Tag Archives: California

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.

Living in Flow: Courage to Listen

Day 7 of 100 days of blogging

IMG_0235

When I first wrote the draft for this blogpost, I was at a crossroads. I had been living in youth hostels and extended stay hotels with my youngest daughter while we explored living in California. I didn’t know if we would stay there or if we would return to Maryland and the community I had known for 28 years. This experience is an example of living in the void, between worlds, where one thing was ending and the new beginning was around the corner. I just couldn’t see it yet.

In the next two months, I would write 70 articles on grief transformation. Two months after that I would be hosting 44 blogtalk radio shows about Grief Transformation. And in January 2011, I would hear the words Heal My Voice and submit the paperwork to start an organization.

This is a picture of what it looks like when you are in the middle of the bridge from the past to the future.

*****

Burbank, California

July 2010

It has been awhile since I have written a blogpost about the journey I have been on since January. The main reason for not writing is I haven’t had the words to describe what has been happening. I have been going deeper into myself and exploring and discovering a new depth of who I am. I have been describing my life with the words silent retreat, inner journey, climbing a mountain and walking on the beach. Asking questions and listening.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.36.33 AMI check in on Facebook. I talk to a few people at the coffee shop. There is an occasional phone call. But, most of my time is spent in silence. Listening, observing the feedback from the Universe, taking action and feeling the feelings.

For the past few weeks, I have had moments every day of feeling like a failure. I have had several moments of feeling like I am a f**k-up. I have doubted, feared, questioned and told myself I live in a la-la fantasy world where I should just get with the program. Not sure what the program is exactly but it feels like “get back in the box and do what everyone else is doing.” Not sure what that is either. It feels constrictive because I am looking for the path of someone else and not my own.

Instead of running from the feelings, I have played with them every day. I have felt them, rolled them around in my heart, looked at them and learned from them.

This latest wave of fears and doubts started with a situation with my cats. The couple who have been watching them in Santa Barbara, CA. can no longer take care of them. Their oldest cat is beginning to feel the stress of living with 7 cats in a small house. It has become Urgent for us to find another home for them.

Staying with my theme of Open to Inspiration, I thought that maybe it was time to find an apartment and make a commitment to a specific location. In January, I thought Hannah and I would live in temporary situations for a year. Part of being open to the inspiration and releasing the attachment of timing. I opened to the idea of settling down and planting roots in southern California. With an apartment of our own, the cats could come and live with us.

I started every day by asking the question, “What is the next step in finding a place to live?” I listened and took a step towards the inspiration. Every day I experienced a “failure”. The apartments were too expensive. I don’t have a job with an income and probably couldn’t qualify. I don’t want to commit to a year lease without having a job or solid income. I don’t have enough money in the bank to pay for a year of apartment expenses. The apartment with the lower price was filled already. Every inspired step led me to a closed door.

The next step was to look for sublets that would allow cats. Nothing in the area.

Every day, I took the inspired action step. I felt the place of discomfort within myself. Every day I took an hour walk, felt the feelings and began to shift the energy. I imagined myself feeling a connection to the Earth as I walked. I imagined the critical thoughts passing through me letting all of the critical thoughts pass through me and into dear Mother Earth. At some point, during the walk, I would release the fear, anxiety, doubts. Call it a connection to nature, Spirit, God or a deeper place inside of you. Whatever your belief is fine.

One day, as I was walking and beginning to feel a relief from the fear, a moment of feeling at peace with myself and with life, a thought popped into my head.

I remembered a moment with my son, Cooper. He was born with a congenital heart defect. At two weeks old, he had just received his first open heart surgery. The doctors came into the private room where they would give us an update on the surgery. The doctor said that they had done all that they could, Cooper was weak and would probably not survive the night. After a few minutes, I decided to go and sit with our son. I had made a decision. I sat next to him in PICU. With tears streaming down my face, I began to speak. “Cooper, I love you. You are at a crossroads in your life. I will be here with you, no matter what you choose. If you decide to fight for your life and heal, I will be with you every step of the way. And if you decide that you have to leave now and die, I will stay with you and love you. No matter what you decide, I love you.” Within a few minutes, his vital signs improved. He had chosen to live.

And I was always with him. For 19 months, I took him to doctor appts, sat with him at the hospital until the last hospital stay when it was time for him to leave. Soul mission complete.

In recalling this loss, I am reminded how I discovered strengths inside of me that I didn’t know I had, in the pain of loving and losing my child. Courage, compassion, unconditional love, and my warrior spirit.

Somehow in the depth of feeling like a failure right now, letting myself go into the depths of the emotion, clearing it to see the truth of who I am, I discovered something about myself that I really never understood until now. I see that the way I have lived my life, pushing out of the box, being willing to take a risk, walking on the path when I can only see a foot in front of me, embracing it all, has been the only way I can live.

This is authentically ME!

What I know about myself is that I am showing up. I am living in flow. I don’t know what is going to happen in the next hour, day, week, month, year.  I do know that I am courageous, willing, resourceful, loved, and inspired. I will not give up.

I know there is something on the other side of this. Today I am courageous. Today I reignite my curiosity and childlike sense of wonder knowing that anything is possible.

