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

Join our mailing list!

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I can sort of be two places at the same time. As you receive this newsletter, I will actually be in Ireland, and probably far from any internet access!

I am happy to announce two exciting upcoming EKP events: the EKP Student Clinic at the Spirit of Change Expo in Sturbridge, MA on Saturday, September 27, and Body Psychotherapy and the Heart for Health Professionals,a daylong workshop on Sunday, March 1 at the New England School of Acupuncture.

This year, the Institute for EKP will participate fully in the 2nd Spirit of Change Expo, with a booth on September 27 and 28, a student clinic from 11 am - 5 pm on Saturday, September 27 where our 3rd year apprentices will be doing 30 minute sessions in a private space, and an "Embracing the Power of the Heart workshop on Saturday, September 27 from 6 - 8 pm. All are in Sturbridge, MA. This is a wonderful community event, and we'd love to see you there.

We are excited about the workshop at NESA, since this will provide an opportunity to bring EKP tools to both acupuncturists and other health professionals. The workshop runs from 9 - 5 pm and will be in Watertown, MA.

I am delighted to report that I attended Young@Heart's first Boston concert on June 20th, and they lit the house on fire. I am working on an article about the chorus for the winter issue of Spirit of Change. The three chorus members I have interviewed have amazing and inspiring stories, and are truly heart-warming people. I greatly look forward to interviewing founder and artistic director Bob Cilman when I return from Ireland.

We still have a few more spaces in the Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop on Saturday, August 16 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.

As gas has reached $4/gallon and heating oil costs have skyrocketed, "The Money Class. is perhaps very timely. 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.

Articles in this issue include : "Finding the Wisdom in Our Tension and Pain," an interview with my colleague of more than two decades, Rolfer Garret Whitney, "Four Energies That Spark Sexual Desire," drawing from my colleague Gina Ogden's new book The Return of Desire, and "Freeing the Heart Behind Bars" about 3rd year EKP apprentice Larry Cotton's work with men in prison.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 Finding the Wisdom in Our Tension and Pain
 The Benefits of Rolfing

Garret Whitney has practiced Rolfing for 25 years, and came to his work through personal experience.

Garret acknowledges a scientific orientation when looking at healing methods. "I tend to get involved in things I have evidence for, or that work based on direct experience." As a 21-year-old, Garret suffered from chronic knee pain, and was told by doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital that he had just 6 months to walk. Instead of giving up, Garret researched different approaches that might help his knees, and discovered Rolfing.

"Rolfing fixed my knee pain. I became pain free and have never had knee pain again. I learned that the knee pain was the result of repeated ankle injuries and the structural adaptations I made. Rolfing not only fixed my knees, but also made some other changes. During my Rolfing series, the way I experienced myself and the world changed. This included old pain, fears, limitations and limiting postures in the world. They all changed. It looked like the world itself was changing."

Although Rolfing made a lasting impression, Garret didn't train to become a Rolfer until a number of years later. In the interim, he pursued a lifelong interest in psychological and spiritual growth for five years, and worked for a human potential training organization and studied other healing methods including Hakomi with Ron Kurtz, Zero Balancing with Fritz Smith, and massage. Then, in 1982 Garret began studying with the Rolf Institute to become a Certified Rolfer, and after completing the advanced Rolf training in 1986, became a Certified Advanced Rolfer.

In the 1920's, Ida Rolf develop Structural Integration, a revolutionary healing approach that focused on physical imbalances in the body, that she saw as responsible for much chronic pain and other physical limitations. However, Rolfers noticed that in addition to physical responses, clients were also experiencing emotional responses to Rolfing. "People get Rolfed to work with chronic pain, for personal exploration and for increased performance. Rolfing has been used as an adjunct to psychotherapy since it become popular in the 1960's," notes Garret. "Rolfing is not a substitute for psychotherapy for people who want it. However, it does have effects that are useful."

"Our hyper-focused highly mental and competitive culture makes it difficult for people to get in touch with the full range of their experience. Rolfing helps people get in touch with these deeper dimensions," reflects Garret. "For example, fear manifests itself as muscle tension in the body. For most of us, this process is unconscious, so what we experience is tension or pain. By working to increase direct awareness of the self and the body, clients can learn to focus, perceive and let go. Clients get better faster when they are in touch with the felt sense of themselves."

