Tag Archives: Inspiration

Living my Life as a Research Project

Day 100 of 100 days of Blogging

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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…

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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!

 

 

******

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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.
 

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.

 

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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!

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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.

Change and Transition: Give it Time

Day 98 of 100 days of Blogging

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In August, I had an inner calling to upgrade my life. I could feel that change was in the air but I didn’t know where I was going next. As I began to write about the changes and the uncertainty, I heard comments from other people who said they were going through the same thing. Endings. New beginnings and feeling like it was time to review their lives.

Tuning into the past year as a year of Transition and moving into 2016 as a year of Transformation, I had a thought about an outdated computer system.

Imagine that you decide it is time to upgrade the software on your computer. You commit to going through the process. You look at the options to upgrade the software. Purchase and install the new software. Turn off the computer to reboot it. That begins a new process. It feels fresh and new as you see the new screensaver or icon and you take steps to learn how to use the new features. Some of the old keystrokes are outdated and it takes time to learn the new keystrokes and features. You may even feel sad or revert to old patterns only to find out that your computer will no longer respond to those commands.

I was thinking about an experience a few years ago when I went into some deep, deep pain and transformation around my people pleasing behavior. When I finally reached rock bottom and began to make different choices, my whole body went into a frozen state whenever I tried to people please. I couldn’t do it anymore! My body refused!

*****

While I was visiting my parents in Florida last month after my Dad had a stroke, I noticed how my parents were putting new systems into place in their home. My mother had marked the dials on the Washing Machine and Toaster. The settings they use the most. My Dad’s medications were set out on the shelf. It was so easy for anyone to arrive, slide into the systems and help. My Dad also traded in the first walker for an updated model with a seat and brakes so he could increase the distance of his daily walk.

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During my visit, my Dad and I were watching a television program called Animal Misfits, I was fascinated by the adaptation each animal had made to it’s environment. That is what happens at each phase of our lives. Things change and we adapt.

Animal Misfits Link: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/topic/animal-misfits/

One animal is best known for its very slow rate of development. To complete the life cycle from caterpillar to adult moth, it has to go through a process over 7 years:

The Arctic woolly bear moth, is found within the Arctic circle, in Greenland and Canada. It was once estimated that it had a 14-year life cycle from egg to adult moth, with the ability to withstand temperatures below −70°C. Subsequent studies have revised the life cycle duration to be 7 years.

The Arctic woolly bear caterpillars are unique in their combination of adaptations to the polar extremes. They spend nearly 90% of their lives frozen and only about 5% feeding on the tundra during June; the remainder is spent in summer protective cocoons.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gynaephora_groenlandica

 

It reminded me of how change requires patience, adaptation and time for integration of the new.

In this year of transformation, slow down. Set up new systems. Reboot your life. Adapt to the new system. The transformation is happening.

Just wait and see.

 

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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.

Deeper Listening: Connecting Your Soul Purpose

Day 96 of 100 days of Blogging

 

Connecting with Soul Purpose…

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Two questions I ask myself at every crossroads.

1. Why am I here?

2. What does my soul want me to experience?

I know my Soul Purpose:  I am here to communicate and connect and participate in community. My soul purpose is focused on people and creativity and learning. Life long learning and teaching and writing.

I know I am a Warrior Goddess. Intensely committed to my personal growth. Going within to do the work first and then radiating the experience and what I learned from the experience. I am willing to go into the depths of a subject and topic and then share the gems in the world. I am willing to be vulnerable and to be a leader who listens to the guidance of spirit, steps off the edge, jumps into the unknown, and to encourage others to do the same. Like a guide who goes out into the frontier and comes back to report what I discovered.

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I know I am moving into the next phase of my life and it is time to mentor through more coaching, teaching, and writing books. I am ready to hold the lamp higher so you can see the path in front of you. I am a guide with almost 60 years of experience on the planet. It is time to own that at a new level and to step into greater visibility.

