Though this e-newsletter is only 3
old, I am truly delighted at the dialogue it has
generated with you, my community. The purpose of the
newsletter is to nurture connection amongst people who have an interest
in heart work. Hearing back from you is quite wonderful!
So, it seems only fitting that this
includes a section with reader
feedback, and an example of what you
might find in the on-going blog at
www.heartspacecafe.com. I encourage you to join the blog and share
your thoughts on
whatever issues regarding the heart, relationships,
living a healthy, meaningful life, making the world a
better place and the sex-spirit connection interest you.
included articles on "Touchable and
Untouchable: Intimacy After Trauma" and
"Life As a Sexual Experience."
If you would like to participate in
work, please consider being part of my Healing the
weekend retreat at Kripalu in Lenox, MA is just around the
corner: March 16 -
18. I would love to see you there!
As always, I welcome your thoughts,
for topics, resources and other materials you
want to see in this newsletter. Just
e-mail them to LSMHEART@aol.com, and I will
continue to incorporate your feedback in
future issues of this newsletter.
| Reader Feedback
I am delighted that this newsletter has
generated responses from you, my readers. I
surely prefer a dialogue to a monologue!
With permission, I am sharing some of the
comments I have received over the past month. If you have thoughts,
reflections, I welcome them. Just e-mail
In response to the Valentine's Day issue:
"Here's a Sandra Bullock quote
that goes well
with what you shared:
'People are so good at
attending to their
jobs, their plants, their pets. Why is it
that when it comes to a relationship, we just
sort of go, oh, it's here. It should just
work. It doesn't!'"
From a reader in New Jersey:
"I wanted to comment about
touch and deprivation (which I feel is my
case). I feel it in my solar plexus,
sometimes my heart center, and I can't make
connection to people--not even romantically."
"For example, especially because I believe it
is so intimate (I do not have an intimate
partner as I write this), I kind of reject
romantic and sex contact/involvement, even
though I deeply love women and male-female
"The deprivation, distrust and something else
(related to abuse by a woman when I was a
child, even though I suspect something else
is there), is so overwhelming, even though
touch is good after the threshold of trust
has been crossed. Crossing that threshold is
difficult, even though some of the best
experiences of my life have been in a
relationship where there was lots of touching."
From a colleague in London:
"Good to get your
Newsletter. Love your "Heart Day" idea."
My colleague, Jack Martin Leith, and his
Amsterdam-based friend, Steve Ormerod, are
launching a new business
called www.hoochie-coochie.com, in the spirit
of helping people feel more comfortable and
expressive in their sensuality and sexuality."
"We're creating Slow Sex Day
(www.slowsexday.com) on Sunday, October 28,
2007--the day Europeans set their clocks back
one hour, and the only day that has 25 hours. Like your Heart Day, Slow
Sex Day is a time
for couples to pay attention to their
relationship and express their love, albeit
in a physical way."
In response to the February issue:
"Your article on "Healthy
really hit home for me. It seems that I grew
up in a home where self-reliance was overdone,
as you stated in your article."
"As a result, I and others in my family
suffered because there was no healthy
interdependence. This manifested in my
parents' and my inability to give and receive
love. This forgetting or devaluing our
interconnection with others is probably the
root of many family problems in this country such
"I took matters into my own hands and am on
the road to healing and recovery from this
inappropriate behavior model."
"This is probably the best article of any
type that I have ever read because it is at
the core of what humanity is. Without proper
humanity, we are just robots struggling for
survival and one-upsmanship."
"Keep up the eye-opening work that you are
doing. I believe that you have the voice to
direct healing in our sick society."
| Virtual Relationships
In the Valentine's Day Newsletter, I
announced that the www.heartspacecafe.com
blog was now up and ready to run. I would
like to encourage you to sign-up on the
website and become part of the dialogue.
If you like the mini-articles that appear in
this monthly newsletter, you will also enjoy
the entries I add to the HeartSpaceCafe Blog.
I am including one of my entries here, so you
can get a taste of the kinds of postings I
have in mind.
Posted on February 14, 2007: Virtual
Today's Wall Street Journal
article describing how people today have
become so attached to their electronic means
of communication that they have lost
perspective on what kinds of messages should
be delivered via text messaging, e-mail,
phone or face-to-face.
In the wake of a culture where you can "reach
out and touch" your Blackberry or cellphone,
and provide "instant contact" by pressing the
right keys, it is easy to forget that
something gets lost in translation--be it the
sound of your loved one's voice or the
sensation of their touch.
The article described how several couples had
ended relationships via text messaging,
complete with abbreviations. No face to face
conversation sharing tears and one last hug. Not even a phone
conversation, where final
words could be spoken heart-to-heart. Just
the surreal immediacy of a few quick letters
flashing across a screen, "We R Done."
