February 2008 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue
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The January newsletter generated a great deal of reader feedback. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and share your thoughts.

I've devoted a whole section of this month's newsletters to your comments, Community Voices.

Robert Masters and Diane Bardwell will be coming to Boston from Canada for the first time at the end of the month to offer their wonderful Transformation Through Intimacy work.

Their very special weekend workshop, which is limited to 12, is full. I am taking names for a waiting list. And also for people who would like to participate in another workshop with Robert and Diane, should I bring them back to Boston in the not so distant future.

Robert and Diane are also doing an Introductory Transformation Through Intimacy workshop on Friday night, February 29 from 7 - 9:30 pm in Newton. This workshop is only $50, and is a great way to get a taste of Robert and Diane and their powerful work.

Robert and Diane will also being seeing individuals and couples for private sessions on Friday, February 29 in the afternoon and Tuesday, March 4 and Wednesday, March 5. To sign up for a session, please contact LSMHEART@aol.com.

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:

The EKP Student Clinic has gotten underway. We are seeking clients for the EKP Student Clinic beginning in April. If you would like to experience free or low cost EKP sessions, with third year apprentices, let me know.

I am still gathering people who are interested in apprenticing in EKP. Once we have a critical mass, the new 2008 apprentice group will begin their training. If you are interested in studying EKP, please let me know. The format will involve one weekend per month.

Come join us for the March 15, Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop in Newton. This workshop 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 and also visit www.circles of wisdom.org.

Articles in this issue include an offering from the more personal of world, Nurturing Goodwill: 10 Tips for a More Intimate Relationship,, Right Use of Will, the wonderful work of colleague Cedar Barstow, and What's Right About What's Wrong in Relationships, a reflection on some profound thoughts Robert Masters shares in his wonderful book, Transformation Through Intimacy.

Your comments and contributions are welcome, as always.

Heartfully, Linda

 Nurturing Goodwill
 10 Tips for a More Intimate Relationship

Generating goodwill creates the environment for a more intimate relationship. Gestures of goodwill are very powerful, and make each partner feel safe, respected and loved. Being able to appreciate the good qualities in your partner, and learning what they need to feel loved and appreciated help set the backdrop for nurturing goodwill.

Here are 10 ways to create more intimacy in your relationship through generating goodwill:

1.SLOW DOWN: Too often, we live our lives in motion, doing, doing, doing. We don't take the time to smell the roses, or appreciate the good qualities in our partner or our relationship. We need to consciously take the time to slow down and reflect on what we appreciate, and to actually feel how much these qualities matter.

2. CHUNK IT DOWN: When people speak to each other, too often it is through a sequence of long monologues, rather than a back and forth volley of short comments or reflections. Speaking in 1 - 2 minute chunks, rather than 5 - 20 minute expressions, allows more two-way communication to take place. It's easier to absorb small sound bites than complex monologues.

3. ACTIVELY LISTEN: Active listening is an important skill for communication and connection. How do you do it? After one person has spoken for 1 - 2 minutes, have the listener reflect back what they heard...and check out, "did I get it?" Allow the speaker to tune anything that needs tuning...and then have the listener reflect back the tuning, again asking, "did I get it?" Do as many rounds of tunings and reflective corrections as necessary until the listener feels like, "Yes, you've got it!" Then reverse roles.

4. LEARN WHAT YOUR PARTNER NEEDS: Find out what your partner needs to feel appreciated, and give it to them. DIfferent things make us feel appreciated, and without asking, what we offer as signs of appreciation, however well-intentioned, may be off the mark. Being able to give your partner what makes them feel good generates lots of good will.

5. DAILY APPRECIATION: Try to offer at least one appreication of your partner each day. Appreciation feeds connection. And connection deepens intimacy.

6. BE PRESENT WITH AND ACCOUNTABLE ABOUT YOUR TRIGGERS: We can't necessarily guarantee that we won't get triggered by something our partner says or does. However, we can become vigilant about noticing when we are triggered, and learn how to manage our triggers, so we don't jab our partner with our triggered behavior. If you feel triggered, slow down and notice how you feel in your body, what triggered you, and what you need to regain your sense of grounding. It is very different to regain your center and say, "I am triggered," than to act from a place of being triggered.

7. GET HELP TO DISMANTLE YOUR TRIGGERS: Therapy is a good place to do this work. Yet, even journaling after a triggered reaction can help you become more aware of what is going on internally and relationally for you. Reflect and write about when you were triggered, what triggered you, how you reacted, how you felt in your body when you were triggered, what you really needed, what would help you get centered again, and waht would help you slow down when you feel triggered. Self-reflective work builds awareness. And once you are more aware, in addition to working on your behavior, you can also share your learnings with your partner.