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One thing I want to share with you is I don’t always know, and none of us really do, what my soul wants to experience in the moment. It happens, this longing to know why I have co-created an experience which requires more personal growth. I demand to know the answers now! I want to know the why. I want to process it and move through it quickly. There may be a glimmer of an idea as I see a gift emerging but the answers do not come until later in the process when it is time to integrate all of the choices I made during a time when a new path emerged or life has whacked me with a challenge. Some of the gifts I received from my marriage to an alcoholic, a life threatening autoimmune condition, a son who died at 19 months or even a summer of 45 Jonas Brothers concerts that stretched us financially and physically, did not become clear until years later. The gifts appeared (and continue to appear) after processing and writing and healing.

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A few keys:

*Slow down

*Cultivate your inner authority

*Increase self-care and alone time so you can hear the answers

*Get support from people who can coach and witness you in process

*Draw on past experiences to remind yourself to be patient, the answers will come.

*Craft a few words or phrases that can be shared with family and friends that create space for your process.

*Give it time and space.

*Stay connected and awake to the feelings.

*Enjoy the adventure. This is your life. All of it!

 

 

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

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

An Experiential Life: What are you waiting for?

Day 95 of 100 days of Blogging

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It was a warm, sunny August day when we gathered with our relatives at the local water park. I spent most of the day in the kiddie pool and lazy river with our five year old daughter and seven year old niece. That was fine with me. I liked the rhythm of the slow, lazy river and I was content and happy to be there. All of the older kids and adults were in the bigger pools and slides.

As I meandered around the lazy river, I had glimpses of the biggest water slide in the park. A desire started to bubble in me as I watched the older kids and adults go down the biggest slide. It looked like they were all having so much fun and something inside of me began to yearn for the experience. Every time the thought came up I pushed it down with my inner dialogue of fears and doubts.

 

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Inner Dialogue between my full self and my limited self:

“I am happy in the lazy river.”

“Wheeee, look how happy Mary is.”

“She likes the water. You would hate getting water in your face and up your nose.”

“Ah, look. Elizabeth is waving to me from the top of the slide! I want to do that.”

“You are afraid of heights. It is too high up there. You will feel dizzy. It won’t be fun.”

 

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At the end of the day, I was packing up all of our belongings to head home and at the same time I was noticing the dwindling crowd of people waiting in line for the slide.

When I packed up the last items, something burst in me. I dropped the bags of towels I was carrying and I declared to the group that I had to go down the slide. I couldn’t leave until I did it. I stepped out of my flip flops, threw off my sundress to reveal my bathing suit underneath and before anyone could say or do anything, I walked over to the inner tubes, grabbed one and walked quickly up the flight of stairs to the top of the slide.

At this time of day, there were only a few people in line. My heart was pounding so loud in my chest I thought it would explode.  The fears and doubts were getting quieter and my YES!! was a sound that was screaming in my head.  I had to go down this slide or I would regret it forever. I asked the attendant to help me with the inner tube and hold on until I was ready to go down. Then with a simple command of Now, he gave me a good swift push and down I went.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! WhEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Round and round I went. Happy mixed with a little fear and finally a sense of freedom. As I neared the bottom of the slide, I held my breath and my nose and closed my eyes preparing for the final big SPLASH!

 

Exhilarated and triumphant, I found my way to the edge of the pool, ran over to my family and prepared to leave the park. Everyone cheered as I wiped myself off with a towel grinning ear to ear.

That moment of pushing through the fear and the experience of triumph is now a touchstone. It is an experience I carry with me when I can feel a bubbling desire and the inner dialogue of my limited self is stopping me. I ask myself what would have happened if I hadn’t gone down the slide. What would my memory of that day have been? Instead of a place of limiting me, it opened up the door to listening to desires and feelings and my intuition.

 

Do you have a bubbling desire? Is there a voice inside of you filling you with hesitation and doubts and fears? What would it take for you to make one step towards it or to take a leap?

What are waiting for?

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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 Writing Coach.

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

Living with Intent: Preparing for a New Year

Day 92 of 100 days of Blogging

The week after Christmas and leading up to New Year’s Day has always had a certain rhythm for me. It looks like this: Reflection. Celebration. Preparation.

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Reflection:

serious thought or consideration.

From writing thank you notes, to slowing down and watching films, reading books, sitting by the fire, deeper conversations. Journal writing about the previous year. Thinking about the experiences, the successes and failures. Playing games with my kids. Feeling and Being.

