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
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!
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
a culture of "toxic ignorance." She
ignorance" from "benign ignorance," where
don't know. With "toxic ignorance," knowledge is
"dismissed." Teresa commented, "knowledge is
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
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
While more and more people have come forward
citing chemical sensitivity issues, these issues are
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
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
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
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 Match.com, 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
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
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
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
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
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...
December 6, is the next Healing the
Traumatized Heart Workshop, from 1 - 5 pm in
Newton. Join us for an afternoon of heartful healing
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
musical instruments. Friends and loved ones are
welcome. RSVP to LSMHEART@aol.com, so we
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 www.rowecenter.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....