Category Archives: me stuff

2016 Year in Review

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I like to look back each year and remember some of the major events. (Here is 2015’s, 2014’s and 2013’s lists) And here’s what happened to me in 2015:

Spoke at Lucidity, Burning Man, Trilogy, MOPS, Nephew Carter’s Classroom

Participated in LiB, YOUtopia, Symbiosis

Participated in my 1st International Regional Burn – Blazing Swan (Western Australia) 

Went to SF Decom and LA Decom.

Contributed more ‘Tips & Tricks” to the Burning Man Blog.

Attended Wisdom 2.0 (for 3rd year)

10th Aniversary of “The Pink Ride”

1st Saturdays – Celebrated our 6th year. Restarted 501c3 process.

1st Saturdays Antelope Valley started with gusto.

Spent  week at The Generator in Reno.

Attended Burning Man Philosophical Symposium 

Went out at did FREE HUGS for the 1st time.

Produced 23 Awesome News Network videos

Enjoyed a wonderful family reunion in Streamboat Springs, CO. (Went to my first rodeo!)

Started using outsourcing labor to improve my art/videos (transcribing and titles)

“Gift of Life” song came out from Blessed Beats / Dj Leif (with audio from Grandpa Caleb)


Appeared on Several podcasts of inspiring people

Consistently did the Hug Nation audio podcast. (on itunes & Soundcloud)

Beer Bottle Hunt went viral – (10 million views

HalcyonStyn YouTube channel broke 10K subscribers

Made a Morning Blessing MP3

Participated in Movember, raised a little $

Did the “Burning Man Regifting Project” experiment.  Raised $600 & spread dusty joy.

Had more hope, and more despair for the future than ever before. Most drastic year ever. Shared more tears online than ever before.

I’m so grateful to have shared this year with you. I love you.

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Coaching on Camera?

I have a T.V. show in development! I wanted to put a casting notice out to my network first. We are looking for people in San Diego (or possibly LA) that would let me help them through a life coaching-type challenge. I promise it will be fun, filled with hugs, and potentially life-changing.
Interested? Shoot me a note to

EDIT: I have to admit that am humbled and inspired by the response. THIS MANY people want to STEP UP in a big way and do so publicly!? WOW. My mood just went through the roof. What an amazing time, what an amazing community, what an abundance of internal and external opportunities we ALL have at our fingertips.
My dream is for this project to resonate with the culture at large so that self-awareness, personal power, personal expresion & joy has no choice but to spontaneous express itself from people’s hearts – fractaling out into the world. Because we are all ALL teacher/students – with our own SELF as our primary project…and every baby step towards Love/Truth/Integrity that any one of us makes is a triumph for us all.


I have been in a profound place since Burning Man. Actually “place”is the wrong word. “Trajectory”, perhaps….since there is so much movement.?… But, no, it is not linear… so “”vortex” perhaps?

I have been in a profound vortex since returning from Burning Man. The intensity may fade, but I feel changed.

I hope it means our relationship will deepen, but I recognize that in some cases that will not be the case. If I start to sound preachy or make you want to roll your eyes, I totally understand. We will connect again. I am grateful for the steps we walked together on the path. I am simply being called to act from a different place now. Feel free to unfriend me. Or lurk. It’s all good. 🙂

I also recognize that I am beginning to connect with more people than my memory can keep track of. My ego is embarrassed when I don’t remember – but I hope you know (and feel) that my heart is present when we are together. I hope you will forgive the cellular limitations of my mind and accept the embrace of my heart…even if we need to meet a 2nd or 3rd time.

I’m also finding myself – for the first time – in the position of possibly missing digital replies. With my phone and computer, I try to stay on top of things. I try to ‘like’ and reply and keep the connections alive. But the Facebook platform makes it challenging at times to audit the past and make sure that I have responded to everything that I wanted to (as opposed to email.)
If you have ever ask a question or say something that you want a response to, feel free to follow up in an email after a day or 2. I am walking step by step, and I will do my best.