 

 

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Celebrations:

Birthday celebrations!

By December 29th, I would take down all of the holiday decorations. Clean the house and get ready for the final celebrations of the year. Although we are now spread all over the world and I am no longer the driving force of the celebrations, I can still feel this celebratory excitement of the final birthdays of the year and the opening of a new year.

Bob and Paula Hylen (my parents) December 29 (83 and 84. Celebrated in Florida)

Mary Baxter (oldest daughter) December 30 (32 years old and celebrating in Ecuador)

Hurley Cox (husband now deceased) December 31. (Forever age 60. Last birthday celebrated in 2004)

 

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Preparation:

…getting ready for the New Year!

Writing our dreams and wishes on paper. Releasing the old with Fire ceremonies. Meditating. Art supplies. Scissors. New magazines. Glue Sticks. Poster Board. Treasure Maps. Vision Boards. New journals. Cleaning.

What is possible for the New Year?

It’s a new day!

 

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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.

Crossing the Bridge: Change is in the Year

Day 91 of 100 days of Blogging

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It happens every year. December 31 ends one year. January 1 begins a new year. Then we all go through a transition of remembering to write the next year. Writing 2016, instead of 2015. It is part of the transition. It is part of change.

Transition is a part of life. We all have other endings and beginnings every year. Changing jobs. Moving. Deaths. Birth. Rebirth. Sometimes we choose endings and new beginnings. Sometimes we have change thrust upon us and sometimes change is happening that is so subtle we may not have even noticed it was happening.

When I was laid off from a job in 1990, there was a little bit of a warning but it felt like we were just going through a rough patch. I had no idea that our whole department of 20 people was going to be laid off. When it finally happened, I spent a week in disbelief. Then, took a week to sit in the uncertainty of it and did a few things like spend a day walking in silence in Washington, DC. Then, I went on job interviews. I was hired for a short term consulting job and then discovered I was pregnant. My second husband and I would be having our first child. I continued to look for work because I saw myself as a mother with a career. A mother who needed to find the next job. My first two children had been raised in a day care routine when I worked and I assumed the third would be the same.

And then a standard sonagram in month 7 of my pregnancy showed that our child was a son and he had a problem with his heart. With no job, it made sense that I would be the stay at home parent while he was undergoing heart surgeries. I never returned to a full-time job outside of the home. Life changed. New beginnings kept showing up. Nothing was ever the same again. My whole life path and expectation had been altered.

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Since the birth and death of my son, I have learned to feel when there is subtle change and early warnings in the air. I have learned through meditation, journal writing, Tai Chi, and other practices that have connected me to my intuition and awakened my “knowing” and trusting “feelings.”

I’ve learned to recognize the subtle patterns that appear when I am moving from an ending to a new beginning. There is a thing called the “in between” space. And when I am there, the recurring pattern gives me a clue.

The typical clues for me:

I feel lost.

I feel like a failure.

I feel like I am letting people down.

I feel like people are mad at me.

I become irritable.

I have a running dialogue of other people’s voices every time I make a move.

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When I wake up and realize that something is shifting and change is coming, the next part of the pattern is put into motion.

I start making different choices.

I spend more time in silence and writing.

I become a detective looking for clues in signs, conversations and bubbling desire.

I take baby steps.

I ask more questions.

I turn up the patience quotient and I wait…

 

So, here we are on the precipice of a new year. Follow the steps and move into the new year with wide, open eyes, and notice what is subtly calling out to you.

Ready…Set…Go!

 

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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.

Finding Your Tribe: Authenticity

Day 88 of 100 days of Blogging

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In 1989, I was in an Insight seminar doing an exercise called a “Stretch”. The assignment for each of us was to do a short speech, a skit, or express something to the group of 50 people in the room that would stretch us, take us out of our comfort zone but not put us into a frozen state of panic.  For my stretch, I had dressed up like a fairy godmother. I wore a lilac, poofy-sleeved bridesmaid dress and bought a Toys R Us fairy wand. I stood at the front of the room to call in the energy and slowly, softly and deliberately, I walked around the circle of people pausing to bless each person. Holding eye contact, I sent them love. Tapping them on the shoulder, I blessed them. In that moment I was everything I came here to be. They received my blessing, my presence, my power and it opened the door to me being more of me. When the facilitators asked me why that was a stretch for me, I shared that I rarely acknowledged how much personal power I have. I kept it hidden even from myself and I rarely stood in a group and let people see it.

