Tag Archives: Leadership

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.

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.

Living with Intent: Frequency Holders

Day 83 of 100 days of Blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give your full attention to the present moment.

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

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

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

 

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

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

It’s in every one of us.

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

It’s in every one of us.

 

 

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

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

 

Carving the Next Path: Is it really YOUR desire?

Day 78 of 100 days of writing

“Hidden beneath your feet is a luminous stage where you are meant to rehearse your eternal dance.” – Hafiz

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In an enlivened conversation with a group of women this morning, the topic of following your desire came up. We were talking about learning to distinguish between the social conditioning of what we think we want and connecting with the true desire. Sometimes it is the same thing and sometimes we are so conditioned by society, family and friends, it is hard to delineate and distinguish our true desires.

Some examples:

Marriage, children, a 9-5 job, buying a house, retiring.

My own journey has included leaving a marriage, homeschooling my kids, using alternative medicine to heal an autoimmune condition, starting an on-line business, and living rent free while running a non-profit organization.

All of those paths went against the social conditioning learned in my family and community.

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Here is an abbreviated version of tips I have used (and still do) to carve each new path.

#1 – See your life as a practice. Try new things. Be willing to look foolish. Failing is part of the process that helps you to discover who you are and what you want.

#2- Develop your intuition by increasing your awareness to your feelings. Notice when you feel happy or sad. Use the feelings as part of the practice. Follow the feelings and do the work to heal the things that trigger you and make new choices based on feelings.

#3 – Commit to one or more practices. Things like meditation, walking, journal writing, or exercise. Things that reduce stress, quiet your mind, and help you to release and let go and hear new answers to your questions.

#4 – Find several tribes of like minded people. This is where you get to practice using your voice, explore your feelings and desires and to find your authentic voice.

#5 – Shake up your routine. Anything that breaks the pattern. Sit in a different seat at the dinner table. Walk or drive a different path to work. Move your pillow to the foot of the bed and sleep in an opposite direction. Walk backwards.  This will help you to rewire your brain and see things in a new way.

#6 – Take classes. Read books. Work with a coach. Be willing to learn something new. Be willing to change.

 

If you are interested in exploring more in a space with women who are ready to have deeper conversations, I will be teaching the next on-line 12 week program: An Experiential Life: Carving the Next Path – March 1, 2016-May 31, 2016. (Women only)

*Secret Facebook group

*Zoom video conferencing with a weekly conversation in the community of women

*Weekly exercises and energy tools

*Two individual coaching calls with me on Skype.

Join us!

http://www.andreahylen.com/an-experiential-life/

 

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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.

 

 

 

Women (and Men): Your Voice Matters

Day 76 of 100 days of Blogging

What advice would you give to a group of younger women about what you have learned about using your power and your voice?

Sitting on the Hot Seat in a New York City OneTaste Meet-up group the other night, I was asked this question. My mind went from blank and then I was flooded with ideas. Too many for sharing in that moment. The hot seat and the question penetrated a strong desire to say it out loud. Here are my thoughts:

First, I would like to tell you that your voice matters. Sharing your ideas and perspective on issues and things that stir you is so important. Spend time exploring what you feel and think. Read. Listen. Explore.

*Find several tribes with like minded people. It is easier to find your authentic voice with like minded people. Listen. Practice using your voice. Be messy. Be open to thinking differently! Change your mind. Change your mind again. Each experience either reinforces what you think or it changes you.

*Offer new perspectives and new ideas to your tribe. Like minded does not mean never changing. Share information, dreams, feelings, challenge each other. Find your passions. Discover your unique gifts and talents and use them.

*Cultivate a feeling of safety inside of you. Take responsibility for your own emotions. If something pisses you off or makes you feel tender, then check within yourself to find the source.  We all have an emotional history and things can happen that trigger it. So, take responsibility to feel, know, and heal…YOU! The people in front of you are mirrors for your inner thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Don’t expect anyone to fix you. Get in the rock tumbler of life and let experiences stir you up and reveal your bright, shiny essence.

*Hire a coach or therapist for support. Take a course that pushes an edge. Personal growth is a life long endeavor. LIFE LONG. You will keep growing and expanding throughout your entire life, if you choose. Weave in and out of inner reflection and outer connection. Both are important.

