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

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With the fall moving quickly, I am realizing it is time to look ahead to 2008. Two seeds for your thought for 2008:

First, we will be actively seeking clients for the EKP Student Clinic beginning in January. If you would like to experience free or low cost EKP sessions, with third year apprentices, let me know.

Second, I am considering starting a new apprentice group in 2008. If you are interested in studying EKP, please let me know. The format would be weekend-based or one night per week classes.

Contributions from the EKP community have shaped the articles in this month's newsletter. Jenny's Law: When Life Insurance Is No Insurance is the effort of EKP graduate Sharon Crowley's son, John, in response to a true betrayal by the SBLI company that insured John, his now deceased wife Jenny, and their young daughter Kaitlyn, upon Jenny's tragic death.

The Importance of Having A Life: Raising Children In a Multi-Tasking World was inspired when Alexander Russo sent me a great article from Atlantic.com entitled "The Autumn of the Multi- Tasker." A more comprehensive article I have written on the dangers of multi-tasking will appear in the Winter edition of Spirit of Change Magazine.

And Just Let Me Say This One More Thing is a poem by Donna Grant that I found particularly poignant.

Your comments and contributions are welcome, as always.

The Tuesday night EKP Body Psychotherapy Group is actively seeking one or two new female members. 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 new members of both genders.

And the monthly EKP Process group that meets from 2:30 - 5:30 pm one Sunday a month, has room for one or two new members.

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.

Heartfully, Linda

 Jenny's Law
 When Life Insurance Is No Insurance

The purpose of insurance, as most people understand it, is to provide resources for difficult times in life. Health insurance is supposed to provide access to medical care when it is needed. And life insurance is supposed to provide financial security when a love one dies. Consumers invest in these benefits, paying out a premium in advance of an illness, crisis or death, with an understanding that the financial support will be there for them when they need it.

Sadly, as Michael Moore's film "Sicko" illustrates, insurance companies today are focused on profit maximization, and if they must pay out claims, this reduces their profit. Not a customer-focused way of running a business. And surely unethical, if not illegal. Yet, it is hard for an individual person to fight a big corporate entity, so insurance companies routinely deny legitimate claims for unbelievable reasons.

When someone you know is on the receiving end of such treatment, the reality of this practice really hits home. In October 2005, EKP graduate Sharon Crowley's 31 year-old daughter-in-law, Jenny, died tragically of an aggressive form of breast cancer that appeared just months after Jenny gave birth to her daughter, Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was just 16 months old when her mom died.

The loss of Jenny was a huge tragedy for baby Kaitlyn, her dad John, and her grandmother Sharon. However, a second and unnecessary tragedy followed. Here's the story.

In spite of all the medical data that proved that Jenny Crowley was healthy prior to her diagnosis in October 2004, including evaluation by medical professionals representing the insurance company, the insurance company concluded that is Jenny Crowley had Stage IV cancer in October, she must John and Jenny Crowley met in second grade, became high school sweethearts, and married in 2000. Like many young couples trying to provide a secure financial future for their children, they looked at life insurance policies, after Jenny got pregnant in 2003 with their daughter Kaitlyn. They chose SBLI, both because the rates were competitive and Jenny, an account manager at a boutique advertising agency, had managed their advertising.

Kaitlyn was born in June 2004. The Crowleys were issued their SBLI policy in September 2004, a month after Jenny's first post-partum check-up, and two months after the insurance company performed a clinical medical exam, including blood work. Jenny was issued a higher premium than John because of a previous melanoma scare. However, other than that, both John and Jenny appeared to be in good health.

Jenny's first appointment with her OBGYN in August 2004 included a breast exam. The doctor noted nothing unusual. However, during Jenny's follow-up visit in October 2004, the doctor noticed some firmness. She thought it was consistent with postpartum, but to be safe, suggested that Jenny see a specialist. To her great surprise, Jenny discovered through a biopsy performed two weeks later, that she had a very aggressive form of Stage IV breast cancer.

In spite of treatments and incredibly personal strength, fighting for her life and for a life with her young daughter, Jenny died in October 2005. As John grieved this tremendous loss, he could at least take comfort that he and Jenny had taken proper financial precautions for Kaitlyn. He began the process of submitting a claim on Jenny's insurance policy.

What followed is the kind of experience no who who has suffered such a devastating loss should have to endure. On December 30, 2005, as John and Kaitlyn were in the early stages of rebuilding a life without Jenny, the insurance company notified them that their claim had been denied. The reasoning the company used was mind-blowing.

