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

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A conversation with a Canadian colleague, Dr. Edward Beltran, led me to some very interesting and important information. At McGill University, research has been done on the epigenome, which is the protein cover around the genome. As it turns out, emotions are stored in the epigenome, and the epigenome is the field that governs genes.

Emotional impact is registered and stored in the epigenome, and is passed on transgenerationally. This has huge implications for the experience of emotional trauma and of healing. Working through emotional experience at the body level, and having a soul deep healing experience can not only improve the quality of our own lives, but likely will impact what we pass on to the next generation.

As scientific research deepens, the spiritual nature of life becomes more tangible and understandable. And hopefully, this can help us take better care of ourselves, our loved ones and literally pass on a better world to the next generations!

Research like this also helps explain how integrating Hellinger Family Constellations work with EKP, as Dan Cohen and I are doing in our January 24 workshop, can provide a powerful model for soul deep healing, both personally and transgenerationally.

Articles in this issue are: "The Narcissistic Heart Wound and Self-Esteem Versus Ego, which sprung from a conversation with my almost 13 year-old son, Alex, Heart Seeds and Pods, my own reflections from sitting in the vacuum of life, and Spirituality As an Everyday Practice.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 The Narcissistic Heart Wound and Ego Versus Self-Esteem

My almost 13 year-old son, Alex, and I were talking in the car the other day. He said, "Mom, what's the difference between ego and self-esteem?" I found that to be a very interesting question for him to be thinking about.

Alex then reflected, "People with big egos puff up and take lots of resources (money and power)." I reflected that people with big egos may actually have low self- esteem. People with high self-esteem, know who they are, ARE who they are, and are at peace with who they are. People with high self- esteem also have a grounded sense of self with other people and other living beings. They don't need to puff, because they feel an internal sense of okayness and power. They don't need excess money or power, because internally, they are enough. So, in terms of external resources, they need ENOUGH, but not an exorbitant amount for the purpose of status or being "better than" others.

People with big egos, but low self-esteem always want more. Because their sense of security and power does not come from being at peace with who they are, they may never feel they have enough. Internally, they may have a voice that keeps telling them that to be worthy, to be enough, and to numb out a deeper sense of insecurity or not enoughness, they need to keep acquiring more and more and more.

Sometimes when a person has a big ego, but low self- esteem, they engage in self-defeating behavior. Because deep down they don't feel worthy or good enough, they may start to form a relationship with someone, but ultimately abandon it if it is loving or sustained. A sense of self-hatred can ultimately push away even the most loving friend, colleague or partner.

It is difficult, if not impossible to have a truly intimate connection with someone who has a big ego but low self-esteem. If the person wants to connect with you, it may be based on what you can offer them, or how being connected to you may make them look better, rather than based on who you are deep down inside. Even if the person with a big ego and low self-esteem can appreciate who you are deep down inside, the reason they may choose to connect with you is because it looks good to the outside world and reflects well on them to be associated with someone who is good deep down inside.

Sadly, people become objects to the person with a big ego and low self-esteem. Whether you are a good object or a bad object, it still feels pretty empty. It does not feel good to be an object rather than a unique human being with gifts and frailties.

When I was writing Healing the War Between the Genders: The Power of the Soul-Centered Relationship, I gave a lot of thought to what I called "the narcissistic heart wound." I wrote: "The wound to heart and psyche that gets called narcissism occurs when a child's vulnerable and developing core sense of self is not seen or reflected back by the adults around him/her."

Children are multi-dimensional, and for any part of their psyche to develop, that part needs to be seen, heard, understood and valued. Children develop and integrate the many different parts of themselves through positive mirroring--the experience of having an adult bear witness to who they are at an essential level and reflect it back.

When a parent's own woundedness and unmet needs are the predominant force in relating to a child, the child's core sense of self can be lost, broken or undeveloped. This wound to the core sense of self is the root of narcissism.

Narcissism may include a simultaneous trauma to the core sense of self, and neglect/deprivation of the core self. A narcissistic parent may trample or invade a child's sense of self without even realizing it. And likewise, they may be unable to recognize or provide what the child really needs. The inability to recognize and respond appropriately to the core sense of self hurts the child's heart.

My colleague, psychologist and writer, Richard Grossman, commented, "To avoid the narcissistic heart wound, a child has to be valuable to their parents from day one. That means being valued for the basic core self you are, not valued determined by the parents." When we are valued for who we are, it builds self-esteem. And it teaches us to value ourselves for who we ARE, not just what we do.

If we don't feel valued for who we are, we may feel a deep emptiness inside, and we overwork, overbuy, overeat, and engage in other self-anesthetizing behaviors to fill or avoid the void. Ironically, it is love that really fills the void. Yet, because love also brings up deeper feelings connected to the void, we push love away.

To truly heal, we need the faith, the courage and the loving presence to feel our way through the void, uncomfortable, scary, painful, angry feelings and all. Only if we "ride the rapids" of deep feelings that reside in the void when the void feels empty, can we get to the other side, and find the peace, connection with self, and self-esteem we really crave.