Two years earlier I had left an abusive marriage and at the time of the Insight Seminar, I was still fighting my husband for custody of our children in court. At times I felt quite powerless. The experience in the Stretch gave me a touchstone. I had felt my quiet strength. I had seen the look in the eyes of each participant who I blessed and I knew that what I was transmitting something. I could see it in their faces.

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I had found my tribe. A place where I could authentically be myself, where I was encouraged to be me and where I could explore and practice. Keep learning, make mistakes, start using my super powers more consciously and live life in a new way.

I met my second husband in that Insight tribe, found some close friends who are still in my life 30 years later. Supporting each other in love. There have been times when we have agreed and times when we have disagreed. Both are important in a tribe. Like-minded does not always mean you agree on everything.

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That tribe was the beginning of learning to seek and find other tribes. Sometimes it would be around a 30 day project or a ten year passion project. I found people who had a similar interest and we banded together to support, learn and grow together.

I found and nourished a tribe when I was homeschooling my kids in an unschooling, community based learning style, a Shaklee community with people who were using alternative healing and nutrition when I was recovering from an autoimmune condition, an  Evolutionary Women tribe where making conscious choices to create change were encouraged and embraced, a Heal My Voice tribe of authors writing our stories together in community. I know that each tribe has opened my eyes to new ideas, to creativity, to passions, and to explore who I am.

A tribe satisfies the human need to belong. A tribe should raise you up, not hold you down. Cultivate relationships in more than one tribe and be ready to take a break from the tribe or move on when it is time. Some tribes are long term and some are short term.

To connect with a tribe that would support you right now:

1. Ask yourself questions:

*What am I longing for?

*Where do I need support?

*What skills and talents can I give to the tribe?

 

2. Set an intention. Use the answers you discovered to carve a focus, to build the energy and call in your tribe.

 

3. Take inspired action.

*Take a class (a class may be your tribe)

*Go to a meet-up

*Follow up with someone you meet at a gathering.

*Connect

*Trust your feelings

*Take steps to build relationships.

 

As you enter this new year with shiny, bright, promising intentions for the year, be sure to spend time reflecting on the support and the tribe you need to make it happen!

Now…Go for it!

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

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

Before I Die…I want to Live!

Day 86 of 100 days of blogging

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

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

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

 

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

1. Go on a road trip

2. Sleep under the stars

3. Watch all the movies everyone is talking about

4. Make something from scratch

5. Conquer a fear

6. Volunteer at a soup kitchen

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Inspiration for the walls Before I die…:

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

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

 

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

Tell my mother I love her

Have some Fun.

Dance

Get Clean

Change the World

 

I wondered…

What would it take for you to LIVE now?

 

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

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

Using Technology for Connection

Day 82 of 100 days of Blogging

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I woke up this morning to an invitation from my 21-year-old nephew, Luke, to become friends on Fitbit. He goes to college in Massachusetts. For the last four days, my 32-year-old daughter, Mary and I have been doing the Daily Challenge on Fibit; challenging each other to walk the 10,000 steps. She lives in New York.

I play Words with Friends with my brother (Pennsylvania), sister (Florida) and a few friends (various states and time zones).

I eat dinner with my daughters (California, Maryland, New York and have Dance Parties with my granddaughter (New York) on Facetime. I Skype with clients in Sweden, Italy and Germany.

I am connected to people all over the world. Technology is amazing!

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I know there has been a lot of conversation about how technology creates isolation. I am witnessing the opposite. There are so many places to share our authentic voices, so many secret Facebook groups with deep connection and ways to post our secrets that I am noticing people want more connection and they are reaching out to find it.

I also notice that I have more connection to family and friends who are scattered all over the world. We are expanding into new ways of sharing our lives and connecting through activities.

Who says that just because you are in a room full of people that anyone is truly connected and sharing authentically?

 

What are you noticing about technology and social media and connection in person and on-line?

Post in the comments and share 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 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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