Category Archives: Heal My Voice

Co-dependency: A Daily Practice in Mindfulness

Day 40 of 100 days of Blogging



“I know when to say no and when to say yes. I take responsibility for my choices. The victim? She went somewhere else. The only one who can truly victimize me is myself, and 99 percent of the time I choose to do that no more. But I need to continue to remember the key principles: boundaries, letting go, forgiveness after feeling my feelings—not before, self-expression, loving others but loving myself, too.”

~Melody Beattie, Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 5.25.14 PMWhen Melody Beattie’s Book: Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself was published in September 1986, I was in a marriage with an alcoholic husband. We had two young daughters, I was attending a weekly Al-Anon meeting and working with a therapist to uncover and make visible generations of alcoholism. Thank God I had Al-Anon and one friend or I don’t know what I would have done.

When I started to talk about co-dependency and alcoholism in my family and my husband’s family, no one wanted to talk about it and they seriously thought there was something wrong with me. I even noticed that the priest at our church seemed to be drunk during the Sunday service and he rambled on and on about things that didn’t make sense in his sermons. When I mentioned this to my husband, he said that I thought everyone was an alcoholic. It felt like that! (FYI: The priest wrote a letter of amends to the parishioners, six months later, from an addiction treatment center.)

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At the darkest point of the codependency with my husband, I convinced myself that I must be an alcoholic. I told a family member that I felt I was dying in this relationship. Her response was, “You made your bed, now lie in it.” A few weeks later, I went to two of the company parties sponsored by my job and I got drunk at both of them. Finally! I got to be the irresponsible, “just here to have a good time” person. I know I had too much to drink to drive home and I thank God I arrived home safe and didn’t hurt anyone. With that one incident, I convinced myself that I must be an alcoholic and I did 90 days of AA to “get sober.”

The truth is I was desperate. Even though I rarely drank and I never got drunk, I had reached the bottom. I could not figure out what else I could do to get him to see the alcoholism and the destruction of our marriage. We had two small daughters. Nothing I did had made a difference in our marriage, including converting to my husband’s Catholicism faith to encourage him to go to church with us.  Al-Anon, therapy to understand the family dynamics, praying, meditating, numerous self-help books, including the Dance of Anger and Dance of Intimacy had done nothing to inspire him to change. My final desperate move was to convince myself that two drunken moments meant I was an alcoholic. The truth is I am not an alcoholic and doing a 90 day program would not get my husband, grandfather, father or brother sober. I am a recovering “people pleasing, codependent person” and now my life involves awareness and daily mindfulness to keep untangling that deep conditioning.

One day at a time. One moment at a time.

Thirty years later, my Dad and brother have both been sober for eight years now and I recently noticed someone in my family had a copy of, “Co-dependent No More by Melody Beattie,” on the kitchen counter. She had just discovered it and is waking up now to the possibility of a codependency pattern.

Sometimes it is discouraging to be the first person to see the dysfunction in the family and to walk that path of awareness alone. There are times when I still see it around me and it is so painful to witness. I can’t fix it. Sometimes I can’t even put a voice to it because the person is unaware and they are not ready or willing to have a conversation about it.

My biggest challenge is seeing the essence of people and seeing who they are under all of the stories and lies and facades. Then seeing they are not living or making decisions from that place. And when they are interacting and I see the enabling and codependency, I just want to scream or go to bed and pull my covers over my head. It is so painful to be around it and not engage it.

I know it feels judgmental sometimes and underneath it is a deeper truth. I care deeply and I want everyone to cut the crap and wake up and live from their essence. At one point, my life had become unmanageable and someone was there to help me and I want to help. It is discouraging because most of the time I can’t.

So this is what I do now. When I notice the codependency and enabling pattern, I remind myself of these things:

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*Focus on and develop more compassion for myself and others.

*Collect data and determine when I need to take action and when I need to step away from a situation or sit in discomfortable feelings.

