Category Archives: Inspiration

2016: A Year of Transformation

Day 94 of 100 days of Blogging

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Every year has it’s own rhythm. For the first time in a long time, I feel the energy of 2016 is in alignment with the seasons in the northern hemisphere. The energy of winter, spring, summer and autumn. We are in flow. Using them as a tool of exploration, a guidepost for how to best use 2016 will help you manifest and create your life.

 

In addition, the global word I have read from many energy workers for 2016 is Transformation.

 

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Winter

(January, February, March)

Mercury retrograde during the month of January brings us into a deep state of reflection. It is a Divine Cosmic set-up to look back. To review, redo, reflect, re-write your life. Set your intentions.

Connect with your inner world in silence.

Build a strong, foundation of intention for the year. This is key.

Ask yourself: Who am I? What do I desire to be, to have, to do?

This will set the tone for the year.

 

Winter Reflection:

Dialogue from the Matrix:

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

 

 

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Springtime

(April, May, June):

You will begin to see the light of day.

Rebirth.

Plant seeds.

Try out your new song.

In May, review how your seeds are growing. Review, reflect and prepare for the next wave of activity.

Take some action.

You may feel like a baby who is beginning to walk.

 

Spring Reflections

New World Coming

There’s a new world coming
And it’s just around the bend
There’s a new world coming
This one’s coming to an end There’s a new voice calling
You can hear it if you try
And it’s growing stronger
With each day that passes by
~Sung by Mama Cass Elliott

 

 

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Summertime

(July, August, September)

Laughter. There is a lightness and play energy.

Tend your garden and plants. What is ready to be picked and eaten?

Activities are speeding up like riding a roller coaster at the beach. Ride it. Jump off. Decide. Do I want another ride or sit and bask in the sun for awhile?

At the end of the season (September), take time for appreciation and gratitude. Reflect again.

Watch the setting sun and feel your dreams.

Summer Reflections

Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream. ~Lao Tzu

 

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Autumn

(October, November, December)

Eureka!

What have you discovered?

Romp in the field of what you have created. So many manifestations and fun. You are in the flow.

Be delighted.

Reap the benefits of the Harvest.

You did it!

 

 Autumn Reflection:

“Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”

~Georgia O-Keefe

And in every month, notice what is TRANSFORMING in YOU!

 

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

Reflections of 2015: Wandering

Day 87 of 100 days of Blogging

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And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game. ~ Joni Mitchell

 

I visited New York for a week and immersed myself in my practice of Orgasmic Meditation. Other than a few coaching calls and writing a daily blogpost, I had set an intention to connect throughout the day and evening in the OM community. Classes, community events and daily OM. There was a moment when I felt like nothing was happening and there were more roadblocks to connection than open doors. Lots of “No,” or “I am out of town, busy, not going.” So, I sat in silence and decided to let go of the details. To do the thing that was in front of me and to tune into the energy of wandering.

A picture came into my mind. I had a feeling of having been on a long, full road trip. Before I can drive even one more mile, I have to stop the car and unpack and clean some things up. To continue at this time without a pause means I would miss something.

It was time to become the listener and the watcher. To slow down. Notice at each step of each day: what I wanted to do and then what I discovered.

This is a familiar place. I have stopped along the road to examine, evaluate, carve a new path in every decade of my life. Stopping. Feeling. Changing Direction. There are always moments when I feel lost. Moments when I doubt. Moments when I have an aha! Moments when I see a new doorway. Moments when I take an inspired action. Moments when I see change is happening…slowly…surely…deliberately.

 

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Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain. ~Eckhart Tolle

 

You were born with all of the answers you will ever need inside of you. They are encoded into the cells of your body. To hear the next awakening in this decade of your life, you have to create the space to listen. To witness what is happening within and around you. It takes time. It takes slowing down long enough to hear.

Pause. Listen. Reflect. Wait for it… Wait for it… Wait for it… Now, move!

 

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

Before I Die…I want to Live!

Day 86 of 100 days of blogging

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“I have seen many depressions and other chronic suffering at whose source was the repression and denial of a strong, creative urge.” ~Carolyn Myss

I saw a photo on Facebook with the words Before I Die…and it stirred something in me. I was wondering why there is so much emphasis on what we want to do before we die instead of how to live a rich, creative and fulfilling life.

I hear the word Bucket List a lot these days. Bucket List: a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.