I continue to believe in the power of these digital tools of connection (like Facebook) – and remain aware of their functionality limitations & potential to stunt our physical connections and expressions. That being said, the power to be connected is amazing. I hope you will stay connected and encourage your open hearted (or ‘seeking to be more-open hearted’) friends to SUBSCRIBE to my blog, Facebook feed, YouTube, G+, Twitter, or preferred tool (links in comments.) I’m sure there are many more great tools, and I will embrace them as they make sense to me. Love *is* being transferred digitally. The ripples are happening.

Finally, even though I may sound like I’m taking myself WAY too seriously, I assure you, I am floating lightly. I am deep in my sense of play, HIGHLY aware of my flaws, and allowing love, light & laughter to lead me.

In Service-
– John / Halcyon / Commander Happypants / Cocky Bastard / Life Student / Righteous Prick / Shadrach /

p.s. Not sure how long this feeling will last. If this chapter is over tomorrow, feel free to tease me about it. Or help me back on track. Either way, thanks for coming on the ride.

Shadrach photo by Aaron Dressin

2011 Year In Review

I like to take a moment each year to look back. (Here is my review from 2010 )

My 2011 Year In Review:
1. Turned 40 years old
2. Attended my 14th Burn & helped lead Pink Heart.

3. Gave a sermon at my childhood church.
4. Spoke at the Burning Man film fest, Soul Base dance event, & several Flow Temple events on Venice Beach.

5. Reached 1 million plays on YouTube.
6. Produced and performed in my first ever dance performance.
7. Produced a 30 minute film & submitted it to a festival.
8. Was subject of a 15 minute documentary.
9. Helped launch
10. Video blogged for
11. Broadcast 100 Hug Nation shows.
12. Helped lead Help The Homeless each 1st Saturday.
13. Participated in an Occupy march.

14. Lots of great times with my nephews.

15. Supported and was inspired by my Mom’s breast cancer battle & recovery.
16. Feel deeper in love with Brandi.

17. Built a deeper relationship with Dmitry, plus many old & new friends.
18. Was on the news for National Hugging Day (& our sleeping bag drive.)

19. Profiled in CityBeat Magazine.
20. Got a Wikipedia entry.
21. Continued to develop peace & joy for myself, my community, and the planet.

Life just gets better and better.
The Now feels more and more miraculous.
My sense of Awe deepens.
My gratitude soars.
My heart continues to expand.
Thank you for being a part of the journey.
-john halcyon styn


I was called “Hippie” last week a couple times as a derogatory term. It is too bad that it has become an insult, since the definition seems to fit me pretty well.

“Both the words “hip” and “hep” came from Black culture and denote awareness. To say “I’m hip to the situation” means “I am aware of the situation.” Thus the word “hippie” means “one who is aware,” and expanded awareness was a goal of the movement. Some created their own social groups and communities, listened to psychedelic rock, opposed War, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as marijuana, LSD and magic mushrooms to explore alternative states of consciousness.”

Helping People

Caleb & John (@Virtual Grace, precursor to HugNation)

“I feel something deep inside that says whatever time you have left, give yourself to loving people and helping people.”
–Rev. Caleb Shikles

Saturday night, I was driving while the sun was setting. I was in a great mood and reflecting on how wonderful my day had been.
But for a moment I couldn’t remember what I had done all day.

In the morning I visited my parents and helped with babysitting my nephews. Caleb was a handful – but I managed to keep him pretty busy. We played catch, chase, and wrestled. He only made his little brother cry twice. And I only made Caleb cry twice.
As I left my mom was very thankful – but I shrugged it off. I wasn’t there out of obligation, I was there by choice!

Later I visited my friend Edwerd. I set him up a blog last week and he needed some help with uploading and posting photos. After I gave him a tutorial he thanked me profusely. I appreciated the gesture, but realized that it was truly *my* pleasure. My actions were motivated by a kind of selfishness: I am at a point in my life where if I have free time, I would LOVE to spend it helping someone I love.

Driving home from Edwerd’s, I dropped by a friend’s house who mentioned they needed to borrow my hair clippers. (I had put them in the car earlier – I don’t always drive around ready to trim people’s necks.)

