October 1, 2007 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue

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It hasn't quite felt like the fall recently, thanks to beautiful, dry days in the 70's and 80's. I savor each and every one of these days, knowing the cooler temperatures will be here soon enough.

Many of you have asked me when I would do an Introductory Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop. As the mom of a soccer-playing 11- year-old, weekend workshops require a bit of scheduling magic.

The good news, is that on Sunday, October 28 from 1:30 - 4:30pm, I will indeed be offering an introductory workshop. So that price is no object, the fee is only $25, and if you register, you can bring a friend of loved one for free. So, please pass the word to folks who might enjoy an afternoon of heartfelt community and healing.

For 2008, I am considering starting a new set of apprentices, so if you are interested in apprenticing in EKP, please let me know!

The EKP Student Clinic will come to life again in 2008, as my current group of apprentices enter their third year of study, and work with clients. This is a great way to have free or low cost body psychotherapy. If you would like to be a client in the Student Clinic, please let me know.

Many people have expressed an interest in being part of an EKP therapy group that they can attend as their schedule allows. I am considering this option. It would be helpful to get your feedback: If I ran a group that met weekly in the evening, and you could attend as your schedule allowed, but a minimum of 1 - 2 times/month, would that interest you?

In this issue, articles explore Living a Heart- Centered Life and what I've come to view as our cultural tendency towards what one could call Relational Anorexia.

I always appreciate hearing from you, be it in response to an article in this newsletter or on www.heartspacecafe.com/blog, or simply because you are moved to write.

Heartfully, Linda

 Living A Heart-Centered Life

As one who does heartwork, over the years, I have gathered lots of quotes about life and heart. Our language is full of heart-centered images and figures of speech which reference the heart.

Make a list for yourself and see what you come up with! A few that come to mind immediately for me are: home is where the heart is, follow your heart, straight from the heart, learning it by heart, playing by heart.

As Helen Keller said, "The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." And yet, so many of us have to keep our hearts protected to survive in the work world and the world at large. While Pope John Paul II said, "The worst prison would be a closed heart," sometimes the prison becomes safer than the alternative.

So, how do we live a heart-centered life in an increasingly chaotic, demanding and emotionally unsafe world?

A first step is having permission to get to know your own heart. When we are busy, we often operate from our heads, and a more primitive survival place. We need to slow down, step out of the demands of the day to be able to come to know and experience our own hearts. Where in your body do you feel your heart, when you hear the word "heart?" If you place your hand on your heart, what do you notice? how does that feel?

The heart needs a balance of solitude and connection with others. What does this balance look like for you? Can you tell when you need solitude and when you need to reach out and connect with others? Are there any patterns to when you need solitude and when you need connection? These are good questions to explore.

Take time to visit with your heart each day. Slow down. Take a few deep breaths. Take a few moments to notice what's happening in your heart. How does your heart feel physically and emotionally? What are your deeper thoughts?

Listen to your heart. When you visit with your heart, take the time and space to take in and consider what it is telling you. Is your heart giving you guidance? What might your heart want or need? How do you follow your heart?

Give your heart voice. Sometimes just having the awareness of what is happening in your heart is enough. Sometimes your heart will feel fuller when it gets to express itself, when you find your heart's voice. There are many ways to do this. Some people benefit from writing their heart's findings down in a journal. Others might draw or paint or dance.

Expressing your heart may be a more personal practice, or it may involve actions or activities with others. Learn to speak and listen from the heart with those you care about-friends, family and loved ones, to build connection, intimacy and more meaningful communication.

Find your heart's natural rhythm. Learning how to pace yourself is an important way to stay grounded as you encounter the demands of the outside world. What is your natural pace? What does it mean to live in accordance with your natural pace, rather than letting your pace be dictated by outside forces?

Create emotionally safe spaces for yourself and those you care about. It's amazing what a difference it makes to walk the world from an emotionally safe, grounded internal place! Be present with yourself and with others. Be a compassionate, sincere, attentive, non-judgmental listener. Cultivate curiosity. Listen to your body's cues about what makes you feel safe and unsafe.

If we can build our lives on a heart-centered foundation, we will view our experiences through very different eyes!

Find out more... 

 Relational Anorexia:
 A New Kind of Eating Disorder?

More than 10 years ago, when my colleague Brian Schulz and I wrote about "Basic Human Needs," sustained, meaningful relational connection was at the heart of our list. People are not meant to be islands. To be fully human, we need to speak to a compassionate, caring listener and be heard. We need to touch and be touched emotionally, physically and spiritually. Most of us need to connect deeply with an intimate partner. We need continuity in our relationships. And we need face to face contact, to take in and exchange at all the levels of human connection.

And yet, as we are so busy, so full with the increasingly complex demands of daily living, more to do in so little time, there is nothing left for relating at the end of the day. Or the end of the week. Or the end of the month. I have begun to wonder if relational anorexia is becoming a new, yet very silent, cultural ailment.

I know that try as I may to maintain friendships, colleagial relationships--meaningful relational connections--I feel more and more like a salmon swimming against the tide. As a result, I become more and more isolated. And I become more and more numb to my needs for face to face relational connection.

