Author Archives: Andrea Hylen

Flip the Script on Media, Books, Film

Week Six: Flip the Script on Media, Books, Film

Day Thirty-six

“Media has the power to educate… to shape people’s thoughts. It also has an incredible power when you see someone like you on screen.”

~Shonda Rhimes

The topic this week is shining a light on media, books, and film and how they influence and impact our view of the world and the world itself.  Enter with a curiosity about how you may have already flipped the script and where you want to flip it now.

As we enter the topic, a few things are on my mind to explore:

  • In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States. ~The Flip by Jared Rosen and David Rippe
  • The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media that provides research, direct guidance and thought leadership aimed at increasing representation of marginalized groups within six identities: gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQIA+, disability, age, and body type.”
  • How our personal viewing and reading choices impact our view of the world and impact the whole world – the collective “field.”

Let’s begin with the personal viewing:

The first memory of a television in my household was a black and white tv where we watched Lassie and The Ed Sullivan Show. I was 7 ½ years old and it was special to stay up so late (viewing the Beatles began at 8pm on February 9, 1964). These two events were so palpable and memorable because my father always cried during Lassie – more emotion than I normally saw from him- and watching teenage girls screaming for the Beatles. Watching the audience, like an anthropology project from a 7-year-old perspective, had as much impact as watching the Beatles. As the oldest child in the family, this was my only exposure to rock and roll and teenagers.

As I got older, the television was in the basement at the next few homes we lived in. I loved watching old, black, and white films, on the color television, with Shirley Temple, Bette Davis, and Katherine Hepburn. I also watched Roy Rogers and Dale Evans with my sister and musicals where I would stand up to sing and dance.

Watching film and television informed my role as a woman – both subservient and revolutionary. Things I have spent most of my life unraveling and unlearning.

We will explore the impact of television and film more this week.

With a rise in an awareness about “fake news” and the media, I was shocked when I read about the Florida Court case with FOX news. Especially after the pandemic, social media, and artificial intelligence has awakened us even more to a wide range of fake news.

One key we will explore this week is viewing multiple sources of news, finding ways to support your nervous system and cultivating your inner GPS.

  • In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States. ~The Flip: Turn Your World Around by Jared Rosen and David Rippe

Also, when I read this in the book The Flip, I did numerous Google searches to read the specifics of the case. I wanted to reduce my initial trauma response and read the specifics to make my own determination about what this case actually said. I will share more about this later this week.

And finally, we will explore representation of marginalized groups within six identities: gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQIA+, disability, age, and body type.”

I’ve been inspired by the research of the Geena Davis Institute and how it is impacting new representation. Recently, I had my eyes opened to something I had not seen before and I appreciate what the Institute is doing.

My daughters were raised watching and engaging with Sesame Street. It was the most inclusive children’s programming at the time, and they loved it. When I started watching it with my grandson last year, someone gave us one of the original counting books with ten of the primary characters. I was shocked when I realized that only one of the major characters was a girl!

It hadn’t occurred to me because #1, they are puppets and #2, my view in 1980 was still focused on “any representation of girls” as an advancement even when they were in the background. More on this with a deeper dive into the work of the Geena Davis Institute, later this week.

This is an overview of where we are headed as we explore, question, and flip the script on media, books, and film this week.

Day 36 Prompts:

  • Begin to think about how films and television have influenced you. What has been supportive? What types of shows are you watching now?
  • Make a list of books you have read in the past few years and podcasts or Youtube series that you listen to and follow. How are these impacting your current world?
  • What news and media do you watch and read daily, weekly, and monthly? How do you stay informed about what is happening in the world?
  • What does “Flip the Script on Media, Books, and Film bring to the surface? What memories, thoughts, and feelings and where is the connection?