*I am not responsible for anyone’s process and recovery.

*Even in a conscious community, we are all going to be waking up to different things at different times.

*Life is an ongoing series of waking up to new awareness. There are areas of my life where I am still asleep. I will wake up when I am ready, too.


To break my own codependency when I notice it, I use a mantra like, Ho’oponopono, an ancient Hawaiian healing technique:

“I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

I love you.

Thank you.”

I repeat it over and over until I feel calm in my body.

Or I think the words, “I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you…”


I have learned that timing and patience and living a full life myself is the answer. Be the change means exactly that. Change my own codependency and live from a place of love with boundaries.

I wonder. Do you feel you are codependent? If inspired, share some of the tools and reminders you use by posting in the comments.

I love you.




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

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

Soul: A Writing Prompt

Day 30 of 100 days of blogging

A writing prompt from the 30 days of writing program October 2015

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The soul is the truth of who we are. ~Marianne Williamson

God does not call the qualified. God qualifies the called. ~Michael Bernard Beckwith


Our soul calls us into the unknown.

The soul calling can feel exhilarating and it can feel terrifying. It brings up our hopes and fears, our longings and our doubts, the yin and yang, the light and the dark. It challenges us to discover and learn more about our essence. The soul’s language is yearning, power, ignition. There is Divine timing when the soul calls.

An example is when you watch a child learning to ride a bicycle, there is a willingness, a desire, a longing. There is an inner and outer motivation to do whatever it takes to learn. A child will practice, try, fall and try again. In that soul calling, maybe the child learns humility or determination. Maybe the child learns a new technique on how to balance on the bicycle. They give up or they keep getting up until they learn find their own rhythm.

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Ask yourself some questions:

*What do you long for?

*When you think about writing from your soul, where do you feel that in your body?

*What does my Soul want to experience through me right now?

*What song does your soul want you to sing?

*Go deeper and ask what is under the surface?


Now, take out a journal or go for a walk and give yourself some time to reflect. In the silence, the answers will appear.


A Sacred Sanctuary Writing Space audio as an additional resource.

Replay Page:



The next 30 day writing program begins on January 1, 2016.

Writing To Heal ~ Setting Intentions for 2016

A Heal My Voice 30-Day Writing Program (With Teleseminar Support)

One group for women. One group for men. On-line program with teleseminars. JOIN US!





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

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

Orgasmic Meditation: Exploring our Bodies

Day 13 of 100 days of blogging

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 7.45.25 AMIn college, I studied Human Sexuality as part of my Social Work degree from Temple University. Reading the book, “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” written by the Boston Women’s Health Collective was the first time I can remember hearing the voices of women sharing their experiences with vulnerability and information about a woman’s body. One evening, I sat in a woman’s circle where every woman was handed a plastic speculum, a mirror, a flashlight and lubrication. We were taught how to do the breast exam and pelvic exam on ourselves. All of the women took off their pants and underwear, lay down on blankets and pillows and prepared to follow the step-by-step instructions to touch and examine our own bodies. I remember the exclamations of awe and joy and tears when a woman saw her cervix for the first time. Women empowering women in a circle gathering. That was 1978 and I was 22 years old.

During the late 90’s, I taught medical students at Johns Hopkins University how to do the pelvic and breast exam, first with words and instructions. Then I gave each of them a hands-on-experience, using my body as a practice patient. Dressed in a hospital gown, I taught them how to hold and use the speculum, guiding their hands to insert the speculum into my vagina with me as their first patient. I talked about the importance of creating a safe environment and using a gentle touch to preserve each woman’s dignity. In five years of teaching, I had over 500 pelvic and breast exams with 500 different medical students.

In 2013, I entered a new experience with my body when I was introduced to a 15 minute partnered practice called Orgasmic Meditation (OM). In this partnered practice with a man, I experienced the potential for us to heal our sexuality through better communication, attention and connection. No goal. 15 minutes of connection, sensation and the awakening of desire. I practiced OM with multiple partners in a safe community environment and learned how to teach the technique by taking courses with a company called OneTaste. I have now taught individuals and partners around the world how to practice Orgasmic Meditation.

