This newsletter arrives in the midst of the holiday
season, a time which can be joyful, emotionally
charged or both. Are the holidays meaningful for you
or cultural formalities? Do you have people you want
to share time with or people you feel obliged to visit?
Do you feel connected or all alone? Finding or
creating heartful spaces where we can be with others
in a meaningful way makes all the difference in the
Participating in EKP events, at whatever level is right
for you, can provide a space of community, healing,
self-care and connection with like-minded others.
There are many ways to participate:
We are 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.
The list of people who are interested in apprenticing
in EKP is grow. I am looking at forming 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.
On January 26, I am offering a Healing the
Traumatized Heart Workshop in Newton, which
can provide a great introduction to EKP for a friend or
loved one, or a chance to tap in to the power of the
heart to replenish yourself.
On February 24, I'll be bringing an EKP workshop
Circles of Wisdom Bookstore in Andover, MA. You can
check the calendar at www.healingheartpower.com for
Articles in this issue include a look at the very
Isolation and Solitude,and the very global,
The Global Economy and Economic Depression.
And thanks to Robert Vibert for a beautiful
poem on emotional safety, which is the
comments and contributions are welcome, as always.
And on a completely different note....To my great
surprise, on Veteran's Day, as I opened
my e-mail, a message from the Intellectual Property
Director of the Institute for HeartMath awaited me. As
it turns out, "HeartSmarts," the name I had come up
with for the emotional literacy programs I am
developing for children, had been trademarked by
the Institute for HeartMath for use in any educational
While EKP work with children is different than the
program HeartMath has put together, because both
fall within an educational context, my new childrens'
work needed a new name.
So, with respect for the Institute for HeartMath and
their "HeartSmarts" trademark, the EKP childrens'
work will now be called "HeartWise Kids."
I checked the US Patent and Trademark Office
website, and it appears this new name is free and
clear. Quite an education about a world that has
been very foreign to me!
Isolation and Solitude:
Hazardous to Your Health Versus Sustaining to Your Spirit
In our busy lives, having some quiet time alone can
like a much needed, and far too rare, breath of
air. Being able to slow down, quiet the
mind, and have the time and space to breathe and
reflect is necessary to feel connected to ourselves,
the spiritual dimension of life. Solitude offers a space
reconnection, revitalization and renewal.
Solitude is something we most often seek out
We make a choice to step off the treadmill of daily life,
away from even loved ones to be able to tune in to
deeper selves. As Psychology Today Editor at Large,
Hara Marano writes in her monthly e-newsletter,
"Solitude is the state of being alone without being
lonely, a constructive state of engagement with
Sadly, another and far less
kind of alone time is abundant in many people's lives:
isolation. While some people choose to withdraw to
decompress, for many others, isolation is an imposed
disconnection from others. Too often, isolation is a side
effect of busy people leading complex lives.
While a degree of self-reliance is important, our culture
tends to idolize an excessive self-reliance, that makes
us believe that to be strong, mature or responsible, we
aren't supposed to need other people. We are
supposed to do it all alone. And we're supposed to be
okay doing it all alone.
While this kind of excessive self-reliance can protect us
from being hurt or disappointed by others we might
open up to or let ourselves depend on, it does not
nourish our hearts and spirits the way solitude does. In
fact, it might wear down the heart and spirit, at those
moments when we don't want to ALWAYS have to do it
If we can take off the armor of the self-reliant way, we
might feel lonely. Hara Marano defines loneliness as "a
negative state" where "one feels that something is
missing. It is a deficiency state."
Loneliness takes a toll on our emotional and physical
health. As Marano notes, "Researchers have known
for some time that lonely persons report higher levels
of perceived stress even when exposed to the same
stressors as nonlonely people, and even when they
are relaxing. Loneliness raises levels of circulating
stress hormones and blood pressure. It undermines
regulation of the circulatory system so that the heart
muscle works harder and the blood vessels are
subject to damage by blood flow turbulence."
Marano also cites that loneliness disturbs sleep, "so it is
less restorative both physically and psychologically."
So, while sleep can be a natural pathway to solitude
and rejuvenation, loneliness alters the sleep
Marano cites the research of John T. Cacioppo from the
the University of Chicago, who has found that "the
effects of loneliness accrue with age." Loneliness
"destroys resilience and restorative processes so that
future bouts of stress become more destructive. The
subjective experience of....loneliness, accelerates the
rate of physiological decline with age."
How do we make the switch from isolation to solitude?
How do we learn to give ourselves the alone time that
rejuvenates rather than be imprisoned by a sense of
We surely need to learn to respect our connection
needs--with ourselves, with our spiritual nature and with
other people. We need to learn to recognize our
connection needs and also to value them. Having time
to sustain a sense of connection with self and others
requires stepping away from the work treadmill, and the
endless list of things to do.
Establishing rituals that support connection make a
big difference. Morning meditation. Taking a walk
with a colleague at lunch. Taking time for lunch at all
and sharing it with a colleague, or even sitting
outside and enjoying the sunlight and the trees.
Having 30 minutes of downtime at the end of the day.
Putting down the Blackberry and opening up a book.
All of these practices can enhance our sense of
connection and nourish our spirits and hearts.
Share your thoughts:
The Global Economy and Economic Depression
Reflections from Dada Maheshvarandanda
In an article entitled, "Revisited: The Causes of
Economic Depression," Danish author Dada
Maheshvarandanda succintly describes today's
global capalist system and its impact on the world's
Maheshvarananda notes, "The global capitalist system
has changed much over the several hundred years
since its inception, but it continues to be based on
profit, selfishness and greed. It excludes more people
than it benefits. Today nearly half the world's population
lives, suffers and dies in poverty."