8. HAVE SAFE SPACES TO VENT: There are times when we all need to vent. And being able to vent is important at those times--especially in safe, supportive spaces outside the relationship. Venting to an appropriate listener can help us unravel our triggers, and then be able to communicate more effectively with our partners. There are times we can vent to our partners, especially about a bad day at work, or a challenge we are facing with other people. It is easier to be a supportive listener to a partner venting about another part of their lives than it is to be on the receiving end of your partner's venting about you. A trusted friend, family member or counselor can both listen and reflect back helpful feedback on how to work out whatever is difficult.

9. OPEN YOUR HEART TO YOUR PARTNER: The more you are able to open your heart to your partner, the more your partner will feel loved by you. We all have blocks to opening our hearts and receiving love. Past hurts, disappointments, rejections and abandonments teach us to protect our hearts, so we don't get hurt again. Finding ways to heal from past hurts, and learn to love safely in the present are important to being able to open your heart fully to give your love to your partner and receive your partner's love.

10. MAKE TIME FOR NURTURING TOUCH: While talk is important for deepening intimacy, regular times where you exchange emotionally safe, nurturing touch is even more important. Touch creates a sense of connection that goes deeper than words. Remember to ask your partner what would feel like safe and nurturing touch, and then give it to them. Nurturing touch creates safety, and helps us open our hearts.

Share your thoughts: 

 Right Use of Power
 Ethics as Soul Work

I've known Cedar Barstow for more than twenty years, since we connected through the Hakomi world. Hakomi, for those of you who are not familiar with it, is a wonderful body psychotherapy method developed by Ron Kurtz, which is a foundational piece of EKP. In EKP, when we teach developmental psychology, we use the Hakomi model of developmental stages, wounds and healing tasks.

Cedar's work has evolved to include "right use of power," which looks at ethics from a soul-deep point of view. Cedar writes, "Right use of power and influence is the biggest container for ethics since it includes social consciousness and personal development. In this greatest context, it is about reverence for life, treating all people with respect, and acting honorably. It requires a high level of consciousness development and understanding of both harm and empowerment."

Cedar identifies 9 things that are asked of us in order to live in this way:

1. On-going personal and spiritual work

2. An ability to be authentic, and at the same time, be in service to others.

3. The humility to know and take responsibility when we've made a mistake or inadvertently caused harm.

4. A level of transcendence in which we can put our own needs aside in order to be of service.

5. An ability to foster independence even when we're being depended upon for our helpfulness.

6. Thorough knowledge of Self and an ability to use our strengths as resources and minimize the impact of our vulnerabilities.

7. A capacity to be in the presence of suffering and woundedness with compassion, without dissociating, numbing or getting overwhelmed.

8. A call to "make real" our gifts and intentions.

9. A willingness to use power and influence.

How do we nourish our souls when we engage in right relationship with others?

Cedar identifies four essential resources to cultivate:

1. Gratitude. Gratitude clears out stress and focuses our attention on the goodness around us.

2. Honoring grief over the suffering around us. Cedar says we do this by taking it into our hearts. This allows us to move it through our bodies and souls so we don't have to become numb or traumatized.

3. Having a practice of contemplation or prayer. This keeps our hearts, and right brain hemispheres open to information beyond our sensory signals. This is information from the medium that connects us all.

4. Linking power and heart. Cedar says, "When the generativity and responsiveness of our power is guided by loving concern for the well-being of all, we will have an ethical and sustainable world."

For more information about Cedar's work.... 

 Community Voices
 Responses to the January Newsletter

I was delighted to receive many e-mails in response to the January newsletter. With permission, I am sharing some of them here.

In response to the "rent-a-dog" article:

Thanks, Linda, for articulating what I felt when I saw the news item on the rent-a-dog, but could not put into words. I admire your passion and commitment to keeping meaningful connections front and center in our awareness. And for these newsletters which give me pause to reflect. The quality of the contents always makes me want to open it, rather than "Delete!" Thanks!

--Carol Bedrosian

FlexPetz suggested in the Boston Globe that it's "rescuing" shelter dogs. Unfortunately, the Globe didn't print the rebuttal. That is, the most rentable shelter dogs are obviously the most adoptable: the cutest, friendliest, well-mannered young animals. Removing them from their opportunity for a stable, forever home and turning them into profit centers is exploitation, not rescue. Dogs need a consistent caregiver and environment. They deserve a stable, forever home. Renting deprives them of both. And sadly, by constantly breaking bonds with a succession of humans, this practice teaches them to distrust humans, say animal advocates.

If FlexPetz succeeds, people over time will accept renting sentient beings as the norm--and that can only lead to an epidemic of animal abandonment and abuse. It's akin to the dumbing down of America, except it's our compassion and empathy that will be eroded. Dog-rental businesses, which trade on desensitization of humans, commoditization of animals, feed off and support other forms of animal exploitation, from puppy mills to dog fighting. And they make us a less civil society. Is that what you want for your children and theirs?

