Category Archives: me stuff

Proposed TEDx_AFC bio & headshots


Bio: John Halcyon Styn

John Halcyon Styn has been exploring the edges of online expression for over 17 years. In 2001 he earned his first Webby award for the over-the-top personal site
The social fruits of these digital explorations lead to roles community building at,, and co-founding 2 short-lived social media sites, &
He hosted the defunct web series “Fears Regrets Desires” and delights in telling stories whenever a microphone is free.
While still flamboyant and addicted to over-sharing, Halcyon’s path has gone towards self-growth and spirituality. His second Webby award came in 2007 for the video podcast “Hug Nation,” originally co-hosted with his grandfather, Rev. Caleb Shikles. Hug Nation is in its 10th year of weekly live broadcasts and archived “Love on Demand.”
Halcyon is an official blogger for and frequently speaks about Gratitude at music and art festivals.
In 2010, Halcyon co-founded the San Diego based “1st Saturdays” homeless outreach program based on the principles of Burning Man and the ideal of “service without sacrifice.” His hair is not naturally pink. He has no tattoos.

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

“Why Pink?”

Hug Nation broadcast about “Why Pink?”

And a blog entry about the same thing:

Taken in 2000. Featured in "The People of Burning Man" book

“Why pink?”

It is the question I get asked most often, after, “What are you doing in the women’s bathroom?”

I first embraced pink as an intentional confrontation of male stereotypes. It was an anti-macho statement to reject defined gender roles. It was an attempt to chip away at the ridiculous notion that you can judge a book by its cover.

It began with pink clothing at Burning Man, but seeped into my default world, and eventually the color of my hair. I’ve been some degree of flamboyantly pink for over 10 years.

Pink at SXSW 1999

Because of the pink, I also get asked alot, “are you gay?”
I have a few ways I like to respond, but none give a straight answer. (pun intended.)

If it is an honest question, I usually say, “I don’t like to box myself into a category of straight or gay or bisexual. I’m just ‘sexy to the core.’ And I’ll sleep with whomever I feel a connection with.”

The reality is that 99% of the time it is women who give my shivers and tickle my insides. But politically, I’m bisexual.

When someone asks in a more attacking way, I say, “I’m very flattered, but I’m not available right now. I’m in a wonderful relationship. And unless we’re potentially going to hook-up, I can’t see how my sexuality is relevant.”

When the attacks are meaner, I have to bit my tongue and not share the sexual escapades that this “faggot” has been privileged enough to experience… in many ways *because* of his comfort with his feminine side. I just practice being defenseless.

Pink has been good to me.

I can still remember the fear I had when I was a kid. The thought of being called “gay” was terrifying. I would have said anything, worn anything, and acted in any way to make certain that my sexuality wasn’t questioned.


It is for this reason that I avoid answering “Are you gay?” with the quick dismissive, “no way!” that I practiced as a child. Nobody should feel like answering an honest question about who they are is a admission of something negative. There should be no “right” answer to that question.

Who could possibly think this stud was gay?

Through the years, pink took on much more meaning for me. Pink has all the love and affection connotations of red, with none of the aggression. This makes it a perfect color to represent hugs, and so it became the theme color of Hug Nation.

During a talk about Pink with my grandpa one day, I also realized another unifying aspect of this color: We are all pink on the inside.

Just this week I learned a NEW reason to love pink. I was shown this cool little video explaining that there is actually no such thing as pink light. It is a combination of a little red and a little blue. The color spectrum ends on one end at infa-red and the other at ultra-violet. The place where pink might go is actually the band between the colors that contain ALL the other waves of the universe: Gamma waves, microwaves, etc.

So all this time pink has also been representative of all things unseeable in the universe. Wow.

Having pink hair had another unplanned effect: It became a moat. Without speaking my appearance would instantly repel or attract people. I wasted no time with people who were close-minded or uninterested in connecting with someone outside-the-box. At the time it drew people in that were bolder or different.

It instantly labeled me as someone without a traditional job or mainstream values. It became a filter – or walking ice breaker.

(You can find Splat! in Walgreens & Walmart)

People sometimes think the pink hair is evidence of my social nature, but often the opposite is true. I use it as a crutch to hide my shyness. It protects me from having to approach people, and shelters me from rejection. By the time you have crossed my pink moat, I usually know that you are outgoing and accepting.

The last 2 years I have shaved my head and gone brown (my natural color) for several months. The experiences have been powerful. The switch has allowed me to step back into using the color as a tool instead of a crutch. A cape instead of a mask.

during a pink-break

And as festival season has now finished, I’m ready to be brunette again.

This time I have a new reason for shedding the moat. I want to connect more. I want to be the change I want to see in the world in a more personal way.
I want to look more people in the eyes more. I want to smile at more strangers. I want to be a stronger force of love in the world in my day to day life and my interactions with fellow human beings.

I set out on this task and realized that I felt a bit confrontational at times. Perhaps having a pink mohawk is not the best uniform for this task. Not everyone wants to make eye contact with someone who has intentionally cultivated an “outsider” appearance.

Perhaps it is time to look more “monk” than “punk.”

taken during a pink break in 2009

I have some fear about loosing my plumage. I like feeling different. I like making a statement before I say a word.

But hopefully I’ll make a statement now with my loving eyes and friendly smile.

I’m sure I’ll be pink again in the future. But occasionally you have to turn off the porch light so that you – and others – can see the stars.

