Tag Archives: Andrea Hylen

The Vulnerability of Writing

 

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“Being Vulnerable on the Page: Our words tell the truth about more than what we’re writing; they also tell the truth about us.” ~Judy Reeves

 

When I began to write my story for the ninth Heal My Voice book, I remember sitting in the living room, hands hovering over the computer keyboard and feeling hesitant to type any words. The book was called, “Sensual Voices: True Stories by Women Exploring Connection and Desire.” All of the women wrote stories about a woman’s journey with her body. Stories of menstruation, pregnancy, breast feeding and swimming in a lake. Some of us wrote about a journey with our sexuality. I knew that was the story I was compelled to write and I could feel the fear of writing about my personal experiences and revealing secrets. At first, I was afraid to even write it for myself! Then, I was afraid that if I published it, my reputation would be tarnished. I felt that people who had different experiences would judge me. I felt that everything I had committed to and built with Heal My Voice would be destroyed, including harming the women who had written stories in all the books. I even had a back lash from my mother one night, when she saw the description of the Heal My Voice project on my website. Sensual Voices: True Stories by Women Exploring Connection and Desire. She said, “Who are you to lead that project? What qualifications do you have? Why is this on your website?”

Whoa! I got whacked emotionally for about an hour. Luckily, she sent this through email and I read it while I was sitting at Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, Maryland with a cup of coffee and a delicious meal. Pausing to eat the piping hot food that had just arrived at the table, I waited to respond, until a feeling arose in me and I wrote her back and claimed my voice. It was a huge breakthrough AND it was the 9th Heal My Voice book. I was not new to writing and not new to expressing feelings and emotions for all the world to see. I had experience with the vulnerability of my inner writer voice. (And FYI: I have a background in women’s health, social work and had recently taken a year long program about women’s sexuality and I am a writing coach.)

But here’s the thing. Every time, I reveal something about myself in a blog, on a radio show or in a book, a wave of vulnerability comes. I feel it is a part of the writing process to uncover and feel the feelings. For this project, I had support, experience, I felt the feelings and I moved through it faster.

As a writer and a leader of groups of women writers in The Writing Incubator, I know that vulnerability arises as a part of the process:

“Why aren’t my words flowing?”
“I don’t have time to write.”

“I feel lost in this program.”
“I’m behind everyone else.”
“I’m doing it wrong.”
“I’m scared to be seen.”

I see it all the time in the on-line writing programs as well as experience it myself. There is a desire that rises because you feel compelled to write something. There is a “yes” to “The Writing Incubator” space that comes with a layer of vulnerability of being seen in community. Then, there is the vulnerability of writing feelings or a story on paper or the computer. And THEN, the idea that you would share this with someone else! The vulnerability of the truth that is your life, the exposure of how you describe your feelings and words, the fear of rejection, etc…

The feeling of vulnerability is always present. Every story I have ever written in a Heal My Voice book, or a blog (especially being a guest blogger) or in my books on Amazon, trigger the voices in my head that are telling me I shouldn’t write.

Underlying all of these fears, maybe women are also afraid of a collective energy. Call it the fear of being exposed for book burning or the burning of witches at the stake. Or a myriad of other ways that women have been burned physically and emotionally for speaking up. It can be a deep imprinting from the past. I encourage you, as you begin to write, to find a safe place to express yourself, to be witnessed and and to practice sharing your voice. Build the muscle by sharing your voice in community.

One more thing. I have also felt or heard women say:

Hasn’t someone already written this story?
I’m not an expert.
Who am I to write this book?

You are here to write what you are compelled to express and share. It begins with writing for yourself. That may be in a journal. You may write to redefine your work. You may have a program to design or a blog to start or a book to write. You are the only person who can write a book in your vibration and with your exact experience. The possibilities for self-expression are infinite.

 

A few writing prompts for your own reflection:

*Turn up your awareness, every time you write or every time you think about writing.

*What are the words you are hearing in your head?

*Are they stopping you from writing?

*Find one thing you can say to yourself whenever you hear the words. Create an affirmation. Or write a few words on a sticky note that will help you remember who you are. “I am Writer and I have something to say.”

 

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Andrea Hylen: Author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey. Creator of The Writing Incubator, on-line writing community. www.andreahylen.com

Liberating Your Voice

(Originally Published in On Purpose Magazine February 2019)

 

  (Photo Credit Liz Lemon,

Women’s March 2017)

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 2.36.03 PMBy Andrea Hylen

In a song called Liberation, Christina Aguilera begins by asking, “Where are you? Are you there?” Her words are barely a whisper. A calling out to a part of her that lies dormant. The rest of the song is a soft melody with piano and violins and other string instruments, until the end when she whispers, “Remember.” I don’t know what her personal intention was for the song. For me, it was a call out to a part of   myself that had been suppressed for too long. After listening to her song today, I had a remembrance of a time when I had things to say and no place to say them. It reminded me that when I started to blog in 2008, I started every writing session with. “Dear Listener.” The subtext was, “Dear Listener, Are you there? Can you hear me?”

 

Liberation is one of those words, like power, that can bring up feelings of discomfort. Liberation means “setting free from oppression.” In order to heal and liberate your voice, you have to be willing to admit that you are, or have been, oppressed. As the artist and activist Judy Chicago, recently said on the Netflix film: Feminist: “liberation in the 70’s meant ‘you had to be disobedient.'”