Human beings are like seeds in many ways. Each one of us is full of potential, and born with all the raw ingredients necessary to grow into the full embodiment of who we are. Like a seed, under the proper conditions, we are sparked to life. We germinate. We are nourished. We grow. We develop roots and leaves.

When the proper conditions are lacking, the seed may never sprout. And we may never start the journey towards our full potential. Our deepest self may lie dormant and decompose. It may also try to sprout and then shrivel and die. What may be left is the shell of the person, but the inside is hollow and lifeless. Living from this place feels very empty and purposeless.

Healthy mirroring allows the soul and spirit to germinate. Continued love, mirroring, and feedback-- including ways we need to tune our behavior to be more effective, help us further develop our self-esteem as we learn and grow. Narcissistic faux-mirroring damages, if not destroys, the potential to germinate one's sense of self or cuts us off at the knees as we start to become stronger and grow. It damages our ability to put down roots that support our development, stunting our ability to fully engage in life. This creates "emotional birth defects," which are physically unexpressed but set emotional limits.

Developing a big ego can be a way to compensate for a fundamental sense of inadequacy, unworthiness or a lack of self-love. Sadly, without the kind of deep contact and healing that will burst our bubble of illusion, but bring us to our senses, our capacity to be fully human is stunted and we are programmed for failure in the most intimate ways.

The best gift we can gift to our children and loved ones is to work on healing our traumatized hearts, so we strengthen our sense of self-esteem, and are therefore, more available to see our loved ones for who they really are.

©2008 Linda Marks

Please share your thoughts... 

 Heart Seeds and Pods:
 Reflections From Sitting in the Vacuum of Life

My 50th birthday provided a great opportunity for me to let go and see what life would provide. When I turned 30, my first book came out, and I threw a grand party for hundreds of people at a popular Boston nightclub. The night was magnificent and a lot of work. I know everyone had a great time, and a special community of heart was created. I am glad I did it. But I didn't want to have to do it again.

When I turned 40, my marriage ended. My ex- husband is 12 1/2 years old than I am, so his 50th birthday was just a few months after Alex was born. Having had a 48 hour labor with a home birth that turned into a complicated hospital birth, and a neonatal ICU stay for Alex, I was in no condition to nurse my new son 24-7, pick up my clinical work to support our family, and throw my ex-husband the grand party he wanted. I was exhausted, and having the energy for the most mundane tasks I had previously taken for granted felt unfathomable. Being able to garner the strength to cook dinner was a big accomplishment. Out of love, I moved beyond my non-reserves, and created the party he envisioned so he would be celebrated the way his heart desired.

As my 40th birthday approached, and I asked him to return the favor, his response was, "I don't need to do that. You can do that yourself." I knew we were through. As I faced my pain and disappointment, I did put together a special party. But though I danced, it was with a broken heart. I VOWED never to throw myself a party again.

I kept my word to myself. I let go. I decided that if anything was going to happen as I turned 50, it would be out of love, friendship and choice from the people in my life who care about me. I took the risk of having nothing happen. I opened the door and walked into the void--a place that no one likes to jump into, including me. In the void, I had to sit in nothingness, and face feelings of loss, isolation, grief, broken dreams, rejection....and the other feelings and images that go bump in the night. Not pleasant, but a work out in the "emotional embody building gym." And the time ticked away. And the vacuum remained rather empty.

My best friend, Brenda, who lives in Indiana, mailed me a package, with instructions not to open it until November 25. That felt like a heart seed. It sat, unopened, in my bedroom, and it held the space for whatever else might grow. No matter what else did or did not happen, I knew Brenda was with me in spirit.

One friend had promised to take me out for my birthday, but he never called to nail down the plans. And on November 24, he proceeded to renege on his offer. My heart sank, and I went into my inner well of despair. I continued to let go.

The morning of November 24, I received an e-mail from a very special newer friend, who offered to celebrate my birthday on November 26, in what turned out to be a special breakfast. I felt like this friend, without even knowing it, became an answer to a prayer. Even if the birthday breakfast never happened, the very act of my friend reaching out with that gesture already made my day.

Around 8:30 pm the evening of November 24, the phone rang, and it was my dear friend and soul sister, Lisa. I hadn't spoken to her in several months, and her call was a welcome gift. One thing led to another and she asked who was taking me out for my birthday. When I said "no one," in disbelief, she said, "Then I will!" I was stunned and grateful. When one door closes, another one opens. Lisa had opened the door. And now the universe was clearly letting me see that new life grows from a vacuum.

Momentum started to build as a friend from NH, who rarely ventures down to Boston offered to take me out to lunch for my birthday, in spite of torrential rain.

A very special friend who is working in Pakistan who I hadn't spoken to in weeks, called. Another very special friend who I have known for 30 years called and left a singing voicemail for me. Friends from all different times and places in my life wrote messages on Facebook. A woman I went to high school with, even sent me a photo from the yearbook my junior year in high school! All kinds of unexpected treats and treasures were emerging. And I had the wonderful opportunity of just letting and receiving. I was filled with gratitude and humility.

