As I write this introduction to the
July newsletter, it is 103 degrees outside. I am struck by the wide
variations in temperature over the past 4 - 6 weeks, from a low of
40-something, to today's 103 degree heat. I am reminded of the 73
degree day last December, when I couldn't figure out whether to take
out my shorts or try to get by with "season-
appropriate" pants. When the temperature swings this way, it surely
affects our inner and outer rhythms.
I am still working to find ways to
bring the "HeartSmarts" emotional literacy work for kids
and parents and kids forward. If you are interested in being part
of a 1/2 day "HeartSmarts" workshop, please let me know. Too, if
you are interested in being part of a "HeartSmarts" weekend retreat in
2008, please let me know.
Articles this month draw from the
recent, unexpected and very sudden death of my 4 year-old computer.
What an initiation into the reality of computer-
dependence for communication! In addition to the article on "Death
of a Computer," you will find an article on "Why Emotions
Matter" and an op-ed response to one of the articles from
June's newsletter from therapist and EKP apprentice Donna Grant.
I welcome your thoughts about the
articles published here in this newsletter, and am glad to publish your
The Tuesday night EKP therapy
group is actively seeking new members for September.
If you would like the opportunity to do deep, healing, heartfelt work
in a safe committed group, this is a wonderful place to do it. The
group meets from 7:15 - 9:45 pm in Newton. An interview and one EKP
session are required to apply. Please contact me at (617)965-7846 or
The Thursday night group also has
room for a new member of either gender.
The EKP Cape Retreat November 16 -18
promises to be a nourishing experience for all. For more information,
contact Gretchen Stecher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you have a wonderful summer!
| Death of a Computer
It's been 22 years since I purchased my first personal
computer, so my friends, especially the computer-savvy ones said,
"You're due." You see, the way I thought about computers was the way I
thought about cars. If you take good care of one, it can last for
years. And so it was with all my past computers.
While my car is now 5 years-old, and I plan to have it for
many more, I have come to learn that a 3 year-old computer is
considered geriatric in today's terms. So, the fact that I was naively
and happily using a 4-year-old iMac, only goes to show you that my car
metaphor just doesn't hold water (or perhaps data) in the face of the
rapid rate of technological change.
So, when my 4 year-old iMac died suddenly this past Tuesday,
it nearly sent me into the ER, with a case of shock and paralysis. I
read about how much we've become computer-dependent. However, until the
death of my beloved, intimate iMac, I never realized how much this
applied to me and my life!
During a week of computerless living, Glenn, my friend and
valiant professional computer consultant, call him the computer's
"primary care physician," made calls to other specialists who could
perform "exploratory surgery" on the very quiet patient, to see if the
last 1 1/2 years worth of my data could indeed be recovered. As a
working single mom whose son was just finishing school, and became ill,
I had no time or space to get to the Apple store to purchase my
computer's new replacement. I found myself cut off and paralyzed unable
to maintain the daily contact with friends, clients, colleagues and
even strangers who write to me when they discover my work, that I had
come to take for granted. I could not work on this newsletter. I could
not design the training material for my apprentice's end of June
training session. My hands wanted to reach out and type, but had
nowhere to turn.
I noticed how little the phone rang. I realized how much my
clients used e-mail to notify me of long-term or last minute changes,
all of which were beyond my reach--in truly a far away universe. I
found myself dazed, and unable to organize my day, since so much of my
time was spent in front of the computer, and there was now just an
empty space on my writing desk, where the computer used to be.
What a sobering experience! That and learning that my data
could not be recovered. And my confusion about how to use the LaCie
disk that was installed in March 2006 to back-up my data, had been my
downfall. Instead of getting the help I needed to understand what I
needed to do, I felt foolish and stupid and computer illiterate...and
paralyzed. So, all my workshop designs, my client insurance billing
records, my writing, my training materials....the list goes on and
on...were lost in the cybervacuum forever.
I am grateful I live in a house with other people, so I
could ask to borrow their computers once a day to check essential
e-mails. I did not have time to run to the local library, where I could
find internet access as well. And no, I am still not considering
getting a blackberry, though one of my friends insisted they are great
and essential these days. Somehow, I don't want to become THAT
dependent on a computer, especially now that I realize how dependent I
On that note, I realized that the primary means of
communication with the people who live in my house is computer-driven!
We e-mail each other with questions, with information. Writing an
e-mail is so immediate. And picking up the phone or writing a note or
waiting to cross someone's path takes so much more time.
As I called up my clients to coordinate schedules, instead
of exchanging e-mails, I realized just how much time it takes to make
phone calls in contrast to sending and receiving e-mails. I considered
writing this article with pen and paper. But then I realized I've been
trained to think when typing, and I hate to make cross-outs on
paper...and my mental pace is so much faster than my writing pace...I
found myself becoming more and more exhausted just thinking about it!