 

For a moment, let’s push aside any feelings you may have about suffragettes and the second wave of feminism, the liberation movement in the 70’s.  Separate from that, I want to ask you, “Were you ever taught to be a good girl?” Feel that for a moment. Did someone ever say to you, “Be a good girl.” What did it mean to be a good girl? Could a good girl have a liberated voice? Did she have to be disobedient to be free?

 

A deeper clue about the conditioning around being a good girl came to me recently when my mother read one of the stories I wrote in, “Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey.”(As an aside, this article is not about bashing my mother. I understand that being a good girl to her meant that I would be safe. If I didn’t challenge anyone with my voice and I was a good girl, I would be safe. That is a huge discovery in itself.) My story in the Heal My Voice book evolved around a moment when I yelled at a housemate in 2014, the year I shared a house with seven people in Los Angeles. My mother said she couldn’t read that story because she didn’t raise me to yell at people. She raised me to be “a good girl.” In the story, I talked about how I had acquiesced to someone for 4 months because she was having a hard time adjusting to sharing a house with so many people. I shut down my needs and desires and did anything I could to avoid conflict and make it easier for her. Although everyone had some private space of their own in the house, she was having a hard time with the shared spaces. Everything came to a head after I returned from a three-week business trip and she had set up her acupuncture office in my bedroom. Setting boundaries and asking her to remove her stuff from my bedroom by a certain date didn’t work. And on the final night, when her massage table blocked my ability to get into my bed, I snapped. All of the suppression and holding back and acquiescing finally boiled over and I screamed at her. The other housemates clapped and cheered that I had liberated my voice. My “good girl, people pleasing, community building” persona was stretched to the limit. I couldn’t repress my feelings any longer. To really claim my space and stand up for myself I had to break through the nice girl my mother had taught me to be.

 

The only problem with that scenario was that I didn’t have enough practice with my voice to use it firmly and directly before reaching that boiling point. There was no place in my childhood or in adulthood where it was safe to be messy emotionally. No place to express anger, fear, hurt, or anything else that felt uncomfortable. No place to practice expressing my thoughts and feelings and practice trying on different hats or different ideas. It took that moment with the roommate to help me break free from oppression. My liberated voice can now express feelings of anger, hurt, fear, as well as upliftment, joy and confidence.

 

As we watch women liberating their voices at the Women’s March and in the #metoo and #timesup movements, we are going to witness women with feelings. Feelings are clues that are connected to intuition. Feelings and liberation are a super power.  It is time. We need your voice. We need your voice to create a ripple effect of liberation in the world. When you follow your heart, when you listen to your intuition, when you show up because you know in your heart that this is where you are meant to serve to offer, to lead, you are using your liberated voice.

 

 

I leave you with a few questions to explore:

 

What does liberation mean to you?

Where do you feel you have the freedom to speak, to express your thoughts and feelings?

Do you feel liberated at the dinner table, in your business, in your community, in the world?

Where do you feel your voice is shut down or not welcomed?

What is one step you could take to liberate your voice?

 

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Andrea Hylen: Author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey. Creator of The Writing Incubator, on-line writing community. www.andreahylen.com

Why Partners, Family, and Friends Can Be Hazardous to Your Health by Carolyn A. Brent

Across All Ages

DEEP BEAUTY International Blog Tour 2019

Today I have the great pleasure of being the first host here in Santa Monica, CA, USA on Day 1 of the Virtual Blog Tour of author Carolyn A. Brent, whose book, “Transforming Your Life through Self-Care: A Guide to Tapping into Your Deep Beauty and Inner Worth” is celebrating its big Worldwide book launch on May 8, 2019.

 

CAROLYN A. BRENT is an award-winning bestselling author and a National Physique Committee (NPC) Masters Women’s Figure Champion at age 60. She is an expert on both self-care and caregiving; she is the founder of Across All Ages and two nonprofit organizations, CareGiverStory Inc. and Grandpa’s Dream.  Carolyn’s written works is in the Library of Congress the libraries of Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and numerous other medical centers and universities.

 

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Carolyn when I got to ask her on the subject of Why Partners, Family, and Friends Can Be Hazardous, Setting healthy boundaries and Relationships. I hope you enjoy it.

 

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ANDREA HYLEN: How do we maintain and grow relationships with partners, family and friends when we may also feel a need to protect our tender heart?

 

Carolyn A. Brent: Thank you so much for asking such an important question. Before I delve into the answer, I like to discuss matters of the heart.

Yes, it’s natural for a person to want to protect his or her tender heart especially when there is a sudden and unexpected family emergency, and everyone should be united–right?  In short, we want everyone to be on the same page.

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But, the truth of the matter is–when trauma, loss, and grief come our way–each person will handle and deal with their pain and stresses very differently.   Whether if it’s a spouse, parent, child, loved one or close family friend often, everyone is seeking for the other person to see, and feel the same as they do.

 

Just be aware, some family members and loved ones may not “ever” be on the same page at the same time. The best practice should take place way before there is sudden and unexpected emergency comes.

 

I will forever say and believe, that families and loved ones should have those tough conversations way– before there is an emergency. We all have experienced stress, and we know by first-hand experience– that it is a crazy and nerve-wracking time in one’s life.

 

Years before my dad got sick, I tried to have the crucial family conversation with my adult siblings. Needless to say, they were just not interested, and never took an active role in the care of our dad–until they thought our dad was dying, and there was money to be had.