Today I remember who I am.

 

*****

 

IMG_0985Andrea 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.

Leadership: Three Girls in Flow

Day 3 of 100 days of blogging

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.29.37 PMOn New Year’s Eve in 2013, I attended an event at the Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles with two of my friends, Julia and Eric. During the evening, there was meditation, intention setting, music and dancing; lots and lots of dancing. As the New Year approached, we were in the front of the church watching three girls dancing on a set of carpeted stairs leading up to the main stage.

The girls, ages 10, 8, and 7 had us mesmerized. Each of them dancing in joy and harmony with each other. Dancing their own dance and connected in a natural flow, they walked up and down the stairs with each girl taking her turn on the top step and claiming the spotlight with enthusiasm while the other two danced together one step down. Then, as if they had practiced and pre-arranged the timing, the girl on the top step would switch places with one of the other girls. Over and over they took turns dancing on the top step while also enjoying the lower step.

It was gorgeous. It was like watching Diana Ross and the Supremes except that each girl had her turn at being Diana Ross and her turn at being the “back-up” singer. No need to compete because it was so beautifully shared.

It may seem like a little thing unless you look at this as a microcosm of a larger picture that is emerging on the planet. Girls and women learning how to be strong leaders, how to take turns in the spotlight, how to dance their dance without playing small or diminishing each other and having fun while doing it.Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 12.55.27 PM

*****

 

315353_10201052497332086_1044127686_nAndrea 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.

Tell Me a Secret…

Day 97 of 100 days of Blogging

Last spring, I was with a group of 100 people at a social event at the Hotel W in Hollywood. After everyone arrived, we broke into small groups of five and went out into the streets of Hollywood with a scavenger list of activities.

One of the “tasks” was to ask three people to tell you a secret. It was fun to see the different reactions on each person’s face from excitement to confusion as they shared a variety of secrets.

I approached a man, who looked like he was in his 30’s, standing in line to get into a club and asked him the question: Tell me a secret.

He looked around at the other people and looked at me asking if I was serious. I shared the details of our group activity and asked him again to Tell me a Secret.

He paused for a moment and then leaned towards my ear as he whispered, “I do yoga.” I was confused. “Is that a secret?” I asked him. He looked around to see if anyone was listening. “Yes. My friends would make fun of me, if they knew.” It really hit me in that moment how much we hide from each other and how it actually disconnects us from ourselves.

How many of us have secrets that we think we can’t share with the people who are closest to us? And what does that do to hold us back from speaking our deepest desires and connecting with each other. How does that stop us from living our fullest expression.

Today! Let’s connect!

In the comments section, post a secret desire.

Let’s see and feel each other.

 

 

Andrea Hylen believes in the power of a woman’s voice to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, a Writing and Transition Coach, Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and co- author of Conscious Choices: An Evolutionary Woman’s Guide to Life. Andrea has discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to celebrate life after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. She currently lives in Los Angeles following the inspiration to collaborate with women in organizations and to travel around the world speaking and leading workshops. Her passion is connecting women to support each other in the full expression of who they are.

A Little Dream Comes True

Day 96 of 100 Days of Blogging

When I was growing up, I had the wish that I would have an older brother and sister. My older brother would get me dates and my sister would advise me. When I first had this desire, I was 13 years old, the oldest child with a sister two years younger than me and a brother who was seven years younger.

In that wish, there was an underlying desire to have older siblings who would help me to navigate life. I was so confused about how to fit in and where I belonged and how to dress and how to make new friends in my new school at a time when I felt so awkward.

Today I had an unexpected moment of having an experience of having an older brother. Somehow in this experience, it felt like everything was right with the world.

I asked one of my housemates, Erik, to get my bike down from the ceiling chains in the garage. He decided to ride his bike to the beach, too. The whole time we were riding I felt like I was his little sister. We didn’t plan it. It just happened that the organic interaction between us brought up these feelings.He carried the bikes out to the driveway and then lifted my bike into the air and over the car that was parked in the driveway and onto the sidewalk. He told me to go first as we headed down the street. As we approached Venice Boulevard, a busy street he told me when to cross the street and showed me where to stay on the bike path between cars . He followed me for one block then told me he was going to ride fast to the stop light. When he got there, he waited for me. During the 2 mile ride to the beach, he wove back and forth speeding up and slowing down and turning his head back to check on me.

At the beach there was no direct entrance onto the bike path. Erik rode up a grassy path, over a hill, through a mud ravine to the bike path and I followed him, the way a little sister who wants to keep up and be included would do. With a full water bottle, a heavy bike lock and a blanket in my basket, I couldn’t make the sharp turn onto the path. I wiped out on the sand and fell landing on my thumb. I could feel the pulsing of a sprain. Still shaky I climbed back on the bike and peddled fast to catch up. I took the lead and wove around two tight curves. With an encouraging tone, he said, “That was so great! You made it around the tight curves.” Big brother words of encouragement after the spill.

We rode on the path for awhile and then parted to run errands and do the activities we each wanted to do at the beach.

In that moment, I felt warm and tingly and happy. I had my big brother~little sister moment.

A Little Dream Came True…