 

I read one list of 50 things to do before you die and it had things like:

1. Go on a road trip

2. Sleep under the stars

3. Watch all the movies everyone is talking about

4. Make something from scratch

5. Conquer a fear

6. Volunteer at a soup kitchen

As I read through the list, I thought, aren’t people already doing these things? If not, then what are they doing? How are they using their time on the planet? Is it possible that someone would die without volunteering their time somewhere?

I know that some bucket lists include things with boundary pushing, adventure like skydiving, bungie jumping, walking the Great Wall of China. Yes, I understand that.  When I read those lists, I can see that the things on the list are probably connected to conquering a fear or following a deep passion for the adventure.

The thing I am also noticing on the lists is how people hold themselves back without living a life of creative expression. Holding themselves back because their family or friends might not approve. Holding themselves back because they have a belief that this idea doesn’t make sense in the big picture of their lives. Holding themselves back because they are afraid to be the fullest expression of themselves.

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver

So,maybe it is death that motivates us to actually live our lives. We lose a loved one. We get older and know that we will die eventually. Maybe it is the idea of dying that inspires us to make choices from our soul. To let go of doing what we think we are supposed to be doing and actually LIVE!

 

The Inspiration for the walls Before I die…:

After losing someone she loved and experiencing deep depression, artist Candy Chang created an interactive wall on an abandoned house in her neighborhood to create an anonymous place to help restore perspective and share intimately with neighbors while remaining an introvert. After receiving permission, she painted the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid of the sentence, “Before I die I want to _______.” Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.

http://beforeidie.cc/site/about/

 

As I read the words on some of the walls, I was struck by how powerful it would be, if each person set an intention with their words and took one step closer to making that happen.

Tell my mother I love her

Have some Fun.

Dance

Get Clean

Change the World

 

I wondered…

What would it take for you to LIVE now?

 

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

Living with Intent: Frequency Holders

Day 83 of 100 days of Blogging

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“There are people who are happy doing small things. I call them frequency holders. They are just as important as people who are doing big things. Their purpose is to give full attention to the present moment and to every action and interaction with other human beings ~ to be fully aware even in the smallest interactions. In that way, they also change the world for the better. In our culture, frequency holders aren’t often recognized, but that doesn’t mean they are not important. I was a frequency holder for a long time and still am in many ways.” ~Eckhart Tolle

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I was working at a pharmaceutical company in the late 80’s. My official job was computer software trainer. One day, I was training an older woman on how to use the computer and the new operating system. Her hands were shaking and she kept asking me, “Is it okay to press enter?  Are you sure? Are you sure?” I continued to hold the space, listen to her concerns, calmly encouraging her to press the key and breathe. Until finally, she would close her eyes, hold her breath and press the key. By the end of the hour session, she was navigating around the site, pressing enter with only a slight hesitation, smiling after each section completion and thanking me profusely for my patience.

Throughout the session, I had a sense that I was doing more than teaching her how to use the software and the computer. I was a just beginning to wake up to the power of presence, the idea that our thoughts create our reality and we could make a difference in the world with moment to moment connection. I was going to Al-Anon, studying A Course in Miracles and reading a variety of self-help books by Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer and Lazarus. The sense and feelings I had during the computer training session were validated and reinforced over the next few weeks.  I noticed how something was changing in the older woman’s presence. She seemed to be standing taller, laughing and smiling and engaged more with her co-workers.

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I knew that something was happening and I didn’t have the bigger picture until ten years later, another woman from that company contacted me and asked if she could come over to my house for a visit. During that ten year time period, our entire department had been laid off. I remarried, gave birth to two children, lost a son to cancer, survived a serious illness myself and was now building community and homeschooling my children. The woman was now divorced, had a new job, and better health. She asked to see me because she wanted me to know the impact I had on her and the people around me. She wanted to thank me for making a difference in the work environment and how it helped her to make positive changes in her life.

One of the gifts to me that day was to remind me that everywhere we go, we have the power to impact each other positively or negatively.

I have had more moments like this since then when I recognized the power of presence to shift the energy in a household just by being there. I am sure many of you have noticed it in your life, too. The impact a person’s energy has in your environment; either lifting people up or knocking people down.

