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
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
interested in studying EKP, please let me know.
The format will involve one weekend per month.
Come join us for the March 15,
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
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
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
comments and contributions are welcome, as always.
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
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
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
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
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
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....
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
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
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
1. Urge the Animal Rescue League of Boston (Jay
Bowen, President (617)266-5680
email@example.com) and MSPCA (Carter Luke
President (617)522-5055 firstname.lastname@example.org) and
Buddy Dog Humane Society
(Laurie Lincoln, Executive Director (978)443-6990
email@example.com )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?
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
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
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
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
- On-going Sunday EKP Monthly Process
To find out more....
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
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
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
"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
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
Share your reflections....
The Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network
programs for the 2007-2008 season are posted on