 

My family experience was so tragic until most of my healthcare professionals, and psychologist refer to my heartbreaking family experience in one word. Chilling!

 

In my case, it took me years of getting help– weekly from a remarkable psychologist who understood my family drama, and helped me to transform my life through self-care, and tapping into my deep beauty and inner worth. When I practice this method–my life changed drastically and continues to evolve to this day.

 

I firmly believe that the only person we can change is yourself. We cannot force our beliefs and ideas on anyone which includes the people we love the most. If anyone you know and love is toxic or hazardous to your health, seek professional help immediately. Don’t wait; it may save someone’s life.

 

I also want to strongly remind everyone that any form of abuse is never okay. Anyone from any race, sexual orientation, age, gender, or religion can be a victim—or perpetrator—of abuse. Abuse can happen to people who are married, living together, just dating, friends, and family members. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Learn more: Chapter 2: Why Partners, Family, and Friends Can Be Hazardous to Your Health.

 

ANDREA HYLEN: Do you have suggestions for setting boundaries and also keeping our hearts open?

 

Carolyn A. Brent: Yes, it’s best practice to have healthy boundaries and know that your peace of mind, joy, and tranquility comes first. The following are some substantial things to consider:

 

  1. Let go of things you cannot change.
  2. You can’t force someone to love you.
  3. Love yourself.
  4. Have compassion.
  5. Practice acts of forgiveness.
  6. Lead a purpose-filled life.
  7. Help somebody.

 

 

ANDREA HYLEN: Please explain more about how our closest relationships can be hazardous to our health.

 

Carolyn A. Brent: I know what I am about to share is shocking. But sometimes the truth is worse than fiction. On September 19, 2007, my dad had a massive hematoma, bleeding on the brain. While I was dealing with the agony of seeing my dad’s health take such a rapid turn, my siblings decided they wanted to take over his care. They had never taken any time to help in all of the twelve years that I was his caregiver.

 

I wish they had acted out of concern for my dad and me. They did not. When family members think there is money to be had, you may find yourself taking out restraining orders and spending time in probate court. That’s exactly what happened to me. I was served with restraining orders in three different county probate courthouses. At each court hearing, as we stood before the Judge, the plaintiff would drop all charges she had filed against me.

 

With the legal battles and everything that was happening, I had no time to process or recover. I was angry, depressed, and in astonishing physical and emotional pain. My life was spiraling out of control.

 

Then came the final blow: My beloved dad died. A distant relative notified me two weeks after his internment. My siblings did not even tell me that he had passed or where he was buried. Can you imagine the devastation, shock, and excruciating emotional pain I experienced? Learn More: Chapter 1: Becoming An Authority of Your Life… (When Dreams Come Crashing Down)..

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I hope you enjoyed this interview with Carolyn A. Brent and that you’ll check out her book on May 8, 2019:

 

Join us on the 2019 International DEEP BEAUTY Telesummit: May 6th, 7th & 8th

Details here: http://bit.ly/2W3K69a

Book-Cover

SPECIAL OFFER direct from Roman & Littlefield

30% DISCOUNT OFFER OFF LIST PRICE PLEASE ORDER USING THIS CODE: RLFANDF30 978-1-5381-2084-2 • Hardback $28.00 list price (discount price $19.60) 978-1-5381-2085-9 • eBook $26.50 list price (discount price $18.55) For more information, please contact our Customer Service Dept. at special.sales@rowman.com or by phone at 800-462-6420 ext. 3023.

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Catch Carolyn’s Book Trailer… click here!

 

Thanks for reading! Please share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.

 

AND… be sure to follow Carolyn tomorrow when the next stop is in London, England with the Ben Salmi family where 3 youngsters and their grandma will be interviewing Carolyn on the subject of Living Your Divine Purpose, Rejoice in Your life, Purpose in Your Soul and The Health and Money Connection. To visit the Ben Salmi family, go to http://bit.ly/2IMWuY1

 

 

DEEP BEAUTY Wellness Retreat Summer 2019

An Artist Date: January 2019

(For more Artist Date Inspiration, go to Consciously Woman: Click Here)

My Life is an Artist Date. That’s a hashtag I use on Instagram and other Social Media Dates (#MyLifeisanArtistDate.). The Artist Date is one of the tools that Julie Cameron invites us to use to experience the world with open eyes and to breathe in something that sounds like fun. A solo expedition to spark your imagination.  Over years of practicing the artist date, it has become a way of life. What can I notice in this moment? My Artist Dates are a 30 second moment or an hour, a day or a long weekend. Reading Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist Way, opened me to the importance of spending time cultivating my creativity and my spirit. It was in a circle of women, in 1997, that I began to discover the importance of taking time for myself. In our circle, we shared our personal experiences in the backdrop of The Artist’s Way and Vein of Gold. Brilliant books written by Julie Cameron. We shared food and conversation and inspired each other with creativity projects.

 

My latest pet sit in Venice Beach, California, last week, was filled with four days of rest, reading, writing, movie watching on Netflix, beach walks and reconnection with myself. Mimi, a 5 lb. Maltese tea-cup, was my companion on morning walks of listening to the sounds on the beach. Seagulls with their huoh-huoh-huoh, choking call. The man with his guitar singing Bob Dylan songs, “How many roads must a man walk down, before you can call him a man? . . . The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.” Passing the new Starbucks on the boardwalk there is a throng of people protesting corporate America taking over the independent locally grown coffee shops. Venice beach is like a blast from the past. It feels like the 60’s and 70’s. Make love, not war. Free spirits. Strong voices. Alternate lifestyles. Art. Dream. Be You!