If you are not aware of it, take a moment the next time you are in the grocery store. When you see people, including the clerk who rings up your groceries, take a moment to make eye contact and pause for a few seconds. Feel the connection. Notice the sensation in your body. Notice the reaction from the person. Give yourself a palpable experience of feeling the impact of your presence.

Give your full attention to the present moment.

We talk a lot about wanting Peace on Earth. Did you know that Peace on Earth comes moment by moment from the peace each of us feels inside.? That is the key. It is the Peace we spread to each other. Not just during the holidays in December when the words Peace on Earth appear on banners and cards and on store displays. Peace on Earth is a year round practice for each of us. It comes from cultivating your inner world, by practicing mindfulness, by noticing where you feel discomfort and adversity in your life and by making changes and raising your vibration. Do not discount the discomfort of fear or anger. Feel them. Go to the root of them and pull them out. Dismissing them actually buries them in places where they will fester. The key is to feel, heal and transmute them through forgiveness and acknowledgement.

Then, cultivate the feeling of PEACE inside of yourself. BE PEACE is exactly that.

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In 2010, I spent a year writing in a coffee shop every morning. Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake, California. One day, the coffee shop owner came over to me and shared how much she appreciated me. She said,  “You bring an energy to Priscilla’s. It feels good when you are here. Thank you for being here”

 

None of us experience feedback every day about when our presence has made a difference. The moment when someone notices your presence without you “doing” anything. Personally, it is rare to have someone contact me 10 years later to thank me for my positive energy. Or that a coffee shop owner would notice the difference in the energy in the shop when I am there or not. And really that is not the point of this blog post.

I want you to see that you are a frequency holder and for you to become aware of it. Maybe you will be lucky enough to have someone thank you and maybe not. Be it any way. Turn up your awareness and notice the impact your energy, your vibration, and your frequency is having in your household, your community and rippling out into the world. Decide if you need to change something to BE the energy and the vibration you want to be to impact the world.

It’s in every one of us.

And in addition to receiving my words…watch this video. Let it wash over you. Know that you matter. Your presence. Your frequency. Your voice.

It’s in every one of us.

 

 

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

 

Building Trust with the Universe (and yourself)

Day 72 of 100 days of Blogging

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TRUST: ” I believe the Universe responds to your intent,” he agrees enthusiastically. “But, a large part of that is trust. You need to trust that you can do what it is you set out to do, and even if you’re not getting external validation, you need to trust the universe to support you.” ~Dr. Andrew Weil

Here is the key to trust. We have all had an experience where something magical has happened. All of the pieces fell into place and things came together. A moment when you trusted the universe. Right now, take a moment and tune into something. Let your intuition remind you of an experience, a person, a moment in time when you felt trust.

Then, that becomes your talisman. The thing you use to remind you that you can trust the universe. You may even have an object that you can use as a touchstone. A crystal, a stone, something that fits in your hand and is easy to carry with you.

Trust is a practice…

Another way of building trust with the Universe and with your intuition is to create space to wander. Once a week or once a month, whatever works in your schedule at the moment, carve out time when you have open space. Sit and meditate. Ask for inspiration. Then, spend the day in flow. Following one inspiration after another…

Tomorrow, I am spending my day that way. Wandering. Listening.

Stay tuned. More will be shared…

 

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

Setting Intentions: Using Tools, Containers and Numbers

Day 70 of 100 days of Blogging

My oldest daughter, Mary, and I are Fitbit Crazy!

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Fitbit has different products for tracking activities. We both wear a wristband and use the App on our phone and computer to see the daily (or hourly) progression of information. Primarily, I use it for recording the number of steps I walk every day. I have it set to a 10,000 step goal because, “10,000 steps a day is a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. It should be enough to reduce your risk for disease and help you lead a longer, healthier life. The benefits are many:  lower BMI, reduced waist size, increased energy, and less risk for Type II diabetes and heart disease.  In fact, a recent study of the 10,000 steps a day method reported conclusive health benefits.” ~From a Blogpost on the Fitbit site

https://blog.fitbit.com/the-magic-of-10000-steps/

I purchased a Fitbit last May after a long winter of sitting at a table 12 hours a day. Computer work. On-line business. Coaching calls on SKYPE. Heal My Voice project editing and taxes and phone meetings. I had gained 20 lbs in a year of living on the road and I could feel how weak and out of shape my body felt. To get my body moving with a daily goal and to raise my awareness about how much I was moving, or not, I purchased my first Fitbit. Seeing the number of steps throughout the day encouraged me to take an extra walk, jump around and exercise so I could reach the 10,000 or more steps.