My deepest desire has been for women to have a place to connect, have conversations, share vulnerability and support each other; to heal their relationship with their bodies and with each other. In the ninth Heal My Voice book program, I finally had my wish. For nine months, twelve women from Sweden; eight women from the United States with Marie Ek Lipanovska from Sweden and me from the U.S. co-facilitating an on-line gathering in a secret Facebook group.  We stoked the emotional fires to stir up the burning embers of desire, connection and sensuality hidden within our souls. In conversation and writing, we explored universal experiences of a woman’s body. Menstruation. Childbirth. Menopause. Sexual Desire. We discussed body sensations of sensuality, power, grief, abandonment, trauma, life and death with courage and vulnerability. Our experiences included writing and speaking, healing, reclaiming power tied up in an old story, connection with community, intentional space, deep listening and at the end of the process, clarity around the next step in leadership.


You must do the things you think you cannot do. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 7.34.35 PMWhen we started to write, I thought I was ready, really ready, to reveal my story: a journey of sexual exploration. It wasn’t until I began to write this personal story that I felt a new vulnerability and resistance to writing and exposing my story even to myself. I found my hands hovering over the computer keyboard afraid to write anything. I had a flood of fearful thoughts: Can I really tell this story? How will it affect my business? Will my organization, Heal My Voice, lose all credibility if I write a sensual story about desire and sex? Can I really write about looking at Playboy magazines when I was 11 years old? Can I write about the desire to have sex now that I am 58 years old and a widow, a mother, a grandmother? Can I write about the sensuality essence that is waking up in me? I had to walk my own path by diving into the places in me that held the darkness of shame and fear around my sexual desire and to write my own story.

This was the ninth personal story I had written in a Heal My Voice or Heal My Voice Sweden book program and it was the first time I was afraid to put my words onto paper even in the privacy of my home with no one watching. That was a clue that I am not the only woman who feels vulnerable to admit my desires, embrace the sensations and to have open conversations. I knew I had to write a story about Sensuality that connected to my Sexuality and to make the conversation visible.

It was the women in this community of co-authors who read the drafts of my story, who acknowledged my courage and who told me to just write the story without the need for approval and without justifying why I felt the need to write it now. Each woman was held with the same love, care and encouragement. And as each woman completed her story, it opened the door for the next woman to keep writing and complete her story. We held each other, shared our voices, one word at a time, until twenty stories were completed. We are in this together…

As part of my 1500 word story for the book Sensual Voices, I wrote about my 28th OM (Orgasmic Meditation). I shared the sensations, the healing, the emotion that was released and the connection with my OM partner. Tomorrow, I will share that experience with you in the next blogpost.

The journey continues…




11221663_10206695548965486_4428285337577975775_oAndrea Hylen believes in the power of our voice to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

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

Where is the Joy?

IMG_0985When was the last time you felt happy? How long did it last? Five minutes? Five hours? Five days?

I started a 10 month leadership program in San Francisco in September. The first weekend I was so filled with joy and playfulness that I questioned what was wrong with me. My internal voices: ” I am a Spiritual Warrior. I have been actively growing and seeking my Truth since the late 80’s. I know how to dive into personal growth. Am I resisting? In denial? Am I sad? Am I angry? Why am I so Happy?!?!?”

I have had a lot to excavate throughout my life. Deaths of a brother, son, husband. A life threatening illness. Lots of real life to process. On that first Immersion Leadership weekend, I told myself, “This is serious work. People are crying. This is a personal growth program. Get to it”

Still I felt so HAPPY. By Sunday, I saw that my growth that weekend was to expand my JOY. How many days in a row could I be in a happy, JOY-filled state! (I even found a man in the program who agreed to be my Intimacy Research Partner for 10 months. What could be better than that!)