In addition to the sand, sea and seagulls, I notice the people I pass on my walk

*A woman with hoop earrings, a long skirt and shawl, holding a toddler, sitting on the sidewalk with her sign saying they are hungry, and could anyone spare a $1 for food.

*A man dressed in bright green scrubs, with a marijuana leaf print, inviting you into the Medical Marijuana Clinic.

*I hear a brief conversation from a man jogging by, plugged into earbuds, “If we move the bed to the west side of the room, we will have room for the new dresser. I’ll be home in 30 minutes”

*A woman exclaims, “Oh, she’s so cute.” Mimi thinks that is her name, she hears it so much on our walk. This 5 lb, white, fluffy doggie IS cute!

*A toddler in a stroller, points and calls out, “Dog, dog, dog.”

*I notice a sign from one of the artists, “No photos allowed without purchase.” A reminder that the artist is protecting her livelihood and setting a boundary. This is how she supports herself.

 

Craving lunch on one of my afternoon walks, I opt for the small food stall with a hand-made sign advertising tacos. After I order the pollo taco, the man disappears behind the sign into a tiny kitchen. I wait with my mouth watering from the smells of garlic, onion, cumin and chili powder. He hands me two, steaming hot tacos on a paper plate.

In the evenings, I inhale inspiration from film on Netflix. Every night a different theme: Feminism in the 70’s: Women fighting for equal rights and equal pay. Dancing to Taylor Swift’s concert: Reputation. Thinking about how she went to court this year to testify against a man who had sexually assaulted her. #metoo. On Netflix, she is a woman with a commanding stage presence. One night, I watched films about the AIDS epidemic and the leadership that emerged from individuals who stood up to the government and drug companies. Finally, on the last night, foreign films with subtitles: films from Nigeria and Mexico, feeling other cultures and languages.

On my last morning, I reflected on the weather of the four days. Days One and Two were a mixture of stillness and aliveness. Calm ocean. Restaurants, boardwalk and beach filled with people who were still on vacation after The New Year. Day Three: The clouds rolled in with an increase of wind and a prediction of rain. I walked an almost deserted boardwalk with shop owners bringing in chairs and merchandise and boarding up windows.  On the final morning, the air was crisp and clean. The sun was shining brightly. The ocean roared with waves. Shop owners opening up for business and clearing the debris from palm tree leaves and trash. People returning to jog, ride bikes, do yoga on the beach and enjoy nature.

As I walked on that final morning by myself, I chose a seat on the sand at the water’s edge watching the tide roll in and the waves coming closer and closer to my feet. I remembered the many times I have been on this beach, at this time of year, pondering what is next. In 2010, I spent a day walking on the boardwalk and napping on the beach as I prepared for the final radio show of that holiday season. Show 44: A Summary of 44 days of Grief Transformation. I was asking, God, Spirit, the Universe, what’s next? A few days later, I sent an application to the State of California to register, “Heal My Voice,” as a non-profit organization. This stretch of land has birthed many dreams and ideas. I wonder as I wander on the beach this year, what will I learn and discover in 2019? I pass a man who is offering “shitty advice” for $1. I laugh out loud. I know I don’t need that. I have cultivated inner guidance. The answers are within.

There is one thing, I do know. I am curious and open to what is to come in 2019. With one last deep breath, I feel the ocean and gratitude for this space. I’m alive! #mylifeisanartistdate

 

If you want to explore writing as a process or you are working on a book or developing a program, the next Writing Incubator begins on April 1 with early bird pricing until February 1. Check it out! You don’t have to do it alone.

The Writing Incubator

 

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 to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership and the Writing Incubator, an on-line writing community with writing prompts and writing labs, for women. She is author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey.

Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. She follows 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 coaching others to do the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about coaching, current projects and on-line writing circles go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

Week One: What is the Story You Want to Tell?

This is a 30-week series with topics and questions from Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey by Andrea Hylen. Available on Amazon

Version 2

Question 1 of 30: What is the story you want to tell?

“When I started working on women’s history thirty years ago, the field did not exist. It was not recognized. People didn’t think women had a history worth knowing.” ~Gerda Lerner, On Thinking Allowed with Jeffrey Mishlove, August 2010

When I read about Gerda Lerner recently in Carol Lee Flinders book called, “At the Root of This Longing,” I started to realize something deeper about what we are doing and being in Heal My Voice programs and in The Writing Incubator. Women are writing their stories and recording Women’s History. This is why it is so important for women to flood the market with their stories. Not just our theories or steps to success but the raw emotion of awakening. Writing our history.

It’s time to tell our stories. You are a history worth knowing.

Let that idea wash over you today. Your voice, your stories, your writing, your programs, your books are a record of Women’s History. Your voice is so important!

We all have many stories in our lives. So, which one is bubbling in you right now? Which story would serve you to write?