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*Listen to people of all ages. The five year old and the one-hundred-and-five year old both have wisdom. Listen and then feel. How does it feel in your body? Do their words feel true for you?

Then…

*Take your voice into the world. In conversations, in writing blogposts, speaking on internet radio, on Persicope on Twitter and at the dinner table.  Challenge people to have deeper conversations. Ask them what they think and feel. Listen to them. Be curious and wonder why they have a perspective that is the same or totally different from you. Engage in dialogues that expand ideas into solutions.

*You have the power to impact and influence a new world into existence.

 

YOUR Voice MATTERS!

 

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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.

Phase Transition: Make Space and Let Yourself BE Empty

Day 74 of 100 days of Blogging

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There was a moment yesterday when I could see and feel the changes that are happening in my life. And in that moment I felt a little empty like the train had arrived at the station, dropped off all of the passengers and everything stopped. The conductor (me) pulled out the map and sat there figuring out what to do next.

I have arrived at the station after six months of releasing and allowing the space to be empty; To BE instead of DO. I see the beginning of the next phase. More glimpses of what I have been working toward creating. Balance of family, play, work, relationships.

This is one phase of the process of change. I have been through this so many times at different intervals in my life and this is what I notice in this type of phase transition, change and the in-between space:

*I begin to have new or reawakened awareness.

*I make some changes in my life. I experience frustration from some people in my life when I am in this period of change because I am uncomfortable when people ask me questions and I don’t have the answers. They mirror my internal discomfort. Or I notice that when I plan a weekend of pleasure, someone in my life has a crisis and there is an expectation that I need to stop everything to help them, even though they have other people who can help. I am torn between being a good friend or mother or daughter. In that moment, I am in a dilemma of what choice to make. Do I choose to focus on my own needs and desires or put everyone else first. It is uncomfortable and can feel restrictive. I can feel myself frustrated and angry.

*And then it happens, the changes begin to happen and I have what I want. Or I have the beginning of what I want. I have made some changes. People around me have adjusted. I am in a new stream of flow. I know when to help someone or when to practice my own self-care.

*Now, it is up to me.

*Am I going to sabotage the new way of being in subtle or obvious ways? Am I going to do things to pull people into the space where I just got free? Or can I sit in the stillness? In the unknown, uncertainty, unfamiliar space and slow down. Feel what it feels like to be in this next space and continue to let it unfold.

*I remind myself in this phase to stay empty.

*Fill myself slowly and consciously.

 

*****

An example of a day:

I had a whole day to focus on myself. No appointments or schedules. A day when I could tune in and let my intuition guide me to play, rest, work, have an adventure. Infinite possibilities and choices in this present moment.

I started by connecting with people in the house in Brooklyn where I was staying during my visit to NYC. There were five additional guests for two nights. We ate breakfast together and shared some of the details of our lives.

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One of the women asked me about my coaching fees. She is a screenwriter who was hired to write a script for a film. She is experiencing some writer’s block and wanted to work with a coach to connect to the soul of the film. After a brief conversation, she hired me for three sessions and sent me the script draft. We will focus on story development and the connection to the soul; one of the things I LOVE to do in coaching.

After breakfast, I wanted to write and read and hang out in coffee shops and bookstores in Brooklyn and the East or West Village in New York. So, I googled coffee shops and picked the first destination.

I had a conversation with my oldest daughter and let her know I was available to babysit at their home in Queens in the evening so she and her husband could have some time together. We decided to connect later about the timing. I offered because I like to spend time with my granddaughter and it felt like the last time I could offer babysitting in the next few days before going back to Washington, DC.

Text from my daughter: Thanks for the offer. I am going into the city. I need to check with Jesse after he auditions the directors. Will let you know later this afternoon.

 

Now, it is late afternoon. I have several desires. The Strand Bookstore. A coffee shop in West Village. Regal Cinema in Union Square. I find myself moving in slow motion. I am not clear on my desire. I go slower so I can listen and feel connected to what I really want. I stand in the Regal Cinema lobby looking at the film choices and timing. I want to see The Danish Girl but if I babysit, it doesn’t look like I will have time. After ten minutes of standing there in uncertainty, I decide to move onto the busy, streets of New York.

The Strand Bookstore is in the next block. It is packed. Holiday and weekend shopping. I slowly walk up and down the aisles and move back onto the street. Too crowded. Not the right place for me today.