By the time I was driving home in the sunset, I had spent the bulk of my day helping people. And contrary to feeling depleted, I felt warm and energized. Grandpa’s words replayed in my head. Was I “getting it” finally??

When I called my mom later in the eve, she reflected on how much I have changed recently in that regard. “We used to hate asking you for anything,” she said. “If we needed a ride to the airport, you would do it grudgingly and make it very clear that you had things to do. But lately you’ve spent full days helping us with the computer and it feels like you are happily present.”

I’m still wrapping my head around this: Help people=good day. Could it be that simple?

I recently heard about a study where they looked at happiness trends. They found that once you get your basic needs met, getting more stuff did not meaningfully affect a person’s happiness. The one thing they found that DID affect people’s happiness was by GIVING more.
How’s that for turning the model on it’s head? We spend all our energy trying to get stuff. And the only thing that will really make us happy is to give.

Later that night another friend sent me an email asking if they could borrow my photo studio. After making sure I was free, my thought was, “SWEET! It’s gonna be another great day!”


**To hear Grandpa’s quote, watch the first minute of the video at the top of**

My Archie Conundrum

Life is choices.
With a few exceptions, we always have choices.
Even when we feel trapped, it is usually because we simply don’t like our options.
Sometimes the hardest choices to make are when we like multiple options.

This week I have been struggling with my own “Betty vs. Veronica” situation.

For those of you who were not huge Archie fans, Betty was the sweet blonde who competed with raven-haired Veronica for the affection of Archie, the ginger.

Year after year, he strung both girls along. (Presumably, because they were comic books for children, nether coupling ever got *too* intimate… so his two timing never really became an issue.)

Sometimes it is much harder to have 2 options that you like. It can become more about “rejecting” one than picking another.

My personal Betty and Veronica is regarding a weekend in March.
Will I go to Mexico for “Fuente Eterno” or to Austin for “SXSW?”

I have tickets for both. I have dear friends going to both. I wish I could keep dating them both indefinitely. But life is not like comic books.

I have been participating in SXSW for over 10 years. It is like my “geek Burning Man.” I’m on the steering committee, have been on a dozen panels, given solo talks, and even hosted the Web Awards for a number of years. I get to see tons of people I only know online and am surrounded by digital geniuses who inspire me. It is also the only tech conference that I still go to and play a role in. In some ways it is the symbolic link that helps me maintain my role as an “expert” in the New Media field.

Funete Enterno is a 500 person Burning Man-style event held at a magical hot springs location in Baja Mexico. I have never attended but continue to hear that it is a “must-do” event for “people like me.” I’ve heard it described it as a more sacred, more loving, more intimate slice of The Playa.

It feels like the decision is more symbolic than simply deciding how to spend a weekend. It feels like I am choosing the tone of the next chapter of my life.

Will I continue to pursue a path as a Digital Media Consultant? Assisting companies with the technologies and concepts I have been playing with for the last decade? It is certainly an area in which I am considered an expert and seems the most logical career path.

Or will I commit more seriously to the spiritual writing/speaking/teaching path that continues to develop in me? I don’t know what this future looks like, I only know the values and ideas that pull me in that direction. Is there a way to support myself down that path? I don’t know.

Known vs. Unknown.
Security vs. Adventure.
Expertise vs. Passion.

Part of me wants to get advice from friends. But the reality is that I am the only one who can make this choice. This choice needs to come from inside me, not from any external logic. The truth is, I’m scared. I know that my marketability as a digital consultant is only of value if I keep up to date on the latest trends and tech. So getting off the treadmill for a year – or even a month – feels like it would have profound effects on my career.

But maybe that is the Fear talking.

Maybe I need to let go of this trapeze bar- and float in uncertainty before I can even see what the next -more wonderful- bar will look like. Or maybe I will fall. Hell, maybe a fall is what would be best for me.

I think I know what I need to do. The promise of that unknown trapeze bar is too much to let Fear stand it the way. It may be time to loosen my grip on the career and reputation I’ve built.

I’ve told myself this is the chapter of floating more – and right now the current is saying, “Let go…”

I hope my friends will understand: Deep down, Betty was always the girl for me.


Jan 14, 2010