My daughter Mary purchased her Fitbit in August. She knew her life was changing. After leaving a job and traveling internationally with Dramatic Adventure Theatre for two months, she arrived home in New York to a new lifestyle; staying at home with her two year old. She knew she would have to become more conscious of going for walks and exercising and she was also curious to see how many steps she was actually moving.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 4.10.14 PMAt Thanksgiving, Mary challenged me to the Daily Challenge on the Fitbit app. It is set up in a way to encourage and inspire each other to meet the daily goal we each set. Throughout the day, Fitbit sends us each messages to cheer each other on. Mary and I send each other cheers and support and ideas to help us meet our goals. We send suggestions like, have a dance party, walk to the labyrinth, walk the track a few more laps.

The power of the Fitbit has also brought more awareness to eating and drinking water and sleeping. Overall self-care.

Mary and I were talking about the power of having a tool that measures our progress. More than a goal I see it as an intention. My intention is to take better care of my body and Fitbit is a tool that has been working for us both.

There are other ways I have used tools, containers and numbers to set and hold intentions. When I decided to write 100 blogposts in 100 days, my intention was to see what topics I was interested in writing about and to see where people wanted to engage with me on topics. My intention is to use the writing as a tool of exploration. I use the app Notes on my computer to record ideas and I set the intention of using 100 days as a way to go deeper, to uncover more layers, to stay focused and conscious.

When I hosted 44 radio shows in 44 days in 2010, my intention was to raise awareness and to provide support for people who were grieving during the holidays. I used a flip chart to list all of the dates and filled in topics and guests. The flip chart, the commitment to showing up every day for 44 days stretched me.

Setting an intention. Using tools. Defining a container of time and using numbers.

It works!

 

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

Happy Thanksgiving: To eat or not to eat…

Day 57 of 100 days of Blogging

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States.

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Earlier today, I had a little bah humbug going on and I know it was because I said no to attending a Thanksgiving celebration. Somewhere inside of me there was discomfort and guilt, like I should just suck it up and be social and eat tons of food. I have so much to be grateful for, so why was I pushing this holiday away with an outstretched hand?

This year I wanted to stay away from the food frenzy that happens with Thanksgiving. I have been really focused on my own health care over the past few months. Rest. Walking. Eating healthier. Eating less. Losing ten lbs. Feeling connected to my body again. Going to the University of Maryland Dental School every week. Community Acupuncture at Revive in College Park. Finishing some creative projects. Decluttering my life. Dreaming and visioning for 2016. And then Thanksgiving was getting closer and it felt like a pressure, an inconvenience to be endured.

Up until a few years ago, Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays because it felt like there was no pressure. Strangers, friends, family could all come together to say a prayer, a gratitude, eat food, share conversation, crafts and games.  It was always an easy, fun holiday. I loved to cook for it.  I loved the social gathering. I loved inviting people to my home or going to someone’s home. This year was different. I wanted to do something else. To write. To walk. To be.

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So, I did. And once I gave myself permission and compassion and acceptance, the day flowed beautifully. I talked with my Dad who is in rehab in Florida, recovering from a stroke and to my Mom who was at their home preparing to go to rehab and eat dinner with my Dad. My niece got engaged in Atlanta and I congratulated her through text. I texted or talked with all 3 of my daughters and one of them challenged me on Fitbit to walk 10,000 steps. I spent time writing and reading and walking outside on this gorgeous 63 degree F, sunny day. Even walked the labyrinth at University of Maryland, College Park.

During the day, I remembered a few happy Thanksgiving memories:

One of my favorite Thanksgivings was the year after I separated from my first husband. My two little daughters were with me that year, a few close friends and ten other people who were invited one by one because they didn’t have a place to go. For a few weeks, I had walked around the office, around church, around the school my children attended and asked people what they were doing or where they were going for Thanksgiving. If they said, “No plans,” or they weren’t sure, I invited them to my home. We had six people who said yes and then a sudden snowstorm was predicted in the forecast. Four more people who had planned to drive from Baltimore to New Jersey or New York were looking at a grid lock on the highway so they came to my home at the last minute. Of course, I had a ton of food. The house was decorated. We had plenty of room and that year I had Swedish crafts and candle making as part of the day. Music and singing rounded out the event. We all had a blast.

