My best friend, Brenda, told me that a friend of hers
commented that August was going to be a very
harrowing month. If we look at what has been
happening on the political front, that is very true.
Having worked on the John Edwards campaign, the
first political campaign I had gotten involved in since
high school, the news of not only Edwards' affair and
potential love child, but more so, the cover-up, the
lying, and the media spectacle of it all shattered
something deep in me.
Watching the McCain-Obama campaign unfold has
also been harrowing, in its own way. The nastiness of
some of the political ads on tv really made me cringe.
There were some inspirational moments as I watched
the Democratic convention. However, the chess game
of McCain with his young female VP nominee, Sarah
Palin vs Obama with his symbol of experience, Joe
Biden, can rub me raw.
Perhaps a true silver lining in this whole process is the
extraordinary presence of Ted Kennedy, who in spite
of brain cancer, will never, never, never give up what
he passionately believes in. While Ted's life is marked
with both tragedy and its own version of media
scandal from the days of Mary Jo Kopechne and
Chappaquidick, the profound power of his spirit and
the convictions of his heart cannot go unnoticed.
Kennedy really does fight for what he really believes
in, no matter what the obstacles and no matter what
the odds. I realize he is an embodiment of the
message of one article in this newsletter this month,
The Only Real Failure Is Giving Up
provides an inspirational model of one who, in the
face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, does not
I am happy to announce that I will be teaching a class
at UMass Boston this fall, where my long-standing
colleague, Cuf Ferguson, is the new Dean of the
College of Community and Public Service. As a result,
the weekly EKP therapy group has moved to
Wednesday night for the fall semester.
We have lots of EKP opportunities coming up this fall.
See the HealingHeartPower
the end of the newsletter for details.
The EKP 3rd year apprentice team is looking
to running the EKP Student Clinic
at the Spirit of Change Expo in Sturbridge,
MA on Saturday, September 27, from 11 am - 5
Come visit us at the Institute for EKP booth
at the Spirit
Expo on September 27 and 28, and at the
"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 still have a few more spaces in the
Traumatized Heart workshop on Saturday,
from 1- 5 pm in Newton. These groups have been
deeply moving and richly rewarding
those who want an experience of EKP when they
find a space in their busy lives.
I am now actively taking applications for
Apprenticeship Training Program. The
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
Dan Cohen, into the program. If you are
discussing apprenticing, please write to me at
The Wednesday night EKP Therapy Group
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
EKP session are required to apply for the
Contact LSMHEART@aol.com for more information or
And the 2nd Annual EKP Retreat
November 14 - 16 now at the Prindle Pond
Center in Charleton, MA, provides an intensive
experience of community, healing and EKP.
too early to register. Contact Gretchen
Articles in this issue include : "Reflections on
Anorexia,", a topic that I have been living and
working with for much of my life,
"Economics As If the Earth Really Mattered,"
by my longstanding friend and colleague, Susan
"The Only Real Failure Is Giving Up Trying," which
I alluded to above.
Your comments and feedback are always welcome!
Reflections on Anorexia
It has been 36 years since I first experienced anorexia
as a girl turning into a woman. My period had been
with me for a year or less, though time felt timeless
back then. And I wanted to be perfect in some way,
though I was a straight A student, a leader and
someone wise beyond my years. Inside, I never felt
good enough. No matter what I did, there was no way
to be loved for who I was. And while I could not feel
the feelings back then, deep down, I just wanted to be
When I was 13, I can't say I was particularly conscious of
my emotional state. I was aware of my committed
determination to get my body weight down to 115
pounds. I had no idea that weight was dangerous for me,
and that my doctor would tell me when I sought treatment
that I should never weight less than 140 pounds.
I remember being told along the way, that anorexia is
a way of getting control when one feels ones life is
totally out of control. Eating is a private thing. It can
even be secret. No one had to know what went into
my mouth. Or not. When I was 13, my self-starving
behavior felt like my place of power--a place where no
one could harm me. I had no idea I was harming
The story of my recovery from anorexia and the
lessons learned along the way are not my focus in this
reflection. Instead, I am reflecting on how, in spite of
year of healing and healthy eating behavior, my
anorexic tendencies can still crop up. I have come to
see that they are part of a feral response.
