November 3, 2008 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue

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I don't know if it's because this is the last month of my 49th year, because of the way the stars are lining up with a seemingly essential election unfolding before our eyes, or because I was deeply moved by meeting a very visionary woman, Teresa Heinz Kerry, on Friday, but between some very poignant reader feedback from the official November 2008 HealingHeartPower newsletter, and a dose of healthy heartfull inspiration, I found myself writing a couple more articles that just don't want to wait til December 1 to be shared.

I love the dialogue that can emerge, even in this e- forum. So, when you share your reflections on my reflections, they often plant seeds for deeper reflections and inspired articles.

One reader, Peg, responded to the "Reflections on Cougardom" article with the following thoughts:

"I wanted to start out by saying I always enjoy your newsletter. There's always something in it that touches deeply, and today was no exception. Your 'hearts can hear heads, but heads can't hear hearts' line was so well said. And the paragraphs after that about fight or flight pretty much mirrored something I went through recently...old baggage dragging me down and old demons nattering on when there was no real reason for it. It always amazes me how things I thought I had worked through and let go of can find their way back so easily. Your wrote: 'Trauma is like a wrecker ball, that crashes through our hearts, our bodies, our psyches, and tears apart the emotional, relational and sometimes literal fabric of our lives.' Amen to that.

I had a very hard time reading the cougar story, though. I'm 55 and in the first healthy relationship of my life with a man who is 12 years my junior. I wasn't on the prowl. It just sort of happened. While the cougar stereotype is a pretty liberating one in some ways, there's also that edge of societal disapproval. It's not a fun thing to be called. It casts a shadow on a very beautiful, mutually happy, healthy and loving relationship. Then there's the societal perception that from his side it's Oedipal. SIGH!!! This sort of relationship has its own unique set of challenges."

"It might be a good column for you to write...older women, younger men relationships. I get the better end of the deal...a younger man who is loving, intelligent, not jaded in his outlook on life, likes to go places and do things, is healthy and fun. Thrown in as a bonus is that sex with a younger man is incredible. My biggest fear is that one day he'll wake up and say the age thing is too much for him. But I set that fear aside and enjoy the gift of being with him. (If that last line sounds like an affirmation, it is because it is.)"

"Thanks for your newsletter and the work you do, Linda. It is greatly appreciated."

A reader from Australia reflected:

Loved this newsletter, Linda. I think it is really timely, and provides a lot of solace and common sense to people!

Love and hugs,


This issue includes two special articles : "Toxic Ignorance: Hazardous to Our Lives,", reflecting on Teresa Heinz Kerry's reflections shared during her opening remarks at the 12th annual Conference for Women's Health and the Environment, and "Does Age Really Matter?" reflections from Peg's feedback to me.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 Toxic Ignorance: Hazardous to Our Lives

On Halloween, it was more than just ghouls and ghosts I found haunting. Thanks to my colleague Daphne Hubbard, I was fortunate enough to spend my morning at Teresa Heinz Kerry's 12th annual Conference on "Women's Health and the Environment" in Boston. Teresa is an incredibly visionary, educated, passionate and articulate leader whose ability to shine her powerful flashlight of inquiry on some of our culture's dark, yet impactful shadows, is extraordinary, inspirational, and so badly needed.

Teresa opened the conference articulating that we live in a culture of "toxic ignorance." She differentiated "toxic ignorance" from "benign ignorance," where people just don't know. With "toxic ignorance," knowledge is actively "dismissed." Teresa commented, "knowledge is seen as the province of the elite, and thus, irrelevant."

Supporting this is the "need to know society," where people are dependent on the mass media, "concluding if it isn't in the media, then we don't need to know." Particularly with the demise, and scarily, potential extinction of print media, and the quality investigative journalism that once characterized our nation's top newspapers and magazines, many people live lives entirely removed, and thus, ignorant, of essential issues, hazards and dangers in their own communities and in the intimacy of their own kitchens.

Living in their own culturally imposed myopia, people become proverbial frogs in multiple pots of boiling water. They wake up one day to discover that they've lost their health, their jobs, their homes, their futures, and in some cases their lives.