In spite of all the medical data that proved that Jenny Crowley was healthy prior to her diagnosis in October 2004, including evaluation by medical professionals representing the insurance company, the insurance company concluded that is Jenny Crowley had Stage IV cancer in October, she must have had it in September when the policy was issued. The company concluded Jenny could not have been in good health when her policy was written, so her contract was void and her family was not entitled to any benefits.

According to an informational piece put together by the office of Senator Karen Spilka, even today, no doctor can state definitively when Jenny's cancer began or if it even existed prior to the day her policy was issued. The Crowleys had satisfied all the insurance company's requirements for issuing a policy, and now, in retrospect, they were saying this was insufficient. The insurance company acknowledged that John Crowley was not trying to defraud the company or misrepresent facts. The company used an unfounded projection of when Jenny's cancer began to deny a legitimate claim.

The betrayal was only exacerbated by the fact that when Jenny managed SBLI's advertising campaign prior to her illness, she had designed a brochure featuring infant Kaitlyn on the cover! Designed to sell the company's products to young families like hers, the text read, "If only every decision were as easy as choosing the right life insurance."

Realizing that legal action against the insurance company would only deplete his resources-- insurance companies have far deeper pockets than working single dads trying to raise young children on their own after a terrible loss, John focused his efforts on putting together a bill so that other families would not have to endure the same injustice. Because of his efforts, State Senator Karen Spilka has filed a bill with the Massachusetts Legislature that would make the life insurance company, not the individual insured, responsible for proving someone is not in good health at the time a policy is issued.

The release from Senator Spilka's office states: "The bill would allow life insurance companies all the time they need to gather the necessary medical information to determine whether an applicant meets their standards of good health, as well as continue to protect life insurance companies from fraud and misrepresentation." This bill would protect families like the Crowleys, "who do all the right things but find themsleves in circumstances they could never imagine."

If you would like to help see that this bill is passed, write to your local Representative and Senator to show your support for this bill. You can find their address at http:// www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php.

You can also contact the Financial Services Committee Chairs, the House Speaker and Senate President:

Financial Services Committee Chairs: Representative Ron Mariano (617)722-2220 Rep.RonaldMariano@hou.state.ma.us and Senator Stephen Buoniconti (617)722-1660 Stephen.Buoniconti@state.ma.us.

Speaker of the House Sal DeMasi (617)722-2500 Rep.SalvatoreDiMasi@hou.state.ma.us

Senate President Therese Murray (617)722-1500 Therese.Murray@state.ma.us

If you have any questions, you can contact Senator Spilka's office at (617)722-1640.

Share your thoughts: 

 The Importance of Having A Life
 Raising Children in a Multi-Tasking World

We live in an era where we are enamored with the concept of doing more in less time. In service of this supposedly lofty goal, we have become enthralled with the practice of "multi-tasking," what Wikipedia defines as "the colleaquial term for a human being's handling of simulteanous tasks."

Put simply, multi-tasking is the act of engaging in multiple tasks all at the same time. We have come to believe, that like a computer, we can open multiple "windows" and manage to process all of them simultaneously, increasing productivity, without forfeiting quality.

Sadly, this logic has proven terribly wrong. A series of studies conducted by David Meyer at the University of Michigan and by Marcel Just of Carnegie Mellon University have found that performance drops off when people try to do more than one task at a time, and there is a drop-off in efficiency even when different parts of the brain are used for different tasks!

Multi-tasking is an outgrowth of our computer and media-generated era. As our devices have become more complex and able to more things in one package, we have transferred this concept onto the human being. Rather than having a machine be truly an accessory to help humans be human, the human has become an accessory to the machine. Now we think humans are supposed to function the same way a machine does. And we think this at our own risk.

Multi-tasking generates a tremendous amount of stress. And long-term stress, defined as stress that lasts 15 minutes or more, generates large quantities of cortisol, the stress hormone, in our bodies. Cortisol makes us hypervigilant and mobilized to cope with stress and emergencies, but at a price. Our body breaks down muscles, joints and bones to maintain the nervous system and vital organs. High levels of cortisol can be toxic to brain cells, clog arteries, promote heart disease and high blood pressure and contribute to obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis. Not something we want to pass on to our kids consciously, or even unconsciously.

Yet, here's the rub...According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, "Generation M: Media in Lives of 8 - 18 Year Olds," children today lead "media saturated lives." Kids spend nearly 6 1/2 hours each day using media, and 26% of the time using two or more media simultaneously. This is called "media multi-tasking," and is not good for learning, memory retention and surely does not contribute to physical or emotional health.