The dinner with Lisa was magnificent. She brought me a dozen peach colored roses, and treated me and Alex to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants. When I opened her special birthday gift, inside were three handmade porcelain seed pods--symbols of the void from which life grows! It turns out Lisa's brother had turned 50 the month before I did, so she made him a set of 50 seed pods as his gift. She had three left over, and gave them to me. I was very touched.

Besides being beautiful, they seemed so perfect for me having spent so many days and weeks sitting in the void, seeing what life might unfold. And when I realized the next morning that a member of the EKP community had given me a pouch of "heart seeds" when she moved to San Francisco, I realized that I had the very seeds to place in each pod.

When the universe works through synchronicities, I know I am on the right track. The morning of November 26, I awoke at 5:30 am, and realized I needed to give one of my three seed pods with a heart seed to my special new friend/colleague who was bringing over the birthday breakfast. Lisa's pods were already bearing fruit, and the gift of her love was already multiplying, so I could pass it on.

When my friend received his pod/heart seed and it was clearly the right symbol at the right time, I felt full and truly blessed. This is how life is supposed to work. When we sit in the vacuum, new life can grow. And when we gratefully receive the gifts, expected or unexpected, they only multiply and grow. I felt so connected to the spirit of life, and so much a part of the circle of life, I was moved to tears.

So, perhaps that was my ultimate birthday gift. By letting go, and surrendering into the vacuum of nothingness, by letting and not doing at all, my heart's deepest dreams could be realized.

Interesting how I had selected "When Dreams Suffer," the song I wrote in 1978, which became my signature song in my semi- professional singer/songwriter days to include in the Thanksgiving HealingHeartPower newsletter. "When dreams suffer, there must be fear in their way. So, close your eyes until you realize, your dreams will, in time, guide your way."

And including it was inspired by Safia Mohamed's incredible story about dreaming to be the best that she could be. Love comes around full circle. Even our own love.

I think I will make it a habit of sitting in the void more often, and of consciously planting heart seeds in pods, and letting them grow!

©2008 Linda Marks

Share your thoughts on this article... 

 Spirituality As An Everyday Practice

Iraq Weedflower My colleague, Walter Rice, gave a presentation which explored spirituality in our lives and in the healing arts at the November meeting of the Wellness Roundtable. He made what I believe was an important and wise point, that many people connect with spirituality only in a crisis, not as a daily practice.

This is sad in many ways. Connecting with a sense of spirituality evokes a universal energy which can help us, in divine time, create the things that really matter in our lives. The more often we connect with a sense of spirituality, the more this universal energy is available to us. When regular meditation, prayer or whatever spiritual practice we choose is practiced, we are more likely to be living in the flow of life, where our heart's voice is more accessible.

Walter shared a wonderful piece that is said to be a handwritten sign found on the wall of Mother Theresa's room:

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends, and some true enemies; be successful anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous; be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough, give the world your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

I think this message is a wise one to inspire us to follow our hearts, and do what is really right and true, no matter what shakes out in the journey of life. I think this message is a wonderful meditation to help create spirituality in daily life.


 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

On Saturday, January 24, Dan Cohen and Linda Marks will be leading Healing the Traumatized Integenerational Heart. This workshop integrates Hellinger Family Constellations work with EKP to provide an incredibly powerful opportunity to heal integenerational enegy doing soul work and oversoul work.

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 almost 13-year-old son.

To find out more about Linda... 

 Planting a Heart Seed

For quite a long time, my heart has been telling me it is time to get a "real house"--one that is my own home, and both has the space to welcome large groups of people (for events like the holiday party) and for privacy and solitude. Ideally, I would like a house that allows for a sense of home and family.

While I am very grateful to this house at 3 Central Avenue for holding the space for me to simultaneously work and be a present single mom to my son, I am afraid my heart and spirit have truly outgrown the space. I love my office and group room, but I have very little space for me in this big house. To make things work economically, so I can live by my values, which include being fully present to my son, and providing services for people who cannot truly afford me in addition to those who can afford me, I have "squeezed" my own life into a much smaller quarters than I really need.

I don't know exactly how I will be able to get my "real house," or when. Creating financial circumstances that will allow me to get a single family home is something I must actively work with. Just by putting out my intention of finding a way to find/afford/manifest a "real house," is an important first step.

For those who have come to love 3 Central Avenue, I have every intent of keeping my office here. This house has provided space for lots of healing over the past 18 years, and I would like it to continue to serve that purpose for many more years.

When I first moved here from my prior office at the Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Newton Corner, I remember the feeling of disruption and displacement from many of my clients at the time! I realize how sacred it is to have one place to count on coming to for healing work!

So, in the spirit of pods and heart seeds, by writing this here, I am planting a seed. And I am holding it gently with an open hand and a sincere heart, trusting that, in time, my hearts desires will be able to come true.

I welcome your thoughts....