May 1, 2008 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue

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One thing I look forward to each May is the flowering of the pink dogwood tree in the front of my house, that I can see in its full beauty seated in my rocking chair in my therapy office. The blossoms last just about a month, so I spent 11 months of each year anticipating them and one month taking them in. So, the month of May is my special month of visual beauty every day.

We still have a few more spaces in the Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop on Sunday, May 18 from 1- 5 pm in Newton. These groups have been deeply moving and richly rewarding experiences for those who want an experience of EKP when they can find a space in their busy lives.

We've scheduled an August 16 HTH workshop for those who can't make it on May 18.

As you will see in one of the articles in this issue How Much is Enough: Making Peace With Money, difficult economic times have led more people to ask me to run a session of "The Money Class. This coaching class meets weekly for 6 sessions, and provides a chance to look at how much is enough, and work through emotional blocks and obstacles in your relationship with money.

I am now actively taking applications for the EKP Apprenticeship Training Program. The first year of the program will begin in January 2009. Apprentices meet once a month for weekend sessions. I am exploring incorporating some Family Constellations work led by colleague Dan Cohen, into the program. If you are interested in discussing apprenticing, please write to me at LSMHEART@aol.com.

The Thursday night EKP Therapy Group has openings for a couple of new members. This is a mixed gender long-term committed group with a minimum 6 month commitment. An interview and one EKP session are required to apply for the group. Contact LSMHEART@aol.com for more information or to apply.

And the 2nd Annual EKP Cape Retreat November 14 - 16 at the Briarwood Conference Center in Bourne, MA, provides an intensive weekend experience of community, healing and EKP. It's not too early to register. Contact Gretchen Stecher at gwild7@verizon.net.

Canadian collegue Robert Vibert asked me to reflect on the never ending journey of inner work, and why when we think we've worked through something it most likely will come back again for yet another go at the very same issue. So, I have done so in the first article of this issue of the newsletter, "It Takes A Lifetime: The Humbling and Never Ending Journey of Inner Work."

And this issue also includes a photo by stroke survivor Sebouh Kandilian, whose photography and story offer a very poignant view of overcoming a profound health challenge, and letting the spirit prevail, Beauty Through the Lens of a Survivor's Eyes.

Your comments and contributions are welcome, as always.

Heartfully, Linda

 It Takes a Lifetime:
 The Humbling and Never Ending Journey of Inner Work

The journey of inner work is profoundly humbling. I can't tell you how many times friends and loved ones have said to me, "But I thought I talked about that in therapy years ago," or "I thought I was done with that one," when a painful issue from long ago resurfaces, still emotionally charged, in the here and now.

While it would nice to think that inner work and healing follows an intellectual/verbal, linear trajectory: an issue arises, you talk it through, it is resolved, and "poof"--it is gone forever, in the case of many wounds, that just isn't the way it works.

I know that I have found a handful of "sacred wounds" that resurface again and again over the course of my lifetime. These sacred wounds are some of the most core lessons and experiences I need to experience and learn in order to grow, heal and truly integrate the core of who I am moment to moment and over time.

Almost 25 years ago, when I was contemplating leaving the corporate world and doing something more aligned with my innermost self, I realized that personal growth happens in a spiral path. A friend of mine had given me a trochus shell, a beautiful, pearly pointed, cone shaped shell with a spiral running from its base to its apex.

In the very center of the shell was a spine--a straight line that ran from top to bottom. The distance from the base of the shell to the center was very large. As you traveled up the shell, the distance from the outside to the center grew smaller, as though each time you "go around" in life, you get a little bit closer to the essence of who you are.

The more times you've "been around," the more perspective you have. You realize that there are hard times and good times, and life cycles through both. When we are closer to the bottom of the shell, we may not realize that when facing a hard time, a better time might be just around the bend, literally. As we move up the spiral towards the apex, it is easier to see that things will indeed get better.

For me, finding the truth in the visual model the trochus shell offered me, helped me learn to have hope in really difficult times, and know there as indeed another side. And as I've traveled up the spiral through experiences over time, I have come to better savor the good moments, realizing how precious they are. Experiencing life as an unfolding upward spiral has strengthened my faith in difficult times, and brought me more resilience to ride through the inevitable ups and downs of life. And to accept the very humbling reality that I am human. And though I earnestly seek to learn, grow, heal and be a better person every day, I can have moments where my sacred wounds are triggered, and I need to do the inner work these triggers invite me to do.