I walk around the block. Feeling. Thinking. Noticing. Letting myself feel empty and uncertain. I am in unfamiliar territory. It is a new place inside of me. A bubbling well that must be emptied to cultivate the next…

The key to discover the next path is to slow down.

I pause in front of a story and remember I have been craving pizza for a week. I feel a Yes inside of me. I notice the store right next to me is called Pie by the Pound. A restaurant that specializes in gluten free pizza. I pause for a moment and stand there checking within to feel my desire before going inside. I choose 4 different kinds of pizza. 4 small rectangular slices. Eat slowly. Enjoy this new experience. Gluten free, flat pizza. I eat until I am full then save the rest for later.

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I look at the movie choices at the Regal Cinema again on my iPhone. Brooklyn is the next film showing. I am staying in Brooklyn so my curiosity piques. Film Description: An Irish immigrant in 1950s New York. She moves to America for an opportunity. When something happens at home in Ireland, she returns and must face a choice to stay in her old life in Ireland or return to her new life in America.

I feel a synchronicity. Letting go of the old. Making room for the new.

I purchase my movie ticket. Get settled in my seat and just as I reach to turn off my phone, I see a text from my sister: “Spoke to Dad this afternoon. He is so happy to be home. They had a health care professional visit and Dad is able to get all of the services he needs. He was really excited and happy. The health care person went around the house and made sure it was all safe for him.”

There is a moment when I feel I am not needed and I feel a loss. It is a blip on my emotional screen. I notice it. A moment of feeling: what is my value in the family if I am not there? I take a deep breath. Appreciate that I am connected to my family and that I do not have to be the caretaker. I CAN live my life and create new experiences. I CAN schedule time for me and know that everyone else is already cared for!

The film was perfect. I can feel it deeply. I recognize the feelings of letting go of one place to receive the next place.

Text from my daughter: Mom, thanks for the offer. We are exhausted from the auditions today. Jesse and Lucille sound asleep.

Another blip of loss. I am not needed. And then I feel the freedom.

 

It is 8pm on a Saturday night and I am in NYC with crazy, drunk Santa’s running around. Literally, throngs of people dressed up in the masculine and feminine versions of Santa with costumes, hats and bells. I walk slowly. I notice how other people are spending their Saturday night. Two drunk people weaving down the street brush up against me. Couples laughing and hugging. Groups of women with full shopping bags. Families huddled together, holding hands. A motor home with Hanukkah songs playing music on speakers intermingled with Christmas music. A police mobile station and people inside with ice packs on their heads.

This is a new beginning for me. What do I want to do right now?

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I see THINK Coffee and decide to get a latte. Be silent. Reflect on my life before children. Reflect on my life before marriage. Reflect on the new desires that are emerging.

I dive into reading the yummy script of my new client.

I notice I am happy.

Me. NYC. Latte. Reading and writing in a little nook in THINK Coffee. Doing exactly what I want to be doing and being, right now.

After a few hours, I walk 1.3 miles to the M Train, choosing to walk instead of riding another train and transferring. The weather is gorgeous. NYC feels so good. I feel so good.

I arrive back in Brooklyn around midnight. Ten minutes later the house is filled with people arriving back from a class and dinner.

Briefly checking in with people before heading downstairs to my bedroom. Climbing into bed with a smile on my face.

The end of 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.

Orgasmic Meditation: Why I OM

Day 71 of 100 days of Blogging

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a (wo)man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a (wo)man? ~Zhuangzi

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My adventure with Orgasmic Meditation has been just like that. The 15 minute partnered practice has awakened parts of me that have been asleep.  Through the light, gentle stroking of my clitoris, I wonder sometimes if I am the woman or the butterfly or dreaming. It is a powerful practice. For those of us who have been doing it for 3 years, 5 years, 10 years… it still feels weird sometimes.

What is OM Blogpost

January 19, 2013:

My first OM felt like I was home, like I had been waiting for this all my life. I know that women talk a lot about the vulnerability of taking off their pants and getting into the nest for the first time. I still feel that sometimes. The first time, it felt a little clinical. Fifteen years earlier, I taught 500 medical students how to do the pelvic exam and breast exam. Sitting in the exam room as a patient, I gave them the verbal overview of details, then using my body I taught them step by step how to touch and examine the patient. I did that for five years in 1998-2003 at Johns Hopkins University.  So, taking off my pants with a stranger felt natural.