For all of the other Immersion weekends and in between, I have had my highs and lows just like everyone else in the program. I didn’t have to MAKE myself go down. It happened naturally as part of the process and I have learned and discovered and remembered so many things about myself this year. I am so grateful and honored to have learned so much from everyone. Vulnerability is a rich playground.

Now as I approach the 9th Immersion weekend, JOY has returned to me in full force again. On Monday, I had a healing and sensual massage session from a friend. He used a technique called Faster EFT and then a Sensual Massage. In the process of talking, the story about my brother, Kenneth emerged. I was 4 years old when he died of SIDS at the age of two months. In the Faster EFT, memories were accessed that I had never seen. We found the spot where my 4 year turned down her joy and pleasure button. I could feel the grief in my house and I felt the internal message that I could only be happy for so long and my joy and excitement could only be expressed when other people were happy, too.

I am the Excitement Channel as my natural state of being. In order to keep my joy alive, I learned to be really excited when I am alone or with children. Dance parties in my garage apt by myself. Cracking myself up with jokes and things I see in the world. Homeschooling my kids and being a Girl Scout leader. Driving a Suburban all over the United States. Going to Jonas Brothers concerts. And finding “acceptable” times when everyone else is happy.

On Tuesday, the day after my session, I was in the kitchen with some of my housemates. Out of my mouth came the word, ” Shenanigans.” Then the word, “Alas” and a few minutes later, someone asked me when I was going to the Dry Cleaners and I said, “What’s a dry cleaner?” with curiosity and innocence. We were all laughing so hard and I had an AHA! My 4 year old was coming out to play. This part of me is being unleashed to play and find joy in everything. Yesterday “she” got excited when she saw a light switch turned on and read the word ON and when “she” saw the word PENGUIN.

I like playing with her and seeing how all of these parts of me can bring more PLAY and EXCITEMENT and LIGHTNESS into my life.

I am the smiling child on the left.

Where do you feel the joy in your life?

