July 2007 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue

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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 thoughts.

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 LSMHEART@aol.com.

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 gwild7@verizon.net.

I hope you have a wonderful summer!

Heartfully, Linda

 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 already am.

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- bound iMac. 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!

For 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 PARADE magazine!

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 longer."

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 DNA."

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 screen.

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 life expectancy

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 and organizations.

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 Earth."

For more articles...and a chance to add your thoughts... 

 Reflections on "Getting Grounded in an Overscheduled World"
 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 full-time).

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 mother.

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 approaches and they maintained punitive attitudes towards those lacking resources...especially mothers. The effects of poverty permeate all classes of society.

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

Find out more.... 

 Upcoming Groups, Workshops and Programs

The Tuesday and Thursday night EKP Bodypsychotherapy Groups both have room for new members. The Tuesday night group meets from 7:15 - 9:45 pm in Newton. The Thursday night group meets from 7:00 - 9:00 pm in Newton. Both groups are mixed gender. One interview/EKP session is required to apply for membership in either group. The groups are on-going,committed groups. A minimum 6 month commitment is required to join.

For those of you who would like to be part of an EKP weekend retreat, apprentice Gretchen Stecher is organizing a Healing the Traumatized Heart retreat on the Cape. Contact LSMHEART@aol.com or gwild7@verizon.net for more information.

EKP opportunities in Newton include:
  • On-going Tuesday night EKP Body Psychotherapy Group
  • On-going Thursday night EKP Body Psychotherapy Group
  • On-going Sunday EKP Monthly Process Group

To find out more.... 

 About Linda

Linda Marks, MSM, is pioneer in body psychotherapy who has developed, taught and practiced Emotional-Kinesthetic Psychotherapy (EKP) for more than two decades. Author of LIVING WITH VISION and HEALING THE WAR BETWEEN THE GENDERS, she co-founded the Massachusetts Association of Body Psychotherapists and Counseling Bodyworkers and is the founder of the Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network. She holds degrees from Yale and MIT, and has a vital 11-year-old son.

To find out more about Linda... 

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 schedule.