To read all 100 days of Flip the Script, go to Medium:

Flip the Script on Holidays

Week Five: Flip the Script on Holidays

Day Twenty-nine

Flip the Script on Holidays

“Festivals are occasions to empower ourselves in the course of humanity – they are the occasions to rekindle the promise of humanity in our heart – the promise that we keep forgetting in the cacophony of manmade labels.”  ~Abhijit Naskar, I Vicdansaadet Speaking: No Rest Till the World is Lifted

This is another topic that I am tiptoeing into and around because I know that there are emotional ties to different holidays that we have each celebrated as children and with family. Holidays are rich with memories and a wide range of feelings.

In the United States, we just celebrated Thanksgiving, a holiday that is connected with family and based on a moment in history when white settlers from Europe sat down with Indigenous people who had taught them what to plant and this was a sharing of harvest and abundance. More on this on another day…

To flip the script on holidays, festivals and annual celebrations, “things you have participated in celebrating throughout your life” are placed under a microscope and viewed from a telescope with questions.

Does this annual celebration still make sense to you? What has changed? What do you want to change? Are you grieving the loss of a holiday celebration that is no more? Are you comparing your experience to someone else’s holiday photos? ((I have two family photos where we were all smiling and the whole week was so dysfunctional and trauma triggering that I knew it would never happen again — Christmas 2014. Don’t let the smiles fool you.)

In the writing prompts today, I’m going to ask you to make a list of festivals, traditions, and religious holidays that you celebrate throughout the year. Then, write about what you enjoy about the holiday and what you would like to change. Don’t overthink it. Share anything that is on your mind about the different celebrations.

You have the power to change things and do things differently. And you have the power to keep things just as they are. This is an invitation to get in touch with what you know and see and want. Things that are within your power to say yes and no.

With Thanksgiving Day in the US, the holiday season, aka Christmas, received a kick-off in different ways across the world. In the United States, there is the Macy’s Day parade with turkeys, balloons and Santa Claus, ushering in Black Friday and a rush to buy presents for the holidays.

When my children were little, I introduced an annual tradition of choosing a different country every December to learn about holiday traditions and rituals. We had celebrations on December 13 for St. Lucia Day in Sweden, Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe from Mexico (December 12), Boxing Day from England (December 26) and Hanukah parties (different dates every year). We would cook traditional foods, play games, make crafts, and sing songs. If we knew someone from the country or religion, even better. It was rich and honoring.

With a European-Nordic ancestry that includes many different countries, I feel, even though I didn’t know it then, there was something calling me to the traditions of my ancestors. A longing for connection to something that was lost long ago when we traveled from our country of origin to America. I was searching for meaning and purpose for the holidays that were beyond the Swedish cookie recipes from my father’s Swedish roots and all the presents under the tree.

And…I was searching for the light.

I’ve wondered what we lost when we crossed the Atlantic and came to the United States from another country or countries. We lost language. A rootedness to the foods we grew. Traditions that were passed down from the elders. Connection to the land. Did we come here by choice or by slavery or indentured servitude? Did our people come with us or did some of them stay?

One of my friends loves going to the European Christmas markets in Prague in the Czech Republic and Vienna, Austria.  She and her husband love shopping and the traditional food. My friend has ancestry from Eastern Europe, and I know it brings back memories of traditional foods her grandmother and mother cooked when she was growing up. The European Christmas markets have become an extravaganza.

I was curious about when that tradition of markets began. Originally the markets started in the Middle Ages as a way for local people to come together and purchase and trade food and goods. The gathering would last for one day or several days.

In the name of Protestant Reformation, the celebration of Saint Nicholas was moved from Dec 6 to Dec 24, Martin Luther wrote hymns and influenced traditions that we still do today, like the Christmas tree. This was a shift only 500 years ago.

I wonder what traditions were lost because of organized religion.

This week, I will unpack some of my moments of waking up to a desire to do things differently and to talk about our connection and disconnection from the cycles of nature and seasons that may be affecting us. I will also share an experience of being invited to a Seder online during the pandemic.