As soon as the stroker sat in the nest for our first OM, I had a feeling that we could heal relationships between women and men on the entire planet, just by sitting in the nest and connecting. Throughout the first OM, my clitoris was numb. I was aware of tingling on my forehead and heat in my chest. With no sex or touch for 8 years since my husband died, this light stroking was uncovering, polishing and waking up sensation.

A few weeks later, in the 12th OM, I felt sexual and wanted to have sex with the guy. We had a mental connection and then the physical desire startled and freaked me out. I decided to OM for 50 times, then 100 times before I would even think about having sex with anyone. I wanted to explore the range of sensations that were possible and to let go of any feeling of commerce. (Commerce as in… You did this to me. Now, I do something to you or for you.)  After 8 months of OMing, the desire to have sex was so strong I connected with a partner and then an intimacy research partner. Connecting to what I wanted. Not what I thought I should or shouldn’t want.

I began my practice consciously and deliberately. Journaling. Noticing feelings. OMing mainly in circles and in organized groups in Los Angeles. During the first Introduction to Orgasmic Meditation class, I set an intention that I would live in an OM house, a place where people share housing, live in community with “normal” lives and have a morning practice together. When the first house was organized in Venice, CA in June 2013, I was one of the residents. For one year, I had the experience of having a morning practice and running my on-line business out of the house. I took classes, traveled for business and pleasure, learned to live in an ever changing community with a wide range of ages and I discovered more of who I am. #grateful

When I reached 1000 OMs in September 2015, I decided to begin again. Let go of what I think I know about this OM practice and go deeper. Wipe the slate clean. Open myself to a new experience. I committed to being part of core leadership in DC. Keith Byrd is the owner of the OneTaste affiliate and he has welcomed me to co-teach the Intro To OM classes with him. We taught 8 new people in DC last weekend!

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To go deeper in my practice, I reserved a room at the Brooklyn, New York OM House Dec 10-17 to immerse myself in OM community living and conversations, daily OMing, and Meet-up events for a week. I am ready to peel away another layer and discover more of me. Opening to the mystery of what is possible. Knowing that OM may seem like a strange journey at times and knowing that it has unlocked things in me that thirty years of deep personal growth work had only touched the tip. OMing goes right into layers of the body and unlocks blocked emotions, uncovers desire and frees me to be me!

 

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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.

Setting Intentions: Using Tools, Containers and Numbers

Day 70 of 100 days of Blogging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It works!

 

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

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

Feminism: Awareness is the First Key to Change

Day 68 of 100 days of Blogging
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A friend of mine, a man, shared a post in a Facebook community of men and women who are exploring the new masculine. His post began by stating how his knowledge of feminism has increased 1,000 fold in the last few weeks. He decided to learn more about the feminist movement and do some research about what rights (money, property, marital and more) women have received since he was born almost 50 years ago.
Women were not allowed to take out a business loan without having a male relative cosign until 1988! Think about how that impacted women and what they would believe about their ability to start a business or be a business woman. They needed a male relative to cosign for them. Think about how men would be conditioned to think that women were incompetent to run a business without the support of a man.
I was eight years out of college at that time, working as a Project Manager in Epidemiological Research at Johns Hopkins and the mother of two daughters. And if I had wanted to start a business, I would have needed my father or another male relative to cosign on the loan!
My friend who posted this information has a new awareness and is awakening to the male privilege he didn’t even realize he had. He wants to take more responsibility for his role in the perpetuation of old standards and he is asking questions so he can change his perspective and learn how to support his teenage daughter as she grows into her power as a woman.
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After reading his post, I wrote this comment.
Your words really stirred something in me. My whole body was buzzing as I tried to sleep last night. First, thank you for posting. I know I have so many layers of feelings. I feel like I could write a book in response to your question about asking women to share the hate they feel towards men.
 