Since you are reading this newsletter, you can see I got a
new computer. And this time, I chose the simplest MacBook--a
portable--instead of the desk-
My kitties still love to climb on the computer desk when I am writing.
In fact, Scarlett, our Maine Coon Cat, is lying beside me as I write
this piece. However, there is more space on the desk for them, and my
papers, since the MacBook is smaller. And it is easier to clean up the
plethora of cat hair that makes its way to the desk every day.
Glenn came over yesterday to teach me how to use the LaCie
for back-up, and now I am going to do it very faithfully and regularly!
We even made dummy-proof instructions, so I can succeed at this perhaps
mundane, but foreign-to-me task.
So, I guess I have just passed through a kind of initiation
out of my naivete. Computers today are not designed to last for years
and years. And my 3-year Apple Care Protection plan clues me in that it
will probably be time to get my next computer as the 3-year anniversary
of this one approaches.
I just hope my car wasn't designed for planned obsolescence!
I guess time will tell!
more information, check-out www.healingheartpower.com
| Why Emotions Matter
I have spent most of my life in our intellectual-verbal
world explaining why the heart's wisdom is as valid and important as
the brain's. You can imagine my surprise when a feature article
entitled, "Why Emotions Matter" graced the cover of this past Sunday's
Acknowledging THAT emotions matter is not the usual material
of such a mainstream syndicated publication. An article espousing the
latest in pop psychology, focusing on controlling the miind, rather
than listening to the heart or the body, is far more typical fare.
What awaited me inside? A "Men's Health Special Report"
putting forth that "new research says feeling connected is essential to
a man's health." It looked like an excerpt from my own book, HEALING
THE WAR BETWEEN THE GENDERS: THE POWER OF THE SOUL-CENTERED
RELATIONSHIP, from the chapters that explore "The Traumatized Heart,"
the cultural heart wound and the male heart wound!
Dr. Henry S. Lodge writes, "Startling new images from MRI
and PET scans show that emotion is at the physical center of our
brains. Emotion is not nature's afterthought; it is one of the master
regulators of health and happiness in every corner of the body. You
have trillions of emotional signals moving around your body and brain
every day. You can't shut emotions off. Like it or not, you're an
emotional animal. It's as much a part of you as breathing. If you
understand this--and take advantage of it--your life will be better and
The rugged individualism that so many men (and women) have
grown up with, and that has been so deeply enculturated in us for many
generations, is actually bad for our health. The heart needs
connection. Without love, companionship and connection, we die.
"Emotional connection is a biological imperative, and we pay
a high price for ignoring it. Isolation is unnatural--and
deadly...Love, companionship and community are deeply woven into our
Lodge cites that men who have heart attacks who live alone
and have high stress levels are four times more likely to die within
the first few years following the heart attack. "In fact, for the most
isolated among us, the risk of premature death from any cause is up to
five times higher."
Besides all the information I have gathered from research in
neurocardiology and neurochemistry--
information at the very heart of the "Healing the Traumatized Heart" or
"Embracing the Power of the Heart" workshops I lead, I know from my own
experience how true this is. When I feel isolated and disconnected, my
heart literally hurts. I can curl up with my carefully selected set of
"squishy pillows" to comfort and hold myself. But, there are times when
even my best efforts at self-comfort fail. I cannot do it all alone.
And there is no substitute for a compassionate touch, a caring set of
eyes, and an understanding voice of a friend or other loved one.
When my heart experiences sincere, human connection in hard
times, my pain melts away. When I am left to self-contain my pain,
anger, disappointment, sadness or aloneness, in spite of my best
efforts at self-care, the heartache may still persist.
And surely, one of the most gratifying parts of EKP--
both practicing it and teaching it--is giving people tools to connect
heart-to-heart--to increase one another's happiness and joy and to ease
and heal one another's pain.
Dr. Lodge notes, "More connected people are happier and
healthier across the spectrum of life, in thousands of major and minor
ways. Your degree of social connection predicts how many colds you'll
get as well as your odds of surviving cancer."
And in our world that has increasingly promoted disconnected
individualism and isolation, too many people spend their days enduring
long commutes, sitting in front of computer screens, communicating with
blackberries, and coming home to decompress in front of the television
So much of our energy is focused on our work, on our jobs,
that too many people come home spent. Leaving early and coming home
late compound the matter. Since relationships are not valued, they are
often the last thing on the list and the first thing to go in a crunch.
As a result, many wither and die from neglect. And some people never
really establish them at all.
Dr. Lloyd's pointers include:
1. Connect with the people who matter most in your life.
He tells his readers to "cuddle up." And while "spouses,
lovers and family are great.....all connections matter."