Here are ways you can help ensure it doesn't happen:

1. Urge the Animal Rescue League of Boston (Jay Bowen, President (617)266-5680 jbowen@arlboston.org) and MSPCA (Carter Luke President (617)522-5055 info@mspca.org) and Buddy Dog Humane Society (Laurie Lincoln, Executive Director (978)443-6990 info@buddydoghs.org )to conduct public education-- beyond their own websites--that will refute the FlexPetz hype and alert people to the downside of renting dogs. Dog rental buseinsses can't exist without a market! It's important they act now, before dog rentals become an unstoppable trend.

2. Counter the spin: when you see print coverage of FlexPetz, write a letter to the editor. If it's a broadcast report, call the news director and insist the station present a counterpoint from an animal behaviorist, vet or animal welfare organization. Call in to radio shows. Start your own blog.

3. Contact your vet, animal hospital, dog groomer, dog walker and tell them to speak out.

4. Educate your friends. Encourage them to play with neighbors' dogs, become dog walkers or volunteer at shelters if they want part-time contact with a pet.


In response to ezine articles.com:

Karen Axelrod asked me:

How did you become a platinum-level expert author? And what makes it a premier site for online articles?

My response:

Initially a writer submits an article to ezinearticles. com. Their team of editors reviews the article and determines whether they will accept and print it or not.

If you are accepted, there are different levels of rating. Expert is the highest level you can be rated. If you are rated "expert," you are placed in the highest trafficked part of the website.

An accepted author is allowed to submit 10 articles to ezinearticles.com for review. If you have 10 articles accepted, you can apply to submit more articles. You are asked why you are applying to submit more articles and a bit about your background. Their editorial team reviews your application and decides if you can submit more articles.

Platinum-level is the highest level of author ranking. If you are accepted as a platinum-level author, you can submit as many articles as you want for review and publication.

Ron Pramschufer, who is the founder of RJ Communications and booksjustbookz..com, reviewed ezine sites in his monthly e-newsletter, and ezinearticles was given top rating. Having looked into submitting articles to some of the other sites, I agree. Ezinearticles is extremely well run and professional. It is easier to submit an article to their site than others I had tried. They get good traffic. Their founder, Chris Knight, is a super manager.

in response to an article on gender:

I am an instructor at a community college in Nashua, NH. I would like to use your reading on Gender from this newsletter as one of my readings when I cover gender and human growth and development. May I have permission to use the article as I feel it is an excellent overview discussing the myth of polarity in gender in humans?

I also wish to thank you for all the work you do in this world to help people heal. I hope at some point to attend one of your workshops and meet you in person. I enjoy your newsletter and find your articles meaningful and hopeful to me in my work both with students and Psychotherapy clients.

--Gail McMorrow Donahue

To see the schedule for upcoming EKP Programs... 

 Upcoming Groups, Workshops and Programs

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

March 15: Healing the Traumatized Heart Introductory Workshop in Newton. 1- 4 pm.
Friday, February 29 Robert Masters and Diane lead an introductory Transformation Through Intimacy workshop in Newton from 7 - 9:30 pm. The fee is $50. Register with LSMHEART@aol.com.

March 1 - 2 is the Transformation Through Intimacy Weekend Workshop with Robert Masters and Diane Bardwell in Newton, MA.

If you are interested in doing core level healing and growth work to deep your most important relationships and/or attract a truly sustainable relationship into your life, please consider being part of this very special, one time event.

The workshop is now fully enrolled.

Write to me at LSMHEART@aol.com if you are interested in being on the waiting list or part of a future program with Robert and Diane.

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... 

 What's Right About What's Wrong in Relationship
 Reflections on Transformation Through Intimacy by Robert Augustus Masters

In Healing the War Between the Genders: The Power of the Soul-Centered Relationship, I offer a roadmap of the journey of intimate relationship. Sadly, most of us enter intimate relationship with no such roadmap. So, when we hit the inevitable obstacles, bumps, fears, doubts and even "not working" places that intimate relationship invites us to face and embrace, we often get off the boat rather than ride through the rapids into deeper and smoother sailing.

I call the first phase of a relationship, where new relationship energy and limerance often run the show, the "getting to know you phase." This phase can last 5 minutes, 5 months or 5 years, depending on the partners, their journey and how their triggers interweave. During the "getting to know you phase," falling in love seems natural, and the upside of chemistry often leads partners into a space of joy and bliss. Besides putting our best foot forward, and projecting our hopes and dreams onto what is in many ways an empty canvas, we are often enjoying the new connection, and the opportunity to have our need to love and be loved met and fulfilled.