Day 29 Prompts:

  • Make a list of festivals, traditions, and religious holidays that you celebrate throughout the year. Write about what you enjoy about the holiday and what you would like to change. Don’t overthink it. Share anything that is on your mind about the different celebrations.
  • Does this annual celebration still make sense to you? What has changed? What do you need or want to change?
  • Are you grieving the loss of a holiday celebration that is no more?
  • Are you comparing your experience to someone else’s holiday photos?
  • Are past traditions inspiring you?  Do they make you feel happy and fulfilled?
  • What is working and what is not working?

To read all 100 days of Flip the Script, go to Medium:

Flip the Script on Loneliness

Flip the Script on Loneliness

Week Four of Flip the Script Topics

We are never alone. Not in energetic terms. We’ve been trained to only look to other humans for connection.

Lee Harris

My intention this week is to explore something that all humans experience.


Feeling empty, isolated, unwanted, unseen, lost. Life changes, or circumstances, can create an experience of loneliness. A job change, financial instability, changes in relationships, living arrangements, death of a loved one, a holiday.

Endings with a beginning that is filled with uncertainty and the unknown.

I enter this subject gently, with kindness. Loneliness is complex. For some, it is a lifelong struggle to find connection. It can be a hard thing to admit, talk about or think about. It can be a topic we don’t want to feel or be reminded of a time when we felt lonely.

Types of loneliness

  • Emotional loneliness – ‘the absence of meaningful relationships’
  • Social loneliness – a ‘perceived deficit in the quality of social connections’
  • Existential loneliness – a ‘feeling of fundamental separateness from others and the wider world’
Multiple Sources on the Web


You can be alone and not feel lonely.


Artists and writers experience emptiness, as a way of connecting with their art.


Isolation may be self-imposed like in a writing retreat or a desire to create space to reflect or rest.

Feeling lost.

Feeling lost can be a sign that it is time for something to change or that something is about to change.

Some of the ideas we will explore this week are:




Feeling Lost

Know Thyself

Practices for loneliness

Day 22 Prompts:

  • Reflect on the word loneliness.
  • Write about a time when you were lonely.
  • How long did it last? Were you alone, or with people, when you felt lonely?
  • What expressions or other words bring up an exploration with loneliness?

To read all 100 days of Flip the Script, go to Medium:

Flip the Script on Water

Week Three: Flip the Script – Water

November 15 – 21, 2023

Day Fifteen: Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Flip the Script on Water

We stood on a Ridge at the end of the island looking down to a place where three seas, the China Sea, the Tasmanian sea, and the Pacific Ocean, crashed together in roiling waves. Each of the Seas brings its own winds, so one is buffeted by gusts from all sides. Let me invite you to stand there with me. Something is uncanny here. There is presence here. Could it be that the waves also bring with them the spirits of other lands? ~Jean Houston, Jump Time

It was a rainy, cool day in August when I was guided to “Flip the Script” on Water. With surprise, confusion, and curiosity, I revisited several books on my bookshelf. The Secret Life of Water, The True Power of Water: Healing and Discovering Ourselves, and Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto. Next, I picked up Your Bodies Many Cries for Water by F. Batmanghelidj and reread it in a few days.

This was not on my list of topics to cover for Flip the Script until resources kept showing up over the next few weeks. Several astrologers, Pam Gregory and Heather Ensworth had both interviewed Veda Austin about her work with water crystallography and her discovery of hydroglyphs, the language of water.

Yes! magazine had just released the summer issue called Thirst.

Poetry, music, and quotes seemed to pop up out of nowhere.

I finally stood in the rain and raised my arms to the sky. Show me…

The conversations centered around the consciousness of water and my mind was blown wide open. Emoto’s work talked about human impact and influence on water. The shift was about water having a consciousness that impacts and influences humans. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I have read different estimates and percentages about how much water is in the human body and how much water is in each organ. There are different ranges measured scientifically. Suffice it to say, our bodies are composed of a lot of water.

