February 1, 2009 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue

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We're approaching February 14, which I affectionately call "heart day." I find it a good invitation to listen to our hearts, express our love to those we love, and take heartfull action to make the world a better place.

Articles in this issue include: "On Boundaries," drawing for the archives of the Institute for EKP, "Heart Rhythms and Life Rhythms," reflecting on the importance of steady life rhythms for emotional safety and healthy hearts, and "Community Voices,"an opportunity to post notices by members of our community.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 On Boundaries

One of the hallmarks of professional relationships is establishing clear, clean and mutually understood boundaries. How can you honor another while also honoring your self? How can you tell where you begin and another ends? How do you know what is expected and appropriate in any relationship. What creates safety to make contact with another, soul to soul?

Clear boundaries promote emotional safety in any relationship. Healthy boundaries help us protect our vulnerable parts from danger, open our hearts to the ones we love and discern what is true and needed at any moment in time. Healthy boundaries create a "heart sensing system"--so we know how to emotionally locate ourselves in time, space and relationship to self and other. Consider it a "heart or relationship GPS."

For many of us, though boundaries can be confused with barriers, walls or compartments. Because so many of us have been hurt, neglected or abused, we may lack an experience of healthy boundaries, and instead have "defense patterns" we developed to survive that are either very rigid or not solid enough.

When hurt, neglect and abuse happen in childhood (and adulthood), our personal boundaries may be overstepped, transgressed or simply never defined. If we don't have experiences of healthy, mutually respectful contact, our personal boundaries are often not well-defined.

Healthy boundaries are semi-permeable and selective. In response to violation, a child's boundaries may be too open or too closed. No boundaries and rigid boundaries limit the child's ability to be and to interact with his/her environment. Neither state sustains life.

With rigid boundaries, the organism experiences a kind of protection. Nothing gets in and nothing gets out. In the process, though, it dies of starvation and toxicity. The body becomes the prison of the soul.

A lack of boundaries often is accompanied by a spirit in exile. This is a diffuse protection mechanism, which never lets the core self be exposed. As someone seems to be getting close, they soon find nothing there. The true self has vacated the premises. Unfortunately, in this diffuse state, a person may lose their sense of self, in addition to protecting themselves from others.

Boundaries define the mental, emotional, physical, energetic and spiritual limits of the self. WIthout clear boundaries, our needs and identity remain in question. Healing from trauma, neglect and abuse involves creating the safety to move from black and white to shades of gray along the boundary continuum.

There is a magic art to establishing appropriate boundaries--ones that are neither too rigid nor too loose.

Boundares are alive, not always static. They change from moment to moment. In this light, boundaries need to be negotiated. They become clearer in relationship over time.

Boundaries are not simply a contract, but a point of contact between people. Personal boundaries need to be established in a way that preserves and promotes the power of both self and other.

Consistent boundaries are important for emotional safety. Maintaining consistent boundaries may itself be a therapeutic intervention.

Reclaiming boundaries is reclaiming power Boundaries allow us to define and manage our needs for both space and contact. People need both structure/support and room to move and grow.

Boundaries are our energetic sensing system. They allow us to perceive and communicate with ourselves and the world. If our world was safer and lived closer to the soul, we would know this energetic exchange best in the form of love.

Why is it so hard to set mutually supportive boundaries? We haven't been raised to understand what boundaries are, why they matter and how to use them. We need role models that understand boundaries, and therefore can respect their own boundaries and ours.

Learning to relate with clear, healthy boundaries is like learning the steps to a new form of partner dancing. Once we know the form, we can truly express ourselves and play with another in the beauty of the dance. If we can create safe and healthy boundaries, we can truly learn to trust and love wholeheartedly.

This article draws from an article published in the Fall 1992 Institute for EKP print newsletter!

©2009 Linda Marks

Please share your thoughts... 

 Heart Rhythms and Life Rhythms

Over the years, my work has been deeply influenced by the amazing and courageous people who have crossed my path. For example, meeting Annie, a transgendered individual who helped produce my work in London more than twenty years ago, provided a profound window into the essence of gender, and drew me to explore what it meant to integrate sexuality and spirituality.

When I encounter a "cluster" of people, living with a common challenge or issue, my curiosity is surely piqued. I have found myself drawn to think more deeply about the nature of heart health and heart diseases as both recently and over time, a cluster of people living with cardiac issues have found their way into my office and my life. While I have not set up a formal research study, which may be a tempting project to undertake in the near future, I have been noting anecdotal data and clinical patterns. I will share some of my current reflections here.

I have come to see there is an interrelationship between the rhythms, structures and patterns we set in our life, and the rhythms and patterns of our hearts. Many of the people who have crossed my path who have irregular heartbeats, also have challenges to creating and sustaining regular rhythms and patterns in their lives.

