Tag Archives: Heal My Voice

Developing the Qualities of Feminine Leadership

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It was 1974.  I was in the 11th grade at Phoenixville Area High School and I was chosen to be the Captain of the show flags in the marching band. Right before our last local parade of the season, and before the band camp started where I would receive guidance on show flag routines and leading a squad of girls, the current Captain had a family emergency and was not available to lead us. I was thrust into leadership with no idea what I was doing! My first thought was to lead like a man using the stereotype of a platoon sergeant in the Army. I yelled at the 12 girls to straighten up, to present their flags with more precision. Stand tall. Straighten up. Sharper moves. Get in line. I was yelling the orders during the whole parade and I was exhausted by the end. I felt terrible and it wasn’t fun at all. I can remember feeling defeated and unsure of myself, questioning my ability to lead. The current Captain had always made it feel so fun. How could I lead like that?

At the summer band camp training, I learned new routines, observed the leadership and marched all day for a week. The fun returned. When our high school band camp started the week before school, I was eager to share what I had learned with the girls. While the other marching band groups: batons, rifles, and musicians, were practicing in their separate groups, I decided to try a different approach to lead. Instead of focusing on precision and marching in straight lines, I told the girls I wanted to share new routines I learned at the training camp. I focused on having fun, team building and connection, seeing us as collaborators and asking for their ideas. This was why we were on the show flag squad. It was fun to be part of a team and we wanted the challenge to learn the routines.

In the afternoon, when all of the groups came together to learn the choreographed routine, we would perform at every football game intermission this fall season and in competitions with other marching bands, we were ready. The show flag girls were connected and focused. We had filled up with fun all morning, connected with our purpose and now we worked hard to become the best squad of all time.

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It was the first time I could feel the power of working as a team and leading in a way that invited every voice into the circle. Seeing and valuing each other. When I think about feminine leadership, I remember that moment in time. The elements included creativity, connection, team building, collaboration, intuition. I have used this experience in work, raising children, and leading women’s circles. This is what it feels like to lead with the feminine leadership style.

Feminine Voices Front CoverFast forward to 2013, and the Heal My Voice feminine leadership project. In an on-line circle of twenty women, in the dead of winter, we began to ask the question, what does it mean to be a feminine leader? The women in this writing circle ranged from a football player in a women’s league, to a woman who worked at NASA, to a woman who had adopted children from Russia, to a young female entrepreneur, to a woman who was homeschooling her children. We began to unravel all the ways we had been leaders. Student council President, Mother, Team leader, Engineer, Adoption Pioneer, Girl Scout Leader and Teacher. Our discussions focused on how we had been leaders in the past and how that was changing with new awareness. Who were we as leaders? What mistakes had we made? How had we corrected those mistakes and shifted? How did we want to lead now? Many of the women in this group had graduated from college in the 70’s and 80’s. We had enthusiastically entered the workforce, but we had been expected to lead like men. Even the clothing we wore, suits with shoulder pads, were to look like men.  We had to cover up femininity which was seen as weakness. For those of us who had defined ourselves as volunteers, caregivers and mothers, we didn’t even acknowledge the leadership roles and qualities we were using because we were not paid a salary. We now know that leadership has nothing to do with a salary. It is in the choices and decisions we make and how we live our lives by example.

 

In our circle conversations, we defined feminine leadership as a balance of feminine and masculine qualities. We defined masculine qualities as structure, risk and action. We defined feminine qualities as creativity, empathy, holistic and intuition. Women and men can lead this way. So, why use the words “feminine leadership” if both women and men can use this balanced style? We are unraveling the toxicity and dysfunction around the words, “leadership” and “power.” Step into using personal power, inner wisdom, inspired action and feminine leadership: A balanced approach of doing and being.  It is time to find a new authentic way to lead.

 

I leave you with a few questions to explore:

 

*Do you see yourself as a leader?

*What are the qualities you use to lead?

*What are your strengths and weaknesses?

*How do we lead together?