Anthropologist Elinor Ochs at UCLA is concerned about the social consequences of this trend among young people today. Comparing trends from 35 families in Los Angeles over a 4-year period with data from 20 years ago, she found that multi-tasking has created some disturbing social trends, which are particularly impactful for children. One could say, that in their media-driven haze, kids are not learning the skills to be human beings and have a life.

Says Ochs, "Thousands of years of evolution created human physical communication--facial expressions, body language--that puts broadband to shame in its ability to convey meaning and create bonds. What happens...as we replace side-by-side and eye-to-eye human contact human connections with quick, disembodied e-exchanges?"

The consequences are pretty dire. As journalist Claudia Wallis notes in her Time magazine article, "The Multi- tasking Generation," "the problem is what you are not doing if the electronic movement grows too large...It's not so much that the video game is going to rot your brain, it's what you are not doing that's going to rot your life."

As young people are wiring their neural circuits, as well as developing habits they will build on as they go forward to college and into adulthood, it is important they have some other models that aren't "hooked up." Doing one's homework at a desk or table away from the television improves concentration, learning and creativity. Having dinner be a "family meal," allows a much richer sense of emotional and relational connection than a solo voyage with the internet. Learning to decompress by listening to music, meditating or doing yoga creates a relaxation response that playing a video game intensively while following the latest sporting event on a second screen just won't replicate.

Being able to offer alternative models to our media- driven kids requires that we slow down and take the time to connect ourselves. If parents are rushing around with interminable schedules in crazybusy lives, the media become substitute companions or babysitters, offering parents a kind of built-in stress relief.

If we can say no to the eternal paper pile, make sacred time to just BE with those we care about with our cellphones turned off, and throw around a baseball in the backyard instead of turning on "the box," we give our children important building blocks they can internalize to have a chance at "having a life."

While participating in the multi-tasking, multi-media frenzy may prepare children for today's work world, it may do them a deeper disservice in the end.

Linda has written a more in-depth article about multi-tasking that will appear in the Winter issue of Spirit of Change magazine (coming out 12/1/07). To read other articles in Spirit of Change.... 

 Just Let Me Say This One More Thing
 A Poem by Donna Grant

Just let me say this one more thing. Were always the words my mother would say When we talked on the phone and I "had to go." No matter what time it was. Her tone was persistant Yet innocently so.

Just let me say this one more thing. "I have to cook dinner." I'd cautiously start, of course she'd reply with "yup" and continue, but, before we would end I'd be shouting, "I have to hang up!"

Just let me say this one more thing. "I'm changing a diaper." Sometimes I used pampers. Back then, they were new. On and on my mother would chatter. Why couldn't she tell something was the matter?

Just let me say this one more thing. A deep sigh from within, I'd take for good measure Asking the gods for patience In vain though, Mum, I gotta go!!!

Just let me say this one more thing. It never failed. And on she'd talk, and talk and talk, I wondered if she knew I wasn't even hearing Her musings, her complaints, her short stories. Til this day, I wonder what I was fearing.

Just let me say this one more thing. Our connection grew stronger, amazingly. I wanted so not to be so impatient. Yet, how could I do it? She never taught me?

Just let me say this one more thing. As the years went by My mother watched me grow Into the mother that she wanted so. I stayed close by, And carried the burden.

Just let me say this one more thing. I knew because she told me the story so well Of how her mother left her alone To take care of her two brothers At such a young age She sounded mad as Hell!

Just let me say this one more thing. And as the years went by, And as she aged too soon for me, I knew I would have no time To learn patience and kindess enough to hear her plea.

Just let me say this one more thing. But, I gotta go! "The sink's running over. I hate to intrude." It wasn't really. Did I really have to go? I'd call back, "I'm sorry, I lied... I was so rude!"

Just let me say this one more thing. Were the words she spoke One last time. I knew in my heart That I should have listened. But, of course, I had to go.

It was two days later. The call came to me. "Your mother is gone. She was found alone, in her apartment." I was only thirty-three.

Just let me say this one more thing. What I would give today to hear my mother If only she would come back and utter just those words. And I could now hear with joy and rememberance and I'd lovingly just let her say...that one more thing.

--Donna E. Grant

To learn more about Donna Grant... 

 Upcoming Groups, Workshops and Programs

The Tuesday and Thursday night EKP Body Psychotherapy 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 programs for the 2007-2008 season are posted on www.sexspirit.net.