I greatly appreciate all the appreciative feedback I
received from community members about the
December newsletter. It seems that the articles really
touched a chord for many people! That is always a
real blessing. My purpose is to write from the heart to
the heart. And my hope is always to provide a little bit
of heartfull enrichment to all who read this newsletter.
One reader commented,
"Thanks for your monthly newsletter. I always look
forward to reading it and today, the stories about the
narcissistic heart wound and your lovely story about
heart seeds and pods just couldn't have been better
timed to drop into my e-mail box."
Thank you for helping keep my heart open!"
Another reader, my colleague, David Anick, reflected
on a concept I decided to explore further in this e-
"In addition to teaching self-esteem, we need to
make sure our children learn 'other-esteem.' Other-
esteem is related to, but not identical with respect and
courtesy. Other-esteem requires the humility to
recognize that others have gifts in various areas that
are greater than one's own and do matter, and the
gratitude to know that you and the world are better off
for their gifts."
Another community member wrote:
"I was humbled to hear myself described as part of
community. I had only thought of myself as a person,
solace, comfort, growth from EKP. But if one finds
comfort and growth as a part of this work, you do go
the world and act and react to it in a different, more
way. In an essence you become a part of this virtual
wherever you go, sending this heart energy into the
I had thought of them more as stones but you are right,
are "seeds," seeds of hope and happiness... The same
you sent me your note I ran into this quote:
Growth can only be gradual. The seed that is sown
not sprout into a tree the next day. It does so only in
of time, at its own pace,
and by its own order.
- Swami Kripalu
Serendipity and fate are two perhaps contradictory
believe in both and whichever made our paths cross, I
I am glad to hear your 50th was, in the end, a nice
You have certainly planted a lot of heart seeds along
the way -
you just never know when they will sprout...
Articles in this issue focus on matters of love in all of
our relationships: "Other Esteem: Everybody
Really Matters," following from my colleague
David Anick's reflections, "Love Without
Strings," my own reflections on the journey to live
from a place of unconditional love, and "Sustained
Relationships and Heart Health."
Your comments and feedback are always welcome!
Other Esteem: Everybody Really Matters
When my colleague, David Anick shared his
reflections on the article on "Narcissism and Self-
Esteem Versus Ego" from the December newsletter, I
deeply appreciated his use of the term, "other
How we think about, understand and relate to others is
as essential to both our personal well-being and our
collective survival as having a healthy, grounded
sense of self. One could argue that in our culture,
people have learned to develop their self-esteem, but
few even think about, never mind consciously
develop, a sense of "other-esteem."
"Other-esteem" is a good umbrella concept to
embrace many values at the very heart of EKP. First
and foremost, EKP is founded on the deep belief that
everybody matters, and what matters to each
person really matters. In our culture, too often, we can
discount, push away, block out or try to forget another
person if we don't like what they are saying, if we don't
believe the same things they believe, if they have hurt
us or if we just don't understand them. While there are
times we do need to set boundaries for our own self-
preservation or well-being, one can set boundaries
without discounting that another person is still a
person, and that as a person, they do still really matter.
If we "other" a person--separating them from us,
on how different they are, including judging them as
or wrong, we lose a part of ourselves. My English
colleague, Nick Ralls wrote:
"In a war situation, if I think you are very much like
me and you are the enemy it's going to be much more
difficult for me to hurt you or kill you. But if I feel distant
and removed from another person and do not
recognise myself in that person, I do not feel or
recognise my humanity in that person. Therefore, it
might be nothing for me to
kill you. The more alienated I am from other people,
the more dangerous I am.
Separation is the most profoundly painful thing that we
human beings can ever
experience. Even the concept that we are separate..
that you and I are separate
is what is so very painful.
When we see our connection with one another...
realise that we are all God
potential even if we are not expressing it... then our
world changes and how we
see other people changes too.
When I lead long-term groups, very often group
members don't realize what a difference it makes to be
absent from the group. I always tell people, your
presence makes a difference and your absence
leaves a gap, but this is often a very foreign
When people are absent they often feel, "no one is
going to care if I am not there," or "maybe the group
will be better off it I am not there, because there will be
more time and space for everyone else, " or "I am
ashamed of missing the group, so let me be invisible
and no one will notice." Likewise, when a person is
running late, they may not realize that taking the time
to make a phone call, to communicate that they will be
even 10 minutes late makes a difference and feels like
a gesture of respect to the others who are waiting for
Recognizing that our presence makes a difference
and our absence leaves a gap helps us realize we
matter to other people, and our lack of communication
or presence or absence really impacts others.
Realizing we matter to others and our actions or lack
of actions impact them is part of "other-esteem."