The threat of the loss of a love will propel me powerfully
into the spell of self-starvation, like a feral animal
starving, but so paralyzed with fear that she cannot eat. I
feel my heart and stomach clench with life-threatening
fear. There is no room to take anything in I just have to
hold on for dear life to survive. Sad.
If things stabilize in my relational life, I restore the sense
of safety needed to eat again. Much like a feral animal in
the process of coming off the streets. The animal needs
to feel safe to eat. And it takes love, patience and
constancy on the part of the person trying to help the
animal for the animal to relax and respond.
The loss of a loved one--especially by emotional
abandonment or rejection--sends me into the throes of
self-starvation in another way. Perhaps it is a trauma
response. But it has a different feeling than when the
potential loss is just a threat, not a reality. When I am
faced with emotional abandonment and rejection--
particularly when there is no room for my voice--when
a loved one simply cannot hear me, puts up a stone
wall and keeps me out, all of the pain and anger that I
cannot voice in the relationship builds up inside my
heart and soul. My body becomes full of emotion, so
full there is no room for food. It emotionally hurts for
me to eat. Eating food feels uncomfortable, the way it
does when someone has overeaten.
I have learned I need to stay present with my feelings,
and not try to stuff them down with food, force fed. It is
like a cleansing fast. I need space to follow the pain.
And when the feelings overflow, I have learned that I
can let them out by connecting with a dear friend, by
writing or both. The feelings need to come out for me
to find peace. And the feelings need to come out to
make room for any food to come in.
At this point in my life, I have no desire to hurt myself or
punish myself. And if my body gets so starved that I can
that I am over the line of reason--when my breathing
begins to tighten, when my energy feels like it is lingering
at the edges of my skin and not fully residing in my
bones, I make sure to feed myself some healthy food.
But the pain cycles through, and if I am going to love
myself in my pain and anger, I need to ride the cycles
of pain through. If a loved one and I have a problem
and the loved one can hear me out, I don't enter into
this self-starvation cycle. Because I know what feeds
my soul is connection and love. Those are the most
fundamental food groups for my body and soul. And
when I feel well-loved and connected, I naturally open
to be nourished in other ways.
When I was 13, I was not at all conscious of what was
happening for me emotionally or even somatically. I
as emotionally numb, containing and suppressing my
anger and pain. So, in a way, though I don't wish to
experience the circumstances that allow me to revisit
the place of self-starvation, it is a powerful learning
experience to move through self-starvation
consciously, with self-love, even if a deep sense of
rejection or abandonment are underneath.
I feel like I have more than several lifetime's
experience of living through this experience, enough
to have several post-doctoral degrees. And I really
pray life does not make me go cycling through it again.
Yet, if it comes, I have learned I must have my voice, I
must speak my truth, and I cannot contain the pain
inside forever. I am worthy of love. And no matter
what another person does, I have the power to hold
myself in a place of self-compassion and self-love.
Please share your thoughts...
Economics As If the Earth Really Mattered:
My dear friend and colleague, Susan
Meeker-Lowry, has been working to redefine
the concept and practice of economics for as
long as I've known her. She and I met at a
conference in the early 1980's, and together,
we co-founded the Institute for Gaian
Economics in 1986.
Susan was a pioneer in the social investment
movement, publishing a newsletter for many
years, Catalyst: Investing in Social
Catalyst offered ideas and
resources to help people develop and live
from an "economics as if the earth really
mattered," which became the title of one of
her two books.
She publishes a print newsletter called
Gaian Voices, which provides a forum
to explore Gaian Economics in theory and
So, what does Gaian economics really
mean? "Gaia" means "land" or "earth" in
ancient Greek. According to wikipedia, "Gaia
is the primal Greek goddess personifying the
earth." Gaian economics have a very
different framework than our
profit-maximizing model of capitalistic
economics. In Gaia economics, one looks at
the many stakeholders in an enterprise, not
the just the owners, stockholders and top
management. Customers, community, providers
of resources to help make a business run, and
the earth herself are all stakeholders too.
