Author Archives: Andrea Hylen

Flip the Script on Sexuality

Week Eight: Flip the Script on Sexuality

Day Fifty

Suprasex: In sexuality, we join our genes to have a baby; in supra sexuality, we join our genius to give birth to more of ourselves and our greater work in the world. We are shifting from procreation to co-creation, from self-reproduction to self-evolution. Nature’s pattern is to create deeper resonance and cooperation, to receive, to conceive the new. Something new is being conceived by us through the fusion of genius. Nature is attracting us to where we can best co-create because it always wants to realize more potential. Supersex is one of her ingenious ways to get us to do more co-creating right now! ~Barbara Marx Hubbard, Shifting from Ego to Essence

The definition of Sexuality is “a capacity for sexual feelings.” That seems simple enough, but humans have really complicated it.

Sexuality has been used to shame, manipulate, evoke fear, power, and control. If there was ever a word for us to flip the script and reprogram, it is sexuality.

Sexuality is a superpower that pulses through our bodies as an electrical circuit of creativity and co-creation. When connected to another person, or anything living on the planet, our synapses start firing with aliveness. This can be activated through conversation, shared ideas, and physical touch.

For many people, the idea of having sex with strangers, feels wrong, even “morally” wrong and yet, we have sexual energy exchanges with strangers all the time. Singing in a choir, dancing in a crowd, random conversations on a bus can all activate our sexual energy.


When I am in West Los Angeles, several grocery stores are within a mile of where I am staying so I walk, do small batch shopping, and use it to get exercise. I walk in a neighborhood filled with blooming trees, bushes, and flowers. A neighborhood filled with birds, and squirrels. I even saw a coyote in the driveway one afternoon. I feel alive!

I’ve had several exchanges of sexual energy exchanges at the grocery store in the past few weeks. It happens when there is a moment of connection that creates a zing of recognition and connection in the body.

At the grocery store, I like to bag my own groceries into two canvas bags and distribute the weight for walking home. A few days ago, a woman clerk offered to bag my groceries, and I said, “Why don’t we each pack one bag and work together.” She smiled and enthusiastically replied with a “Yes!” We worked as a team, and she commented on how fun that was to work together. I felt a zing as I told her, “I know!” Both of us were smiling and beaming! It was a collaborative teamwork and community building. On the walk home, I thought about how alive my body felt. The connection we had, the mutual feeling of co-creating community in a simple act of bagging groceries and introducing ourselves to each other. We understood something about each other and felt a resonance.  

If we can flip the script on what sexuality really is, I wonder if it would shift power dynamics. If we all felt the zing of being alive, would it change the need to control and manipulate others?

This week will include reflections on consent, sensuality, pleasure, and gender roles. Let the flipping begin!

Day 50 Prompts:

  • What comes to mind when you think about flipping the script on sexuality?
  • Write about a time when you felt a zing of connection that did not involve physical touch.
  • Are you aware of your sexuality as a superpower for co-creation? Write a reflection about this superpower.

To read all 100 days of Flip the Script, go to Medium: https://andreahylen.medium.com/

Flip the Script on The Body


Week Seven: Flip the Script on The Body

Day Forty-three:

Flip the Script on The Body

“Radical self-love summons us to be our most expansive selves, knowing that the more unflinchingly powerful we allow ourselves to be, the more unflinchingly powerful others feel capable of being. Our unapologetic embrace of our bodies gives others permission to unapologetically embrace theirs.” ~Sonya Renee Taylor, The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love

Today is the beginning of a three-week exploration with the body. The focus this week will cover topics like stress, self-care, polyvagal theory, and listening to our body messages. Next week, the focus is sexuality, and the third week is aging (which begins from the minute we are born!)

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay was a life changing book that I first read almost four decades ago. Her focus on messages that our body sends us with dis-ease and her list of affirmations to heal with the body was transformative. I don’t know that I had really thought about the body as a messenger before reading her book. My daughters were raised with her book in the dining room where we had many conversations about what messages our body’s were sending to us. Now there is a copy at each of my daughter’s homes and talking about body messages has been normalized.

When I had emergency surgery in March with a strep infection in a lymph node, it was not a surprise that the messages centered around bringing more love and joy into my life because something had to shift. Irritation and annoyance and frustration had been building and it was time to feel it and release it. Surgery became a reset with the body and setting boundaries with myself and others. It was the beginning of a new balance and I’m still learning. A willing student and listening to my body.

Our bodies really are miracles. I believe that the body is a container for the soul, and it is my job to listen to what she needs.

Begin today by reflecting on the relationship you have with your body.


Day 43 Prompts:

Write a reflection about the following questions:

· What is your relationship with your body?

· What messages is your body showing you?

· What are some body challenges you have experienced in the past?

· What are you experiencing now?

To read all 100 days of Flip the Script, go to Medium: https://andreahylen.medium.com/

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: https://andreahylen.medium.com/

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: https://andreahylen.medium.com/

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.

Loneliness.

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

Alone.

You can be alone and not feel lonely.

Emptiness.

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

Isolation.

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:

Solitude

Connection

Belonging

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: https://andreahylen.medium.com/

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: https://andreahylen.medium.com/

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: https://andreahylen.medium.com/

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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*Session One: An assessment of the wellness of 4 lines (grandparents) (90-minute session) We talk a bit and then I lead you into a process that is like a guided meditation.

 

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