Post in the comments and tell me about your journey with PLAY!scan0006

New Beginnings by Nancy Kobel, Guest Blogger

Day 84 of 100 days of Blogging
GUEST Blogger, Friday

New Beginnings by Nancy Kobel
Wake up, our ship has been ice-bound long enough, the time has come to sail the open seas. ~ Rumi
I could see it so clearly in my mind’s eye:  a beautiful garden, rich with colors that expanded beyond the horizon.   I was standing at the entrance of the garden, ready, with an open heart (and a little bit of anxiety) to embrace the journey.   It wasn’t an easy road to get to this garden, to have the garden gate behind me.  There were a lot of tears, a lot of pain, a lot of challenges, a lot of courage, a lot of prayers, a lot of healing and a lot of help and support along the way.  Paulo Coelho’s quote in the introduction to The Alchemist, writes:  “the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey.”
The path in front of me is purely my own and the garden represents new beginnings in so many ways, so many possibilities of my future.  I glance behind and am amazed at my journey, some of the tears and pain feel like such a distant memory yet I know how much my past makes this vision that much sweeter.
In the present, I have to admit, I was a little nervous with the start of this week.   Transitioning from the gift of being able to play in the world of ‘being’ for 3 months to a more structured work opportunity and the start of school and activities for my kids.  I really enjoyed the freedom of being, it was challenging to embrace after leaving the corporate world in May.   I had to talk myself out of the desire to have an extensive checklist of things to do and be kind to myself if I didn’t get everything done.  I had to revisit my own values and determine what was truly important to me and start making decisions about how I spent my time based on those values.  Having the time was a gift and gave me the opportunity to dive deep into where I was holding myself back from living an abundant life.
I thought I had this abundance going really well – so many things were flowing my way, a work opportunity that seemed ideal, new clients, an amazing vacation in August, the completion of 2 certifications, an amazing class with an awesome coach and time to truly enjoy my children and the activities in their life without stress (and more).  I was full of amazement and gratitude as I continued to work and move forward.
Boom – It was as if the universe, God, needed to get my attention and everything that was coming my way ended up in the land of ambiguity – the clients, the work opportunity, the vacation all ended up in chaos and uncertainty.   It turns out my ‘ask’ button was broken…or stuck from non-use.  I was on a coaching call – “does anyone have any questions?”  Nothing, my mind was completely blank, and I tried to think of a question but still nothing.  I couldn’t come up with anything yet I so wanted to talk — this was a stretch for me and one I wanted to tackle.   “Ask if you need help.”  Asking God, the universe, the angels, Mary, etc., was easy as my trust in the support of the higher realms was firm and unshakable.  I knew it was always there, that I was never alone.  Asking people was a whole new territory and one I needed to start playing in more, one that would open me up to deeper connections, vulnerability and more challenges (and joy) along the way.  We weren’t meant to travel this journey alone, without help.  Giving and Receiving is a dance for both the giver and the receiver.  It is not one sided.  What a gift it is to allow another to give and graciously receive.  We need to be open to asking and open to receiving, especially if we are constantly giving and giving and giving.   We know the joy in giving but do we know the joy in receiving?   I know I am not alone in this mindset of being strong, independent, responsible, doing everything myself while giving everything I have, thinking I am not worthy to receive help, to receive love, to receive what I need and desire.  I am excited to release that belief and see what is ahead.  It has been new territory and I may falter along the way but I am ready to continue playing more with the feminine energy of receiving in balance with the masculine energy of giving.   I have been out of balance for far too long…
“Put me in Coach – I am ready to Play!”
Nancy Kobel, CPC, ELI-MP
Nancy is founder and CEO of Leader Inspired.  She is a certified professional life and leadership coach and a certified Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, speaker, author and workshop facilitator.  She is trained through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and is passionate about helping women who feel stuck in the ‘shoulds’,  discover their true gifts,  release what is holding them back and reclaim their feminine power,  so they can lead a life they love.  She has spent over 20+ years in the corporate world, with a background in leadership development (and engineering) and is a contributing author in HMV: Inspired Voices and HMV:  Feminine Leadership project.  She was a speaker at the On Purpose Woman Conference in September 2013, her topic:  “Reclaim your Tiara”.

The Mystery of the Creative Process: By Catherine Foster (Guest Blogger)

Day 14 of 100 Days of Blogging 


The Mystery of the Creative Process
By Catherine Foster
There is an air of mystery and mysticism around the creative process. Everyone is creative. This is our birthright. I have heard it said many times over from people, “I am not creative. I can’t draw! I just do not have a creative bone in me!… etc. etc. ” The truth is everyone has creative potential and can develop their creativity.
There are many views on what the creative process actually is. Is creativity by nature spontaneous or does it consist of the original use of an accomplished technique? Several experts say that the steps to the creative process are:
1. Preparation
2. Incubation
3. Illumination
4. Implementation
Can the creative process be different for different people? I truly believe that there are aspects of the creative process that are the same for a writer, a dancer, singer, song writer, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor, painter and even a computer software designer. We each may have a little different process of the order in which we experience this adventure.
This is a diagram from Elizabeth King which is a wonderful demonstration of the artists creative process:

