February 14, 2009 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue

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Consider this your personal valentine. One from the heart, for your heart.

Rather than being limited to a day for those who have a one special "valentine," "heart day" can be a day for love in all its forms.

Today is a good day to take a quiet moment and to listen to your heart. Take a few moments to appreciate your heart, and thank your heart for its guidance, wisdom and steady presence in your life.

Today can also be a day of appreciation, where you express your love to each of the people you love in your life. Appreciation can make someone's day. Too often we hear criticisms, judgments and what we haven't done right or still need to do. What a wonderful counterpoint to hear how who we are, what we have done or both have touched another person's life.

Today is also a wonderful day to take heartfull action to make the world a better place. If you see an issue in your own life, the life of your family, your community or the world at large, what is one small step you can take to make things better? What if we all took one small step to address something we cared about every single day? Would that not transform the world?

Heart of the Matter Discussion Session

I am gathering together a small group of people who all live with heart issues: atrial fibrillation, cardiac arrhythmia, atrial tachycardia, past heart attack, and other heart conditions, for a discussion exploring people's experiences with conventional medical treatment (medications, procedures), mind-body approaches for heart issues and observations about the relationship between emotional states, stress and their heart health. This group will set up one meeting. If you or anyone you know is interested, e-mail LSMHEART@aol.com.

Articles in this issue include: "Hurry Up and Slow Down," reflecting on how stopping and going slowly may get us where we want to be faster, "The Importance of Respect: Honoring the Heart," exploring the empowering effects of respect, and the toxic impact of disrespect on our hearts, and "Community Voices,"an opportunity to post notices by members of our community.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 Hurry Up and Slow Down:
 If You Want to Get Somewhere Quickly, Go Slowly

To live from my heart in this world, I need to come from a very quiet, centered, peaceful space. I need quiet and silence so I can hear the voice of my heart. I need time and space to breathe, to reflect, and to embrace my own heart's guidance and to integrate my heart's desires with the wants, needs, desires and timelines of those I care about.

Yet, to live in this world, I can't just sit in my writer's cave and meditate all day. My son needs to leave for school at 7:45 am, so I need to start my day at 6:30 am. I need to balance clients, going to the gym for self-care, writing, teaching, keeping connected with friends, cooking, cleaning, caring for pets....The demands modern life puts on each of us could keep us running from early morning til late at night. Life can feel like a perpetual treadmill. How do we slow down and grab ourselves some personal space?

One kind of personal space that is essential is the quiet space that comes when we are able to turn off the chattering mind. It's hard to be present in any moment, if the mind is always listing what needs to be done, judging what isn't perfect, or running through what's happened so far and what is next on the docket.

While it is easy to feel pressure internally and externally to work harder and longer, to go faster, and to push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion, ultimately going faster will actually slow us down. And paradoxically, slowing down will actually help us get more done.

Slowing down helps us ground ourselves in our bodies, in the moment, in our breathing, in sensation....and all of these palpable experiences help quiet the active mind. It is the literal experience of "losing our minds and coming to our senses."

I'll never forget when a colleague commented, "I don't understand these people who wonder what it would be like to have an 'out of body' experience. Living out of my body has become a way of life. I actually wouldn't know what it would feel like to have an 'in the body experience.'"

A personal trainer I know commented, "I can my hands on someone's shoulders, feel the knots of tension they are living with, and ask them how their shoulders are feeling. The response might be 'fine' or "'he way they always feel.' I've come to realize that they don't feel their tension because they are so used to carrying it, they don't know any other way of being. How do you tell someone they aren't really living in their body?"

If we truly live in our bodies, we discover we have physical and emotional limits that really matter. While life may be pressuring us to speed up and go faster, our bodies and hearts will be gently trying to coax us to slow down. While our minds run quickly and hold on to details, our bodies, our hearts and our breath will remind us to let go and be still. Stillness allows us to turn our focus inward, to start mining the depths of our inner well.

Yet, for many people it is really scary to think of stopping motion and slowing down. "What would I do with myself if I stopped?" reflected a woman I know. "If I stopped, I might never get up and start again."

I have also heard people say they don't want to slow down and be still, because they are afraid of what is inside of them in the quiet and in the dark. There are painful feelings, personal fears, anger, loss, grief lurking just under the surface. And it gets too quiet for too long, there is no way to hold these feelings at bay. So, fear of feeling keeps us running and spinning at a dizzying clip. Perhaps this is what it means "to get nowhere fast."