Another piece of other-esteem is the recognition that
everyone has unique gifts to give the world and
everyone also has learning edges--places to learn
and grow. When we are able to connect with our gifts
and bring them to other people and the world at large,
the world is much richer for it. When we hold back our
gifts or are afraid to expose our gifts, everyone loses.
Having courage to learn and grow only strengthens us
and those around us. When we are afraid of our
human frailties or the things we don't know, we pull
back our energy and our absence leaves a gap, once
Having both a healthy respect and a humility about
our gifts can make it easier to embrace and give them.
Having compassion for our growing edges and human
frailties can make it safer to explore them. In EKP, one
core value is all parts are welcome here, and in
order for our strength and our vulnerability to show up
all the way, we have to feel safe, welcome and
embraced for who we are.
Other esteem asks us not to take anything for granted.
There is so much we don't know, and there are so
many people whose cultures, values, beliefs and
experiences are different than ours in this world. In
the class I teach at UMass Boston on relationships, we
draw from the "social constructionist framework." One
principle from this framework is "a critical stance
towards taken-for-granted knowledge." It is important
that we strive to view the world objectively without
preconceived notions about how people should
Another principle is "historical and cultural specificity."
One should not assume that our way of understanding
the world is any better than any other human being's
way. We need to factor in differences in culture,
experience, and context. There is an old saying,
"where you stand is based on where you sit." Trying to
understand people's thoughts, feelings, actions,
beliefs and behaviors in their own context helps us
And finally, another key principle of other-esteem is
that while roles are replaceable, people are not
replaceable. Each person in this world is a unique
being, and deserves to be seen, treated and received
as such. If we lump people together as "all men" or
"all women," or "all children," or "all babyboomers," we
lose sight of the uniqueness that distinguishes any
person from a group they may also be part of. And in
doing so, we are more likely to "other" the person
rather than appreciating both their uniqueness and
our sense of interconnection with them for their
Deep other-esteem is something that needs to be
consciously cultivated over time. It can go hand-in-hand
with self-esteem, but one does not guarantee the other.
In closing, I'd like to share another one of my
colleague, David Anick's reflections:
"It has taken me much time and practice to learn
true other-esteem. which is not the same as the
pseudo-other-esteem I used to do (and usually got
away with) giving to them. That was more like flattery
born of kind intentions. Even though it 'worked,' it
never led me to feel connected to others. A certain
kind of self-esteem has had to go as I develop more
genuine other-esteem. It isn't fun and involves facing
fears and doubts that I've long hidden from. Self-
esteem/other-esteem is one of those spirals we keep
returning to just when we think we've got it."
And in the spirit of that spiral of evolving thought and
knowledge, I welcome your reflections on this topic!
©2008 Linda Marks
Please share your thoughts...
Love Without Strings
When I was in my mid-20's, I had an experience that
opened my eyes to the importance of healthy, grounded,
spacious and present love. I lived in Shrewsbury, MA at
the time, and was beginning my body psychotherapy
practice, while doing organizational consulting on a
contract basis for Digital Equipment Corporation.
I had been struggling with drawing healthy boundaries
with both of my parents. I had been more like a
mother to my mother than a daughter, and my father
had rage management issues. So, I learned to set a
healthy distance between me and them, so I could
have space to be myself and have a life. While my
mother did have a warm and loving side, because of
her abandonment by her own mother when she
was young, she also had a wounded child, whose
abandoned part made her cling to me in what I called
a "desparate" way. She wanted something from me
that I could not provide, because I sensed she was
reaching out to me when she really needed to reach
inward to herself. She did not know this, and would
seek therapy, since in her generation seeking therapy
meant you were "crazy." As a result, she acted out in
relationship to me without being aware of what she
was doing or the painful impact it had on me.
One day I was on the phone with an organizational
consulting client in my dining room. I had the doors to
my breezeway locked, since it was a beautiful day,
and the main door to my house was open. Out of
nowhere, I heard a banging on the breezeway
screens, and a voice shouting, "Open the door right
now! How dare you lock out your mother!"
I found myself in a state of shock, as my mother had
arrived literally at my door step, unplanned, and at an
inopportune time. Rather than considering
that I might be at work, and that my screen doors might
be locked for a meaningful reason, she
took it personally when I wasn't even expecting her!
