Tag Archives: Writing

An Artist Date: January 2019

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Writing Incubator

 

Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership and the Writing Incubator, an on-line writing community with writing prompts and writing labs, for women. She is author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey.

Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. She follows her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and coaching others to do the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about coaching, current projects and on-line writing circles go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An exercise:

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

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

 

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

That was then, this is now.

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

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

A few reflective questions:

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

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

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

What is the story you want to tell now?

 

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

The Writing Incubator

Andrea Santa Barbara Starbucks Aug 2016

Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership and the Writing Incubator, an on-line writing community with writing prompts and writing labs, for women. She is author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey.

Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. She follows her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and coaching others to do the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about coaching, current projects and on-line writing circles go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.

 

 

Dedication HMV-EWJ

You Have Restored My Faith in Humanity

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

A question for you:

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

 

Andrea Santa Barbara Starbucks Aug 2016

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

The Writing Incubator

 

Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Change takes time.

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

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

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

Change takes time.

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

Change takes time.

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

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

Change takes time.

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

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

Change takes time.

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

 

 

315353_10201052497332086_1044127686_nAndrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband.

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

Set An Intention: What is Your Word for 2016

Day 93 of 100 days of Blogging

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For the past month, I have been thinking and feeling into my word for the year. Choosing a word to set an intention then pointing my arrow of desire in a focused direction is powerful. It is one of the ways I have been preparing for 2016 and Setting My List of Intentions.

My process includes reflecting on last year’s words, reviewing last year’s activities and feeling the energy of the new year. Asking myself questions is another part of the process. What word do I want to hold in my consciousness to lay a path for this year throughout the whole year?

 

And the winner is…

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EXPECTATION:

a belief that someone will or should achieve something. a strong belief that something will happen.

There is something powerful about this word. I can feel the Warrior Goddess in me rising up. I know her well. The Warrior Goddess in me knows how to go deep into the silence and draw from the inner well. She is the woman who throws herself into life. She is all in. She knows how to use her power. She is courageous, curious, joy-filled, determined. She knows how go back inside herself to sit in stillness and listen. She knows how to wait. She knows how to stand on the mountain top and shout her message. She asks for what she wants. She expects things to happen. She has been called crazy and stupid many times. She has followed her bliss anyway.

 

When I first put this word on my list of possible words for the year, I found myself watering it down. This became part of my process of claiming my word. At first, it felt bold, brazen and egoic.  Who am I to use such a big word? It feels like the opposite of how I have been living my life for the last few years. Releasing, letting things fall away, being open to new and unexpected things to emerge. Conscious evolution. Faith. Infinite possibilities. No expectations.

I can feel the shift. It is time to dream bigger, act bolder, put myself out there, take action and draw on all of the cultivating I have done on living in flow with inspiration and flexibility. My ability to actively surrender, make adjustments. Time to expect the Universe to meet me.

This word has so much power, so much energy, so much bigness that I am claiming it AND setting up a foundation of support for the year with a companion word every month. A word that fine tunes and focuses me. A word that will support my word of the year.

Some of the companion words every month will be things like quiet, clarity, nurture, curiosity, wonder, certainty, experimentation, expansion, courage, play, joy, sensuality, faith and trust.

I will be calling in the Archangels, Goddesses, Ascended Master’s. I will meditate. Be willing to wait in the stillness and work with Spirit.  I will draw upon life experience, use affirmations:

The Universe loves and supports me.

I ask for what I want and receive it.

I easily access the answers that are inside me.

I have access to tools and resources and people.

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The word EXPECTATION is my playmate for the year.

 

What are your words for 2016? Post in the comments and let me hear your voice.

 

There is a program launching on March 1 called Carving the Next Path. A 12 week program for women. Join Us!

Register: 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.

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.

 

Writing: Creating a New World

Day 77 of 100 days of Blogging

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In a small used bookstore in Brooklyn, I found a book, “In Favor of the Sensitive Man and other essays” by Anais Nin.   I am sure many of you know the author by this famous quote:

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful then the risk it took to BLOSSOM. ~Anais Nin

One of the essays in the book is called The New Woman. It was from a lecture given at the Celebration of Women in the Arts in San Francisco, April 1974.

“I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me-the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe is the reason for every work of art.

The artist is the only one who knows that the world is a subjective creation, that there is a choice to be made, a selection of elements. It is a materialization, an incarnation, of his inner world. Then he hopes to attract others into it…

We also write to heighten our own awareness of life. We write to lure and enchant and console others. We write to serenade our lovers. We write to taste life twice, in the moment in retrospection.” ~Anais Nin

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I am inspired by these words even more so today as I finish writing this blog post in a used bookstore in New York City on Crosby Street, Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe.

“Intentions compressed into words enfold magical power.” ~ Deepak Chopra

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

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