Maheshvarandanda feels that because of its inherent
contradictions, "the global economy is doomed to crash,
causing a great depression." Citing the work of Proutist
Universal founder P.R. Sarkar, Maheshvaranda notes
four causes of economic depression:
1. Concentration of wealth
While the world's wealth is eight times what it was in
1960, only the world's richest people are benefiting.
The compensation of CEO's of multi-national
corporations is tens of thousands times what the
average employee receives. For example, "Apple
Computers paid CEO Steve Jobs $872 million, more
than 30,000 times what the average Apple employee
is paid each year!"
Mahareshvarandanda cites that the world's 200
wealthiest people, whose holdings "more than doubled
during the last four years to more than $1 trillion," have
more resources "than the combined annual income of
half the world's population--three billion human beings."
2. Blockages in the circulation of money
Since 1970, the primary use of international capital
has moved from trade and long-term investment to
speculation. Mahareshvarandanda states that in
1970, 90% of international capital was used for long-
term investment, like "starting new companies,
paying more salaries and producing more
goods." This allowed money to flow "through many
hands" and benefit many people. 10% was used for
speculation. "By 1990, the figures had reversed."
"About $1.5 trillion per day is shuffled around in...the
world's stock markets to get rich quick. Stock market
prices represent a speculative bubble of incredible
proportions, completely based on investor confidence--
a misplaced confidence."
Given that the stock market is the primary vehicle
offered to regular Americans to grow their resources
for retirement, for their children's college education
and for financial security, common people are
increasingly at risk. Mahareshvarandanda notes that
more than half of U.S. households have their savings
invested in the ever-more-volatile stock market.
These people cannot afford the risk of a losing all
Too, with great wealth concentrated in the hands of
an elite few, rather than circulating in a more free
global econony, everyone else loses their economic
power. Mahareshverandanda notes, "In the month of
October 2001, 415,000 Americans lost their jobs."
And in 2001, more than 1 1/2 million people and
businesses went bankrupt.
Conditions are worse in other countries, with poverty
and suffering increasing. Mahareshverandanda
reports that Latin America has 442 million people.
250 million of them live below the poverty line.
"UNICEF reports that of every two inhabitants on the
planet, one lives on less than $2/day." One of three
inhabitants has no access to electricity. One of four,
lives on less than $4/day. One of 5 has no clean
drinking water. One of six adults suffers from hunger.
3. The excessive greed of capitalism is destroying
Mahareshverandanda notes that in the past 50 years,
"our planet has lost 1/3 of its forests, 1/4 of its topsoil
and 1/5 of its arable land."
4. Monetary devaluation is another destabilizing
One result of monetary devaluation is that a unit of
money can no longer be the unit of economic
stability. Mahareshverandanda explains that the
dollar and other world currencies are no longer
based on "gold reserves or other real wealth.
Governments and corporations are printing more and
more 'virtual money,' i.e. government securities and
bonds, stock shares and credit creation." Customers
and businesses are both increasingly encouraged to
buy on credit.
As a result, Mahareshverandanda states that US
mortgage debt rose $700 billion in 2003 to a total of
These four trends do not portend the kind of
economic future any of us would wish for--for
ourselves or for others on the planet. Rather than
feeling like individual deer in front of individual
headlights, it is a time for us to gather together and
envision new economics models that are sustainable
for all living beings. We need to develop models that
consider the needs of all, and more fairly distribute
resources, while caring for the well-being of the
Please share your vision and your thoughts on the HeartSpaceCafe Blog website...
EKP Retreat a Great Success
The November EKP Cape Retreat was a
great success. We had a wonderful group of
participants, journeying from as nearby as the next
town over to as far away as Canada. Briarwood
provided the perfect retreat location, with both the
water and the woods at our door. Together, we
created a safe heartful community that bonded
deeply, providing nourishment and healing for all.
Having an 1890's "summer cottage" all to ourselves was
very special. It allowed me to follow the group's
unfolding rhythms, while facilitating a sense of real
community. There was a chapel next to the room we
used for the workshop. That felt really fitting, since the
work we were doing was sacred work.
Thanks to EKP apprentice Gretchen Stecher, whose
heartfelt efforts made this event happen!
We would love to return to Briarwood for another EKP
retreat. Because Briarwood is a non-profit, their room
and board fees are incredibly reasonable. Since
making EKP accessable to all who wish to be part of
it is one of my goals, working with Briarwood is a real
I am already making a list of people who would like
to attend the next EKP retreat, so if you would like to be
part of one, please let me know.
And on a very special note, Robert Vibert, our Canadian
participant, wrote a lovely poem as his follow-up
assignment from the retreat. With his permission, I
share it here.
"Where is it that my Heart feels safe?"
©2007 Robert S. Vibert
My heart, my heart
Hurt and shy
Peaks out from behind
Whatever protects and soothes it
It would feel safer, oh my heart
If I was listened to without judgment.
If I felt my space was respected.
If I felt I was accepted for who I am.
A safe place, a safe space
Where my heart can reveal what it carries inside
Where a tear might fall and be cherished
Not ridiculed or seen as an opening for attack
Leverage to be used to gain something from me
Which only leads to more sadness and retreat.
My heart longs for the day
When it can emerge into that
Safe place, that sanctuary
Draining away the pain and flourishing
In the bright light and joy
It keeps an eye out
Watching for that safe place
That safe opportunity
Hopeful yet cautious.
You can visit Robert's website at http://
www.Real-Personal-Growth.com to learn more about
To see the schedule for upcoming EKP Programs...
The Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network
programs for the 2007-2008 season are posted on