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

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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 world.

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 to Circles of Wisdom Bookstore in Andover, MA. You can check the calendar at www.healingheartpower.com for details.

Articles in this issue include a look at the very personal, 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 cornerstone of EKP.

Your 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 context.

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!

Heartfully, Linda

 Isolation and Solitude:
 Hazardous to Your Health Versus Sustaining to Your Spirit

In our busy lives, having some quiet time alone can feel like a much needed, and far too rare, breath of fresh 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, others, and the spiritual dimension of life. Solitude offers a space of reconnection, revitalization and renewal.

Solitude is something we most often seek out consciously. We make a choice to step off the treadmill of daily life, away from even loved ones to be able to tune in to our 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 oneself."

Sadly, another and far less healthy 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 all alone.

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 experience.

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 social isolation?

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 population.

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 they have.

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 the environment
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 factor.
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 $6.2 trillion.

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 planet.

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 gift.

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 his work.

To see the schedule for upcoming EKP Programs... 

 Upcoming Groups, Workshops and Programs

Linda will be leading a workshop at First Event in Andover, MA the weekend of January 18 - 20.

January 26: Healing the Traumatized Heart Introductory Workshop in Newton. 1- 4 pm.

February 24: Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop at Circles of Wisdom Bookstore in Andover, MA. 1 - 4 pm.

EKP opportunities in Newton include:
  • Being a guest client in the Student Clinic
  • Apprenticing in EKP
  • On-going Thursday night EKP Body Psychotherapy Group
  • On-going Sunday EKP Monthly Process Group

To find out more.... 

 About Linda

Me and Flora 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.