2. Learn from women.
Dr. Lodge acknowledges that women are generally better at
talking about feelings, nurturing relationships and staying connected
than men. And he correlates this with women's longer life spans.
Catch these statistics:
o Women outlive men by five years
o Men who are married live longer than those who are not
o A woman's death cuts about five years off her husband's
o If a man dies, his wife's life expectancy drops for the
first four years, but then she adjusts and her life expectancy actually
increases beyond her married life expectancy!
3. Reach out to others.
Dr. Lodge encourages his readers to "make the first move."
Have you ever had the feeling that you want someone else to be the one
to reach out, and that you'll reach back, but don't want to be the
first one to do the reaching out? If everyone is waiting for someone
else to make the first move, we all end up alone and disconnected.
Dr. Lodge says, "Your role...is to be the one who reaches
out first--and keep reaching out." And this includes reaching out to
past colleagues, schoolmates and friends as well as joining new groups
4. Tune out screen-based devices and tune in to yourself
and other people.
Instead of reaching out and touching your remote, your
blackberry or your keyboard, reach into your own heart. Connect with
yourself. And pick up the phone, make a lunch or dinner date with a
friend, or take the time to have a heart-to-heart conversation with
your partner or family.
Connection is a food group for the healthy heart. Make sure
you give yourself generous portions every day!
While there are risks in the larger world,
there are also risks "in raising children
under virtual protective house arrest: threats to independent judgment
and value of
place, to their ability to feel awe and
wonder, to their sense of stewardship for the
more articles...and a chance to add your thoughts...
| Reflections on "Getting Grounded in an Overscheduled
by Donna Grant
It's 1:00 a.m. It was about 9:00 p.m. when I
arrived home from work after a fulfilling
day, which began at 7:00 a.m. And, yes, it
was 9:00 p.m. before I got to eat dinner. After waking from a
three-hour sleep, I
realized that I had somet hings to finish up
before turning in for the evening. I got
on-line to answer e-mail. Before signing
off, I read the June HealingHeartPower
Newsletter and was compelled to respond. I
admit that to squeeze in what I want to do in
the world, sometimes I miss out on
sleep...especially when Spirit moves me to
act. This is one of those times.
I've been taking good care of myself for a
long time. I have "alone" time when I need
it. I have long-term, meaningful
relationships. I frequently share body work
with associates and friends. I pet Dot and
Spot, the two cats who reside with me, often. I slow down in ways and
methods that matter
to me. Still, my life is fuller than I'd
like it to be. It is over-scheduled.
I am 54 in July. I have 3 adult sons living
on their own.
I have no savings. I own no property. I've
chosen my life. I don't blame anyone for my
lack of savings. I'm envious of people who
have a house and savings. That's party why
I'm working hard to have more space for those
things...and...to allow me to have space for
my work. I chose to go back to college and
pursue work I deeply enjoy. I was the only
female in my family to go to college. I'm
happy to be able to pay for my college
education, which won't be paid for fully til
I'm 78! I couldn't both own a home, AND
return to college, after I was divorced, and
continue to raise my sons (while working
I'm happy that my sons were able to go to
college. They are paying for their own
educations. What I was divorced, the house I
owned foreclosed. It was a messy divorce, to
say the least. I was raised
working-class/poor...in Lynn, MA, by a single
My values are based in sharing and generosity
in giving of my time and attention. It is
heartbreaking for me to be discovering that
those values are misinterpreted by a
mainstream middle clas to be an inability to
"take care of myself." My values came from
my class background. I don't plan to throw
those values away. It is rare that women of
my socio-economic background survive well and
become professionals in the field of
psychotherapy. It is also rare that women of
my background move on to continue to further
their education and maintain self-care enough
to stay up to date with the latest changes in
the healing professions...to be a bridge
between two worlds: the worlds of
institutional health and mental health care
(or lack thereof) and private practice; and a
bridge between those who have and those who
have not. I see the depravity on all fronts. And i know that there is
enough for everyone!
If I do the work I truly came to this world
to do, no matter how grounded I am, I will be
over-scheduled. I will be taking on more
than I, alone, should be handling. And
thatis because I work with people who don't
have the information about what is needed to
be grounded. I teach energy principles and
people I work with are starving for new
information. It's not easily accessible to
people of lower economic status. That's the
problem! There's a far bigger icture to look at.