Here are a sampling of quotes and information that begin a conversation:

Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. According to Mitchell and others (1945), the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%. ~Wikipedia

The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine, and perspiration, and is contained in lean muscle, fat, and bones. ~Your Bodies Many Cries for Water

From the annual water issue: Contemplate for a moment where you want to go and why you want to travel. Communities are tied to the water and people have built their lives around it for centuries. Our oceans, rivers, and lakes sustain us, even restore us. Let’s make the relationship two-sided and acknowledge that we, in turn, have a responsibility to restore and sustain them. Jacqui Gifford, Editor of Travel and Leisure magazine, February 2022

An indigenous activist, Big Wind Carpenter, is working on a project called the Indigenous Land Alliance of Wyoming, which aims to change the Western understanding of reciprocity – treating water not as a resource but as a relative. YES! magazine, Summer 2023

“Water holds memories since time began and has a living spirit just like we do.” ~Chenoa Egawa, a member of the Lummi tribe and a ceremonial leader, storyteller, artist, and environmental activist who is dedicated to bringing healing to our Mother Earth.

Water has the ability to cleanse itself, and because we are largely made of water, we are a part of that cleansing cycle as well. That is why it is so important to offer gratitude and prayer to water as we use it throughout our day. YES! magazine, Summer 2023

Envision a life dawning as an

adorable droplet,

being drawn to the sky by a

seemingly invisible force,

reconciling with clouds and

collecting stardust in the astros,

eternally magnetized to the moon,

transforming into a raindrop and

answering the call

to return to earth

taking shape as a glacier,

becoming a fast-running river,

slipping around ancient rocks

reflecting the trees and skies above,

shaping the landscape and tributaries,

forming capillaries and wetlands

arriving to the sea, embodying the ocean,

holding space for all life forms to thrive.

~Valerie Segrest,

YES! magazine, Summer 2023

Today we begin a week of Flip the Script on Water.

Posts this week will include Masaru Emoto’s messages from water, the element of water, Veda Austin, the consciousness of water and practices to connect with water.

Day 15 Prompts:

*Reflect and meditate on the consciousness of water. Write down insights or resources that pass your way.

*Write about experiences you have had with water as a teacher and guide.

*Do you use water from your tap?Where does your water come from? Is there a group or individual who is working to protect your water? How can you get involved?Photo from the website of French photographer, Laurent Costa. Here is a link to his website and to his microscopic photos. It is all in French, but the pictures are self explanatory./

For more of Flip the Script posts go to my page on Medium:

Flip the Script on Peace

Week Two: Flip the Script on Peace:

Day Eight: November 8, 2023

Flip the Script on Peace

“Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples. It is not enough to speak out against war; the causes of war must be eliminated.”  Rigoberta Menchú Tum

(Rigoberta Menchú Tum is a K’iche’ Guatemalan human rights activist, feminist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Menchú has dedicated her life to publicizing the rights of Guatemala’s Indigenous peoples during and after the Guatemalan Civil War, and to promoting Indigenous rights internationally.)

When I think about peace, the first thoughts that arise are songs about an ideal of the world I want to live in. 

“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” ~The New Seekers

“We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day so let’s start giving.” ~USA for Africa

How will I know…
I know because my heart tells me so.

~Beautiful World in Existence

People holding hands, caring, and living in peace and harmony was the fantasy world I lived in growing up, not the real world of my existence.

I was raised to be a good girl. To treat people with kindness. To share with others. To serve and help people who did not have as much as we did.

I was also taught not to speak about conflict; to keep my mouth shut; to ‘be peace’ even when the family system I grew up in was anything but peace. I learned to play nice, entertain and create distractions. I learned not to ask for what I want and that having needs means you are needy – a quality that is highly undesirable.

Peace involved “keeping the peace” by people pleasing, denial and avoidance. Never draw attention to any of the pain and suffering in the world. Be nice.

I was not taught how to navigate conflict, discord, speak up or how to handle fear, anger, jealousy, or grief.

The Vietnam war was the focus of the nightly news. If you google wars in the world during different decades, you will see that war is everywhere.