Her shouting was loud and disruptive to my
professional call--embarrassing even. I had to tell my
client an unexpected visitor had arrived at my door,
and I would have to call him back after I attended to
I found myself concluding in that moment that I could
no longer relate to my mother if she came to me out of
desparation and I could no longer relate to my
mother if I came to her out of guilt. I realized
that I felt guilty about her sense of desparation and my
need to distance from what felt like the vacuum
sucking pressure of her unmet needs directed towards
me. And as I put up healthy boundaries to counter the
vacuum sucking energy, she felt more and more
desparate and pursued me more heatedly. This was
not healthy, and something needed to change. So, I
told her that day, I could no longer see her til she
came to me out of choice, not desparation and I
came to her out of choice, not guilt. That was
quite a message for me to deliver. And she did not
speak to me for 6 to 9 months. And I never felt more
free than after making that statement so clearly and
I came to realize energetically that love attracts
and fear repels. Yet, it isn't always someone's
fault that they are carrying the energy of deep fear. Deep
fear often has its roots in unmet needs. And even if a
person is conscious of their unmet needs, it doesn't mean
they know how or where to get their unmet needs met.
In fact, if they did know how and where to get their unmet
needs met, most likely, they would have already done so,
and found a way to integrate and move past the fear.
In spite of the depth of my commitment to healing and
growth, I have found over the years, that I too, being
human, can suffer from this very ailment. Even after
years of therapy, bodywork and all kinds of healing
workshops and processes, there are parts of my
abandoned self that still seek full integration and
healing. Parts of my inner child, and perhaps even
inner infant or prenatal self, still need to be presenced,
loved and seen for who they are...And having not had
those experiences, when abandonment or potential
abandonment sets in, I move into an uncontained
energy, that most likely has some of that very "vacuum
sucking" quality I experienced from my mother.
Even though I know that about myself, know how to
curl up in my bed with pillows between my knees, on
my heart and in my hands, and know how to "ride the
rapids" of painful feelings that course through my body
and heart in those "vacuum" moments, there are times
I pray that I can experience the missing experiences I
need to heal this deep place, so I don't have to ride the
I realize that the more deeply I can integrate and heal
those uncontained places, the more fully I can love
unconditionally in all moments, and not fall prey to my
own frailties brought forth by my experiences of
emotional abandonment or unmet needs at a very early
age in a very primal way.
I have come to realize that the more deeply I heal my
soul, the more deeply I can fully love without strings.
Some people consciously attach strings to love,
making a spoken or unspoken contract that says, "If I
do X, then you will do Y." Meaning that what is
exchanged in a package called "love," is actually
conditional, and not really freely given and received.
For others, who have done more inner work exploring
and integrating their unmet needs, love need not be
so conditional. A greater sense of spaciousness and
respect can enter into the love arena--both with love
for self and love for another human being. Truly
spacious love breeds the space for another person to
come by choice and not obligation. And this creates
an emotional freedom that allows a much deeper
intimacy to build.
What is very humbling is that even with lots and lots of
inner work at conscious and unconscious levels, there
can still be primal vestiges of unmet needs, some of
which may exist in the transgenerational energy field
of our ancestors, yet still effect our lives. By engaging
in transgenerational energy work, like Family
Constellations, we can release some of these strings
in a heartbeat. And by going deep into the body,
heart and soul, using EKP, we can have moments
where we are known, seen and heard for who we truly
are, and heal the places of unmet needs. These
experiences help us integrate our uncontained
energy, and shine light on our darkest places.
If we have the opportunity to fully be ourselves, and be
fully received and loved for who we are, we become
lovers of choice, not obligation or desparation. And we
can give and receive love freely, without strings.
©2008 Linda Marks
Share your thoughts on this article...
Sustained Relationships and Heart Health
As I started to prepare for the Rowe retreat, and
flipping through my Rowe workshop notebook, I came
across a wonderful article by Daniel Goleman entitled
"Friends for Life: An Emerging Biology of Emotional
Healing." I am often amazed about the gems I have
found and hidden away inadvertently, leaving me
lucky enough to rediscover them when the time is
The key message that stood out from this article is "the
emotional status of our main relationships has a
significant impact on our overall pattern of cardiovascular
and endocrine activity." Simply put, the health of our
important relationships effects our heart health and
endocrine health as well as the quality of our lives.
Intuitively, this is not new information. Yet, I always
love it when science comes up with a way to explain
what I've always known to be true in my heart.
Goleman reflects that the relationship between
important relationships and our heart health and
endocrine health, "radically expands the scope of
biology and neuroscience from focusing on a single
body or brain to looking at the interplay between two
at a time. In short, my hostility bumps up your blood
pressure, your nurturing love lowers mine. Potentially,
we are each other's biological enemies or allies."
An interesting concept that has emerged from the new
field of social neuroscience, the study of how people's
brains entrain as they interact, adds an important
piece to the health and relationship puzzle. Mirror
neurons are "a widely dispersed class of brain
cells that operate like WiFi. Mirror neurons track the
emotional flow, movement and even intentions of the
person we are with, and replicate that sensed state in
our own brain by stirring in our brain the same areas
active in the other person."