Oct 25, 2011

taken Jan 2010

Signs of Light

As I have explored my self and my path I have been accused of many things. Of being selfish. Of being narcissistic. Of not doing enough to solve the problems of the world. I’ve been called a sinner and cult leader and doomed to hell. I may look like I don’t care, but I still struggle with “caring what people think.” More and more the Universe is giving me signs that my heart is the best compass – and I am on the right track.
Last night I got a sign so bright, all shadows disappeared.

(This popped up on the Post Secret mobile app.)

2010 in Review

Before starting my year-in-review, I need to preface it with something.
See, my 2010 actually started in November 2009 at an all-inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen, the Mexican Riviera.
nov 2009 - playa del carmen

I had forgotten my Serzone (depression/anxiety medication) that I’d been on for over a decade. And just like that, without intending to, I set the tone for the entire year to follow.
I had tried to come off many times before with terrible results. I braced for the mental struggles to come.
But they never did.

After years of work and spiritual practice, my brain was apparently firing differently than it once did. The drugs were a huge help to me, and I reserve the right to go back at any time, but ever since that weekend in Mexico, I have been off prescription drugs.

Since I was free of my pharmaceutical crutch for the first time in 12 years, I wanted to start the new decade free from my “persona” crutch, as well. So the week before 2010 started, on the night of the winter solstice, I shaved my head.
After 6 years of having bright pink hair, I cut it all off.
I started 2010 reborn and raw.

raw headed

2010 Highlights:

  1. Learned a bunch about myself without the pink.
  2. Attended the magical “Fuente Eterno” gathering and skipped SXSW for the first time.

  3. Attended Lightning in a Bottle Festival, Elysium, & San Diego Decom

  4. Fell in love with Blicious.

  5. When The HugMobile broke down and needed a new engine…the community flooded me with Love…and $5000.
  6. Re-pinked my hair.
  7. Officiated a traditional wedding in San Diego & a non-traditional one at Burning Man.
  8. Participated in my 13th Burning Man.

  9. Lots of amazing Uncle Time.

  10. Lots of fun times with my folks.
    Family Sandwich

  11. Published my first book, “Love more. Fear less.”
    Love more fear less, Float more steer less

  12. Got an awesome 2 day/week gig at MySpace
  13. Recorded 13 episodes of “Belief Buffet: Conversations” with Dmitry Shapiro. (And countless non-recorded mind-bending convos.)
  14. Broadcast a live HugNation every freakin’ Tuesday. Started doing some Happy Hour and Sunday broadcasts, too. Posted hours & hours of edited archive footage.
  15. Hosted a Monthly “Burner Brunch” – every 1st Sunday.
  16. Participated in an Ayahuasca Ceremony.
  17. Met twice a month with my life coach & Listened to every Sunday lecture by Jacob Glass.
  18. Started a monthly “Help The Homeless” event with Jason.
    Our 11th outing (Dec’s) attracted 45 big-hearted participants who helped out countless people in need.

  19. Spent LOTS of energy (and connected with lots of people) on Facebook.
  20. Froze some sperm & got a vasectomy.
  21. Posted my Top 10 oddest achievements.
  22. Loved deeply.

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
self hug
(book & LiB photos by Mike Hedge

Facebook made me its bitch.

I love Facebook.
Too much, I would say.
I have put almost all the energy into FB that I used to put into my personal URL, twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc..
Tonight I got a harsh wake-up call to the power I have handed over to a single website.
Tonight I found my account was disabled.
There was no personal notification, just a link to the FAQ.

I can only guess that maybe there was some side-boob or nipple in a Burning Man photo. But I really don’t know.
It’s a shame that the social network that is becoming ubiquitous feels that my lifestyle is too risque. I feel like I’m an asset to the community and I love the tools… but maybe this wake-up call is just what I needed.

***UPDATE*** I have been reactivated.

My FB account was deactivated yesterday due to sexually suggestive photos. I have been allowed to return with the promise that I will de-sexify my Facebook presence. Ironic that last week I had a vasectomy…then this week I lost my Facebook. For a day I was both physically sterile & digitally impotent.

**UPDATE 2**

My Pages (like are all offline.

**UPDATE 3 **

I think all is back to normal… but I’m still way too sexy.


Hi John,

Your account was suspended because you uploaded photo content that violated Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This content has been removed from the site.

After reviewing your situation, we have reactivated your account. You will now be able to log in. For technical and security reasons, Facebook cannot provide you with a description or copy of the removed content.

Please review the guidelines below to prevent your personal account from being disabled in the future:

• Do not send messages or post photos that contain nudity, graphic or sexually suggestive content.

• Remove any remaining photos of this kind that you have uploaded on the site.

For more information on conduct that is prohibited by Facebook, please read our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which can be accessed by clicking on the “Terms” link at the bottom of any Facebook page.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation going forward.

Thanks for your understanding,

User Operations

Movemeber offer!

Last day of Movember!! Get a free DVD or sticker for donating!
**You can and should donate whenever possible…but this offer is only valid for TODAY. November 29, 2010**

Movember giveaway!

Free DVD &/or Sticker for helping my ‘stached friends with their Movember fund raising!

(Movember is a mustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer.)

Donate $5 or more to one of my friends teams for a sticker. $10 or more for a DVD. $15 or more gets you both!
(Just forward me your email receipt AND your mailing address. NOTE: it can be from ANY Movember team that you donate to during the final hours. Doesn’t need to be listed here.)
Click their names to go to their support/donate pages:

Casey & Rudy