It's appalling to see that the concept of the
"deserving poor" developed in the colonial
and post-revolutionary years is alive and
functioning today. It was a time when the
poor were punished by a welfare system that
couldn't meet the needs of all. The welfare
system determined who were to blame for their poverty. It was alive and
functioning when I
was growing up in the projects of Lynn. My
mother couldn't get welfare, because she
didn't portray herself as "destitute." Social workers used punitive
they maintained punitive attitudes towards
those lacking resources...especially mothers. The effects of poverty
permeate all classes
I see the picture of busy-ness and
over-scheduling through different lenses. I
teach about energy balance. On a big picture
scale, things are out of balance. If only
half or less than half of society is doing
the work of grounding, meditation, body work,
energy healing and all other great
opportunities for growth, half of society is
"in the dark." Darkness has to be
TRANSFORMED to light. It can't be gotten rid
of. Ignoring the truth about poverty won't
solve the problem.
I see a 35 year-old mother and her six
year-old daughter in private practice. She
was raised by her single mother in Lynn. They immigrated from Brazil
when my client
was a baby. She had grown up by the time she
was six. There was limited money and limited
resources. She's raising a little girl, who
is becoming an adult at six years-old. Appointments are missed because
my client has
to work full-time, and doesn't have enough
money to pay a sitter, never mind the minimal
sliding scale fee I charge.
The six year-old has her schedule too. She
goes to dance practice and dance recitals,
gymnastics, and play dates. Her mother
doesn't want her to "miss out" on what other
kids have. It's a miracle that we meet every
two weeks. I think the young mother might
find it easier to practice grounding if she
wasn't so tired at the end of the day! It's
not anyone's fault, and, many factors
influence her situation. Perceived lack of
resource, poverty, class oppression, parents'
oppression, homophobia, racism, and not the
least of which included in mental health
oppression, which sits on top of all the
others, with its eternal offering of
quick-fix medications to alleviate anxiety. All of this, makes it hard
for parents and
kids, who I see, to slow down and "get grounded."
Immigration, technological growth, war,
spiritual depravity, with resulting increased
violence, ignorance of the causes of povery,
and mental illness, and all the things that
make it look like I'm running for president
when I write about them, have intervened to
create the need for us to take a look at
ourselves in this country. I think we should
stop blaming the politicians and start
learning from each other. The cultures and
classes have to start communicating. We
can't hide from each other! We need to
listen to each other, without blame and
without guilt. Mainstream middle class
culture likes to pretend that everything is
fine still, all the while not admitting that
they are petrified about losing what they
have. It is sad to see people struggling to
"make ends meet," (there really is no more
middle class!) and at the same time, watching
how the same people go about loudly proving
how wonderfully well their lives are going.
Pretense is a hurtful distress pattern. It
creates a barrier between the classes. Honesty moves mountains! When I
talk with a
63 year-old owning class woman friend about
my difficulties of trying to save money while
building a private practice so I can leave
the grind of full-time insitutional work, she
openly acknowledges her sense of guilt. She
can't comprehend that my plight has nothing
to do with how much she has or doesn't have. If she could shed the
guilt she would be
that much more present to being beside me in
my struggle, and we could share our common
struggles as women. Guilt is not a
requirement to reach across the class divide. Guilt has no place in
breaking down the
barriers of class,culture, gender, sexual
identity, race, disabilities or any other
differences. We all have work to do in this
area! Only some chosen few can't do it all. Crossing boundaries is not
comfortable. I've had to move out of my comfort zone in
getting close to people of upper
socio-economic brackets. I started doing
that a long time ago. It was hard work! I
don't see so much difference between us at
all. I see man-made barriers and walls, and
I feel alone.
If I had a wish list, I would wish that all
healers' values would shift from developing
new and creative modalities of energy work
and body work to joining forces together on a
mission to spread the work to all people,
regardless of income, ability to pay, mental
health status, or any other thing that keeps
us from helping people learn what it means to
"get grounded." We have to work with each
other as healers and fully comprehend our
roles together, and fully respect the
significance of working TOGETHER in the big
picture of grounding on the earth.
NPR is on my computer radio. They are
discussing India's rising middle class. The
reporter commented, "The poor are stuck." I
saw this happening in Ireland when I visited
last year. The opposites are too far apart,
and unless a group of people who can see
what's happening can empower the two
opposites to unite in a way other than
through war, India will become just like the
U.S. Some might think that's fine. I'm not
so sure it is.
One more point...and that is, I have a hunch
that women in the U.S. hold the key to
mending the splits, and organizing a group. I don't think it's entirely
up to women, but
relationship is a natural process for women. If women resume the inner
work that the
women's movement began, so many years ago,
taking charge of whatever it takes to
understand each other and build bridges, I
think the likelihood of moving from an
over-scheduled world to groundedness would be
much easier for everyone.
Donna E. Grant
Clincial Social Worker, Registered
Polarity Practitioner, Psychotherapist, EKP
Apprentice with Linda Marks
The Boston Area Sexuality and
Spirituality Network is currently developing its programming for the
2007-2008 season. Visit www.sexspirit.net later this month for our new