 

Andrea Santa Barbara Starbucks Aug 2016

 

Andrea Hylen is the founder of Heal My Voice and the Writing Incubator, on-line writing communities with coaching support. www.andreahylen.com

Birthing Your Voice

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I began attending On Purpose Woman meetings in January 2007 when Evolutionary Women Retreats were coming to Maryland. I had a booming voice when it came to speaking on stage to 1000 Girl Scouts or organizing community events in Catonsville, Maryland. But, my voice in a room of 25-50 women who were networking “business” ideas was a trembling whisper. For six years, I practiced using my new voice in a safe space in the On Purpose Woman Community which ultimately helped me birth Heal My Voice. I became a speaker at meetings and was awarded Woman on Purpose in 2013. This community has continued to be a space that holds, encourages, and celebrates women, including me. Thank you to Founder Ginny Robertson for creating the organization and for being a mentor and friend. She is one of the women who has cheered me on and I am filled with gratitude!

 

This year, On Purpose Woman has become a global movement. There is an on-line magazine, on-line meetings through Zoom and in-person meetings in Maryland and Virginia, USA. Every time I hop on a Zoom meeting, I connect with women from all over the world. http://onpurposewomancommunity.com/

 

After a two year pause, On Purpose Woman Magazine is back and is available on-line. Kathryn Yarborough is the Creative Director for this new venture. She has created a beautiful publication. The covers are works of art by women!

 

From Ginny: “On Purpose Woman Magazine is A Force for Good, a place where women’s voices will be heard and an important piece of the On Purpose Woman Community Global Movement. Each month we’ll share ideas that inform, inspire, motivate, encourage and support you to be an On Purpose Woman.”

My men friends have told me that reading the articles by women have also provided inspiration for them.  So, check it out!


Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OnPurposeWomanMagazine/

 

My articles are in the first Six issues of this year.
On Purpose Woman Magazine:
January Issue: The Qualities of Feminine Leadership
February Issue: Liberating Your Voice
March Issue: Healing Your Lineage
April Issue: The Power of Personal Awakenings
May Issue: Intuition: Cultivating and Trusting Your Inner Voice
June Issue: Do you feel Empowered?
So, click on each month and check out the issues, then subscribe for future issues.
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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

Intuition: Cultivating and Trusting Your Inner Voice

Originally published in On Purpose Woman: May 2019

(Illustration: Stefanie Weigele)

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“It’s time to move.” Those words, communicated to me in a feeling, stopped me in my tracks. I asked, out loud, to no one in particular, “Am I moving?” I had been living in a house with seven people for ten months. Everything about it was fantastic! I loved the people, the activities, community living, sharing a huge kitchen, and loving my bedroom. I hadn’t really thought about moving.

The day I first heard the words, I was clearing things out of one of the bathrooms; old toiletries in a bathroom cabinet I rarely used. As soon as my hand touched the facial cleanser, I felt a ripple of energy go through my body and I heard the words, “It’s time to move.” The feeling and the words were subtle, barely a whisper and yet, I was familiar with the way my Higher Self communicates with me.

When I asked the questions, “Am I moving? Are we all moving together?” No answer. An hour later, I was in my bedroom going through some papers when I had the same sensation. A ripple of energy running from my hand, up my arm and through my body. I heard another whisper, “It’s time to move.”

I asked questions in meditation several times over the next week, continuing the conversation with myself by asking, “Are we all moving? Are we moving together or separately? If I don’t live here, where will I live? Where do I want to live?” My intuition was on radio silence. The only piece of information was that same feeling, that I would be moving. So, I paused and reflected on what actions I would be taking if I knew that I was going to move. I knew I would go through all of my physical possessions. Everything I had in my bedroom, in the house and in my small storage unit in Los Angeles. I would want to de-clutter before moving to a new location. And that is exactly what I did. For the next month, I went through everything I owned. I got rid of 14 boxes of stuff, eight bags of clothes and recycled three boxes of paper.