For now, I will begin with this. I was born in 1956. I know you asked women to express the hate they have towards men. More than hate, I would say that I feared men. My mom stayed at home and we depended on my dad for our survival needs. Food, shelter, clothing. We were taught to behave and be quiet when he was home because it was his castle and his money. The message I received was to be good and quiet and not to upset him. Many experiences reinforced that message and that was enough to anchor the childhood fear and teach me to go underground with my voice.
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One of the ways I have worked on healing this personally and in my work with women is to look at how the history of not being able to own property or have our own bank accounts is in our lineage. Women were property still ripples into our relationships with women in the form of competition for a man. It is the gossipy, back biting, passive-aggressive communication when women feel they have no voice. As much as men, that has involved healing with women first and building trust in our relationships. Understanding the roots of our lineage and the changes that have been taking place step by step and how we still are in a process of changing that old conditioning.
 
One of the ways I have healed is by practicing Orgasmic Meditation (OM) for 3 years and by living in an OM community with men and women for one year. I see men in a new light. I have a lot less fear and increased love and compassion. Both Robert Kandell and Ken Blackman, the leaders in this secret Facebook group and two of my teachers in the OM community were instrumental in me learning how to tap into more of my power by supporting me in claiming my personal power, owning my desires and breaking through to reach into the power of my sexuality. That is where I have the deepest desire for living life fully and the “nice” girl had to move to the side. In this OM practice, everything changed. The way I run my business, my writing, the claiming of my sexuality and power.
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As for my daughters who are now 32, 30, and 22, I have worked with educating, changing patterns, encouraging their voices, and teaching them how to connect with men. The process of changing my own interactions and focusing on my personal growth began when they were born. I taught them to listen, to speak, to stand up for what they believe in. Leaving my husband in 1987 and breaking that pattern of accepting abuse was the way I demonstrated for them. Things are shifting. New legislation is one thing. Changing the mindset and re-callibrating to that change can take a generation or two.
When I was about to graduate high school in 1975, my mother told me I could do or be anything. Saying that and modeling it or providing guidance for that was another thing. It was assumed I would go to college but I received zero guidance for that and there was still the expectation that I would find a husband in college. I got married. Worked full time. Gave birth to two daughters. Maintained the home. Cooked, cleaned, found child care. Took off from work when my kids were sick. It was insane. Now my oldest daughter is married and has a two year old. She wants her husband to help more at home. They run a business together. I can see that some progress has been made in expecting they both take care of their child and I also see the brunt of the home stuff falls on my daughter. Now, I am her coach. I have been teaching her to specifically ask for what she needs on a daily basis with her husband and I can see the shifting for the next generation. More communication. More teamwork in a marriage. More connection. Her generation will take it to the next level and so on…
What are your thoughts about feminism? What are your thoughts about the changing roles for men and women? Please share your voice in the comment section.
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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.

 

Dramatic Adventure Theater: Travelogue Reading December 2015

Day 67 of 100 days of Blogging

 

Tonight I had an opportunity to share a reading about a travel experience in New York City at a Dramatic Adventure Travelogue Event.

Event Description:

WE TELL STORIES (and drink sangria specials!) at this FREE event at New World Stages!!!!

In addition to hearing from a handful of curated special guest writers/performers at each event, this is also an opportunity for you to tell a story from your travels off the cuff or to bring in a prepared essay, journal entry, blog, video, poem, song, or even a piece of fiction that you created about/while traveling–domestically, internationally, or even from one side of the city to the other! (At least four to five story-tellers will be pulled from a hat so, if you’re interested, be sure to drop your name in when our host passes it around!)

Even if you don’t share a story, come listen, reunite, and hug us!!!! It’s been too long! If we’ve never met, then it’s REALLY been too long; introduce yourself!

For more information for the next event in 2016:


Visit www.dramaticadventure.com

 

My STORY:

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It was always hard to sleep the night before flying from New York to San Francisco. Always an early flight, I feared I would sleep through the alarm and not be ready when the taxi cab driver would ring the bell to the apartment. Then, there was the fire in my belly, the anticipation of seeing the man who was my intimacy research partner for 8 months. One week per month we would meet in San Francisco with three weeks apart to live our lives. Staying in contact through text messages and once a week a long Facetime conversation.

 

So, let me back up for a minute. A few years ago, I lived in Los Angeles and traveled to Baltimore, New York and San Francisco every month. This lasted for eight months.

I teach a 15-minute partnered practice called Orgasmic Meditation and for 18 months, I studied and learned and Immersed myself in this consciousness practice.

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The crazy thing about that immersion was an unexpected thing that happened. The feeling sensation in my body increased so much that I could feel a distinct, palpable difference in every city I visited. From earthy to spine tingling to heart expanding, there was a flavor in each location that was unique.