Since intimate relationships are ultimately an opportunity to have a real-time mirror to reflect back to us our undeveloped pieces, our unhealed raw edges, our unvoiced needs and desires, and any unfinished business from childhood, self- development or past relationships, sooner or later, we hit a new and deeper zone of relationship, which I call "the shadowlands." Sadly, because we lack the roadmap, we don't recognize that: 1. hitting the shadowlands is inevitable, 2. hitting the shadowlands is an indication the relationship has deepened and has an opportunity to deepen still and 3. the appearance of the shadowlands signals it's time for us to do our own inner work and our joint relationship work.

Because the shadowlands feel hard, bumpy, scary, uncomfortable, and overwhelming (among other things), and not light, fun and easy like the "getting to know you" phase, many people feel that the relationship "isn't working" and either put up walls to stay, disconnect or conclude "the relationship isn't working" and leave. Very sad. And a big loss for both partners.

In his book, Transformation Through Intimacy, Robert Augustus Masters, speaks very eloquently to the importance of working through what isn't working in his third chapter entitled, "What's Right About What's Wrong in Relationship." I wanted to share some of his more poignant passages, because I feel that he very eloquently explains WHY it is not only worth hanging in there and working through the shadowlands, but really essential for the evolution of a deep, mutual, sustainable intimate relationship.

Robert begins, "Intimate relationship promises much, but only delivers what we put into it. We need to ask not only what we want from such relationships, but also what we are willing to do to manifest that. Wanting to be cocooned or secured through relationship is very different than wanting to be healed, awakened and deepened through relationship. If we really want the latter, we need to open to what it will--and has to--ask of us, knowing that it won't necessarily be an easy ride, at least not until we are stably established at a being-centered stage of relationship."

When Robert speaks of the being-centered stage of relationship, he is referring to a very deep, fully embodied space of relationship, where we have gone and are willing to continue to go through the eye of the needle by fire of whatever emotional wounds, limits, barrriers and obstacles we may have in order to integrate our desires with our ability to act on them, where we can open our hearts and embrace what is scary, painful or not working to transform and transmute it to deepen intimacy.

This may sound like a lofty, and perhaps even unattainable goal. However, while lofty, I do believe it is attainable by becoming more and more courageous and valuing the fruits that come from emotional work-- embracing both our relationships and our own personal inner work with all of our hearts.

Robert notes, "It is the very difficulties that arise as we more deeply enter relationship which provide most of the raw material for reaching the depth and ease of relationship for which we yearn." Sadly, because most people don't realize this, they run away from, rather than to what is hard, scary or not working.

Robert continues, "real relationships, relationships rooted in love and a mutual commitment to waking up, are not only less nice and more challenging than we thought, but also more messy. So many relationships suffer from "sloppy dialogue, emotional illiteracy, go-nowhere arguments, little cruelties, everyday stupidities, mismatched desires, mechanical rituals, halfheartedness, putting off what needs to be done...." And, "if left undealt with, this leaves our lives debilitatingly messy, no matter how well-scrubbed our place and face is."

In the being-centered stage of relationship that Robert describes, we are able to move through these habits, "which have gotten away with referring to themselves as us, but now cannot do so for long, as we, more and more, learn to relate to, rather than from them."

"Intimate relationship not only includes the mingling and encounter of differences, but also, sooner or later, catalyzes a blatant exaggeration or flaring-up of differences, a vividly dramatized exposure--however unwittingly animated!--of various oppositions, impasses, difficult mixes, and overdefended positionings that would have otherwise more than likely remained more camoflauged or untouched."

"As unpleasant as this might feel--and the worse it feels, the more valuable it likely is--it signals a great opportunity to know ourselves more fully, because so much of what needs to be worked through for our own maturation is right before us, literally outfront and in our face, inviting us, for starters, to openly face it."

"Intimate relationship thus provides an environment, both outer and inner, wherein what we do not like or do not want to know--or simply do not know--about ourselves is given center stage, just like a dream."

"If we take hold of it, we start to recognize what's right about what's wrong; we treat the shit as compost; we let the pain tear open our heart; we learn to love when we are not being loved or don't feel loved, and to give what we ache to be given."

Ultimately, relationship is a container for emotional and spiritual growth and evolution. The alchemy that takes place when two hearts, two spirits, two bodies, two souls journey side by side over time provides an environment that can heal us, enliven us, express us and fulfill us, but to get there, we do need to go through the eye of the needle by fire. Again and again.

As my mentor, Stan Dale used to say, "fear is false evidence appearing real," and "every communication is either love or a cry for love." If only we could recognize these heart's truths. Then our tears and pain would be far better investments in our emotional and relational future, rather than an empty downward spiral that feels like a broken record that can't get unstuck.

Share your reflections.... 

The Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network programs for the 2007-2008 season are posted on www.sexspirit.net.