While writing my first story for publication, in 2008, for Conscious Choices: An Evolutionary Woman’s Guide to Life, I thought I was going to write a story about the birth and death of my son, Cooper. That was the story I had spent time feeling and processing and I wanted to share my experience with other women. But there was another story that was bubbling inside of me.  It was a story that began when I heard a song playing in my head. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor…” I recognized the song as something Mister Rogers sang on his PBS Children’s Show.  “Okay,” I said to myself.  “Why does this song keep playing in my head? Why am I waking up hearing it when my kids are all grown up now? I haven’t watched Mister Rogers in years!”  I started to remember a really low point in my life when they were both under the age of 2. I felt unloved and unseen by my husband. Nothing I did, nothing I said, was “right.” I felt criticized and then ignored. As I started to write about things I was feeling during that time, I discovered a moment in that story:

Friday morning was the day I was at home with my daughters, catching up on the laundry, cooking meals for the next week an getting the house organized before the weekend. We would watch Sesame Street and Mister Rogers. There was always a moment when Mister Rogers would say, “I love you just the way you are.”

And just like that, when I remembered the feeling, I knew that that was the story I needed to write. It was a story about a low point when I felt hopeless. Mister Roger’s words gave me hope to find a way back to myself.  Writing about that low point helped me connect the dots of when my healing and transformation began.  It helped me to see my strength and personal power.

An exercise:

Think back to a time in your life. Let’s pick high school, as an example. Notice if there is a memory of pain or pleasure. Now, think about your first boyfriend or girlfriend. What is a memory? The first thing you may experience is a feeling. It might be a tightness in your chest or bubbling joy in your belly. There may be a variety of emotions, even if there isn’t a specific moment you remember. Begin there.

To inspire and ignite your writing, begin to ask the question, “What story do I want to tell?” Start asking it out loud to yourself. Maybe you ask it before you go to sleep at night. Or you ask it first thing in the morning. Don’t grab for the story. Just wait and allow it to come to you, like the Mister Rogers song came to me. It could be a feeling. It could be an emotion. And when you feel the memory rise, write it down! Acknowledge the moment, even if you don’t want to write a whole story right now. Write it down and wait for more inspiration to follow.

 

cropped-Screen-Shot-2013-11-29-at-12.20.41-PM.pngAs I re-read the quote by Gerda Lerner, it seems hard to believe that there wasn’t a program to study women’s history, right? Or does it? Gerda Lerner introduced the first official women’s history program in 1972 at Sarah Lawrence. 1972!! I was just entering high school. No wonder I was confused about who I was as a woman. There were very few examples of women in our curriculum or our conversations.

That was then, this is now.

When I published my book this summer, I gave a copy to each of my daughters. The book has fourteen of my personal stories of challenges with triumph. It is a path of how to awaken and evolve, as a woman. I told them that I didn’t expect them to read it now. But some day, they would want to read my words and share them with others. It is the history of their mother. It is the history of a woman: Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey.

Write your stories. Share them with others. Your life is part of the History of Women.

A few reflective questions:

*Have you ever doubted that it was important for you to write a book or to share your stories in blogs, programs and social media posts?

*What does the critical voice inside your head tell you about why you shouldn’t share your stories?

*Write about why it’s important for you to share your stories. Tune in to your inner wisdom and see what surfaces.

What is the story you want to tell now?

 

If you want to explore writing as a process or you are working on a book or developing a program, the next Writing Incubator begins on April 1 with early bird pricing. Check it out! You don’t have to write your stories alone.

The Writing Incubator

Andrea Santa Barbara Starbucks Aug 2016

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 to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership and the Writing Incubator, an on-line writing community with writing prompts and writing labs, for women. She is author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey.

Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. She follows 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 coaching others to do the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about coaching, current projects and on-line writing circles go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

 

 

Dedication HMV-EWJ

You Have Restored My Faith in Humanity

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I was taking a walk in a neighborhood in West LA over the holidays when I passed a woman who was walking a dog, a Corgi. The Corgi’s tail was wagging so I stopped and stretched out my hand for the dog to smell me before beginning to pat his head and stroke his fur. The woman began to talk about how unfriendly people are and how amazing it was that I stopped to say hello to her dog and to her. I listened and shared a few words about how we’re all in this together and taking time for connection is important. She gushed the words, “You have restored my faith in humanity. My wish for you in 2018 is that you receive everything you desire.” I thanked her and told her I receive that blessing and I wish the same for her.

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 6.40.48 AMLater that day, I saw the film, “Lady Bird.” Before the film began, something compelled me to tell the person next to me that I was going to move one seat over to make it easier for people who were looking for seats in the now packed theater. The woman in front of me turned around and asked if she could sit in that seat. Her neck was already hurting and she felt sitting one row back would be better for her. She was at the film with friends and was about to leave the theater and sit in the car because she was in so much physical discomfort already. (Hmmm…that must be the reason I was intuitively, body-wisdom compelled to move.) During the film, I began to cry during one of the scenes and the woman reached over with a tissue for me. We talked after the film which led to a conversation about women telling their stories and using their voices in the world. She asked for my business card and hugged me and thanked me several times.

The most interesting thing about the two interactions was that I had started my day by writing three questions in my journal:

*Who am I?
*What do I have to offer the world?
*What does my heart desire?

In the experience of asking, slowing down, noticing, listening to my intuition, I received a glimpse of who I am, what I have to offer the world and what my heart desires. It is the reason I take time to pause and write and connect in on-line communities with deeper conversations.

What I also saw and know is our voices are needed, our voices matter, our voices are being heard, and the culture around women and men is in transition. I want you to know that you restore my faith in humanity every day.