The rhythm of each month began in LA. Waking up early for morning practice with my ten housemates. Then, sitting outside with a hot cup of coffee before heading to the airport. Watching the hummingbirds flitting from Bird of Paradise to Chinese Bell Flower, their beaks inserted into the crevices of flowers to drink the nectar. Me in my flip flops and sundress taking one last breath in our tropical backyard. Then off to the airport. The feel of LAX, with the sun shining and a light breeze maintaining the temperate climate, where it was common to see a movie star waiting in the security line or walking through the airport with a purse dog in a bag on one arm, designer handbag on the other and trying to achieve some level of anonymity by hiding behind sunglasses. The airport feels surreal like the backlot on a movie studio. Lots of action, cameras, stars and unexpected moments with all of us playing the part of the extras in the film.

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Arriving in Baltimore five hours later, feeling the grounded, earthiness. No pretense. The Balmore accent melded with local colloquialisms, like, “Hey Hon, you goin’ down da ocean for your birfday?” Always a friend waiting at the curbside to pick me up. Catching up on the ups and downs of life. A pull out couch with flannel sheets waiting for my arrival. A cup of tea. A space heater. A chair pulled to the side of the couch for me to use as a side table.

After a week of coffee house Board meetings and writing workshops for lower income women in Baltimore I get on the Megabus to New York. Balancing my computer on my lap and a cup of Zeke’s coffee in the other hand. (Bad Birds of Baltimore, the preferred choice), sometimes paying the extra $9 for the front row, upper deck seat so I can see the NYC iconic skyline and feel the rush of adrenaline at first sight. Suddenly I am in the city feeling the exhilarating energy of beating hearts, mind racing conversation intermixed with multicultural mixtures of languages.

My body is buzzing with excitement when the bus stops at the corner near Times Square. I hop off the bus, grab the handle of my suitcase and jump into the flow of the crowd like a school girl waiting for the moment when it is my turn to play Double Dutch. Jumping in with my own fancy footwork. I frequently break into song when walking in the crowd not caring what anyone else thinks. Give my Regards to Broadway or Jay Z and Alicia Keys Empire State of Mind.

Give my regards to Broadway
Remember me to Herald Square
Tell all the gang at Forty Second Street
That I will soon be there

AND

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York, New York,
New York

 

In New York, I took a course called Orgasm Mastery, became a grandmother to Lucille, and stayed in an actor’s apartment in Queens.

And then it was time for San Francisco and my intimacy partner. He flew from Hamburg, Germany to Paris, France. Always stopping at a gift shop to pick up a little memento like an Eiffel tower keychain or a tin of macarons. We always arranged our flights to arrive at the San Francisco Airport within an hour of each other.

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San Francisco has this international feeling intermixed with flower child remnants of the 60’s meets technology of the future. The old and the new feeling youthful and alive. Big ideas. Gold rush. Anything is possible.

Most of the months, I arrive at the airport first. Wheeling my suitcase from domestic flights to international and waiting outside the crowded gate. Unlike domestic flights where a friend or family member picks you up at the curb, international flights have throngs of people waiting. There is a monitor where you can watch the passengers on the last hallway before they emerge into the airport. Anticipation is thick in the air. I anticipate my partner’s arrival along with groups of people, some single and some with small and large groups of families. Some with signs but most with flowers and arms ready to embrace a loved one. I wonder about their stories and watch each arrival during my hour wait. The soldier arriving back from a tour in another land with both woman and man crying in a long embrace. The multi-generational Chinese family embracing an elderly man and woman in a wheelchair. I wonder how long it’s been since they last saw each other. There are outcries with each new recognition of the person emerging through the gate. A young woman in her 20’s arrives. Greeted by a man, a woman and two young children. The children hide behind their mother and the man reaches out with a friendly but formal handshake. I think, maybe this is an Au Pair arriving to care for the children for a year. She is here for an adventure in the United States.

And so it continues until I see him, my partner, on the monitor. My heart starts beating faster. We haven’t seen each other in three weeks. He quickens his step when he sees me at the gate. And with one swift motion like two people in a dance, his arm around me turns me to the exit door right outside the airport where we pause to exchange a long, slow kiss before heading to the BART, arriving at our private room at the International Hostel and beginning our week long 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.

 

 

 

 

 

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