Category Archives: Live A Life Worth Celebrating

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

Transition: Becoming the Queen

Christmas 1975

Dear Princess,

This has always been my very favorite book, the one I take down most often from the shelf. I hope it will come to mean as much to you. ~Gramps.

“You’ve only a few yards to go, down the hill and over the brook and then you’ll be Queen.” ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 9.08.22 AM


My grandfather’s favorite book was Alice in Wonderland and it holds a special place in my heart. I received three copies of the book from him when I was a child. Two birthdays and one Christmas. I think he wanted to make sure I read it and understood the hidden messages. The signs that would explain the secrets of life.

In case you haven’t read the book, Alice in Wonderland is a story about growing and discovering your identity. There are references to time, games people play, rules, life, death and choices. A children’s book for adults.

I saw one copy on the bookshelf yesterday and opened it to read the inscription from the Christmas of 1975 when I had just finished my first semester of college.

Tears sprang to my eyes as I read this timely message. “…only a few yards to go…” and his words, “I hope it will come to mean as much to you.” Little did he know how many times, it would arrive at just the right time to reconnect me with his simple life wisdom. This time it was a reflection of my journey since the death of my husband in 2005. A nine year transition that sometimes feels like a never ending story of releasing and letting go.

Nine years! Isn’t transition supposed to go faster than that? Like you actually “land” in the next part of your life and there is some level of stability? Geez. Every time I think I have found a landing pad and start to take a breath, it feels like something else happens and the road is cracking and rocky and changing again. I don’t even know what a comfort zone or stability is any more.

To be perfectly honest, there have been so many times in the nine years when I have just wanted to give up. Not to the point of ending my physical life, just to the point of wanting to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and not come out again. EVER!!!

And at the same time, the gems I have found from going into the darkness or into uncertainty and surrender have been amazing. You know what I mean about uncertainty and surrender? It’s like the moment you take your hands off the handle bars of your bike, go over the edge and ride down the hill. Hands in the air! Total surrender to the ride. Scary, exhilarating and filled with surprises.


I noticed something recently. It is getting easier to have conversations like, “I have a sense that I am going to move out of my house. I don’t know when or where. I just have a feeling. I will let you know when I have more information.” And I am getting used to sitting in the sensation of someone’s fear or confusion or discomfort when I say things like that. I wait. Notice the reaction. Let go of needing to rescue or explain more, shrug my shoulders, smile and let them know that the rest of the information and the next step hasn’t arrived in my consciousness yet. Stay tuned for the adventure.

So, this blog is my attempt to reconnect. I want you to know I have missed you all in the last year while I have been living in an immersion type experience. Living in a community house with nine people, learning a new practice called Orgasmic Meditation, taking two courses in Sexuality and Communication while running Heal My Voice, and interacting with the Board of Directors as we all step into greater leadership. I have also created a new teleclass series and I have been immersed in intimacy relationship research with a man who lives in Europe. Diving into the experiences and learning.

And now everything is coming to an end in the next six weeks. I am emerging with the gems and I have a strong desire to connect with you and share behind the scenes details of the intimacy research, orgasmic meditation, living in community, the evolution of Heal My Voice and the next projects.

So, here we go. A new weekly blog to share more of the details.

If you have questions or are curious about things I am sharing, let me know. Post in the comments and ask questions.

Let’s connect!


Andrea Hylen is the Founder of Heal My Voice, a Coach, Author, Speaker, Parent, with expertise in Grief, Healing from sexuality and trauma, Orgasmic Meditation Teacher,  Sexuality and Relationship Coaching, Writing to Heal, Connecting through Social Media, Blogging  and Radio Show Hosting.

Leadership: Following my inner guidance

Journal Entry Sun, March 7, 2010
Day 55: On the Road
Silver Lake, CA

Following my Inner Guidance

I want to trust my inner guidance all the time.  I want to go sleep with a question and wake up with a clear answer. I want to take a long walk and have the answer by the time I return.

Sometimes when I receive guidance it feels like Pow! Wow! and a huge AHA! when an idea bursts forward and an answer appears. Other times there is a little voice or feeling that tells me to call someone or go to some place or do something and I know that the guidance is there, if I choose it. It can also feel like nothing is happening and like the inner guidance has disappeared or is defective.

I was walking to the Santa Monica Pier one morning last week. I pressed the pedestrian button to cross Ocean Avenue. A voice from the street light speaker spoke to me. Wait … Wait … Wait… Cross Ocean Avenue, Cross Ocean Avenue and then the countdown, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14…5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

As I walked on the beach, asking questions and listening for answers, I thought, why can’t my intuition speak to me with that clarity, that rhythm? Wait, cross, and the countdown that lets me know, if I don’t move into it soon, the window of opportunity will close.