The growth and proliferation of the internet culture is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, ordinary people who wish to research most any topic have a literal world of information at their fingertips. On the other hand, many people don't have the time, patience or skill to navigate the e-world and find their way to much important information. The New York Times makes it a whole lot easier to get critical information to a larger group of people than personalized internet research.

Teresa Heinz Kerry has a great passion for health and the environment. She has a unique vantage point, since to use one of her metaphors, she looks at these issues through many facets of a prism, one of which is that of being a woman. So much of research, testing and thinking about product development and safety over the decades was conducted with no consideration for the differences between the genders, and therefore, the difference in effects of products, substances and creations on women, in contrast to men.

We live in an era that coined the term, "better living through chemistry," yet some of what has emerged from our laboratories actually threatens our health and well-being and the future of life. 80,000 chemicals have been developed in the last few decades, and only 7% have been fully tested for toxicity. 43% have not released information about their toxicity. Hundreds, if not thousands of these chemicals reside in our food, in the products we buy, in our medications, and permeate our bodies, and ultimately, the environment, not always for the individual or greater good.

While more and more people have come forward citing chemical sensitivity issues, these issues are only the tip of the iceberg in our chemical ridden culture. When a new problem emerges on the scene, our culture tends to shoot or invalidate the messenger. I greatly respect my clients who live with chemical sensitivities, who have had to live through the time of cultural unconsciousness to the realities of these issues. Instead of being viewed respectfully, many have suffered not only from the chemicals, but also from the judgments of those who don't understand, labelling them as "crazy," "high maintenance" or "oversensitive." Can it be possible that rather than being any of these negative labels, these people have actually been courageous pioneers, trying to sound a message that all of us should ultimately heed: Not everything we are being sold is in our best interest. And much of what we are being sold can actually harm us.

This applies to all that has been bombarding us in the media about the candidates and the election as well. Never in my lifetime have I seen so much focus on "digging for dirt" in the election process. If the media put as much attention on the real issues, and the candidates' positions on these issues, as it has on pigs, pitbulls, and personal ghosts of decades past, the average American would be able to make a more informed choice.

I am awed at the number of friends, colleagues and clients who have been part of an extraordinarily far- reaching organizing effort for the Obama campaign, all sincere and serious people who want real change NOW. Yet, I was struck today as one of the good folks working on the campaign reflected to me, "many people are reluctant to make calls or knock on doors because they are afraid they don't have sufficient knowledge of all the issues to answer people's questions. But when you do this for a while, you realize how rarely people even need you to speak to those issues in depth."

Having record numbers of people participate as they can in a presidential election effort could lay the groundwork for an infrastructure for "real people" participation in a new presidential administration. If this is indeed how things flesh out, that is very powerful and good. People need to take the power back into their own hearts, hands, neighborhoods and communities. And we need to recognize the limitations of America's normalization of pathological self-reliance, ignorance and greed. It is time for us to rediscover the power of collaboration, looking out for one another, and our fundamental interdependence.

We need each other, and we need to work together to create the change we need in our daily lives and the world around us. We need to restore a society where if someone votes, their vote really counts, and is tallied accurately, whether by a paper ballot or more contemporary technology. We need a society where people feel that they can speak their truth and have their voice heard and responded to. This applies to removing toxic chemicals from our foods, our rivers and our bodies. This applies to removing corruption, greed and entitlement from the board rooms and the legislative chambers.

I hope when we awaken on Wednesday morning, we can feel a sense that we are finally on the precipice of major social, political and personal change.

Please share your thoughts... 

 Does Age Really Matter?
 Reflections of Ten Years As A Single Mom

I became a single mom at 40, and immediately discovered how attractive I was to men 10 to 15 years older than I was. I joined the then "up and coming" world of internet dating, with my first profile on, and was inundated with e-mails from men who found me to be a real trophy!

Men my own age (+/- a few years) rarely wrote to me on internet dating sites, because they were searching for the 25 - 30 year olds. Someone "their own age," was considered "too old."

As a newly single mom re-entering the world of dating that I never liked in the first place, I just wanted to meet a wonderful partner who just was who he was, and could appreciate me as me. Did I really care how old a potential new partner would be? Not really, within reason. At 40, I didn't want to become a full-time nurse or a mother-surrogate, but that left lots of room.