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One year I made so many different dishes that three of the dishes never made it to the table. I had a goal of cooking everything in the Girl Scout Cookbook (our fundraiser that year) I made so much food it was gluttonous. I didn’t care. It was the first Thanksgiving after my husband died. We had a table filled with dear friends of all ages and I poured my heart into the cooking and sharing and eating.

Writing this blogpost, I feel a little lighter about my decision. I can feel the fun memories and I don’t have to discount the beauty and connections from those years just because I wanted to stay away from the celebration and the food this year. I can feel the gratitude for all of the support and the love.

I know there are people who are sad today and who spent the holiday alone. Whether it was your choice to do something different for Thanksgiving or a year of circumstances when you were alone, remember, next year is another year. Decide if you want more connection and spend the next year exploring that or like me, consciously choose and create the day you want.

I had a great day. I am filled with the gratitude to be connected with amazing, loving, caring people all over the planet. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voice to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

Soap Operas: Highlighting Social Issues

Day 56 of 100 days of Blogging

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I was 19 years old. Home from college for the summer and in need of a summer job. After exhausting all possibilities at the King of Prussia Mall, I saw a sign: Hiring Maids for the Summer at a large Motel chain in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Little did I know the gift that job would be for me and the impact of shaping my life.

First, I learned about following up for a job. I was one of over 100 applicants for a few jobs. After filling out the form, I came back the next day to let the manager know that I was ready, willing and able to work starting that day. She pulled my application out of the middle of the stack, interviewed and hired me on the spot.

Second, I was a TERRIBLE maid, but my attitude and determination helped me receive extra training and I learned how to really clean a room. I received the support I needed to do a good job.

Third, I had no idea how much I needed time to think and feel. This was the summer between my first and second year of college. I was a sponge soaking up all of the information presented to me on TV. Listening to Phil Donahue in the morning and soap operas in the afternoon, I had a whole summer to explore relationships, personal growth and activating my inquiring mind.

 

Seeing the news of the death of David Canary, an actor, yesterday brought a whole wave of memories about the summer of 1976 and the impact of soap operas. David reminded me of the soap opera, All My Children. (He did not join the cast until 1983 and later became one of Erica Kane’s eight husband’s.) Before David arrived on All My Children, it was Susan Lucci, as Erica Kane who was my greatest teacher. She was independent, powerful, imaginative and brilliant. She had so many feelings and was not afraid to express them! It was inspirational to observe a woman like that.

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Soap operas, especially All My Children, played out in my life during times of transition. The summer I worked as a maid. Five years later as a new bride in Baltimore and unemployed for the winter. With each childbirth in 1983, 1985, 1991 and 1993. During the summer my son had open heart surgery and I lay around in an air conditioned room with him during his recovery. The winter I was sick with an autoimmune condition and all I could do was rest. That is when I caught up on “my soaps,” and had another dose of exposure to social issues demonstrated through dramatic acting.

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My background as a social worker gave me an interest in watching people interact in relationships. I didn’t sink into soap operas as a way to live my life. I saw them as highlighting the dysfunction and they encouraged me to go to Al-Anon, therapy, and take personal growth classes, to become a minister and a coach. They were food for thought. Soap operas opened me to explore social issues. Erica Kane wanted a career and independence. She did not want to be a homemaker. She had an abortion not for health reasons but because she was a model. (It was the first legal abortion aired on American television.) Other topics were presented in a way that I could learn and also see the challenges. Homosexuality, Drug Use and Alcoholism, Interracial marriage, Anorexia, Same-Sex Marriage. The topics presented in the shows inspired me to read and learn more, to engage in conversations and to explore my own thoughts and ideas; to form my own opinions.

Although I haven’t watched a soap opera in about 20 years, the impact on questioning and exploring social issues is still with me. My writing self emerged during that time in the form of journal writing which led to writing blog posts and stories in Heal My Voice books. The characters and episodes inspired me to speak up and to have a voice.

It is interesting to look back 40 years and see the root of my voice being encouraged and cultivated. The soaps made some of the years with my greatest challenges more manageable and expansive. Getting lost in a character’s life for an hour gave me greater perspective when I returned to my own life. Each episode activated the wheels to spin faster, to open my eyes wider and to inspire me to make conscious choices about how I wanted to step out of the drama and live a bigger life. I used the characteristics represented by Erica Kane to wake up to more of who I really am and to not be afraid to be controversial.