By the middle of April, the next piece of information arrived. The owner of the house was selling the house and we would all have to move when the lease expired at the beginning of June. My intuition had guided me to take action in preparation. I was ready. There were numerous conversations as a household. In the end, we all dispersed: four people stayed in Los Angeles, two people moved to New York while my intuition directed me to live on the road for a year and stay with Heal My Voice Authors and Board Members. The guidance was to have conversations, to live life, to finish three on-line projects and to collect ideas and wisdom, for the next step. I wanted to remember the beginning of Heal My Voice, where we started, and reflect on what was next.

 

Some of the keys of cultivating intuition are:

 

  1. Create space to listen. Meditation, walk in nature, drive or cook your meals in silence. Your intuition requires empty, silent space.
  2. Pay attention. When you get a feeling, a knowing, or when you hear words or feel a ripple of energy, acknowledge your intuition by asking questions or writing down the insight.
  3. Take baby steps before you have the whole picture. Everything will be revealed in time. What’s the next step?
  4. Intuition will bring connections, gifts, surprises. Let people help you.

 

When I announced my intention to friends and family the response came back with words like gypsy, nomad and free spirit. There was excitement, envy, fear and judgement in their eyes. What was I doing now? To some it looked like I was a wanderlust who was lost in an adventure with no goals, no purpose. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. I was living in flow as a daily practice, open to where I would be led next. Trusting that I would be guided.

People asked questions and they wanted answers. Where are you going? How long will you be there? What are you going to do? At first, I had no idea. I was listening and waiting. One day, I thought about my friend, Lucky Sweeny, and wondered about the possibility of staying with her for five days in Santa Barbara. I had a class to attend in San Francisco in a few weeks and wanted to stay on the West Coast for that. A few hours later, Lucky called me unexpectedly. She had been thinking about me and wanted to check in. I asked if I could stay with her June 1-5. She said yes and how the timing was perfect. And that is how it began. I had breakfast with my daughter, Hannah, then boarded a train in Burbank and took one step.

Five years later, I am still living house-free and living in the mystery of what is next. After living with Heal My Voice authors and family and friends, during the first year, I have now expanded to a membership with Trusted Housesitters, a free exchange of housing and office space for pet sitting. This  gives me the space to write and coach on Zoom and explore creativity. Living with friends and family is my connection and community.

What’s next? All will be revealed when it is time.

 

 

I leave you with a few questions to explore:

 

*How do you receive guidance from your intuition?

 

*What practices do you use to create empty space?

 

*Write about a time when you experienced guidance from your intuition.

 

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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

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

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

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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

A Choice

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 4.00.55 PMA few weeks ago, I purchased a domain name to point to my existing website. The domain name is the url. For example: www.andreahylen.com is a domain name.

Within 30 minutes of making the purchase, my phone began ringing and emails poured in with people offering website services. My first reaction was annoyance and then I put my phone on silence and turned my attention to other things.

By the end of Day 1, I had received over 25 phone calls and emails. When it continued into the next day, I stopped for a minute and reflected on how to bring more peace into this situation. Like a flash, I had an idea. What if this was an opportunity to send love?

Starting with the next phone call, I looked at the phone number and the words, St. Cloud, Minnesota. I placed my hand on my heart, closed my eyes and consciously filled my body with love. When I was full, I placed my attention on all of the people in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I sent all of them love. I sent love to the company that had set up the robocall. I sent love to the people who worked for the company and who would have been on the call, if I had picked up the line. That day another 25 calls came in. The phone was silenced but I turned on the notification setting on my Fitbit. Every time a call arrived, my Fitbit buzzed, I looked at the phone, felt the love and sent love to India, Fresno, California, Las Vegas, Houston, Texas, Baltimore, Maryland and so on.

The Choice to send love started with filling my body with love. Instead of feeling irritation and annoyance and frustration, my body was bathed in love. After a few days, the phone calls stopped. At first I felt disappointed. It felt good to send all that love. I shifted to social media and turned up the love there. Whenever I read an article or watch a video or read a friend’s post, I send them love and I notice where they live or where the article was published. I fill up with love and point my arrow in that direction to all the people in that town or city. Radiating Love is a Choice.

What is a choice you made recently to shift the energy in a situation?