Realizing that life is a process, and that the journey is indeed as important as the destination allows me to be more spacious with myself and the people who matter to me in my life. When I get into hard places with myself or with others, I know that to persist in untangling misunderstandings, miscommunications, mistakes and triggered places is well worth the effort, and ultimately far less painful than cutting things when times are tough.

I feel very sad when loved ones do cut things off and walk away when times get tough. I realize sometimes it is a way to protect oneself in the face of overwhelming pain. And when the walking away is a temporary pulling back to reground, regroup and get ready to re-engage, it feels more like a "time out" than a try withdrawal. And yet, the fear of doing emotional process work often does lead loved ones to shut down, pull away and close the door, perhaps because they truly don't know how to work through the block and move through to the other side.

It is a real pleasure to be able to work things through with someone who has "been around" enough in life, that they realize that no matter how much we don't want to hurt our loved ones, inevitably there will be moments when we do...and what matters is how we work through those moments. We can learn, deepen and grow, both within ourselves and in our relationships when we "go around" the spiral together- -in the moment and over time.

When we've "gone around" together, we learn to have perspective about our own triggers and the triggers of our loved ones, so we can anticipate what is needed to "get around" more smoothly in challenging situations. I feel that learning to work through the hard moments, within ourselves and with our loved ones, is one of the building blocks of sustained love and compassion.

The more times I've been around, the more humble I've become. I realize the journey is never over. My learning will never end. And that's okay. And that's good. And that's human. And in its own way, knowing this deep inside brings me peace.

Share your thoughts: 

 How Much Is Enough?
 Making Peace With Money

We are living in a very difficult time economically. Costs for basic necessities like food for our families, gas for our cars, and oil for our homes are skyrocketing. Many people are caught in the home foreclosure tidal wave. The gap between the very wealthy few and everyone else is growing. I see the impact of economic stress on people more and more every day.

I have been leading a workshop called "The Money Class" for nearly 25 years, helping people look at what money means to them and how to overcome emotional blocks and obstacles in their relationship with money. The workshop asks people to dig deep to answer the question "how much is enough?" to help them get really grounded about money.

When I first started leading the class in the early 1980's, people were attracted to it because they wanted to have a more conscious, empowered relationship with money. If a person got clear on their values, worked through their emotional money blocks, were willing to do the practical work of tracking what came in and what went out money-wise, and applied some diligent effort to work towards their goals over time, s/he stood a good chance of being successful and feeling empowered in his/her money life.

In the 1980's and 1990's, saving and investing to build financial security, seemed much more attainable. For many people, including the middle class, hard work and good money management skills resulted in financial health. Money saved could grow with interest. And mutual funds offered a chance for the average American to invest in the stock market and build a portfolio.

Unfortunately, the most recent years have wreaked havoc for many on the money frontier. As Americans became enamored with bigger houses, borrowing on the equity in their homes for fancier renovations, and living on credit, the question "how much is enough?" no longer had the grounding effect that it did in the 1980's and 1990's. When I led "The Money Class," more people were focused on how to manage over-extended budgets than on how to define what they really needed to be grounded and at peace.

Courses on "how to have it all" and "how to manifest money effortlessly through your thoughts" became a lot more sexy than a class on how to get grounded in your relationship with money and define what you REALLY need to be yourself in this world. Looking at how to attract all the material possessions that comprise "the good life" as advertised in today's media captivated the hearts and minds of many people, who once would have been interested in "The Money Class," with the same magical power as borrowing on the perceived equity of one's home,

Today, so many people have found themselves overextended, as housing prices have fallen, often below the value of the credit extended on a home, and the "necessary luxuries" that too many people grew accustomed to, seem out of reach. Having enough for life's daily necessities is taking energy away from dreams of McMansions, new SUV's and the latest in big screen tv technology.

One thing I observed: While many people coveted having bigger, fancier, more modern houses and technological possessions, having "more" or overextending oneself in the pursuit of having more didn't seem to bring people peace. And as the spectre of fertile economic conditions for "more, more, more" has evaporated, in the seeming blink of an eye, people have awakened realizing the dream they bought into actually betrayed them. What I have found is that finding a very personal answer to the question, "what do you need to be yourself in this world?" helps one find peace with money. Money, at its very best, is a means towards an end, and the more meaningful the ends, the more meaningful our relationship with money can be. We need to know what really matters to us before we can define the things we need to have and do to have purposeful, meaningful lives. And only this kind of insight can truly answer the question "how much is enough?"