 

A question for you:

How do you want to add your voice to the conversation and the transition? Where are you receiving support? Where are you connected to deeper conversations for exploring and connecting with your inner GPS?

 

Andrea Santa Barbara Starbucks Aug 2016

If you want to explore writing as a process or you are working on a book or developing a program, the next Writing Incubator begins on April 1 with early bird pricing until February 1. Check it out!

The Writing Incubator

 

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 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.

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 coaching others to do the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects and on-line writing circles go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

International Women’s Day 2018: Slowly a New Path Has Emerged

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 4.56.08 PMSpoken at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, March 4, 2018:

“This year, many spoke their truth, and the journey ahead is long, but slowly a new path has emerged,” Annabella Sciorra

“The changes we are witnessing are being driven by the powerful sound of new voices, of different voices, of our voices, joining together in a mighty chorus that is finally saying ‘time’s up,” Ashley Judd

″So we salute those unstoppable spirits who kicked ass and broke through the biased perceptions against their gender, their race and ethnicity to tell their stories.” Salma Hayek

Watching the Academy Awards in the living room, by myself, on Sunday night, I found myself cheering, holding my breath, jumping off the couch with a Yes! and feeling the winds of change. We have reached another tipping point. There is momentum and there is a lot of work to do to keep this going. It is about speaking up and holding for change and giving time and space for the culture to change, too. That is what is required for change.

Change takes time.

There was a moment last week when Jimmy Kimmel, the host of the Oscars, was asked about #metoo being talked about at the Oscars. He was quoted as saying, “This show is not about reliving people’s sexual assaults — it’s an awards show for people who have been dreaming about maybe winning an Oscar for their whole lives. And the last thing I want to do is ruin that for someone, by making it unpleasant.”

When I first read his words, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach, a feeling I have had many times in my 60 years. Being told to keep my mouth shut, not to make waves, to turn down my light and not to mention the things that would make people feel uncomfortable and of course, not to be unpleasant.

Jimmy Kimmel later clarified that #metoo conversations would be a part of the show and that his words were taken out of context. There is a culture change happening and it is going to be uncomfortable for women and men as we make changes. Let’s remember that.

Change takes time.

When I saw the Time magazine cover from January, with photos of strong women and the words The Silence Breakers, I felt a rush of gratitude and hope for the future. It’s been a long time coming and now that the door is open it is going to take all of us to keep it open and find our way into this new world. There are moments now, when I feel the relief of what is being uncovered. There are moments when I feel impatient  and frustrated that the process of change is so slow. And then I remember…

Change takes time.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 5.32.20 PMMy personal story is, I left an abusive marriage in 1987. I had to fight for my children and go for psychological testing because no one in my family or his family could understand why I would leave this marriage. No one understood what the abuse had done to me and how broken I was at that time. The abuse and alcoholism were accepted as normal. I was supposed to accept that I “made my bed and I had to lie in it.” I was shamed and shunned for using my voice. Looking back, I can see that the creation of Heal My Voice began during that time but it took 30 more years of personal growth and experiences of trauma, loss and grief before I could start the organization and hold a space for women to write and heal and step into greater leadership in their lives.

Heal My Voice was started in 2011 as a way for women to break the silence. For seven years, we have been meeting in secret Facebook groups, behind closed doors, healing our voices and writing 200 stories. Each story was written over a 9 month period in a community of women. The women had the courage to go down into the emotional basement of their lives to tell the truth of what happened to them. By shining a light on the shadow, they have emerged ready to step into greater leadership in their families, communities, businesses and the world. We are ready. It is time.

Change takes time.

How many of you have been the silence breakers in your family and business? How many of you have been chipping away at a broken system for years? How many of you have been a part of the women’s liberation movement and the mankind project and using your voice?

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 5.30.36 PMWe are entering a time of even more chaos that will allow us to break free from an old broken system and to rebuild together. There is a climate for change and change takes time with an upheaval, a feeling of “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” or a quiet, compelling pull from the Universe. “It’s time.”  The next steps for change come with a plan and a structure and the willingness and courage to do the inner work, as well as, the outer work. The next steps involve consistent action, rest, perseverance, patience and courage.

Change takes time.

It is our time. If you don’t see the impact immediately or you see the old culture raising it’s ugly head, keep going. Let’s roll up our sleeves and use the momentum and timing to implement more change. Women and men together. Let’s do it!

 

 

315353_10201052497332086_1044127686_nAndrea 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 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.

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 coaching others to do the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

How will you use your voice?

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 3.34.43 PMFriday, January 20, 2017

I remember a moment, in 2008, when I began to feel like, I am Oprah, and you are Oprah, and it was time for us to share our wisdom and voices in a bigger way. It was one of the reasons I started a blog and it happened when Oprah highlighted Eckhart Tolle’s book, “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.” I read the book two years earlier and when I watched Oprah, I saw that I had been living this and she was awakening to her own questions. It was new to her. It didn’t mean I was better than Oprah, it meant that I didn’t have to wait for her to teach me everything and to be my voice. I began to share my voice and experience more, in the hopes of shining a light on the path for someone else.

We need Oprah and Deepak and Barack and Michelle Obama to inspire us and model ways of sharing our wisdom and demonstrating action because, well, we are all in this together and they are amazing role models! As we listen to their experiences and wisdom, we are also tuning in to our own inner authority. We can check within to see where we resonate with them and what we have seen and experienced from a different perspective. We can check within to follow our life purpose in the moment.