Have you ever noticed that laughter is contagious?
And so is depression? "Mirror neurons offer a neural
mechanism that explains emotional contagion, the
tendency of one person to catch the feelings of
another, particularly if they are strongly expressed.
This brain-to-brain link may also account for the
feelings of rapport, which research finds depends in
part on extremely rapid synchronization of people's
posture, vocal pacing and movements as they
If you add in the power of the heart through its
electromagnetic field, which allows us to touch without
words powerfully when we are 8 - 10 feet away and
more subtly at greater distances, there is a lot more to
interpersonal interaction than we may have ever
fathomed. The more fully grounded we are in love,
respect, listening, honoring and hearing self and
other, the more powerfully our electromagnetic energy
field, our brain waves, and our life energy impact
another in a positive way. When we lose our
grounding, feel badly about ourselves or project our
triggered feelings onto a loved on, we became a literal
energy drain on the cardiac, mental and life energy
systems. That makes a really good argument for the
importance of good self-care, including caring for the
emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of our lives.
Goleman notes that coordination of emotions,
cardiovascular reactions or brain states between two
people allow people to become a "mutually regulating
psychobiological unit." And this helps explain the
power of body-centered healing methods like EKP. As
we literally connect emotionally, energetically and
neurologically, we can become healing forces for one
another in all ways.
Goleman cites "the biology of emotional rescue," when
a friend or loved one holds your hand in a stressful or
painful time. When people bear difficulties in isolation,
the very zones of the brain that generate the sting of
physical pain are activated. Is it any accident that we
use the term "broken heart," to describe the loss of a
loved one? There is a literal break in the energy field
when we suffer a loss, and a loved one leaves or
removes the conscious intentional loving energy of
their heart towards your heart.
All of this research points to the importance of sustaining
close relationships consciously over time. If we can bring
conscious care and attention to ourselves and our loved
ones over time, our heart health, our overall health and
the quality of our lives will only grow.
Much as we've learned to reach out and touch the
keyboard (and I am doing so right now as I write), there is
no substitute for being in the presence of the ones we
©2008 Linda Marks
Share your thoughts....
February 21, is the next Healing the
Traumatized Heart Workshop, from 1 - 5 pm in
Newton. Join us for an afternoon of heartful healing
The Embracing the Power of the
Heart, weekend retreat at Rowe Camp and
Conference Center in Rowe, MA, January 9 - 11 is
right around the corner! My friend and colleague Alan
Krentzel is part of the staff team, integrating Tai
balance the EKP healing work.
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.
Alan and I are also working to integrate Tai Chi, EKP
and Stress Management tools in other settings. Alan
is offering a Tai Chi and Qigong class at the
Beacon Hill Athletic Club in West Newton on
Wednesday, January 14 at 6:45 pm. The two of
us are offering at Stress Management workshop at
Beacon Hill Athletic Club on Wednesday, February 11.
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
EKP Apprenticeship Training begins this
I am delighted that two of my colleagues, Dan Cohen
and Alan Krentzel will be enriching the learning
environment for the first year and fourth year
apprentices. Dan will be bringing his Family
Constellations work, and Alan will be bringing his Tai
Chi/Qigong work to the training.
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.
in apprenticing, contact LSMHEART@aol.com. An
interview and one EKP session are required to
to the first year apprenticeship training group. You
only need to commit to the first year of training to
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....
Heart Seed of the Month
Last month, I took the risk of planting a heart seed of
vision at the end of the newsletter. I've decided, at least
for this month, that it's a good and meaningful practice to
In addition to having a beautiful, open, spacious, private
home space, which remains a heart's desire of mine, in
whatever time it comes, another heart seed I wish to plant
is for an organic structure that grows the presence and
availability of EKP work.
As the field of neuroscience has developed,
deepened and broadened, so that neurocardiology,
neurochemistry and even social neuroscience have
emerged and evolved, it becomes clearer and clearer
to me that the healing heart work EKP provides should
be available to all. I would like to grow the
apprenticeship program so that more people can
participate, more of my wonderful colleagues with
complementary bodies of knowledge and skills can
integrate them, and so that more and more members
of the general public can have access to health and
care for their hearts and lives.
I can imagine developing a program with a university
affiliation. I can imagine developing a program in
collaboration with a group of my colleagues that we
offer privately, much as the EKP apprenticeship has
evolved. I am open to all possibility, just looking for
ways to bring the spirit of EKP and heartpowered
healing to people in the local community and people
all over the world.
Your thoughts, ideas, reflections and actions are
I welcome your thoughts....