Beyond the countless one date wonders that could become a tv comedy series, I have had a handful of relationships over the past 10 years, and most all of them have been with men about 10 years older than me, give or take a year. Ultimately, the very same "positive qualities" that initially attracted my partners and kept them engaged for 8 months to 2 years, scared them away in the mirror of deepening intimacy over time.

I thought that loving someone for who they really are, which includes taking the time and making the effort to really see someone for who they are, would assure a healthy, mutual, sustainable relationship. Yet, I discovered, being loved deeply, constantly and multi- dimensionally set up a surprising ambivalence in my partners. And one part of the ambivalence was about my age.

On the one hand, I'd be told how wonderful and beautiful I was. On the other hand, in some unconscious moment, my beloved would make a comment about "people YOUR age" under his breath, as though he was judging our age difference and using it as a distancing mechanism. Did he enjoy my enthusiasm, my love, my passion, my joie d'vivre, and my sensual and sexual receptivity? Sure! Did he also feel frightened and sometimes wary of these very same things? Absolutely!

One partner, 11 1/2 years my senior commented, "All my friends make fun of me for having young flesh that still bleeds," referring to the fact that I still had menstrual periods and have not hit menopause. Though intended, most likely, as a light, throw-away comment, I could still sense the inner conflict that came out of that remark.

On the one hand, I was a beautiful trophy. On the other hand, my partner worried what would happen as his libido waned with age, and as his health deteriorated with time. I could see that the difference in our ages weighed heavily on his mind at times. As these kinds of comments emerged from the mouths of other partners, I found myself is a real conundrum: I could accept much of the reality of the difference in our ages, but could they? I realized I did not fear "til death do us part." I feared more, not having the opportunity to be together "til death do us part!"

Too easily, we objectify people--both men and women. And from my experience, I can assure you it feels lousy to be seen or treated as an object, even non-intentionally. It does not feel much better to be seen as "the good object," than "the bad object." In either case, the reason I am being accepted or rejected isn't based on my inner qualities, my soul, my personal character. The depths get lost in the packaging.

On the other hand, sometimes I am indeed being rejected for my inner qualities, my soul, and my personal character. And it isn't necessarily because I have done anything wrong. Sometimes, quite to the contrary, it is because I am clear, present, loving and steady, and I provide a mirror in which my partner sees his own wholeness or brokenness. I can only reflect back what is actually there. And though I might love and accept my partner for who he is, if he cannot love and accept himself for who he is, then we both lose.

And I have found that age is no predictor of self-love, of having faced ones shadows, of having the courage to do one's inner work when the mirror presents broken, wounded, raw or humanly vulnerable parts.

I do plan to follow up on Peg's suggestion to write an article about older women with younger men. And I look forward to what I will learn in the journey that writing that article will entail. If you or someone you know is an older woman partnered with a younger man, and they would be willing to speak with me as part of my research for this article, please have them contact me!

In the meantime, I both draw into my cave and venture out into the world, hoping that, in time, God will bring someone who can love me for who I am, and will cherish and value my ability to love him for who he is, even as the mirror of deepening intimacy brings forth the shadows that beckon and allow each of us to grow both as individuals and together.

Share your thoughts on this article... 

 Heartfull Quote

Iraq Weedflower "If we open the gates of our heart . . . we can transform our lives, walk into each day knowing we are already loved, already healed, already part of the breathtaking whole."

Jan Phillips


 HealingHeartPower Calendar

Saturday, December 6, is the next Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop, from 1 - 5 pm in Newton. Join us for an afternoon of heartful healing and community.

The EKP Community Holiday Party is on Saturday, December 6 from 6 - 8:30 pm. Bring a contribution to a potluck dinner, and any favorite music or musical instruments. Friends and loved ones are welcome. RSVP to, so we know who is coming.

Linda will be leading Embracing the Power of the Heart, a weekend retreat at Rowe Camp and Conference Center in Rowe, MA the weekend of January 9 - 11. Rowe is the most warm and welcoming place to go for a workshop! We hope you can join us! Register Online at

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 An interview and one EKP session are required to apply 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 Acupuncture.

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 for a couple new members)
  • On-going Sunday EKP Monthly Process Group (which also has room for a couple new members)

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.... 

 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...