Perhaps it is a time to go back to basics, and look at values closer to our heart. We surely deserve to have our basic human needs provided for. And many of those things we most truly need, are things that money can't buy. I have watched too many people spending all of their time and life's energy working, working, working in pursuit of more money for seemingly necessary but truly unnecessary necessities. No time for close relationships. No time for self-care. No time to laugh, play, relax or have fun. And no time to look at how they might be connected in to the larger community or world.

To make peace with money, we need to have introspective time to look at what we really need. And that means we need to value our inner life and worldly actions at least as much as we value material possessions.

In the meantime, 1-800-GOT-JUNK and self-storage facilities, are having a field day as we try to figure out what to do with all the clutter that fills our homes and our lives.

The Money Class has traditionally been offered as a 6 week coaching class, with homework in between sessions. A new session will begin on Tueday, July 12 meeting from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm in Newton. I have been asked if I can offer The Money Class in a daylong intensive format.

Tell me what works best for you: LSMHEART@aol.com.

Would "The Money Class" be helpful for you? 

 Beauty Captured Through the Lens of A Survivor's Eyes
 The Photography of Sebouh Kandilian

Sebouh's Photo When Sebouh Kandilian was just 22 years old, his life changed in an instant. He suffered a hemorraghic brainstem stroke. While working at the computer, he felt his right cheek go numb. He told his mother, and soon he could barely stand or speak. It was a stroke.

Surgery helped to stop the stroke, but it caused many kinds of permanent damage. In spite of all this, Sebouh is grateful to be cognitively intact and to live with only the physical limitations. He was determined to recover as best he can, and his first step was walking again. This was no easy pursuit, or as he says, "like bootcamp." But Sebouh slowly progressed from the wheelchair through the walker and cane to walking on his own.

Sebouh had just graduated from college as a premed major, hoping one day to be an eye doctor. The stroke unfortunately changed the course of his life, leaving him with a number of neurological deficits. However, he has persevered and gained many valuable life lessons as he has faced his challenges. He is committed to doing the very best he can in any situation. So, what a joy to be bringing his passion and energy to his new love--photography.

Sebouh is a believer in the saying "where there is a will, there is a way." Many people ask how he can handle these difficulties so well and he says it really has to do with the way you look at things. Having originally hoped to work with the human eye and lens, it seems fitting that he has dedicated himself to working with the lens of the camera.

The photo included here is a favorite of Sebouh's of the Charles River. Sebouh is a membert of the Boston Photography Center which was founded to share ideas and knowledge and to promote the advancement of the art of photography in MA.

Sebouh's photographs are available for purchase on his website www.sebouh.9f.com. You can write to him at Kan0085@aol.com.

You can view more of Sebouh's photographs... 

 Upcoming Groups, Workshops and Programs

For an afternoon of healing community and the power of the heart, come to the Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop on Sunday, May 18 from 1 - 5 pm in Newton. We've added an hour to the workshop, but kept the fee at $50. To register, contact LSMHEART@aol.com.

If you can't make May 18, we will be offering another Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop on August 16, also from 1 - 5 pm in Newton.

The Money Class is a six week coaching class that helps you make peace with money. Work through emotional blocks and obstacles, explore how much is enough and take action steps to meet your goals. 11:30 am - 1:30 pm in Newton. Daylong intensive workshop is also available. Contact LSMHEART@aol.com.

If you'd like to spend a weekend in a nurturing and beautiful Cape Cod location while enjoying the healing and heartfulness of an intensive EKP group, please come to our 2nd Annual EKP Cape Retreat the weekend of November 14 - 16. For more information or to register, contact Gretchen Stecher at gwild7@verizon.net.

The next EKP Apprenticeship Training will begin in January 2009. The apprentice group meets one weekend a month. The program is a four year cycle. The first two years focus on learning skills and concepts of EKP with ones peers, including the very popular second year study of body-centered developmental psychology. The second two years are clinical years, where apprentices get to work with guest clients in our student clinic. If you are interested in apprenticing, contact LSMHEART@aol.com. An interview and one EKP session are required to apply to the first year apprenticeship training group.

EKP opportunities in Newton include:

  • Being a guest client in the Student Clinic
  • On-going Thursday night EKP Body Psychotherapy Group (which currently has room for a couple new members)
  • On-going Sunday EKP Monthly Process Group

If you would like a Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop near you, or have a group of people who you would like to bring EKP to, please contact LSMHEART@aol.com.

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.