The truth is that my inner guidance always works. I believe that with my whole heart. Sometimes the answers take longer even when I want it now. With the delay, I doubt my inner guidance and I begin to look outside of myself for the answers.

Looking for the answer to a specific question can be a distraction from the deeper question. I can feel the squirminess inside of me that wants the answer and I want to it now. It feels like it can actually block the question that will help me find answers.

There is more to learn and I am willing and eager student. I am learning to ask deeper questions. I am learning how to follow my inner guidance as a tool of leadership. I am learning how to live in this space of uncertainty.

Here are some of the general questions that have helped me get to a deeper place.

What is my next step?
What do I need to know about today?
How can I serve?

Then, wait and listen. The answer can come in the form of a book, a TV show, an inspired conversation, a billboard or a phone call.

I am imagining that in one or two months, life will be busy with opportunities and writing deadlines and travel and a flow of money.

I ask myself:

What do I want to do now during this time of waiting?
How can I use this time of uncertainty to develop skills and stay open to new answers?

One step at a time…I am listening.


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:

Day 6: Dragon Energy (Photography and Doodle Inspiration)

Day 6 of a Photography and Doodle exercise to explore creativity and self-expression.
On Riverside Drive, there is a magnificent dragon scultpture in a courtyard surrounded by offices. The dragon totem is described as a powerful guardian and guide and supports the Power of Change and Transformation
Here is a closer picture…
Doodling the dragon and water and fire…

Day 5: Roots…(Photography and Doodle-Inspired Self-Expression)

I love the trees on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake, CA. I am fascinated by the depth and twisting and turning of the roots. They remind me to connect to the Earth and stay grounded.

The Doodle and the words I feel in the roots of this magnificent tree.:

Day 3: Butterflies (Inspired by Photography and Doodling)

Butterflies…seems to be the theme of the last 24 hours. From Jason Mraz singing the song Butterfly to finding a butterfly on this bush of flowers to a Virtual Tour of Oregon with the Yellow Swallowtail on Facebook Page Live a Life Worth Celebrating.

Below are two photographs and the doodle.

Here’s the bush:

The Butterfly:

The Doodle: Freedom to Fly and Transform

Day 1 Photography and Doodle-Trader Joe’s is an Event

Two or three times per week, I walk about a mile to Trader Joe’s. I purchase whatever I can carry in two cloth bags or I swing by for samples. The samples make this an event.

On the way into the store, select a shopping basket, not a cart.

Make a beeline to the far corner in the back and get a free sample of coffee.

Check out the sample.

Walk around the store, shopping and drinking coffee.

Find a new food and read the label for possible future.

Grocery shopping is an Event!

Trader Joe’s is an Event!
Doodled the Adventure of Trader Joe’s

Heal My Voice: Inspired by Photography and Doodling

Heal My Voice launched the first official project at a women gathering in Baltimore/DC in May 2011.

In June, twenty-one women said, yes, to a nine month project of writing, speaking and leadership growth. We spent the first month listening for the story that wants to emerge.

Doodle from your heart.

 In July, we added Doodling, inspired by the colorful, creative, Melissa McClain. (We were focused on Discovering the story.) You can find Melissa on Facebook to learn more about the Doodling Challenge every month. .

In August, I am going to combine the Doodling with Photography. This month in Heal My Voice we are Exploring the story. The other night, I was weaving around Facebook and found something called the August Break 2011 on Amy Miyamoto’s page. (

Amy wrote a blog about how she was joining a “No rules. No pressure. August Break from regular blogging.”  The idea was created by Susannah Conway. (Link to her blog:

Words from Susannah’s blog:

“Okay, here’s the plan for the August Break: you simply share one photo (or more!) per day on your blog – Monday to Friday, or every day. Or whenever you feel moved to share. Using any camera – DSLR, compact, Polaroid, Holga, iPhone (my choice), Instax, film or digital – with or without words – anything goes! – for the whole of August. No pressure – just looking at August through your camera lens as a way to be more present this summer. And to have a little break from the pressures and expectations of regular blogging.

There are NO RULES, people! Just sunshine (hopefully) and a bit of fun. And lots of lovely photos to look at.”

So, I am totally inspired by the combination of the two. As I walk around Toluca Lake, CA every day, I am always inspired by words, nature, people and more. I am thinking about Doodling the Photograph of the Day.

Join me for some creative expansion during the month of August. Or anytime… Post your doodles on Facebook: Heal My Voice Page or Jonas Watch Page.

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