Rolfing is also great for developing mindfulness, allowing one to notice and witness their thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. "I tend to emphasize awareness along with the actual Rolfing work," says Garret. "This adds to the effects of Rolfing and helps make the results last."

For those new to Rolfing, it is formatted as a ten session series, working with different aspects of structure. The Rolfer assesses the client's structure and posture, and sets a series of structural goals to restore and enhance balance. For example, freeing and expanding the breathing, balancing the head on the spine and balancing the bones of the foot could be structural goals. Each client's series is custom designed, based on their individual needs. After completing the initial series of ten sessions, an individualized plan can be made for the client, and future sessions can be done in smaller groups of 1 - 3, if deired.

Garret practices in Concord and Brighton, and gives free consultations. You can reach him at (978)371-2188 or garretwhitney@comcast.net. His website is www.garretwhitney.com.

To learn more about Rolfing and Garret's work... 

 Four Energies That Spark Sexual Desire:
 From The Return of Desire by Gina Ogden

Sexuality is a whole person experience: mind, body, spirit, heart and soul. In her new book, The Return of Desire: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Sexual Passion, Gina Ogden writes about "the four energies that spark sexual desire."

"Engaging in the search for your sources of sexual desire means activating all your energies of body, mind, heart and spirit," writes Ogden. "This holds true no matter what your age or your prior history--and it may hold true even if you're not consciously aware you're activating them."

The four pathways are:

1. Physical Energy: The Path of Sensation

This may be the pathway we most immediately think of to spark sexual desire. Ogden points out that while we most often think about activities related to sexual performance, "that is, genital touching and intercourse with a goal of orgasm," many other parts of the body are actually erogenous zones, and that "our whole bodies cry out to be touched." Connecting "hugging, kissing, massage, a sensuous bath," to "zeroing in on homing sites" enriches and expands our full body sensual experience.

2. Emotional Energy: The Path of Passion and Compassion

Ogden writes, "Emotional energy is as integral to sexual desire as physical energy is--and it's almost as palpable." Expressing love, caring and empathy open both the body and the heart. Feeling emotional safety increases receptivity and pleasure, and allows full self-expression.

Perhaps it's this emotional energy that really distinguishes "just having physical sex and making love--with a full range of affection and concern for each other."

3. Mental Energy: The Path of Discernment

We use our mental energy in many different ways that relate to sexual desire. Ogden points out that our mental energy helps us make decisions about who we are and what we want, exploring who we are attracted to, what our sexual orientation is, whether we are monogamous or polyamorous, and even what sex means to us personally.

"We use our mental energy to field the conflicting messages that come at us from everywhere--e-mail, TV, glossy ads in which women's body parts are used to sell everything from beer to sports cars" and to "sort through the messages we've received our whole lives long. "Good girls don't." "Real men score." "If you really loved me, you'd...."

Our mental energy is also part of our inner sexual life: "our dreams, fantasies and other flights of sexual imagination."

4. Spiritual Energy: The Path of Connection and Meaning

While integrating sexuality and spirituality may seem like a new idea in a culture that lives with a sex-spirit split, Ogden notes that "connecting sexual and spiritual energy is at the core of personal vitality and well-being."

The thousands of women Ogden surveyed in her ISIS survey, confirmed that the connection between sexuality and spirituality "leads to "experiences that may radiate far beyond the bedroom to energize their whole lives. This merging of sexual and spiritual energy can recharge relationships, enhance self-esteem, transform belief systems, and heal mind and body after histories of disappointment and abuse."

Gina Ogden's new book, The Return of Desire: A Guide to Reclaiming Your Sexual Passion is being released on July 15. The book is available through Trumpeter Books, an imprint of Shambhala.

Gina is also leading a workshop on "The Return of Desire" at Kripalu August 15 - 17.

You can contact Gina at womanspirit@earthlink.net.

Share your thoughts on this article... 

