February 14, 2008 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue

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Happy Heart Day

Valentine's Day can be another one of those emotionally charged holidays (like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's), where we either count our blessings for having the love we want in our lives, or we feel the emptiness of the lack of a primary partner or other close relationships in our lives.

I like to re-frame Valentine's Day as a day to care for our own hearts--heart day, if you will. And focusing on good self-care and self-love are just as important as celebrating and being celebrated by others we love.

In that spirit, this special heart day edition of the newsletter has articles that focus on the care and feeding of our hearts.

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 and also visit www.circles of wisdom.org.

Canadian colleagues, Robert Masters and Diane Bardwell come to town to lead an introductory Transformation Through Intimacy workshop on Friday evening February 29 and a weekend workshop on Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2. Their work is powerful, leading edge, and not to be missed. Hope to see many of you at one of their two events. And Robert and Diane are available for individual and couple sessions while they are here in Boston too!

I will be offering another Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop on Saturday, March 15 from 1 - 4 pm. The January 26 workshop had a waiting list, so early registration is recommended.

Articles in this issue include an excerpt from Robert Augustus Masters' wonderful book Transformation Through Intimacy on The Need for Safety in Intimate Relationship, reflections from my friend since childhood (we were Girl Scouts together when I was 8 and she was 9!), Nan Dill, Resilience...With Heart, and an article written from my heart, Breaking Open the Broken Heart.

Your comments and contributions are welcome, as always.

Heartfully, Linda

 The Need for Safety In Intimate Relationship
 by Robert Augustus Masters

To go truly deep in an intimate relationship, we need to feel safe with our partner. We need to know--and know with our whole being--that we can trust them, and not just when we are with them.

This is a trust based not on thinking that we should trust them, but rather on feeling right to our core their trustworthiness-- their integrity, their reliability, their commitment to remaining present under all condiitons, their passion for accessing love, depth, and freedom with and through us.

If we cannot count on our partner to consistently take good care of the container of our relationship--as when energy is leaked through cracks created by erotically wandering attention--then we will find there is only so deep we can go with them.

If one partner is chronically calling the whole relationship into question every time there's a fight or conflict, then the other is probably going to become wary of opening fully.

Less safety means more shallow.

Making the ground of our relationship unnecessarily unstable--as when certain boundaries are overridden or trivialized in the name of "freedom"--keeps our relationship from being as deep and fulfilling as it could be. The point isn't to create a fortress of security, but to literally be a safe place for our partner to let go of playing it safe. Feeling safe is much more than just feeling secure!

Real safety creates an atmosphere in which we can give our all without giving ourselves away.

Real safety makes room for a radically deep sharing of all that we are. Without it, we may seem to be free to go where we could not otherwise go, but such freedom--in its relative superficiality--is actually far more limiting than is the freedom that arises in the presence of genuine safety between intimates.

The safer I feel with you, the deeper I can go with you. The safer I feel with you, the deeper the risks I can take with you. The safer I feel with you, the deeper and more fulfilling the passions are between us; anger becomes a guardian of intimacy, lust a magnifier of intimacy, and ecstasy a celebration of intimacy.

Real safety gives us room to show up in all our colors.

Such safety gives us permission to be in as much pain as we actually are, making possible the healing we need in order to come fully alive, the healing through which we are awakened by all things. What joy, what benediction, what grace, to share this is the dynamic safety possible in an intimate relationship!

©2007 Robert Augustus Masters This material is Chapter Thirty in Transformation Through Intimacy by Robert Augustus Masters.

For more information about Robert and his Transformation Through Intimacy work, check www.robertmasters.com.

Share your thoughts: 

 Resilience...With Heart
 by Nancy Dill

When life dips and bends, what happens to us? The difference between our desires and our realities...The gap between when the person we are dating decides s/ he loves us and when our heart opens (or doesn't)...

I am finding myself aware of this part of our human journey listening to a man I have been dating sharing his pain and anger that I have not fallen in love with him on the timeframe he wanted, supporting an old friend questioning how she can find the courage to enter into relationship again, feeling my own journey stretching me yet again.

Finding balance when we are closed down is relatively easy. Feeling in harmony when matched in falling in love is easy. How can we learn to be present to what is (and isn't) even when it doesn't match our wishes? How can we treat both the people in our lives and our own tender hearts with dignity, respect, understanding, trust, kindness, compassion, honesty and love during phases which aren't easy or clear, when our emotions are stirred, when our desires and others' aren't a match, and when there are few guideposts?

Standing in the presence of our own or others' unmet yearnings requires courage and resilience...and love. Yet is also frees us. It moves us from victims of circumstances to people who can hold the complexity of life's challenges with a calm heart. When I can compassionately hold the feelings that arise within me in my left hand and equally gently hold your feelings and perspective in my right, then I am capable of being the kind of person I most want to be. And in that moment, I feel my humanity at its best.

Nancy Dill is an Organizational Development Direct and Consultant. She integrates her deep, lifelong interest in personal growth and healing in her life and work.

You can reach her at nancy@nancydill.com.

Learn more about Nancy's work... 

 Breaking Open the Broken Heart

The word "heartbreak," evokes tension and dread. Who would consciously wish to lose a loved one, be rejected, or face the void that follows the loss of a love? The thought of this kind of loss, and the pain that accompanies it is terrifying. And the thought of facing the inevitable voide that follows the loss of a love is overwhelming. Yet, with all the complicated factors that contribute to relationships in today's world, heartbreak at one time or another, is virtually inevitable.