Warring in politics, human rights, gender, and race.

Warring in the family with alcohol, verbal and physical abuse and untreated childhood trauma from adults who are in charge.

Cultivating peace on earth is a frequency of energy that begins within.

There is still war happening in different parts of the world. There are people on the front line and others who are witnessing. You may have family or a lineage that is connected to a current war. You may be a person who feels the impact energetically.

In your home, war may be a divorce, an illness, or another life circumstance that has created an internal struggle where you are at war with yourself. 

As Rigoberta Menchú Tum wrote in her quote:  It is not enough to speak out against war; the causes of war must be eliminated.

This is where we begin the week of flipping the script on peace.

Share your experiences, as much as you want to, in the comments.

Day 8 Prompts:

*Where have you flipped the script on peace?

*What were you taught?

*What have you learned on your own?

*What do you want to change now?

*Write about a war that is happening now and how that is affecting you.

For more of Flip the Script posts go to my page on Medium:

Flip the Script: Consciously Co-creating the Future: An Introduction

Week One: Flip the Script: An Introduction

Day One

Let’s begin!

“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!”

― C. JoyBell C.

Every year, in the Incubator: An online co-working space for women exploring creative self-expression, I post a 100-day exploration and experiment around a topic. This year the topic is Flip the Script: Consciously Co-creating the Future. The inspiration to explore this topic came from a book called The Flip: Turn Your World Around by David H. Rippe and Jared Rosen, published in June 2006.

When the book was released in 2006, I had already flipped the script on health care, education for my children, caring for the environment and living a shared resources lifestyle. As I re-read the book earlier this year, I was curious about what incremental changes could we make to better the world now?

I felt this topic was a good fit for The Incubator because the process of creating involves innovation, changing a story, shifting perspective, reframing a moment, and finding ways to express feelings, thoughts, and experiences. The women are already flipping the script in the creative process and with their view of the world. That doesn’t mean that we all agree on how we want to flip the script and change things in the world and that’s okay. Different views can still be focused on a desire to better yourself and the society which leads us to different paths.

While the Incubator is in process, I’ve decided to post one or two entries to my blog each week, to bring you into the conversation and exploration. There is so much change going on in the world with breakdowns of old, outdated institutions, flipping the script will create breakthroughs and a world that works for everyone.

This week, as part of the Introduction, the topics include identity, the pandemic, a world of light and dark, carving a new path, consciously co-creating and a practice for regulating the nervous system.

From the book, The Flip: Turn Your World Around

“Becoming a flipster, participating in one of the greatest shifts in consciousness in humankind, does not require credentials. Political affiliations are meaningless. The flip doesn’t care if you graduated summa cum laude, got your GED, or dropped out of high school. Race and gender are immaterial. Nationality is moot. It matters little if you are an unemployed steelworker, a corporate executive, a sales rep, or a social worker. All are welcome to the flip. There is only one pre-requisite – the desire to better yourself and society.”

The 100-day topic is an invitation to ask questions, examine your beliefs, and notice where it may be time to flip the script in any area of your life. It is also an invitation to remember where you have already flipped the script and to notice the gifts and strengths that appeared out of shifting your perspective.

I want to emphasize that the Incubator is not a program with things you need to DO. If the 100 days is a resource that feels supportive, dive in, or dip your toes in occasionally. If it doesn’t feel supportive, then ignore the daily posts. Stay focused on your intentions and the art, writing and self-expression you want to explore.

There are no grades and no comparison with each other. Our creative expression is different so tuning in to what you need and processing that during our monthly coaching conversations will support your unique journey.

The 100 days is designed to stir the pot around a topic. To explore, uncover, deconstruct, and invite solutions. This may create discomfort or bring up feelings. Remember that breakdowns lead to breakthroughs. Solutions are born out of challenges and by listening to what is unknown.