 

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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 supports women to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. After ten years of facilitating a nine-month book program for women to write in community, she started The Writing Incubator: an on-line community for women to receive support to write a book, develop a program, start or restart a blog or write to process their lives. With the on-line Writing Labs, community calls, writing prompts and Secret Facebook group, women are tapping into their creativity and voice to send their wisdom into the world. Andrea Santa Barbara Starbucks Aug 2016

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 current projects and on-line writing circles go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

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.

Introduction to Empowered Voices

Day 85 of 100 days of Blogging

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An excerpt from the Introduction to Empowered Voices: True Stories by Awakened Women

Written by Andrea Hylen, Founder of Heal My Voice.

September 2012:

As I settled into my living room to fold laundry one cozy evening, I came upon a replay of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. All in black and white, the camera slowly zoomed in to focus on a husband cooking breakfast for his wife. They lived in a camping trailer and you could see the wife sleeping in the bed next to the kitchen. As the camera followed the husband carrying a tray of eggs, toast and coffee towards the bed, the wife began to yawn with cooing sounds of love and recognition and a soft “good morning,” stretch. He leaned down, carefully balancing the tray and kissing her on the cheek. Nuzzling her with his lips, cheek to cheek, he snuggled up to her ear, whispering softly, “Hey Worthless.” When I heard those two little words, I froze instantly, with an unfolded bath towel in my hands, standing stock still in disbelief.

What? WHA-WHAT? “Hey WORTHLESS?”

Those words had been offered as a term of endearment and a declaration of love. If I wasn’t so keenly aware of the power of words, I might have missed those two, slippery units of language wedged between the kisses and breakfast food. It was subtle. “Hey Worthless” was spoken with the energy of love, affection, a smile, a soft touch, a stroke of the hair and was accompanied by a tray full of nourishment.

It may seem like I am making a big deal about such a small phrase but the “Hey Worthless” message exploded in my ears like a trumpet blast. While we could debate the genius of Hitchcock and his cleverly disguised insult, the blasting in my ears created a frozen state in my body. This was one of the ways women had been programmed to think they were worthless, less than, not enough or wrong. This is how their voices were shut down. It began with one slippery, biting word at a time; demeaning, dishonoring, invalidating abuse intermixed with food, shelter, belonging, and “love.” From men, from women, from the media and more…

Growing up, we received subtle messages from loved ones and strangers: hey clumsy, she’s such a slob; don’t beat the boys at that game because they won’t like you. You’re too much, too loud, too intense… lighten up, have a sense of humor, get over it, don’t be so serious, go along with the crowd. And underneath the subtle words that were chipping away at our spirit and confidence, many of us had our innocence violated both physically and emotionally with physical and verbal abuse. We were told that we had caused it and deserved it!

It is no wonder that our voices were shut down and that we stopped speaking up for what we really believed in.

NO MORE!

Women have something to say. It is time. We are visible and we are creating a wave of voices!

 

*****

 

In the Spring of 2012, I was immersed in supporting and creating a safe space for the twenty-three authors of the powerful stories in this second, “Heal My Voice” book publication. One vulnerable word at a time, these successful women were reclaiming hidden aspects of their own personal power: writing to heal a story in their lives.

When a woman heals her voice, reclaims inner authority, it is not because she wants to rule the world and diminish men.  It is because she wants to be able to use her personal power to make a difference in the world. She is not interested in power over you. She wants a voice at the table because she has something to offer. She may be leading the discussion or she may be a participant.

The authors in this book are a group of powerful women leaders who are passionate about leading, serving and making a difference in the world. Kerri in Australia, Marie in Sweden, Yana in Germany, Fiona in western Canada, Karen in Baltimore, Charlene in Chicago, Lynn in Colorado, Brenda in Oregon. In total, twenty-three women who live all over the United States and Canada and around the world.

These twenty-three women initially met through a coaching program including both men and women, and thus were accustomed to “listening” to one another, practicing the artful trade of supporting and empowering others.

Then, we shifted into a new sacred space. For many of us, the process of writing these stories helped us shed a layer of protection that was so worn, it felt like skin. We began to see each other and ourselves more clearly in the journey of writing our stories, building trust and hearing the wisdom that translates from one person’s experience to another.