And if an endeavor allows stockholders or
managers to profit at other stakeholders'
expense, the endeavor is non-sustainable, and
therefore, not feasible from a Gaian framework.
Sadly, our lack of awareness of a Gaian
framework has led to the depletion of the
earth's natural resources, global warming,
and a very inequitable distribution of the
world's resources. If we don't include all
stakeholders in our economic vision,
eventually, life on this earth may not be
possible for all.
I wanted to share some of Susan's thoughts on
Gaian economics and what is necessary to
transform our current economic system.
"I have no trouble envisioning what my own
local economy could be, but when my mind
turns to the reality of corporate control,
global markets, and free trade agreements, it
all feels so difficult, even impossible, to
implement. From the early 1980's to the
mid-1990's, my work focused on ecological,
community-based economics. Both of my books,
Economics As If the Earth Really
Mattered, and Invested in the Common
Good, were on this subject. And the
Institute for Gaian Economics, which I
co-created, as well as those organizations I
worked with, all dealt with economic
"I even helped get a community currency
project off the ground. So, the topic isn't
a new one to me. I do admit that back then I
was much more optimistic about transforming
our economic system than I am now, and yet
the transformation was never more essential
than this moment in time."
"On the positive side, many of the models and
enterprises just getting off the ground in
the 1980's are now well established. Though
the downside to that is some of them are also
well entrenched in the status quo, which too
often seems to happen when an enterprise
proves that not only does it work, but it can
also be profitable."
"In my heart, I believe that we need to do
away with capitalism as it currently exits
and transform our economy into something else
entirely. So, when it comes to subjects like
green business, economic development with an
ecological face, fair trade, and similar
practices, I am torn. I can see the
positive, yet because the underlying
principle of capitalism is profit, despite
the best intentions of individuals, the
momentum of the system itself can, and often
does, undermine those intentions."
"To transform our economic system, local is
where it is at. Transforming our
agricultural system, for example, from one
that transports food hundreds and thousands
of miles to one that begins with local and
regional production, and then only
supplements or adds variety with foods
transported greater distances. We need to
take our cues from nature when it comes to
scale and diversity and making the best use
of something (or someone)."
"In nature, big works but only when it is
supported by a myriad of smaller, diverse
organisms. Old growth trees, for example,
couldn't exist were it not for the
mycorrhizal fungi that enable the trees to
take up nutrients. There's a balance in
healthy nature that we need to pay attention
to and emulate."
"A Gaian economy is about much more than
money and profit and trade. It's about
relationships and participation.
The economy begins at home. The household
economy is important and it's where we all
have to start. All actions have energy and
energy moves and impacts everything else.
Connection points and relationships begin in
the household then move through the
community, the region, and ultimately to the
If we can find a way to make connections from
the household level up, perhaps we can create
a groundswell of positive change. I have
seen the impact of even small measures, like
Whole Foods encouraging the use of reusable
grocery bags, and no longer using plastic
grocery bags in their stores. I have far
fewer plastic bags to dispose of. And my
reusable bags can conveniently live in my
car, for use at a moment's notice. Being
part of a CSA (community-sustainable
agriculture) veggie coop allows me to enjoy
the bounty of the season, and join with
others who wish to do the same.
Susan invites you to share with her your
visions of a Gaian economy and how we might
create it together.
Please send her your ideas, personal
experiences, dreams, and what you're doing to
make them real, as well as stories about
specific projects, enterprises, businesses
and networks that you feel are contributing
to the transformation of the economy and the
well-being of the people involved, and
ofcourse, the earth. These can be either
where you live or elsewhere. Submissions
will be considered for publication in Gaian
You can write to Susan at
Susan publishes Gaian Voices, which
you can find at www.gaianvoices.com.
Share your thoughts on this article...
The Only Real Failure Is Giving Up Trying
I have made many mistakes in my life. I have
encountered many situations that have humbled me,
where I have just not known what to do. However, I
tend to think of myself as a successful person, in spite
of my mistakes, and the times I have fallen short. What
I have learned is that the difference between success
and failure is in not giving up trying.