In writing the 100 days, I am looking for patterns in the world around me and reflecting on possibilities. What I write today may lead me to a different idea tomorrow. I write with confidence, humility, and reverence regarding our differences. Ideas are fluid and evolving. The older I get, the more questions I ask because life has shown me how often I limit myself by thinking there is only one way to do things.

Keep this in mind as you read the prompts and think: Both/And vs Either/Or. My idea does not negate your idea. I can add chocolate chips to my muffin recipe and you can add cranberries to yours – or not eat muffins at all! 

Day One Prompts:

*What do the words “Flip the Script” mean to you? This could be an idea, an experience, or different clusters of words.

*Write about a time when a belief or expectation changed. It may have been something you judged about another person and then you found yourself in a similar situation. Or you heard someone speak and their words influenced a change in your perspective.

*How did that change impact your life?

Taboo Topic: Grief Has No Time Limit

My daughter was graduating from Santa Monica College and as the graduation date got closer, I began to feel the weight of my husband’s absence. He had died 10 years earlier and this was another milestone that he would miss. A week before the graduation, an event page popped up in my email. There was a “Death Over Dinner Party” scheduled in Venice, a few miles from where I was staying. I had always been curious about this event and the timing seemed perfect.


Opening the wooden gate, I walked towards the front door. The host invited me in and with a sweep of her arm, pointed to a table set for ten with beautiful Mexican floral plates, silverware, and sunflowers. I added my couscous and tomato salad contribution to the table and found a seat next to the window. People entered the room quietly making eye contact and a simple nod of the head with a smile. When everyone had arrived, the host invited us to pass the food and started with a few short question-prompts to begin the conversation.


When it was my turn to share my story, I began to speak about my husband’s death ten years earlier and how our daughter was graduating from college. Then I started to sob. Everyone waited for me to be ready to continue to speak. In between sobs and blowing my nose, I talked about the sadness I felt that my husband was once again missing an event in our daughter’s life and the grief I felt for my daughter’s loss, too. I shared how lonely I felt and yet, in that moment I didn’t feel alone. When I was complete, each person acknowledged me in a simple way and we continued to go around the table, listening to each person’s story of grief and loss.


When I left the house, a few hours later, I felt lighter. It was a safe haven to express the pain, to be seen and heard, to release it and then move back into the world.


Life goes on but so does grief. When you have experienced a loss, it makes you vulnerable. There is a scar that will never go away. Something has happened that has rocked your world. You learn that Life is fragile.


In healing grief, there is a stage of acceptance and even in the acceptance, death can feel surreal. My husband died sixteen years ago and there are times when I can’t believe he is not here. It happens when there are life events like Covid-19 and feeling, “Wow, I can’t believe he is not here for this. I wonder what he would think.” In that moment, I miss him deeply. No more pillow talk. No more sharing ideas.


In grief, we move forward but there is no returning to normal. I think that is the biggest misconception, that you will return to “normal”, and that healing is linear.


Grief can surface at a birthday or anniversary but not always.

Grief can be situational, arising as if no time has passed because of a current event.

Grief can be activated by a scent or sight, sound, feeling, or another death or loss.

Grief can create a spiral of feelings decades later with a tsunami of emotion that feels debilitating.


My brother died from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in 1961, when I was 4 years old. He was two months old. There were only two times I remember hearing my parents mention my brother, Kenneth. Once when I was a teenager blaring Alice Cooper’s song, “Dead Babies Can’t Take Care of Themselves,” and my dad yelling at me to turn off that music and how I was being insensitive to my mother. Insensitive? She never talked about the death of her baby, how was I to know?


And the other time was when my son, Cooper, had his second open heart surgery when he was one year old. My parents came to visit him in the hospital. Sitting across from each other, my dad told my mom that whenever he was in Massachusetts for business, he would stop at the cemetery and visit their son at the family plot. My mom said, “I never knew that.” My parents were in their sixties and their son had died thirty years earlier. I felt like I was witnessing an intimate moment, sharing something that had been unspoken for so long.