Truthfully, I can only speak from my own experience of 37+ years as an artist, expressive arts coach, experimental artist, and energy healer. This is the typical creative process I go through:
1. Illumination: There is a spark that is ignited within me. Sometimes it is a vision, a dream, a meditation or a desire to express a particular emotion. Often there is a link to an ongoing thought process as in a series I work on. “The Fabric of Life”series
or my “Peace Prevails Project” are just two examples.
2. Opening up to Possibilities: Other times my creative process is just a desire to experience joy and fun. Whether I am doing something that is representational, or a piece that is more abstract, it seems that I always start out loose with more free flowing color and designs.
This does not fit the typical step advised by “experts” in the creative process. More and more as an artist and energy healer, I find great joy in this step as I experiment with bringing up emotions to clear as I paint with my fingers on a wood surface. There is an aspect of surprise as to what a feeling looks like is both perplexing and exciting when the end result is viewed.
3. Incubation: There are times that the incubation step does apply. For years I have been incubating artworks I plan on creating before I leave this world. Part of my joy in the creative process is letting my mind go and allow the imagination take over. When the time is right, the energy propels me into action to physically create the artwork.
4. The preparation step is exciting and fun for me as an exercise mind mapping. The “how do I take a vision or idea into the physical”? There is often a lot of trial and error where I research what is needed to accomplish the imagery or vision. Sometimes it means talking with other artists, asking questions, and picking the brain of my engineer husband to collaborate with me. The process of letting the brain work out different ideas, mediums to use in order to create the effect that I see in my head is an adventurous journey.
5. Flexible : Often the creative process can take one on new roads during the physical creation. I call this step being in the moment and flowing with what the artwork truly wants. This requires listening within instead of letting the ego determine what needs to be created. There is ongoing internal conversation with the artwork. Sounds maybe strange, but yes if I listen to the art as it is being created it will tell me what it wants. Whenever I try to make the art become what I think it should be, it ends up a disaster, but if I let myself follow that inner dialogue, the creation is successful. The artworks where I paint with my fingers directly with paint on the canvas, is this same process. It encompasses feeling the energy of an emotion, letting the energy build and then flow out through my hands being flexible and open to what wants to be expressed. Example of X-perimental
My process incorporates working with energy, praying, singing, dancing, especially in the first step.  This is typical of my creative process in the artwork whether it is for myself or a client for a commissioned piece. As the artwork progresses, I usually tighten up on the piece with the detail at the end of the creative process. 
(Video: Step One-painting on metal-Catherine Foster)
Writing this blog is a creative adventure in using more of the left side of my brain than the right side. The process is similar though to the steps above as I started out loose and then tightened up the verbiage at the end. I just found myself doing the steps in a little different order than listed above.
In completion, my curious mind would love to hear what your creative process is. Is yours similar to mine or you have a different process you go through. 
Please comment on what your adventure in creativity is.
Thank you, Catherine Foster

Looking for Space….A Call to Inspiration

(Originally published in “A Call to Inspiration” Blog on June 30, 2010)

By Andrea Hylen

After spending several hours writing and researching information for the blog this morning, I added a picture to the blog and all of the words were lost. For a moment, I sat here with my mouth open in shock and then opened to a new inspiration. Change is like that. Awakening is like that. Walking down the path, adjusting to a change, finding new answers and living in the moment.

I will re-write that blog in the future. For now, I am going to change direction and share a simple song from John Denver.

Looking for Space was released in Feb 1976, during my first year of college, almost 35 years ago. The words have expanded in depth over the years. As I meet people in person and on-line, I see the song as a theme for the world. The words connect with all ages, genders, and cultures. We are living in extraordinary times. Music is one of the healers and awakeners.

I found a beautiful video on Youtube with the song and nature scenes. The words remind me that we are on a journey of life. All of us have moments of soaring like the eagle and weeping in despair. We can connect with the center of our heart, Spirit, and nature to awaken and remember who we are.