When I teach people to take a mindful moment and slow down, I ask them to get comfortable on a chair or on the floor. I have them get in a position where their feet can be parallel to one another and flat on the floor, and where their tailbone can have the sense of "rooting down" into their chair or the ground. As they breath in, I invite them to feel the connection with the ground under their feet and the chair or ground under their tailbone...and to breathe in this connection with the ground. And as they exhale, to imagine a puppetmaster is holding their head by an invisible string, that invites them to straighten their posture, soften their spine, and make the space in their chest for theirs and their breath. As they inhale they can feel their back softening and the chest opening. And they can still feel the sense of rootedness with the tailbone on the chair and their feet flat on the ground.

As I invite them to take a few quiet moments just to focus on the sensation of their body rooting into the chair and the ground, and the space they are creating for their breath and their heart, the room often becomes very quiet and still. By feeling their body at a sensory level, and feeling the support of the chair or the ground, there is more for their energy to circulate through all of their body, rather than being caught in chatter in the mind. There is also space to breathe out what needs to be released, and breathe in what is new or what is next.

I invite them to notice how they are feeling in their body and heart, and also what they are noticing in their mind. Most often, the response is a sense of relaxation, a resetting or a recharging, and a very quiet brain. In fact, sometimes, things get so quiet, the brain is silent.

If there are deeper feelings, by grounding our feet and tailbone on the chair and ground, by grounding our emotional experience in the body, in the moment and in the breath, there is more space for them to flow, pass through and be heard. By taking a mindful moment, or perhaps, even more accurately, a heartfull mindful moment, we are inviting ourselves to slow down, to be still. And if we accept the invitation, our whole physiology can soften, quiet, feel grounded, and let us BE in the present moment.

It is in this slower, quieter space, that we can connect most deeply with our heart's desires, what what is right for us in any moment, and to act on what we feel and most deeply know. This kind of slow, conscious action is actually the most efficient way I know to work and live. It allows us to be centered and make our priority list from a centered place. It allows us to slow down and be in the moment, which allows creativity, inspiration, wisdom and brilliance to be accessable for guidance.

I learned long ago that slow is the most efficient way to go. And therefore, going slowly means getting there the fastest. Fewer obstacles, road blocks or uncertainties from within. More resources, resilience and capacity to face whatever comes my way on the outside. Taking the time to be still, to feel the sensations in my body, to breathe deeply and fully, and to just appreciate the moment allows me to feel alive, authentic, and often grateful. And from this grounded stance, however I set forth in the world, it will be with clarity, compassion, power and focus.

I guess we need to hurry up and learn to slow down!

©2009 Linda Marks

Please share your thoughts... 

 The Importance of Respect
 Honoring the Heart

I have had quite a few opportunities to reflect on the importance of respect for heartpower and wellbeing. As I have observed both the toxic effects lack of respect or disrespect has had on those I love, and the empowering effect of true respect, I have come to believe that respect is an essential experience for heart health and well-being.

Most human beings seek to be known, seen and heard for who they are. When we are unknown, unseen and unheard, we feel invisible, that we do not matter. And that hurts the heart. Even worse, when another person with whom we have a connection or who is in a position of power or influence in our lives, creates a negative image of us that doesn't accurately represent who we are, our energy and our hearts become diminuished. Being disrepected or unfairly judged hurts us, exhausts us, and takes a toll on the heart.

Respect brings with it a power--a clean power. Respect empowers both the respectee and the relationship between the respectee and the respector. Respect is truly love in one of its many forms.

Respect offers a warming mirror for the heart. This is true when another person's words and actions reflect respect. However, it is particularly palpable in EKP when I place my hands on someone's body, including their heart:

By asking permission before I place my hands on the person, I demonstrate respect.

By listening to their "real" answer, which might be deeper or different than their words, I demonstrate respect.

By honoring their "yes" or their "no," I demonstrate respect.

If they say it is okay to put my hearts on their heart or other body part, by asking exactly where they would like the hand, and exactly what quality of contact feels right to them, I offer respect.

