“Born free, as free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Born free to follow your heart.”
(lyrics to the ‘Born Free’ theme tune)
Did you ever read the book ‘Born Free’ by Joy Adamson? It tells the story of Elsa, a deeply loved orphan lion cub who was raised in captivity and then released back into the wild. I loved Elsa. I loved how Elsa was loved. With hindsight, I realize that what I truly adored was the deep respect that Elsa’s adoptive human parents had for her birthright. There was never any question that she would be returned to her natural wild habitat where, hopefully, she would come into her own as a glorious lioness.
I was thinking about Elsa earlier this week as I spent time with my thirteen-year-old daughter. We were preparing her school uniform for the new school year. She’s about to enter Year 9 which is deemed an important year in the UK as it’s the year where students ‘choose their options’ for the courses they want to study towards their final exams. In order to help them make this decision, they have interviews with career counselors. They even partake in a computer program that asks them a myriad of questions about their interests. After that, the program pops up two or three ‘suitable’ jobs.
My daughter is excited, feeling like she is one step closer to adulthood. I, however, feel sad. As someone who spends my life imploring people to listen to their wildest imaginations in order to live their life at their highest creative and spiritual potential, I am filled with sorrow by this whole ‘choosing your options’ treadmill. A system that, it seems to me, shuts our children down at an age when we should be encouraging them to explore all of who they are, not just academically but also spiritually and creatively.
How far removed is this system for our young from Elsa’s story where, right from the beginning, she was always being prepared for life in the wild? In her natural habitat. She was always being prepared for freedom.
I pondered this whilst observing my rapidly growing daughter hanging out with her friends, permanently attached to their mobiles, snap chatting and ‘instagramming’ galore. I decided to do what I always do when I want to speak my truth to her truth. I speak about it. Sometimes I do this face to face or, more accurately, heart to heart. Sometimes this is over dinner or, quite often, it’s just as she’s falling asleep. At other times, however, I write her a love letter.
This day I chose the latter. My hope is that as she reads it, some sacred knowing will stir within her that the treadmill she is about to embark upon is not the be all and end all in her life. I wanted to plant a seed that helps her to see that there is more out there and within her, than she can possibly imagine, and most certainly more than any careers guidance computer program will ever be able to ascertain.
So I wrote her the following ‘Love Letter to Her Soul’ which I choose to share with you as I think it’s a letter we should all receive once in a while.
Of course, we are no longer thirteen but somewhere within us our thirteen-year-old self still lurks, hiding behind the facade of our supposed mature, competent and adult self. Do you remember what you were like aged thirteen?
As I re-read the letter I wrote my daughter, I realized how amazing it would have been to receive a similar letter at that age. So, as you read this love letter to my daughter, I encourage you to reflect upon yourself at the age of thirteen. How does she show up in your life today? She will be there. Influencing many aspects of your life.
I also invite you to write her a letter. A Love Letter to the Teenager Within
What would that look like? How would it feel?
What would you say to her to set her free, to release her back into her own natural, the wild and raw habitat where she knew that she had the freedom to soar to her highest and most nourishing potential?
I’m fairly certain she will appreciate it and I’m also pretty sure that something wonderful will shift for you in your life today as a result. I hope you enjoy reading this letter to my daughter but, even more, I hope that you take some time to enjoy writing your own ‘Love Letter to the Soul of your Inner 13-year-old’. May she be blessed with the knowledge that she is free to become all of who she was meant to be. May she remember:
You’re free as the roaring tide
So there’s no need to hide.”
So, without further ado, here is my love letter from my soul to my daughters. In the end, I share with you how she received it!
My dear, beautiful daughter,
Always take time to listen to your deepest self. That part of you that knows who, what and how is exactly right for you.
Always listen to and honor that part of you. Not to what society tells you, or those peers who don’t really know or love you, not to those teachers who have been trained to take you down one fixed system/way of being. Nor to what the TV tells you or a pop star suggests. Or even me, your mother. I know you well. But I don’t know you perfectly. Only you know that. However, because I love you passionately, I love you enough to let you be you and to celebrate this.
I have tried, since the moment you were born, to encourage you to listen to your body, to your inner wisdom. It knows. Your body is so very wise and it truly knows all the right answers for your life.
Now, more than ever, as you enter further in to your teenage years, when the pressure to ‘be like others’ is greater than it will ever be, I implore you to stay true to your own precious self. I urge you to remember that you, just like all your friends, are unique. Special. You have a divinely precious purpose in this life.
Your job is to discover what that gift is. What was the gift that you were born to bring in to this world? And then to honour that gift, come what may. You will get some things ‘wrong’. I’m sure there will be ‘failures’ and losses along the way but relax in to these as they are the compass that will lead you back to where you truly belong, doing the thing you should truly be doing. Living the life that you were born to love, celebrating the happiness you were born to receive.
Many people become old before they even realize they were born with the right to be free to follow their heart and soul, born to blossom in to the full potential of who they always have been but just didn’t know how to see. Born looking in to mirrors that did not fully reflect their own beauty to them.
Well, I am holding up a mirror to you today to say this:
You are beautiful.
Your soul is pure and precious.
Your body is a treasure to be honoured as if it were the finest crystal shimmering in the sun, radiating glorious rainbows from each facet engraved upon it.
Do not let any-one, any thing, any system, any society tell you that you are anything other than free to be the divine genius that lies at the heart of your soul.
Relax my sweet child and know that you are precious and free. To be you in all your glory.
Never be afraid to listen to your heart and your body to follow your own passionately joyful road in life. Where you will feel, and be, free.
I love you.
Later that day, I asked if she had read it.
She looked at me with pubescent neutrality, replying:
“Yeah,” before plugging her earphones back in and closing her bedroom door in my face! I smiled to myself, noting her adolescent nonchalance whilst knowing, from the look in her eye, that she had ‘heard’ my wish for her and on some level ‘got it’. My hope for you, and your inner thirteen year old, is that she too ‘gets it’. That she is reminded that she was:
born free to follow her heart.
I’d love to read your letters if you’d care to share! Please forward to: email@example.com