With grief, instead of assuming that you know what someone wants or needs, keep the door open for conversation. If a friend or family member tells you they don’t want to talk about it, honor that in the moment. Give it space. Invite the conversation in a year or two or even ten. Let them know you think about their loss and want to understand what they are experiencing, even if it comes twenty years later. Are you willing to ask and to listen?


  1. Grief is messy and dark so practice being with the discomfort.
  2. Reflect on your own mortality, including your fears.
  3. Hold space for someone’s grief with compassion, not pity.
  4. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable.


Examples of words from other cultures that hold the door open. All of the words invite an ongoing relationship with the deceased:



Greece: May you live to remember her.

Jewish: May her memory be a blessing.

Egypt: May her spirit remain with you in your life.



There are wonderful, supportive communities where people can express grief. Your family and friends do not have to be the only source of support. But, when grief is treated like a “conversation hot potato”, it limits connection and intimacy. It closes the door to real conversations about life… and death.


Angel image: tim-mossholder–GtSbrl25Ns-unsplash



Andrea Hylen: Ancestral Lineage Healing Practitioner, Author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey. Mental Health Fitness and Somatic-Intuitive Coach, Creator of The Incubator: On-line Co-working Space for Cultural Creatives.


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Remember to Dance

Originally published on Consciously Woman: January 23, 2019


Okay, so we are calling out the underbelly, the monster in the closet, the thing that holds us back from creating or having what we want.

A few weeks ago, I shared my words, my intention for the year, and how the thing I’ve noticed over the years is that the underbelly, the negative, shows up first. An example is: set an Intention for Patience and the thing that shows up are long lines at the bank, traffic jams, delays in being paid. In essence, pray for patience and all of your impatience shows up first! Then, you Practice Patience and you Become the Patience. It doesn’t just magically appear without practicing a new behavior.

One of my words for this year is Redefine: What is the role I am playing as a mother, daughter, sister, friend and business owner? What is shifting and what needs a redefinition for me to fully embrace the next part of my life? The thing that is surfacing is ageism. I was excited to turn 30, 40 and 50. When I turned 59 a few years ago, the anticipation of turning 60 brought up a lot of fear and sadness.  Sixty years old had become a marker of the end of life. My husband and two close friends died in their 60th year. So, claiming my age at 62 and claiming the wisdom, the resilience, and desires for this next part of my life requires letting go of something.

It’s two weeks into the new year, tuning in, I am aware of a few things that are rising for redefinition. One of them is:

Body movement

The first thing I noticed is that my mind has been overactive for a few weeks. My thoughts are so loud and are filled with chatter that is defensive, limiting, self-defeating. Whoa! It’s like a major mind f**k of insecurity and defensiveness and regrets.

My youngest daughter and I have been clearing boxes of photos and memorabilia, fifteen plastic bins to be exact, and it is a minefield of opportunity to clear the mental garbage. So, much old garbage is surfacing. Yuck! People have died. Dreams have died. Expectations were not met and resilience and imagination were ignited. More of my hair is grey this year. Digging into the photos and the feelings is revealing the mind chatter.

My practice has been to listen and write down what I am hearing. Then, to reach a point, where I go into the bathroom, look in the mirror and say, “Enough!” Looking myself in the eyes to remember who I am. Using tools for clearing. Staring into my eyes. Listen, clear. Look at the feelings head on. Return to stillness.

Reviewing memories and releasing photos, has tuned me into the body and caring for myself. I have a 20 lb weight fluctuation that is normal for me and I’m currently at the top of that weight. The practical part of this weight fluctuation is clothing. Living house free and traveling to different locations, I have to be able to fit into my clothes! There is no closet to go to for different choices. I have a wardrobe that fits into my suitcase and those are the clothes, I’m wearing. Okay, it’s time to look at what I’m eating. How I’m moving. What emotions am I holding onto? What is the inner and outer of this weight? How is this distracting me from creating more fun?