By giving the person the time and space to tune the hand so it feels just right, and even having permission to experiment with options, since it is not an everyday occurrence for someone to offer to place a hand on our heart or body in a way that feels just right to us, I demonstrate respect.

By having my hand be there quietly and presently, so that the person can feel my support with no strings, I demonstrate respect.

By feeling my presence, my attention, my desire to support and tune my energy, the person who I am responding to feels my respect.

And true respect when attended to in a slow, mindful way, can penetrate us emotionally, physically and spiritually in a very deep and profound way.

Deep respect is very validating. We breathe easier. We relax the tension we carry in our bodies. It is easier to feel safe and to go inside and listen to our bodies and hearts. It is easier to speak our truth and know we will be heard.

As the present hand holds and opens a space for a person to take in deep respect, the person's heart energy begins to blossom and grow. The hand becomes like a "tea cozy"--keeping the warm heart energy warm.

Taking the care to make sure a person is safe and complete for the moment before removing a hand is also part of respect. Honoring that touch and presence open an emotional door, it is important to be sure that the emotional house is in good order for the moment before we walk out and close the door.

The safety and completion cycle allows us to ask, "what does your heart need right now?" and for the person who is being asked to go inside, listen and speak honestly about what they find. If we could support someone in being safe and complete for the moment, they will take with them the seeds of a longer lasting sense of respect. Safe closure anchors the exprience of respect.

©2009 Linda Marks

Share your thoughts on this article... 

 Community Voices


Marie Mesidor, a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University, is conducting a research study between mothers with major depression and their adult daughters.

The study is especially interested in learning the way that depression affects how mothers and daughters communicate with support, and feel about one another. Marie is interviewing mothers with major depression and their adult daughters (26 years of age and older) separately in 90 minute telephone of face- to-face interviews (depending on what is most convenient.) Each participant will receive 30 minutes for her time. All information from the interviews will be held in the strictest confidence so that a mother and daughter will not be informed about one another's interview responses.

Please contact Dr. Marie Mesidor (617)353-3549 or mmesidor@bu.edu for more information.


Referring to the piece I wrote in the February 1 newsletter about Mike Barad's "creating new opportunity out of adversity: "This is a refreshing and upbeat antidote to the gloom and doom presentations by the media. I particularly like the line: 'In fact, sometimes, one has to build the door and open it oneself.'"

-- Karen

Share your thoughts.... 

 HealingHeartPower Calendar

The Thursday night EKP Therapy Group has openings for a couple new members. An interview and one EKP session are required to apply. Contact Linda if you are interested at LSMHEART@aol.com

Saturday, February 21, is the next Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop, from 1 - 5 pm in Newton. Join us for an afternoon of heartful healing and community.

There will also be a Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop on Sunday, March 15 from 1 - 5 pm in Bedford. We are bringing the heartwork into the living room of someone who is unable to gain access to most of our regular venues.

Linda Marks and Alan Krentzel offered a Stress Management workshop at Beacon Hill Athletic Club in West Newton, MA on Wednesday, February 11, and are working to arrange an ongoing Stress Management Class there. If you would like to participate, e-mail LSMHEART@aol.com.

Linda and Alan are also offering a Stress Management workshop at Wayland Wellness in Wayland, MA on Wednesday, March 11 from 7 - 8:30 pm.

On Sunday, March 22, Dan Cohen and Linda Marks will be leading another Healing the Traumatized Integenerational Heartworkshop. 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.

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 Thursday 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 LSMHEART@aol.com.

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 13-year-old son.

To find out more about Linda... 

 Heartfull Quotes

"Strength of heart comes from knowing that the pain that we each must bear is part of the greater pain shared by all that lives.  It is not just 'our' pain but 'the' pain, and realizing this awakens our universal compassion."

-  Jack Kornfield in "A Path With Heart"

"Mankind will survive if there are no great scientific or philosophical or artistic or technological achievements during the next hundred years. But this survival becomes doubtful if the egotism of individuals and groups remain undiminished; if it is not transcended by a creative love... as a dynamic force effectively transfiguring individuals, ennobling social institutions, inspiring culture, and making the whole world a warm, friendly, and beautiful cosmos."

--Pitirim Sorokin

"Some live by 'Love thy neighbor as they self.' Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need. What if the mightiest word is love, love be- yond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to pre-empt grievance."

-Elizabeth Alexander

I welcome your thoughts....