While the technoforums offer a kind of
anonymous immediacy, which may indeed provide
a good valve to let off steam, there is a way
they also depersonalize the very nature of
relationship and connection. Perhaps, it is
easier to "blow off" someone who you aren't
looking at eye-to-eye, missing the cues of
pain, tears, love and even a desire to work
things out. Perhaps, these technotools
allows us to be more commodities to one
another than sacred, irreplaceable friends
The Boston Globe also featured an article
about the era of virtual relationships,
describing the life of a couple who is too
busy to have conversations about Johnny's
soccer schedule or who's doing the laundry. Their solution is constant
e-mails back and
forth over the course of the day. This
eliminates the need for lists and all the
hardcopy time management tools we used to
count on. After all, if you write it in an
e-mail, you can always dig back into your
archives to see if the soccer started at 2 pm
or 2:30 pm.
While, clearly, I both appreciate and make
use of these virtual tools--here I am writing
these reflections in my new blog--I am also
sad that so much of life has gotten so
Maybe these thoughts, my own on-line journal,
can be read by anyone who finds them,
whenever the time is right. Yet, I would
still rather be having a conversation with
you face-to-face, sharing my thoughts and
asking you to share yours as well. I think
there was something magical in the era of the
bound journal or "lock and key" diary I used
to make these kinds of entries in when I was
a girl or even an adult woman. I have a
suitcase full of journals that one day I
might break into, to gain a retrospective
perspective on important times in my life.
So, while there is the satisfaction of being
able to write, print and post these thoughts,
a part of me would still rather be reaching
out and touching someone, instead of my
Time to pet the real life cats and dog!
| Touchable and Untouchable
Intimacy After Trauma
Trauma is like a wrecker ball that tears down
our emotional foundation and crushes the
spirit. If we are young enough when trauma
happens, our emotional foundation is likely
fragile, if formed at all.
As a result, trauma impairs our ability to
love and be loved. Trauma breaks our hearts,
teaches us the world is unsafe, and people
can't be trusted, including, and sometimes,
especially, the people we love.
A person with a vital heart has grounded and
clearly defined personal boundaries. This
allows them to discern a safe person or
moment, and allows them to be receptive and
A person with a traumatized heart may lack or
have lost touch with a sense of grounded and
clearly defined personal boundaries. As a
result, when someone comes close, they are
more likely to tense-up and defend against a
potential intruder. In spite of their best
intentions, they may find that they are
Trust is a fundamental building block for
intimacy. This includes feeling a deeply
rooted connection with self, which allows us
to truly trust ourselves--including our
thoughts, feelings, intuitive knowing and gut
reactions. Stan Dale, the founder of HAI,
defines intimacy as "in-to-me-I-see." We
need to trust ourselves to look deeply into
our feelings, wants, needs and desires.
Sadly, trauma, deprivation and neglect can
break this essential thread of trust within
self, as well as with other people. If we
don't trust ourselves, it is not safe to look
deeply into what we sense, think, feel or
know. Our feelings and needs become scary
and/or overwhelming--something we must defend
against rather than embrace.
If we must defend against our most vulnerable
and intimate self, then even someone who
truly loves us or wants to love us must be
kept at a distance. Our response of keeping
a loved one or potential loved one at a
distance isn't even a conscious response. It
comes from a much more primal, feral place
How often have you experienced getting
really close to someone, only to have them,
in time, withdraw and pull away? Suddenly
their workload is insurmountable, and they
just don't have time for your relationship. Or all of a sudden, a
relationship built on
good two-way communication becomes riddled
with fights--often over silly things not
worth fighting over. Or, your once
passionate partner who wanted to massage you
and make love all day no longer wants to be
touched, never mind be sexual. Or, your partner
just leaves, or worse, "vaporizes," disappearing with little or no
communication. Their fear
of intimacy sabotages the very love they
ultimately need to heal.
In THE POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
SOURCEBOOK by Glenn Schiraldi (McGraw Hill,
1999), the author cites a research effort
which identified five fears that interfere
with intimacy, and which must be neutralized
for intimacy to grow: 1. Loss of control,
2. Abandonment, 3. Rejection, 4. Attack
and 5. One's own tendency to hurt others.
Sometimes, a loving partner can become a
"magical stranger," divinely sent to help in
the healing journey. By being loving,
present, trusting and trustworthy,
non-judgmental, and often by offering safe
sexual and non-sexual touch, an experience of
being truly, known, loved and accepted for
who one is can take place. Having ones needs
met at this very deep and intimate level can
both heal past wounded places and create a
new experiential template for what is
possible in relationship.