 Freeing the Heart Behind Bars:
 Emotional Literacy Work in Prisons

3rd year EKP apprentice Larry Cotton has found a very poignant way to bring the spirit of EKP to men serving time in a local prison. He is part of the Jericho Circle Project, whose mission is to form men's circles in prisons to help men gain emotional literacy.

The Jericho Circle Project was founded by Steven Spitzer, a professor of Sociology at Suffolk University in Boston. Larry found out about this project through his involvement in the Mankind Project community.

What inspired Larry to get involved in work with prisoners was a combination of experiences. "At my previous UU church in Quincy, our affiliate minister was a woman who did a lot of prison work. We had a workshop around a book called Houses of Healing by Robin Casarjian. A woman who had served time in prison came to speak with us, and she was quite inspiring. In my own life, I have known some people who have been in prison, and have had friends whose fathers have been in prison. I didn't see them as evil or villains or nasty people. I just saw them as people."

Having enjoyed being part of men's circles in the Mankind Project community, Larry felt called to bring this work to prison when Steven Spitzer asked if he was interested in doing so.

"The work we do in the prison is similar to what we do in the men's circles in the Mankind Project. This includes exercises in establishing safety, an emotional check-in, checking in with people's work with agreements and accountability, and doing deeper personal work around whatever might come up for a man in the group. Just like in EKP work, we focus on building a safe container and acknowledging feelings."

"While there's not always the physical touch component, in other ways this work is very similar to EKP. If a man is feeling stuck or angry about something, we work on going back to the root of the stuckness or the anger, which is usually a childhood experience. Coaching the person or talking through the experience, helping them go deeper and letting things unfold from their heart is similar to what we do in EKP."

"Many of these men are in prison for reasons having to do with anger, and within the prison a lot of anger comes up. It's often dealt with in a physical way. In the men's circles, the men are learning there are other ways of dealing with anger."

"One of the most profound things that happened in the group was in one of our opening discussions 5 - 6 weeks into the program. Our group of men is fairly diverse racially. There is a good breakdown between hispanic, black and white men. Within the circle, when we create a safe container, we view each other as equals, both the inmates and the facilitators. It doesn't matter what age you are, what race you are, or what you have done."

"One or two of the men have commented, and others have agreed, that when we are in a circle, we operate in a certain way and go very deep and are open to exposing ourselves in new ways. There's a very deep bond that forms. When the men in our men's circle hang out with their own groups in the prison, men outside the circle are recognizing the deeper bond between the men who are in the circle together. Some deep respect has developed between these men who are usually in different groups. This is very powerful. For me, there is great meaning in how the work ripples out beyond the circle itself."

The men's circles run for 8 week cycles, after which the hope is half the group will continue. During his first 8 week cycle, Larry led an EKP heart meditation. "I volunteered to lead the meditation, and used portions of it. It helps create the container. It helps men come in from what they've been doing for the day and get centered and settled. It opens the door to what will happen that particular evening."

As Larry continues into his second 8 week cycle, he feels there will eventually be an opportunity to do an EKP session as part of the group work. "But even if there were not, I feel that the skills I have gained in studying EKP help me spot little nuances I might not otherwise pay attention to. For instance, as we are doing a meditation or work is being done by one man and they are the focus of attention, I am careful to look around the room and see how the work is affecting the other men. Just like in EKP, when one person has a turn everyone has a turn. And watching for visual non-verbal cues, and being present to everyone there is important. I am careful to look around the room and see how the work is affecting other men. I try to be aware of who is intently involved and who might be spacing out for whatever reason."

From his work with the men's circles, Larry has seen that "the line between people on the outside and people on the inside is much finer than people in society would like to believe. I am aware of the importance of early life experiences. I'm impressed with how intently the men listen to each other and the facilitators, how intently they pay attention to what is going on in the circle. They really listen and care about what other men are saying."

"One thing that inspires me," reflects Larry, "is that I am walking around free. These guys are behind walls. They take some pretty bold steps in doing what they need to do to set things right with family members. And I have a larger appreciation for the freedom I have to make changes in my own life."

You can learn more about the Jericho Circle Project at www.jerichocircle.org.

Share your thoughts... 

 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 Saturday, August 16 from 1 - 5 pm in Newton. To register, contact LSMHEART@aol.com.

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.