In many of the stories, women wrote about the ways they had been diminished in religion, families, relationships, school, work and the world. Their confidence, feelings of worthiness, personal power, and open-eyed wonder had been chipped away and doused with someone else’s fear, manipulation and control. We had turned down the switch to our bright shining lights, to stay safe and hide our power to preserve and protect our hearts.

Sharing our stories with you is the next step in moving so far beyond the insidious “Hey Worthless” that it will hopefully become a notch of completion on our belts. We are carrying our wisdom and strength with us while we leave the rest of the garbage behind.

 

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An Empowered Voice knows when to Listen.

An Empowered Voice knows when to Speak.

An Empowered Voice knows when to Stand on the Mountaintop and shout.

~ Andrea Hylen, Founder of Heal My 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 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.

Anniversaries: Feeling a Wave of Grief

Day 60 of 100 days of Blogging

It is amazing how unexpected a wave of grief can appear. Right there. Feeling it in the gut. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, how much I have processed and transformed the grief, or how I have moved through layers of feelings to create a wonderful, new life. Grief comes back in unexpected waves. It is part of a cycle that continues to expand me.

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If my husband was still alive, we would have celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary this week. Although he died 10 years ago, there is something that just touched me with sadness when the day appeared on my calendar. I sat by the fire and gave myself some space to feel it.

My reflective question: Why did this hit me so hard with waves of grief surfacing throughout the day?

I come from a lineage of people who have been married for 50, 60, 70 years. My first marriage ended in divorce after we had been together for 10 years. My second husband and I navigated huge challenges during our fifteen years together with the final challenge, his cancer, that ended his life. I have every confidence that if we had beaten that challenge, we would have celebrated this silver wedding anniversary together. So, this was another marker of time, another dream that was lost, another reminder of his absence.

Still I explored the feelings even more. I felt the loss of not having the opportunity to…what?…accomplish this goal? Something is tangled up in here. Value? Worth? Love? Challenge? Accomplishment?

What if I never have a relationship where I celebrate 25 years together? Do I still have value as a person? Can I love myself without marking a wedding anniversary with a man?

In the exploration, I noticed once again how complex loss and grief is and how the timing of feelings arrive as a clue to something that is deeper.

I noticed as the day went on that other memories began to dissipate the feelings of sadness. After my first marriage ended in divorce, I didn’t want to get married again. I was interested in partnership and I wanted to have another child, but I was disillusioned by the ceremony and vows that flew out the window when things got tough in my first marriage. I only married my second husband for the practicality of health insurance for our baby. I loved him. I was committed to our relationship and I wanted this union. I agreed to marry him with the condition that we would write our own vows and continue to use them as a tool to stay connected and grow together. He agreed and we did use them for fifteen years.

Every year when our anniversary rolled around, one of us would remember days later. We debated the actual date because we were married the day after Thanksgiving. So, of course, the date was always changing! Neither of us were really “anniversary type” people. Celebrating moments of connection throughout the year was more important to us and we had daily rituals to remind each other.

This week I continued to feel the feelings and to remember.

*****

After a lifetime of processing and studying grief transformation, there is one piece of advice I would give to everyone. When you feel a wave of grief, no matter how many years have passed, give yourself some space to feel the feelings and explore.

By the end of the day, I was clear that partnership with a man is a part of my growth on the planet. Part of the sadness around the anniversary was reminding me of a desire to be in some kind of partnership. I miss having a man in my bed. Pillow talk, sex, cuddling. I can feel that it is time for deeper exploration around that and to turn up my desire by taking more action.

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A course I have been teaching called Carving the Next Path is opening me to what I truly desire to create. Walking side by side with the women in the course one of my desires is to co-create a new type of relationship with a man. Changing patterns. Embracing new ideas. Getting to the core of what I really want. Creating new pathways of possibilities.

Feelings, including grief and loss are clues that point us in the direction of our desires. I am stoking this fire.

What are you noticing in your life?

Feelings, desires. infinite possibilities. Surrender.

Share with us in the comments!

 

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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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