Here are some of the words:

On the road of experience, I’m trying to find my own way.
Sometimes I wish that I could fly away
When I think that I’m moving, suddenly things stand still
I’m afraid ’cause I think they always will

And I’m looking for space
And to find out who I am
And I’m looking to know and understand
It’s a sweet, sweet dream
Sometimes I’m almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
And sometimes I weep in despair

All alone in the universe, sometimes that’s how it seems
I get lost in the sadness and the streams
Then I look in the center, suddenly everythings clear
I find myself in the sunshine and my dreams

Link to John Denver’s Looking for Space:

Embrace the adventure,

Grief Transformation With Music

Grief Transformation With Music:
The Gift of a Tape Player That Led to a Health Recovery
Music has always been a powerful healer for me. Songs are linked and woven into the memories of joy, sadness, and change woven into the memories. Music and sound opens my heart to bring forth the tears or anger or other emotions of loss.
Many years ago, I was diagnosed with an automimmune condition called polymiositis. My immune system began to attack my muscles. I became weaker and weaker. I was so physically weak that walking down the street and tripping on a crack in the sidewalk would send me hurtling forward. Several times my face landed with a  smack onto the pavement. I am amazed I didn’t shatter the facial bones. I also took 3 hour naps every day just to function. My daily goal was to keep my one year old daughter safe during my nap and to cook dinner.
After two years of holistic and traditional medicine, I was lying in a hospital bed suddenly unable to walk at all. I was in an isolation room because the doctors thought I had a bacterial infection and if they didn’t find the source I might die. I knew in my heart and soul that I was having a reaction to a new medication that I had started taking three weeks earlier. I just had to wait for them to figure that out and for the drug to leave my body. For a week, I was allowed to have visitors but was isolated from the other patients.
One day, a friend of mine named Lucky Sweeny brought a portable tape player, headphones and a tape of Kenny Loggins singing songs from “Return to Pooh Corner” to the hospital. If you have never heard of the CD it is listed under CDs for children and adult contemporary. Some of the song titles are Rainbow Connection, Return to Pooh Corner, and a Neverland Medley.
I had never heard the music before, but as I played the tape I began to sob. Huge tears fell from my eyes and I sobbed on and off for two days. All of the layers of pain and frustration broke open in my heart. I grieved the loss of my health, the 60 lbs I had gained on prednisone, the loss of control of my life, the quality of time with my children, and the failure to heal. Through the tears, I released the gunk that was surrounding my heart I was so frustrated and discouraged. In the sobbing, I wondered what was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I heal? No matter what I did, it seemed like I was getting sicker. I had fallen to my knees over and over again for two years. I thought I had surrendered and released. In my gut wrenching sobbing, I asked, “God, what else do you want me to do? What do I need to learn from this?”
I took the prescription medication and listened to the advice from the doctors. I tried a wide variety of vitamins. I had weekly acupuncture that included therapy focusing on the emotions and clues from my body. I prayed, and ate healthy food. I wrote about my emotions in a journal. I had daily rituals of affirmations and a positive focus.

People were praying for me.
It seemed like nothing was working. As I look back now, this is what I believe happened. I had been actively doing and being the inner work. I was doing exactly what I needed to do to fully experience a health crisis. And the last huge piece was to end up in the hospital and grieve. I had to let go of a picture of my life and release the vision I was trying to control. It took time to do that. It took time… The wounds were deeper and required a journey deep into my core center.
In the hospital, the music and the words of the songs on the tape pierced my heart. I opened to more love. I connected with my heart and completely surrendered. I released through tears. There were elements of forgiveness, gratitude, self-love and letting go and the willingness to let go completely.
At the end of two days, I experienced a light bulb flashing moment. I knew that I was going to get well and I was going to start home schooling my kids. I stopped feeling like a victim and I woke up to the power that is within me. I had taken a deep dive into the pain and had emerged with a new vision for my life.
It was one of the most powerful moments of my life. With the help of the music, I had shined a light into the core of my being. I discovered something new and I emerged to heal and live a fuller, richer, deeper life.

Day 7: Giraffe Energy (My summer: Photography and Doodle Inspirations)

This sculpture is in someone’s front yard in Toluca Lake, CA.

Giraffe Energy: Balancing speech with silence, open to the bigger picture, stay connected to the earth, open your 3rd eye for wisdom, increase your perspective by looking in all directions.

A closer picture…

The inspired Doodle:

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