For example, one of my dearest friends and I made an effort for many years to keep connected. We got together regularly, even after my son was born. And we were very central in each other's lives. As the pace of life increased and the mix of demands became more complex, we committed to monthly lunches. We did that for quite a while, but it eventually broke down. And then it took more effort to get together. But we found our way through. And our last couple times getting together were even sharing tears on how disconnected we had become from each other.

For the past few months, it has literally been impossible for us to find a time to get together! Her elderly mom needs a lot of her time, in addition to her work. I have had to juggle needs of my aging parents, my son and my work. And somehow, our schedules are exactly opposite. Lunches no longer work for her. She'd want to meet in the evening, but my son doesn't go to bed til 9 pm, and I work two nights each week. Even when we tried weekend, when I could see her, she had plans. Eventually, I just had to throw up my hands.

I guess that's just a natural response. If you want something and you try and try to get it, and you come up empty again and again, eventually, you start to feel numb. It's much like an eating disorder. Having been anorexic when I was 13, I learned to not feel my hunger after feeling hungry long enough. Sure, my body needed nutrients I was not giving myself. But if I couldn't have them (in this case, wouldn't let myself nourish myself for fear of gaining weight), I grew familiar to the hunger pangs. And if I waited long enough, they went away. And I still seemed to be breathing. And there was plenty else to do in life. So, I learned just to make do without.

Some days, when I have the time to really slow down and think about it, I feel my emotional hunger pangs. I feel my isolation, and my sadness about how hard it is to maintain relational connection. I also feel tired for trying and trying, often in vain. My heart says this shouldn't be so hard. My experience says, it is hard.

Even my son's soccer coach struggles to have time to have weekly practices! He has two kids and a demanding job, and being a soccer coach is a volunteer activity. First, practices were going to be on Thursdays. He could only do one day a week because of his work demands. Okay. I organized our schedule around them.

Then, he realized it was hard to keep practices to the appointed time. The last two weeks, he had to switch the practice time at the last minute--once to a Wednesday, which we juggled to make and once to a Tuesday, when my son just couldn't come. Now, I truly don't know if I should count on the former Thursday time or just play it by ear week to week. And just pray that the time he picks is a time my son can actually make it. More stress and chaos than I had bargained for. Same for everyone else.

I believe we as people need a certain amount of structure, predictability, and rhythm in order to manage the inevitable unpredictable, chaotic dimensions of life. But when the unpredictable becomes dominant, the human organism reacts as if its under siege. While I have worked hard to heal from my teenhood eating disorder, if my world becomes sufficient chaotic and unpredictable, my stomach tense up and it's hard to eat.

Having a network of core friends and colleagues is part of my nutritional plan for a healthy life. When I am relationally well-nourished, my body and spirit feel great. And, as one might expect, when I am relationally undernourished or malnourished, my body and spirit feel empty, and in the face of prolonged relational scarcity, numb.

If one person is numb, but is around others who are more vital, it is possible to bring the numbness back to life. But if we find ourselves going through the paces of our days surrounded by others who also share this numbness, numbness becomes a norm, a part of the human condition, a way of life.

One can not be anorexic forever. Eventually, one's bodily systems shut down one by one, and a person dies. Karen Carpenter was a great example of that human reality for me. I am afraid that if our spirits become relationally starved for too long, a part of us dies as well. How can we overcome this cultural relational eating disorder?

Share your thoughts... 

 Upcoming Workshops and On-going Groups

Introductory Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop
  • Sunday, October 28
  • 1:30 - 4:30 pm
  • Newton,MA

In this special introductory workshop, explore how our hearts become wounded, how we heal, and how we can literally offer helping hands to one another.

Fee: $25

Register and bring a friend/loved one for free

For more information or to register, contact LSMHEART@aol.com
Embracing the Power of the Heart: Cape Cod Retreat
  • November 16 -18, 2007
  • Briarwood Conference Center
  • Fee: $360
Fee includes program, 2 nights, 6 meals

To register: Contact Gretchen Stecher (508) 292-6875

The Tuesday Night EKP Body Psychotherapy Group seeks both male and female members. This therapy group provides a safe and sacred space to do your deepest healing and growth work with others in a committed group. We meet from 7:15 - 9:45 pm in Newton.
To apply contact LSMHEART@aol.com or call (617) 965-7846
An interview/one EKP session are required to apply for a space in the group.

Other EKP opportunities include:
  • On-going Thursday night EKP Body Psychotherapy Group
  • Monthly EKP Process Group
  • Being A Guest Client With the EKP Apprentices
  • Apprenticeship Program

    • For more information on any of these programs, contact LSMHEART@aol.com.

      Find out more.... 

 About Linda
 Body Psychotherapy and Coaching for Individuals, Couples and Groups

Linda Marks, MSM, is pioneer in body psychotherapy who has developed, taught and practiced Emotional-Kinesthetic Psychotherapy (EKP) for 22 years. 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.... 

If there are any workshops or groups you would like to see, please let me know!