I have been and will always be a supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am also committed to listening to what President Trump is saying and being and doing to lead this country. I am listening and watching because this is my country, and I have a voice and I can use it to influence the process. These words in Trump’s inauguration speech today rang true for me: “January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”

Yes. The people are now the rulers of this nation again. We do not need a “big Daddy,” in the White House.  Trump and his administration are not “the people. WE are the people.

The people are now the rulers. The Women’s March in Washington and all over the United States is about taking charge and setting the agenda for our country. The people are becoming the rulers. President Trump works for us. He is our employee. We review him. We hold him accountable. We influence the vote on programs he is endorsing. We applaud. We protest. We have a voice.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.16.20 AM

So, how will you use your voice?

Here are some of the ways I have been using my voice:

In November, a few weeks after the election, I posted a link to a radio show on Transforming Grief to Love. For six weeks, I posted 44 radio shows that originally aired over the holidays in 2010 and I did a Facetime LIVE for each show with tools and resources. Inspiring people to listen to the shows and to grieve and feel and heal. (All 44 show links are here)

This month, I am working on Part 2 of a book on How to Transform Grief to Love. With conversations from the radio shows on how to use the shadow of grief to shine a light on the love we have in our hearts.

In February, there is a nine-month program called Innovative Voices: True Stories by Women Awakening a New World.

Women will be gathering in a weekly on-line circle to talk about Innovation. What does it mean and how can we tune into that energy to help the world awaken to new ideas for humanity?

I also follow a variety of newsletters and groups to learn about things that are happening in Congress so I can use my voice to influence the vote. To make phone calls, write letters, spread the word. No  more turning over the decisions to the lobbyists. The people are the rulers. My intention is that every choice I make is connected with #humanity and uplifting the planet.

So, I ask you again. How will you use your voice?

 

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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 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.

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 coaching others to do the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

Living my Life as a Research Project

Day 100 of 100 days of Blogging

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 5.41.04 PM

Life is naturally designed to be a research project. We are born with desire and curiosity. A child is naturally interested in exploring; naturally playing with their senses to create experiences. See. Hear. Taste. Touch. Play.

I like to observe, analyze and process what I notice and feel in the world. You could say that I am a born researcher, a data collector and  a writer.

For ten years after college, my career evolved from research assistant to project manager at Johns Hopkins to computer software trainer at a pharmaceutical company. I am a trained social worker and coach and an ordained minister. I like to study life, people and feelings. I have always been curious about people. Observing why they choose or don’t choose different experiences in their lives. Why they say they are happy when they feel sad to me. Why they say they are fine when they have tears in their eyes.

After working in the University System, I turned my attention to research life; my life and the world in and around me.

100 days of blogging has been a research project. The intention I set when I first started writing was to explore my voice. What did I want to write about? Where did people want to engage? What topics of interest to women and men in my community? What did I notice? Where did I have feelings of passion and intense desire to explore a topic?

Well, it turns out that I wrote about how I live my life. The topics included Living with Intent, Living in Flow, Living from Inspiration, Relationships, Connection, Writing, Grief, Healing, Consciousness Practices, Transformation and Leadership.

As this is the last day of 100 days of writing, I move towards integration. It is a necessary last piece of all research projects. Writing has transformed something so deep, that I need time and space, more of “the gap time,” to allow for integration and digestion to be able to use what I have uncovered.

And while I give the 100 days of writing time to percolate, I said yes to another research project. This one connects me to my Orgasmic Meditation practice.

 

For more details about setting up research with a partner, read on…

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.27.35 AM

To start off the new year, I decided to practice Orgasmic Meditation with an OM coach and friend in Crystal City, Virginia. We set the experience to be 21 days and to meet in his apartment every day.

Here are a few tips that can be adapted for different research experiences.

1. Enter at your own risk. I wouldn’t label 21 days of daily OMing as “fun.” The purpose of research is to turn a spotlight onto something and allow for release and purification and new awareness. Shadow and light will be revealed.

In the first week of the experience, I have noticed how each of us have had a day or two where we feel messed up before we start to OM or a day where we feel tender and cracked open after the OM. There is a purification and burning off of emotions and revealing of desires that emerge. There are also days that feel like nothing is happening which leads to days of bursting awareness and opening of power. In the first 7 days, I have laughed, cried, tapped into more of my power and last night I had nightmares for a few hours and woke up sobbing. I’m in it. 14 days to go.

2. Communication is Key.

a. Tune in to your desire and get clear on what you really want

b. Commit to a time period that feels “right” to you. If you already feel stretched and pressured before you begin, make an adjustment. 7 days can be just as powerful as 21 days or 30 days.

c. Communicate your desire with your partner (or with yourself, if it is a different kind of research that does not require a partner. Write down the desire and the expectation and the tools for communication. (One partner and I used a Google document for clarity and journal writing together. )

In my current research of 21 days of OMing, my partner and I both had a desire for daily OMing. When he shared his desire as a general idea of 30 days of OMing, it felt like our desires were a match. When I looked at my schedule for January, knowing it would require 2-3 hours of travel, as well as OM time, I was willing to commit to 21 days. The additional 9 days felt like overwhelm to me.

d. Set up a self-care regimen. Salt baths. Sleep. More quiet time for processing and integrating everything that WILL come up!

e. Notice everything. Subtle shifts. AHAs. Journal. Stay conscious.

f. Stay in the mystery of what is possible. There will be bumps in the road. Things you didn’t think about or even different perspectives that were not evident when you set the container. Part of the growth is the messiness that arises and new communication that is created.

g. Set up a foundation and structure for yourself. A way to have a beginning and an ending and a touchstone to remind yourself why you are called to do this at this time.