Feeling ill-equipped, falling short of our own
standards, values or goals, hitting obstacles that feel
impossible, incompatible or simply painful and hard,
can lead us to feel like we are failing. We can feel that
no matter how hard we are trying, we are not getting
the results we desire--in our work, our relationships or
any other part of our lives. When we try really hard,
but don't get what we hoped for, it is extremely painful,
and these feelings of deep pain, can lead us to give
We can take the internal rod and beat ourselves up.
We can judge ourselves inadequate, broken, naive.
Or we can ask what might be missing, and see what
we need to learn. It can be very humbling when we
discover that after all we have learned, there are still
things we don't know. And in the spirit of love,
persistence and commitment, we can go back to the
drawing board and try again.
If we attribute our pain to some fatal flaw in ourselves or
to another person who has become the messenger of our
pain, giving up is a way to make the pain subside. If we
beat ourselves up, we eventually become numb, but also
hurt. Rejecting the other person removes the mirror, but
it does not help us heal what is hurt within ourselves.
If we can find the inner strength and resolve, to keep
working towards what we really want, to come from a
place of real love, in spite of a fear of failure, in time,
we will almost always find the way. And often, the way
is something we never would have thought of or never
would have known had we not had to overcome the
obstacles that we encountered along the way.
Sometimes the amount of time it takes to succeed is eons
longer than we would have ever imagined or been
comfortable with. And we can become impatient that
something seems difficult when we keep encountering
obstacles. This is painful, frustrating and in our
humanness, we may cry out that it shouldn't be so hard.
Sometimes, the message is to get help. We cannot do it
all alone, and shouldn't have to. If we keep feeling that
we need to figure it out, work it out, do it ourselves, we
may be depriving ourselves of some important guidance
that is the difference between hitting our head against the
wall and moving forward.
Life puts us through its grindstone and the path to
success can be full of obstacles that can feel
insurmountable, until we find the way to surmount them.
Sometimes, success is a matter of faith, believing while
nothing supports your belief. This can test your strength,
but in time will bring your dreams to you in full.
With a magical blend of love, commitment, faith, coaching
or guidance at the right moments, hard work and time, if
we keep trying, we will ultimately succeed. Not giving up,
but keeping trying, even in the darkest moments is what
allows us to realize our heart's desires.
Share your thoughts...
October 19, is the next Healing the
Traumatized Heart Workshop, from 1 - 5 pm in
Newton. Join us for an afternoon of heartful healing
Saturday, September 27 is the EKP Student
Clinic at the Spirit of Change Expo in Sturbridge from
11 am - 5 pm. Linda will be giving an intensive
workshop on Embracing the Power of the
Heart at the Spirit of Change Expo as well.
On Saturday, October 4, Linda will be
presenting on working through grief at Carole Lynne's
Spirit Communication Seminar.
On Wednesday, October 8, Linda will be
presenting at the Hand-in-Hand network of holistic
practitioners in Northborough, MA.
Our 2nd Annual EKP Retreat has moved
venues. We will be gathering at Prindle Pond in
Charleton, MA (just east of Sturbridge) for weekend of
healing, heartfulness and community.
The EKP retreat provides an intensive group
experience, and remains the weekend of
14 - 16.
more information or to register, contact
Stecher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EKP Apprenticeship Training will begin in
January 2009. The apprentice
group meets one weekend a month. The program
four year cycle. The first two years focus
skills and concepts of EKP with ones peers,
the very popular second year study of
developmental psychology. The second two
clinical years, where apprentices get to work
guest clients in our student clinic. If you
in apprenticing, contact LSMHEART@aol.com. An
interview and one EKP session are required to
to the first year apprenticeship training group.
Sunday, March 1 Linda will be leading
Body Psychotherapy and the Heart for Health
Professionals at the New England School for
EKP opportunities in Newton include:
- Being a guest client in the Student Clinic
- On-going Wednesday night EKP Body
Psychotherapy Group (which currently has room
couple new members)
- On-going Sunday EKP Monthly Process
Group (which also has room for a couple new
If you would like a Healing the
workshop near you, or have a group of people
who you would like to bring EKP to, please
To find out more....