While "loving partner as magical stranger"
may be many people's dream, and some
fortunate people's experience, most often a
trauma survivor needs to engage in conscious
healing work to lay the groundwork to let a
partner become close to them. Whether it be
work with a body psychotherapist, a bodywork
professional or a touch-inclusive personal
growth workshop like HAI, healing from trauma
most often includes some kind of safe,
nurturing, appropriately boundaried touch.
We often need to feel safe "on the
outside"--in our bodies, in our skin--to feel
safe to let down our protective walls "on the
inside"--to open our hearts. If we are
safely held physically, we may not need our
emotional defenses to protect us. We can
soften and relax, to let pain out and love in.
Likewise, we need to feel safe "on the
inside"--in our hearts--in order to let
someone touch us "on the outside"--on our
skin. There is such a direct connection between
our bodies and hearts, that it is important
that touch be conscious, respectful and
loving, and that the toucher be grounded and
centered in their own body and heart when
reaching out to touch.
Understanding the relationship between
emotions and touch is a very important part
of both emotional literacy and touch
literacy. I am sad that neither of these
essential "languages" are taught at school,
allowed at work or modeled in our families. So, our culture leaves
people emotionally and
touch illiterate more often than not.
Perhaps that is why a "professional magical
stranger"--a therapist, bodyworker or
workshop leader--may be necessary to help
provide those missing experiences that help
integrate emotions and touch. A healer can
indeed be a kind of shaman or tribal elder in
our culture which has become so "out of
touch"--emotionally, physically and spiritually.
| Life As A Sexual Experience
Sexuality, Spirituality and Being Alive
My colleague and downstairs neighbor, Ani,
recently sent me a mini-article by the author of
CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD, Neale Donald Walsch.
The article started off with an intriguing,
rhetorical question, and an even more
intriguing, rhetorical answer.
The question Walsch poses is: In all new
relationships with romantic potential, when
do we become sexual? His answer is:
Too late. You're already doing
Why? Because we need to ask the question
"what is sexuality anyway?" And from a
spiritual perspective, life itself is a
sexual experience. So, if you are alive, by
the fact of your very existence, you are
expressing yourself sexually.
Or to quote Walsch, "There is no way not to
be expressing yourself in a sexual way. LIFE
is a sexual experience. Life IS sex....Sex
is the Energy of Life, and the exchange of
that Energy is Life itself, expressing."
I have always defined sex as "soul energy
exchange" or "spiritual energy exchange." By
virtual of living, loving and breathing in
and out, we put forth life energy and we
receive it back. In this sense, sex is not
just limited to the genitals or even physical
contact. It is a far more essential and
spiritual part of being alive.
Walsch refers to the process of photosynthesis to draw a
parallel between how
plants sythesize "chemical compounds with the
aid of radiant energy, especially light," and
how love provides a human "photosynthesis" of
sorts. The sun makes plants grow. Love
makes people grow.
In Walsch's words, "Human beings grow, they
become larger in soul, in spirit, and in
their hearts and minds, when they experience
love. And Love is 'the synthesis of chemical
compounds with the aid of radiant energy,
He points out that when you send love to
someone, you literally radiate energy. And
people radiate energy all the time, not just
when they are sending someone love. So,
Walsch poses the question, "what kind of
energy are you radiating?"
"Whatever you radiate is reflected back to
you. You receive what you send." Here lie
the origins of the familiar saying, "What
goes around, comes around."
Taken back to the sexual-spiritual level,
since we are constantly radiating energy, the
question becomes, "Not whether you are having
sex, but what kind of sex you are having?"
This provides a very fertile playing field
for the relationships in our lives. Each
moment, through being conscious of what kind
of energy we are putting forth, we can create
and re-create our important connections with
others. Focusing on "appreciations"--the
qualities and attributes about the other that
you really like and enjoy--provides rays of
sunlight for the heart and soul. Sadly, we
often don't take the time to speak
appreciations. And this includes
appreciating small gestures as well as large
Taking the time to "be with" those you care
about, making space and time to speak and
listen from the heart will enrich your
important connections. Love, in its purest
form, is both the food and fertilizer of
relationships and all we care about in our
lives. Perhaps that leads to a law of
"emotional physics"--Sexuality is
spirituality is love is life.
talks about when to have sex...too late, you're already doing it!
You may also want to visit
to see the wonderful programs the Boston Area Sexuality
and Spirituality Network has put together for 2007!
"Love has to spring spontaneously
within and it is in no way amenable to any
form of inner or outer force. Love and
coercion can never go together; but though
love cannot be forced on anyone, it can be
awakened in him through love itself."
"Love is essentially self
those who do not have it catch it from those
who have it. True love is unconquerable and
irresistable, and it goes on gathering power
and spreading itself, until eventually it
transforms everyone whom it touches."