In response to the loss of a love, or anticipating a pending loss, many people shut down or tense up their hearts, trying to escape from the pain. Many people also self-medicate or anesthetize themselves withwork, alcohol, drugs, compulsive internet use, or by jumping too quickly into a new relationship. These are all ways to resist, suppress or numb out the deeper feelings in their broken hearts.

Sitting with the pain and fear of a broken heart takes great courage, and often, great support. Diving into the void is a hero's journey, yet one we have few models for. We fear that leaping into the void will annihilate us, rather than taking a risk that is well worth taking if one truly wants to heal and grow from such a profound and impactful loss.

There's the saying, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," and I think it really applies when a love is lost. We've all heard stories of people who've literally died of a broken heart. Like when a long-term partner leaves or dies, the remaining partner soon passes away. Yet, another far less visible response-- one whose visibility would actually do much good--is to embrace the depth of the loss, and to come out more whole. The image that illustrates this process for me is going through the eye of the needle by fire, and coming out the other side. It's very scary to do it. Fire can burn us, or even worse, take our lives. Yet, the fire can also purify us and burn away whatever layers we need to shed to grow and evolve.

Learning how to feel safe enough inside ourselves to go through the fire, to ride the rapids of our deepest feelings is a much needed, but sadly untaught skill. And learning how to slow down, to get grounded, to breathe, to create more space in our bodies and hearts so that we can truly BE WITH our deepest feelings as they bubble up and ask to flow through us, is another too often untaught skill that is very important to our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health.

I guess, when we are faced with enough loss, enough heart break, we are presented with sufficient opportunities to learn how to face and embrace this kind of pain and overwhelm, so we can grow deeper from it, and even transform the pain to open our hearts, rather than close them.

Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I have been given many, many opportunities to go through heartbreak in my life. And I have come to realize that by fully embracing all the feelings that come with the loss-- the pain, the anger, the fear of the void and the unknown, the lost hopes and dreams, the feelings of missing a loved one, the loss of sanctuary that a deep relationship brings, and the loss of soul deep connection in daily life--my heart breaks open and breaks through.

At times, I feel like I've been training, through no conscious choice of my own, for the emotional Olympics, building an emotional resilience I could have never imagined, until I found myself in the emotional embody-building gym again and again. Yet, having had the inner strength, having found the courage and learned many skills to go inside and ride the rapids, to feel the feelings that deep loss evokes, I have realized I now am stronger. And the pearl created inside this oyster is a much deeper compassion for myself, for my lost loved one, and for the others I encounter in my life.

I have learned to work really, really hard at putting myself in my lost loved one's shoes, and try to imagine what might be going on inside them to step away from what was once understood to be a very mutual love. And even if I can't understand it, I work very hard to embrace that this is just what my loved one has had to do. If I really love someone, I want the very best for them. And if the very best for them is to let them go, then to really love them is to let them go.

While this doesn't make the process of loss any easier, in time, it has brought me a sense of peace-- the kind of peace that comes with a sense of personal integrity, an integrity that comes with really embodying and living from my commitment to love.

I have learned to ask a loved one to give me the respect of having a process through which I can let go. The most painful thing for me is to just "cut something sacred off." I know this can happen with sudden death. In the blink of an eye, a loved one is gone. This happened to me when my mentor of 17 years died of a heart attack a number of years ago. But short of a sudden death, there can be some time set aside to go through a transition time, where both people consciously move through and work with their final time together in the spirit of letting go.

This transition time can be imbued with love, appreciation and respect. I find it easier to let go with love, than any other way. I find it easier to curl up and hold and be held tight before being released into the world raw and new. Perhaps this is some of what it feels like to be a baby, moving through the birth canal in the journey to be born. In this sense, losing a love and breaking open the heart is a process of being reconstituted, of being reborn.

What I certainly have learned is that breaking through a broken heart is much better than the alternative, which is internalizing the tension that comes with fear, pain and loss, and holding it inside. Held tension creates stress and taxes the heart. If I am physically held, it is much easier to release the tension I am holding inside. Being held--physically and emotionally--allows the deepest feelings to move through. Loving touch or embrace can provide the comfort needed to release what is most deeply held.

If our loved one has the space to hear us in our pain, to hold us in their arms, to nurture our souls as we prepare for the final separation, the sanctuary of the love and connection that has been the good in the relationship can become the birth chamber, rather than the cold dark isolation of being cut off and rejected. Not everyone is brave enough to journey through this kid of passage. A loved one leaving may feel their own pain and fear, sometimes layered with guilt and even doubts if their leaving is really the noble or right solution.

Leaving a relationship from a place of full heartpower takes as much courage as facing being left. How profoundly transformative it can be if two people hold each other close, mentally and emotionally put themselves in the other's shoes, and literally have compassion for the two sides of this heartbreaking coin. Breaking open the broken heart with love brings a deeper connection with self, with one's truth, and perhaps, ironically, with the loved one even as the separation process occurs. It allows the soul deep thread oflove to continue, even as the relationship ends. I would so much rather live with heartbreakthrough than a broken heart!

Share your thoughts... 

 Upcoming Groups, Workshops and Programs

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

February 29 is an introductory evening Transformation Through Intimacy Workshop with Robert Masters and Diane Bardwell in Newton, MA.

Their weekend retreat is full. However, this evening workshop will provide an opportunity to meet Robert and Diane and experience their powerful work.

Robert and Diane are available to do individual and couple sessions during their time in Boston. If you are interested in seeing them, let me know at LSMHEART@aol.com

March 15: Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop in Newton, 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 12-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.