In my current research with an OM partner, we have the foundation of the OM practice and the 12 steps of OMing.

Tenets of OM:
1. Attention – noticing what is
ii. Simplicity – removing anything extra (romance, interpretations,
value judgments, accoutrements), goallessness
iii. Desire – making requests and adjustments in the OM.
iv. Connection – feeling the connection created between the stroker
and strokee (limbic resonance)

 

12 Steps to OM:

1. Ask for an OM  

2. Set up a space  

3. Sit in Position  

4. Noticing  

5. Safeport  

6. Initial Grounding  

7. Stroking  

8. Peaking  

9. Communicate  

10. Second Grounding  

11. Share Frames  

12. Clean up the space

 

And that’s all for now folks!

 

To the adventure!

 

 

******

 315353_10201052497332086_1044127686_n

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.
 

Experiencing the New Masculine and Feminine Connection

Day 99 of 100 days of Blogging

After spending a week with my parents in Florida, I boarded a Southwest Flight back to Baltimore-Washington International Airport with a cup of Starbucks coffee, a backpack and a purse. Walking down the aisle, I looked around to find a seat, noticing a man sitting in the aisle seat with an empty window and middle seat.

I gestured to the window seat and asked if anyone was sitting there. He replied, “No,” and immediately stood up. In the next moment, he asked if I would like him to hold my coffee while I got settled.

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Me: Yes, thank you.

Man: Do you have anything to put into the top bin?

Me: Yes, my backpack.

Man: Here, let me do that for you.

Me: Thank you.

As I slid into my window seat, I reached for my coffee and the next wave of support showed up.

Man: I can hold it while you get settled. Take your time. Put on your seat belt. I’m not in a rush.

Me: Thank you.

I could feel the fluttering and increased beating of my heart. This exquisite attention and kindness. I could feel a tinge of pleasure, discomfort and agitation as I let down my guard of independent, powerful woman. Receiving requires a level of vulnerability and intimacy, even with a stranger who is offering to help you. I could have declined help at each step and done it myself. For the experience of connection, I had to be open to receive.

Throughout the flight, the man handled the interactions with the flight attendant by offering me the first snacks, handing me my drink, and at the end of the flight, took my backpack off the rack and placed it in the seat for me.

The man was attentive and kind. It felt really good to receive his generous, no-strings attached offering.

 

*****

A few years ago, Nicole Daedone, founder of OneTaste brought something to my attention in a course I was taking in New York. As I described an intimate, vulnerable moment with my partner, she used my description to demonstrate to everyone in the class that this is what it looks like when a woman treats a man like a king for giving her 15 minutes of the kind of attention she gives to him all the time.

Ouch! I could feel the sting of humiliation. I shared the intimate experience in class because I felt I had opened to my partner with another level of vulnerability and real connection (which she also acknowledged as a breakthrough for me.) I really let my partner all the way in to my heart and soul. That was the true experience for me.

What was also true is that it brought attention to the fact that when I received even a morsel of time and attention from a man, I would become like the actor playing the role of Oliver in the musical; a half-starved orphan boy who had the courage to ask for more. “Please, sir, may I have a little more?”

Could I please have a little more attention, support, love?

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Treating men like kings.

I learned that growing up. Men were to be served and waited on. Even if the women bitched and complained about it sometimes, serving them was the key.

(I know men who grew up with the same thing. Women were the queens and men were here to serve them. My experience is not about dissing men. It is to share my experience that is out of balance.)

After caring for my father who had a stroke a few months ago, noticing how my mom and I were waiting on him, the whole scene felt familiar. Healthy or unhealthy, I was doing the same things for my father. Hovering and waiting on him.

I did the same thing for my first husband who I divorced after ten years. The words that shut me down, “If I do that for you, what else will you want? You are so demanding!”

I began to modify my behavior with my second husband. But, there was still an element of coming to attention when he arrived home. It was a natural pattern for me to take care of men. (He died after we were together for seventeen years. Not from lack of care. :) )

Noticing the feelings I had on the plane woke me up to a new awareness. My world is shifting. The men in my life are attentive and kind just like me. If I had been the person sitting on the aisle seat, I would have offered the same kind assistance. So, why act like this is unusual? It is my new normal!

*****

Walking in the underground metro tunnel in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia yesterday, I had an experience.

A man was running down the hallway yelling, “Miss, Miss, you dropped your gloves.”

I was walking past a woman and asked, “Did you drop your gloves?”

She stopped and looked down, then turned around and saw the man running towards her. Her face got bright and she smiled. “Thank you!”

The man’s eyes were bright and shiny. He was smiling broadly. “You’re welcome.”

I was giggling and smiling and felt so happy.

The man turned back to his friends. “I love doing things like that!”

Me: I love seeing people doing things like that!

Everyone was smiling and laughing. The sensation of connection and joy was palpable in the tunnel. Now, THAT’S what I’m talking about! All of us noticing, offering support, receiving assistance, awake and aware and alive!

 

Let’s co-create more of that!

 

**********

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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.

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