(I have learned that with living house-free and travel to so many different places, that the extra weight serves me emotionally sometimes. I’ve learned to notice but not judge. I recognized that ten lbs were gained in the last month without any extra food. I didn’t eat holiday food this year so the weight feels like emotional protection. That is true. It is also true that I can look at ways to feel safe without the weight. I am redefining what I need for safety.)

In the Spirit of Redefine, it is time to redefine movement. Coaching on Zoom instead of the phone means I sit more than I used to. Writing and researching and creating for 8-12 hours a day, is exhilarating and it is my passion! But, it’s not good for my body to be so inactive. I can be like a plant sitting in bed or on the couch and not moving except to get up for food, drink and to pee. Even though I walk about 5 miles every day, that isn’t enough exercise for my muscles and my belly. I have never been someone who focused on exercise, as much as moving naturally. Going places. Cooking. Cleaning. Organizing. Lifting. Standing. Walking. My awareness right now is to make movement a priority. Work less on the computer and get out and move for several hours a day. Pull myself away from writing and find ways to move. The movement is important for my body and mind. It helps to process emotions.

In the redefinition, I am conscious of setting up structures for support. That is the key for me: “What structures do you have in place to support the shedding of the old and embracing of the new? What voices from the past are surfacing in my inner space?”

My current motto is: Move the body and remember to dance!



Andrea Hylen: Author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey. Creator of The Writing Incubator, on-line writing community.

Wonder-Wander Love

Andrea on rocking horse

When I was three years old, my father wrote a six-page letter to his brother about our travels from California to Minnesota where my Dad had received a promotion for his work at the Pillsbury Company. Most of the letter is about the national parks we stopped at (my mom, dad and sister, age one) and the beauty of nature, an imprint that I have carried throughout my life. Many trips to national parks. I love it!

And there is something else. Interwoven in his letter are comments about things I was doing and saying on the trip. At age three, he painted a verbal picture of who I was meeting, my curiosity and the things that fascinated me. The cowboy hats, the wooden sidewalks, the cows in the middle of the road. My wonder-wander love is present.

            My favorite days are spent wandering. Wandering is a practice like yoga, meditation and writing. It involves wiping the slate clean. Sitting in silence. Listening for an inspiration. Asking the question: What does my soul want to experience today?

Sometimes wandering is a solitary practice, where I allow myself to be empty in the anticipation of what will cross my path that day. Meeting people along the way. Observing my surroundings. Taking inspired action. Sometimes wandering includes a dog I am pet sitting or a day with my five-year-old granddaughter. I surrender and follow their lead.

The funny thing about wandering is that sometimes it leads me to explore in different ways. Sometimes I am inspired to nap or go to a movie or write or even create a newsletter or webpage for my business. Wandering is a surrender that helps me to connect with desire and inspiration. It is a connection to body wisdom. And at the end of the period of wandering, there is clarity about my life.

Last week, I was inspired to go to Restorative Yoga. Tuning in, I felt a rush, a push to leave the house immediately and walk to the bus stop on Main Street. I felt shot out of a canon, only grabbing my purse and saying a quick good-bye to the cats. Walking quickly to the corner, I am at the bus stop, just as the bus was arriving.

After yoga class at Naam Yoga-Santa Monica, I felt inspired to start walking the two miles back to the condo instead of taking the bus. I knew I could change my mind along the bus route. After walking for a ½ mile, I looked down at the sidewalk and saw a wallet. I looked around and wondered if I was on Candid Camera. Was this a joke? No one was around so I picked up the wallet, looked for identification and started walking down the street looking for the owner. A half block later, I saw three men, frantically looking through packages and pockets and looking around on the ground. I said, “Did you lose a wallet?” One man starts nodding his head up and down. I hand it to him. Smile and walk away. I was thinking that maybe that was the inspiration to walk instead of take the bus. I was there at the exact right time to assist this man from a foreign land. A reminder of how connected we all are.

…whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe.~ The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

Wandering helps me remember who I am.



Andrea Hylen: Author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey. Creator of The Writing Incubator, on-line writing community.

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