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
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
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
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
And this issue also includes a photo by stroke survivor
Sebouh Kandilian, whose photography and story offer
poignant view of overcoming a profound health
challenge, and letting the spirit prevail, Beauty
Through the Lens of a Survivor's Eyes.
comments and contributions are welcome, as always.
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
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
for basic necessities like food for our families, gas for
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
everyone else is growing. I see the impact
stress on people more and more every day.
I have been leading a workshop called "The Money
for nearly 25 years, helping people look at what
money means to them and how to overcome
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
When I first started leading the class in the
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
were willing to do the practical work of
came in and what went out money-wise, and
some diligent effort to work towards their
time, s/he stood a good chance of being successful
in his/her money life.
In the 1980's and 1990's, saving and
investing to build
financial security, seemed much more
many people, including the middle class, hard
and good money management skills resulted in
financial health. Money saved could grow with
interest. And mutual funds offered a chance
average American to invest in the stock
build a portfolio.
Unfortunately, the most recent years have
havoc for many on
the money frontier. As Americans became
with bigger houses, borrowing on the equity
homes for fancier renovations, and living on
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
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,
below the value of the credit extended on a
the "necessary luxuries" that too many people
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:
Would "The Money Class" be helpful for you?
Beauty Captured Through the Lens of A Survivor's Eyes
The Photography of Sebouh Kandilian
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
You can view more of Sebouh's photographs...
Upcoming Groups, Workshops and Programs
For an afternoon of healing community and the power
the heart, come to the Healing the Traumatized
Heart workshop on Sunday, May 18 from 1 - 5 pm
Newton. We've added an hour to the workshop, but
the fee at $50. To register, contact
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
To find out more....
The Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network
programs for the 2007-2008 season are posted on