It is one of the reasons I started Heal My Voice. For women to share their stories, their challenges, their dramas to demonstrate and inspire others to use the challenges, see the gifts and use them as

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stepping

stones

to

create

bigger

lives.

 

 

 

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voice to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

How do YOU PLAY?

Day 53 of 100 days of Blogging

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The word play has been in my face for the last few days. It is the word on my co-creative vision Board for the week. The word play in big letters:

P L A Y.

At an event for adults on Saturday night, several people had a chance to sit on the “hot seat” in the front of the room to receive questions that would help us get to know them at a deeper level. One woman asked a man, what do you do for PLAY? He hesitated and paused before saying, I meditate and take time for myself. I did not feel that he was connected to playing and I have been asking myself:

What do you think of when you hear the word PLAY?

 

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My first response:

My granddaughter, Lucille.

Children.

Writing.

Laughter.

Film.

Singing to Music.

Dance parties to increase the steps on my Fitbit.

Throwing a ball for the dog.

Making a gingerbread house.

Sex (when my partner hops on top of me and surprises me with kisses and tickling and licking! That brought a giggle to me…more exploration needed. :) )

 

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When I googled the word play, the first things that came up were: Google Play for Androids with games and apps, Gymboree for kids, and a definition of the word Play as an activity.

From Wikipedia: Play is often interpreted as frivolous; yet the player can be intently focused on their objective, particularly when play is structured and goal-oriented, as in a game. Accordingly, play can range from relaxed, free-spirited and spontaneous through frivolous to planned or even compulsive. Play is not just a pastime activity; it has the potential to serve as an important tool in numerous aspects of daily life for adolescents, adults, and cognitively advanced non-human species (such as primates). Not only does play promote and aid in physical development (such as hand-eye coordination), but it also aids in cognitive development and social skills, and can even act as a stepping stone into the world of integration, which can be a very stressful process.

As I enter this week and the holiday season is surrounding me in my work with some challenges and grief and pain, I am fluffing up the play energy. Adding in the elements of curiosity, wonder, shiny expectations of hope and new possibilities. What feels playful? Where can I stop and connect to this bubbling energy of play? A bright, shiny red leaved tree across the street; a song that lights me up and I stop everything to dance (even in Trader Joe’s!); a photo of dogs who just ate an “Elf on the Shelf”; a video of upstairs neighbors making noise. (see link below)

 

What do you think of when you hear the word PLAY?

Post in the comments and inspire us!

 

 

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voice to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

Releasing Judgmental Thoughts and Feelings

Day 41 of 100 days of Blogging

I was leading a women’s circle the other night. It was the first in this community and I was laying out some guidelines. Confidentiality. Share experience. No advice giving.

I was about to say something about judgmental thoughts and feelings and to not judge each other, when a new idea came to me. Judging each other is a natural human phenomenon. I judge you. You judge me. We are all in judgement together.

Instead of pretending it is not there or trying to control your thoughts, I suggested to the women they become aware of it and learn from it. The bigger picture, when we become aware of judging, is what we do next. Gossip, criticize, shame or turn it into an opportunity to learn something about ourselves.

I know when that voice of judgement is turned up inside of me, there is a ton of desire bubbling up and I haven’t figured out how to bring it into the physical yet. Or I haven’t accepted myself just as I am. Because when I judge you, I am actually judging me.

To judge means to form an opinion. Our opinion is based on what we have been taught, conditioning, experience and preference. It is our version of right or wrong.  It is how we make moment by moment choices.

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Try this exercise sometime. You notice that you are judging someone.

Example: She’s too happy or loud and I don’t like her clothes.

Now, turn it back towards you.

*How happy do you allow yourself to be?

*Are you feeling like you have too much responsibility?

*When was the last time you just let yourself be happy and loud?

*Is there an old conditioning, a belief that says women have to act a certain way?

*What is it about her clothes?

*Write down the words and ask yourself what you envy about her clothing choices.

*Do you wish for more freedom? Color? Confidence?

Now you have an awareness of what is underneath all of the judgement and you can make changes…if you wish.

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End the exercise by placing your hand over your heart, close your eyes and repeat over and over, “I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you…”

There is no room in your mind for anything else.

 

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Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voice to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

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