Grief Transformation: Letting Go of Our Identities, Part 1

by Healmyvoice on April 19, 2015

By Andrea Hylen

“To let go of duality, we must first establish our separateness. We must first learn where we end & the other begins. As a general rule, if we’re too rigid, we’re over-boundaried. Imprisoned behind a wall of armor, there is no way for anything to touch us. But if we’re too malleable, we’re boundary-less. We’re just a vessel for the world to fill. People with healthy boundaries tend to live somewhere in between.”~Jeff Brown author of SoulShaping.

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 3.44.39 PMFour years after the death of my husband I spent a year letting go of the physical stuff in our 11 room house on 3 acres in Baltimore, Maryland and put the house on the market for sale. A year later, I moved from Maryland to California to spend another year peeling away a layer of “costumes,” that consisted of identities I had hidden behind throughout my lifetime. Identities that I felt gave me value and defined my existence on the planet. Daughter, wife, mother, entrepreneur, home owner, Girl Scout Leader, community organizer and many more. Without those identities, I wondered, “Who am I?”

When I arrived in California, I wrote a letter to family and friends to let them know I would not be available by phone. Email and Facebook check-ins, yes. No phone calls. I was going to take time to listen to my own voice and figure out what I wanted to do with the next part of my life.   I began to examine all of my past actions with a microscope and a telescope. Focusing in on the little, minute details and stepping back and looking at my life from a big picture perspective, too. I spent more time in solitude patiently waiting, noticing and listening. I learned to sit in the discomfort of not knowing the next steps. I re-connected with myself and my feelings and developed compassion for my process with full approval for crying, feeling angry, sad, and increased joy-filled discoveries of happiness. I began to hear my own voice as separate from the voices of my mother, father, children, siblings and friends. I spent less time reassuring people that I still loved them and defined boundaries that created more space to be myself.

I thought it would take me a month to hear my voice. Instead it took ten months until the separation from my dearest friends and family gave me enough spaciousness to distinguish my inner authority, my voice from the voice of others. I began to learn the difference between the messy ego-based fear and the light-filled wisdom of my higher voice. And in the place of silence in between, I could see more of me and I could see more of you.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 7.32.29 AMOne important piece of letting go was to release and grieve. For example, to let myself cry about no longer being a Girl Scout leader. To remember the joy of it, feel the loss of not having that as part of my life and feeling the emptiness without trying to fill it up with anything. Leave it empty and wait for the new to appear.

By letting go and releasing, my step by step soul calling is stronger. The connection to my inner voice is stronger. The need to know all of the answers is lessening. The Self-Love is stronger. I can witness your pain without feeling the need to fix, reassure and change anything in this moment. The witnessing of another without fixing is stronger.

This is the path of living life from inspiration, transforming loss and grief to access the depth of our essence. It is the path to living and experiencing life fully.


 Interested in exploring loss and change in a deep 9 month process of writing? Andrea and Beth Terrence are leading a writing program for Transforming Grief:


315353_10201052497332086_1044127686_nAndrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that empowers 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 currently living out of a suitcase 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


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: