I am writing the introduction to this newsletter after a
weekend at the
Natural Living Expo sponsored by Spirit of Change
Magazine. In my pre-mommying days, when the
Institute for EKP was in full bloom, a large team of EKP
apprentices and community members would gather for
weekend Expos at least annually. It has been more
than 12 years since I attempted having an EKP booth
for a weekend at an Expo, and now, Alex is part of the
team that holds the space to bring EKP work into the
The EKP Student Clinic was received with more
enthusiasm than we ever imagined. Our 11 am - 5 pm
schedule was full just 10 minutes after the Expo
opened on Saturday! An Expo participant was
generous enough to offer her room to us, so we could
double our capacity! And our new "second shift" of
sessions was full with a hefty waiting list just half an
hour after we were able to make it available!
Our Embracing the Power of the Heart
Workshop was very poignant, and a meaningful
conclusion to a very long first Expo day!
Deep thanks to Carol and Michella Bedrosian for all
their care and effort to create such a powerful resource
for the community! And thanks to apprentices Donna
Grant, Despina Moutsouris, Beth Sangree and
Gretchen Stecher for their community service in the
clinic and work at the EKP booth! Thanks also to EKP
community members Alex Marks-Katz, Jeremy
Richman, Candace Hopkins, Robin Daiell, Harriet
Severino and Jeff Tavares for working at the EKP
We still have a few more spaces in the
Traumatized Heart workshop on Sunday,
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
For those of you who like my articles, I have a bunch of
them available on www.ezinearticles.com. If you
would like to receive a notice when more articles are
added there, you can do so at
Articles in this issue include : "Spiritual But Not
Religious: Is There a Political Parallel,", in
response to some thoughts shared by a reader after
my last newsletter,
The Dark Mirror of Intimacy,"
looking at how easily we point the finger outwards and
blame others rather than going inside and looking
more deeply at our own inner work, and
"Intimacy in Our Later Years," by my colleague,
Carla Tara, who is developing a workshop on intimacy
for Baby Boomers.
Your comments and feedback are always welcome!
Spiritual But Not Religious:
Is There A Political Parallel?
My opening reflections about the political climate in
this country generated a thought provoking response
from a reader. She wrote, "I'm sorry about your
discouragement re: Edwards, but am puzzled at why
you would extrapolate from losing faith in him to losing
faith in the general political process. Yes, the process
is flawed, but it's what we've got."
I appreciated her concerns, particularly because they
gave me an opportunity to put words on far deeper
thoughts about the political process than I had
articulated before. The last few years, I have been
acutely aware that many people who have come to
my office are feeling despair in regard to political
action. They feel the political process seems so
and unrelated to them and their daily lives. Their
sense is the political figures are so far removed from
the realities of being "an ordinary person" in this
country, that political battles, the power they
wield, and their sphere of concern is in a kind of
"political ivory tower," serving the interests of the
wealthy and the elite.
For an "ordinary person" to feel connected, and
involved in the political
process requires a "handle to grab onto," that allows
one to take action that impacts personal and social
change. With a two party system that can feel media
driven at times, to the point that the delineation
between parties can become blurred or even
questionable, many people feel confused, alienated
and have no idea how to connect to the political
I can surely relate to these sentiments. I like to be able
to "get a handle" on social issues, and either join in
efforts to make a difference, or if necessary, found or
co-create efforts to make a difference if I can't find an
effort already underway. I have come to realize that
there is a
parallel in the way spiritual
community has moved in this country over time with
the way political community may need to move.
While some people still find meaning and value in
traditional religious institutions, be they Catholic,
Jewish, Protestant, Muslim or other, there has been a
growing number of people who identify themselves as
"spiritual but not religious." This allows people to
focus on the inherent value, and the very personal
nature of spirituality, without getting lost in the "political
dogma" of a particular religious institution. I belong to
a Unitarian Church because it welcomes ALL spiritual
belief systems, and has a strong thread of social
justice and social action. I have always been a deeply
spiritual person, yet have never identified with a major
Likewise, when I see the way both Democratic and
Republican parties promote themselves through
today's media, I often cannot relate to tactics.
Sometimes there are real differences
in the positions one party or the other takes. At other
times, it appears I am just watching a media contest,
where the tactics of one party mirror the tactics of the
other, and I don't feel comfortable watching what feels
like a "cat fight" or sorts.
I have tried to define my own "spiritual but not religious"
equivalent for political action, since I think the concept is
applicable here. I respect people who chose to identify
as Democratic and Republican, just as I respect people
who chose to identify as Catholic, Jewish, Protest,
Muslim or other.
I have found community organizing around
professional matters (like the Boston Area Body
Psychotherapy group I reconstituted almost 2 years
ago), or writing articles that call attention to specific
issues (like the articles I wrote about "Jenny's Law"
and "Pet Renting") specific steps I can take that give
people tools and handles to "take meaningful action"
in their own communities and their own lives.
Organizing people into community groups and
addressing causes we can touch and act upon as
volunteers feels like the spiritual heart of good political
process. It does not have to happen under the
auspices of an official political party. It can happen in
any way that effectively brings people together and
empowers them to act.
If there is a way to integrate a community organizing
effort with an existing political party or candidate, all
the better. I am very much one for networking,
integrating, streamlining. However, when the issues
that tug at people's heart strings feel very separate
from the formal political channels available, why not
create structures that will achieve one's desired
Perhaps, in time, there can be more of an integration
of community organizing efforts, with a more official
political process. Surely, the way Deval Patrick got
elected as governor of Massachusetts was by bringing
people together in a more personal, social network-
based style. I found myself pulled into the Patrick
campaign for this very reason. My friends and
colleagues were excited and felt that this was a
campaign where there was room for THEM. I met
Diane Patrick at an event, and she felt very real and
Likewise, I was pulled in to the John Edwards campaign
by seeing him speak and talking with him personally
about matters of deep concern to me, and seeing he had
a real grasp of the depth of what I was talking about. He
moved from being "an anonymous figurehead" to a very
real person who shared common values.
I realize the process of running for president requires
working with huge numbers of people, and the scale
of such an effort may make it impossible for a
candidate to remain real and human. And there is no
way a candidate can have even a 5 minute personal
conversation with every individual voter in this country
and hear his/her concerns. However, it is the very act
of personal, human contact that transforms the
experience of the political process. People like to feel
connected in a real, tangible way. People need to be
heard and need to matter as individuals as well as in
Finding ways to integrate the personal touch of
community organizing with the formal political process
is equivalent to finding a way for spiritual but not
religious people to have the heart of their values
heard and integrated into formal religious
organizations. How different the world would be if we
could build these bridges!
Please share your thoughts...
The Dark Mirror of Intimacy
Pointing the Finger Outwards, Rather Than Inwards
This past Thursday, the subject for the class I am
teaching at UMass Boston was "romantic
relationships." During the class, I realized how
rarely people talk about what really happens as
relationships deepen and intimacy grows. The media
gives us images of eternal "new
relationship energy," as though any relationship worth
its salt should be easy, organic and conflict free--
always. This imagery is a real disservice to people
who wish to sustain real, long-term intimate
When we first meet a new beloved, and feel a
connection, it is indeed a divine act. However, with the
divine feeling, also comes a lot of fantasy, projection of
hopes and dreams, and a natural tendency to be on our
best behavior, as we ride the magic carpet of attraction,
connection and new love.
The sense of connection and newness draws us in, so
that the relationship may progress. And how quickly
or slowly a relationship progresses is very personal to
the two people involved. However, at some point, the
intimacy will deepen sufficiently that the relationship
will move over the threshold from the "getting to know
you stage" to the next stage that comes with deeper
intimacy, "the shadowlands."
In the shadowlands, the "work" of relationship starts to
arise. And this is both inner work on self, and
work together with one's partner. Sadly, our culture is
not very emotionally literate, and I have seen
countless "Dear Abby" kinds of columns in
newspapers that reflect, "if a couple needs to go to
counseling before they are married, they shouldn't be
in relationship." This attitude does another huge
disservice to the reality of the emotional work that
deepening intimacy requires. Few of us have the
models of two people doing their inner work and their
joint work together deeply. And in our culture of
sometimes pathological self-reliance, the notion of
reaching out for help, and letting ourselves be
coached to reach our full potential can be judged as
weakness, rather than appreciated as an act of
When I was writing Healing the War Between the
Genders, I interviewed an Argentinian psychiatrist
who had worked with couples for more than 30 years.
had come to the conclusion that if after an initial period
of time, such as 3 months, a couple wanted to try to
build the container to go the distance
in a long-term relationship, that early phase was the
perfect time to get a "coach" on board.
most couples run into difficulties with communication
as intimacy deepens, and people begin to bump up
against their undeveloped parts, their scars from past
traumas, their fears, and all the shadow pieces that
deepening intimacy surface for us to heal and work
through. Why not have someone there to help build in
good communication pathways early on, and get to
know the couple as individuals and together BEFORE
the dark pieces surface? Then, when the shadow
times hit, as they inevitably will, both the knowledge
and trust are there to most effectively guide the couple
through their shadow work.
His logic made a lot of sense to me, and I have
actually tried to follow his coaching in my own
relationships. However, finding a partner who will
agree to such an undertaking has not been easy.
Sadly, I have encountered too many people who
ascribe to the popularized belief, "if we need to see a
counselor before we get married, we shouldn't get
married." And more sadly, when the shadow work has
emerged in these relationships, my partners have cut
and bailed rather than recognized the opportunity for
what it was--a time to heal, learn, grow and move
through longheld pain to deeper intimacy, peace and
When many people hit their pockets of deeply held
pain, their often blame their partner, rather than turn
more deeply inwards to work on themselves. It
reminds me of Cinderella, and the ugly stepmother
saying, "Mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them
all," and when the mirror tells the truth, the stepmother
becomes angry and breaks the mirror. We do that to
our loved ones far too often if we don't realize that the
finger needs to be pointed inwards, not outwards.
I have full empathy for how scary and painful it is to
touch upon deep, unhealed pain. Sometimes we
reach places where our self-esteem is in question, or
we find places where we don't feel good about
ourselves, or we see ourselves behaving in ways that
we don't really want to accept. No one wants to see
they are hurting their loved ones. No one wants to see
that they have an anger management problem. No
one wants to have to writhe in pain that can be so
consuming it is hard to work, sleep or eat. Yet, healing
that pain DOES require feeling it fully, facing it head
on, and often that takes facilitation. We CANNOT do it
As a lifelong lover of the Red Sox and professional
sports, the model of having not only ONE coach, but a
whole TEAM of coaches is worth noticing. No serious
athlete gets to major league baseball on just self-
reliance. Yes, an athlete who is going to shine has to
have a certain degree of raw talent and a huge
commitment to develop themselves. However, they
work in conjunction with a series of coaches at every
level of play they engage in. The Red Sox have a
pitching coach, a batting coach, a first base coach, a
third base coach, a team manager, and a whole
support staff behind the scenes who attend to
everything from medical needs to motivational needs.
If a player hits a slump, is injured, or hits unexpected
challenges, a full team of experts is available to help
the player confront their challenges and take steps in
a corrective direction.
Why is it that we can't apply this kind of model to our own
lives? If a ballplayer starts feeling pain--physical, mental
or emotional, can they truly improve by pointing the finger
of blame outwards to their teammates, or the opposing
pitcher or the batter they just faced? They must point the
finger inwards and work on themselves.
Perhaps if we had better models of coaching and
support through the shadowlands for couples, we
would be better able to navigate them without
breaking up. If only we gave our children the
message that relationships do require emotional and
spiritual work, and time investment over time. And that
we need to develop skills on our own, but we cannot
and should not have to do it ALL alone, especially
when things are scary, painful and hard.
Share your thoughts on this article...
Intimacy in Our Later Years
By Carla Tara
We are on multiple journeys during our lifetime. In our
early years, we are growing up to understand the
we live in. In the second stage, we are striving to work
order to survive. And in the next stage of our journey,
provide for our famiiles and loved ones.
But what about later in our journey, when we have
handled survival and no longer need to take care of
someone else? What do we do? This is the time to
rediscover ourselves, to determine what makes us
happy--learning to embrace those feelings, those
emotions, those passions.
As essential contribuing factor that increases the
energy we have available for all this activity is
definitely having a great sex life, rich in real intimacy
and deep connection.
According to a U.S. News and World Report
article, "Sex, Health and Happiness," a study
published in the British Medical Journal found
that more 70-year-olds are enjoying sex regularly than
30 years ago.
This is good news, even if it is partly a result of men
using Viagra to improve their performance. Anything
that safely adds pleasure to our lives is definitely
welcome. However, some use Viagra (or similar
products) to get stronger and longer lasting erections
but neglect to build the emotional connection that is
essential for both men and women.
"Jane" (whose real name I have withheld), a wonderful
woman in her sixties who I'm counseling, recently told
me that her husband had started using Viagra. He
was so enthralled with his newly gained ability to stay
erect for a long time that he was leaving out the best
part of lovemaking for her, which was foreplay and the
romantic approach. She admitted she enjoyed him
more before Viagra!
Looking at her situation with new eyes, she decided to
ask for the romance she wanted, while still enjoying
the added sexual power that Viagra was giving her
husband. She also decided to ask him not to use
Viagra all the time, and he was smart enough to
As with anything, science brings us mixed blessings.
Scientific discoveries definitely bring us more choices.
However, receiving real life enrichment from these
choices depends on whether we use them wisely.
For instance, the car has been a great invention.
However, if people use it all the time and no longer
walk, they suffer from the lack of movement. We see
the results in the epidemic of obesity around us.
Mature male lovers who have a healthy sex life have
learned to become more caring, take a longer time
pleasuring their partner, riding the wave of pleasure,
and are more open to sexual adventures than in
When you no longer have kids coming home at all
hours, you can turn your whole house into a
playground for enjoyment of sexual newness.
Men and women who are sexually active and
emotionally connected have the added benefit of:
feeling and looking younger, having more energy than
people of the same age who have given up sex, and
with sharper minds and healthier bodies, they have a
more cheerful attitude towards life.
The article I cited earlier from U.S. News and World
Report, magazine, "Sex, Health and Happiness,"
listed the following benefits of staying sexually active:
more connectedness, joy and excitement, improved
circulation with obvious benefits, release of hormones
that lower stress levels, improved sleep, and holding
From my own experience and from what I've learned
from helping people, mature lovers take foreplay, or
rather "love play," to a higher level because: 1. they
are able to stay fully present to each other's desires
and enjoyment level without pushing for a goal, 2.
they have learned that asking for feedback on how to
accommodate their touching, kissing and intercourse
movements and positions to the ever changing
moment enhances the experience of ecstasy, 3. they
realize that moving slower and taking more time often
allows for more expansion of pleasure, more
emotional-spiritual connection, and therefore, longer
lasting satisfaction, and 4. their orgasms can be
longer because they are more keenly aware of the
wave-like vibration their orgasm produces throughout
their whole bodies.
However, remaining sexually active past middle age, of
course, requires a healthy lifestyle that includes a good
choice of nourishing food, good water, deep breathing,
exercise, and mental stimulation sandwiched with
relaxation and emotional health..
The real fulfillment comes when sex is aligned with
intimacy and genuine connection. Having a happy heart
brings an inner smile with it that is contagious. "Louise"
(52) and "Frank" (63) emphatically said to me that they
cultivate an inner smile that breaks down walls, and
inspires them to love each other and life more.
They were thrilled with the breakthrough realization that
they are only in the third quarter of this action packed
game of life. Through learning to get more in touch with
their own sexuality, both Frank and Louise also learned
to understand their authentic sexual nature...leading to a
deeper understanding of love, life and intimacy.
Both Louise and Frank proudly announced that they
enjoy re-exploring each others' sexuality and that they
can now more fully express an important need that
they were both suppressing...their need to contribute
to one another's life through compassionate empathy
which keeps their live fresh and growing. Today,
Frank and Louise's love life is firing on all cylinders,
and they are looking forward to many years of joy.
Carla Tara is now developing a workshop to help
mature lovers, sometimes called "Baby Boomers," to
re-invent themselves and to keep sexually and
physically active as they enrich each other emotionally
Visit Carla Tara's website...
October 19, is the next Healing the
Traumatized Heart Workshop, from 1 - 5 pm in
Newton. Join us for an afternoon of heartful healing
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....