’s questions, straight from the words of the masters of self-help themselves.

About the Authors:

Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff and Chris and Janet Attwood are among today’s most popular inspirational writers.