Hearts seek regular rhythms, and the nature of life is full of regular rhythms. Each day the sun rises and sets. There are rhythms of light and darkness. There are seasons. We breathe in, we breathe out. Regular rhythms hold us, creating a kind of container or grounding that allows us to move out and about while still be interconnected with the larger rhythms of life.

Regular rhythms over time create safety. If someone knows they will see me every Monday, they can begin to trust and count on my presence in their life. This kind of safe foundation allows us to open our hearts, to get to know one another, to deepen intimacy with those who know, and also, to do deep healing work.

It is important for the heart to know that someone is there, and will be there over time, that we are not alone. The quality of our lives is much richer when we can truly trust another person will be present, caring and consistent in relationship to us.

We look for consistency and regularity in other life rhythms as well. Having a "steady job," where one count on making enough money to take care of oneself and loved ones, creates ripples of safety in one's life. Having predictable hours allows you to be there for your loved ones, and to carve out time to take care of yourself. All of these rhythms anchor or ground us in our lives.

When rhythms are more random and chaotic, we become uprooted. We lose our grounding. It may be harder to focus, or take more emotional and mental energy to get anything done. Regular rhythms cut grooves, so it is easier to stay in a groove, rather than continuously work to re-establish a new groove.

Chaotic rhythms are also more stressful to our hearts-- emotionally, physically and energetically. If a heart beats too fast for too long, it tires out the heart. If a heart beats too slow, our body will not be getting enough oxygen, and we may pass out. Physiologically, when a heart's beat is irregular, we have a higher risk of stroke, since blood clots can form when the heart is not moving the blood in a steady rhythm.

As I build supportive rhythms into my life to support myself and my heart's work, my heart will have more support to find its own regular rhythm. If I try to go forth without these regular rhythms, my heart will feel more tense and stressed.

Hearts seek freedom of expression--the freedom to be. If ones heart is held back, suppressed, repressed, or just not allowed to be, I feel pressure, stress and even pain in my heart. As I have regular pathways for my heart's full and authentic expression, my heart feels safer and at peace.

Hearts seek coherence-- the feeling that life is purposeful, manageable and meaningful. If I feel overwhelmed, I lose my grounding, which can disconnect me from my sense that life is purposeful and managable. If I slow down and realign my energies, my emotions and my intentions with my heart, I can feel my heart soften and relax, into the moment, into my body and into the flow of life.

Hearts seek authentic expression. Suppressing feelings or suppressing life energy is bad for the heart. Holding back one's heart both takes energy and causes emotional stress, and sometimes physical tension as well.

If I work to build regular rhythms into my life for self- care, for relaxation, for time with friends and loved ones, for when I work and when I play, my heart will feel supported and held by the choices I have made and by the structures that come from my choices. These regular rhythms help me keep my feet on the ground, so I feel stable, connected, safe and sometimes, even powerful or inspired.

As a coach, a therapist or a friend, I find myself helping some of the people I know who have irregular heartbeats organize the details of their life. The hope is that getting their lives organized and on a regular rhythm, will support their hearts beating regularly and allow the heart to do what it's just supposed to do.

Instead of taking time to worry or stress over what is unknown and what is undone, the regular rhythms we create in our lives soothe us. Our hearts and souls are rocked and comforted by the regular rhythms in our lives.

Childhood experiences of abandonment and neglect can also contribute to a sense of irregularity for the heart. If a child has experienced that a parent is absent at critical moments, the child comes to believe "I am all alone," or more far reaching, "I am all alone when I really need someone." always there for the child shape the child's believe about people.

Having a friend, a loved one or a familial member who is JUST THERE and TRULY THERE, can feel like a major support for the heart.

Hearts need roots and wings, to anchor and ground ourselves to the earth and in relationship to one another. When we feel anchored, the heart can relax and just do what it's supposed to do. What a nice sensation to feel we are okay as we are, and that we have set in place some thoughtful structure for self-care and self-nurturing. This structure gives us the foundation, the comfort and the security to do "just what we have to do."

©2009 Linda Marks

Share your thoughts on this article... 

 Community Voices


Sunshine Finneran, a graduate student at the Smith College School for Social Work, is working on a master's thesis on trauma and body-centered psychotherapy. She is seeking participants to help her "understand the nature of trauma in the body and the outcome of using therapeutic touch as a method of healing."

She is looking for participants for her study entitled, "Trauma and the Body: A Survey Examining the Use of Therapeutic Touch."

If you are between the ages of 25 and 65, have a past diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or self- identify as having experienced a traumatic event, used bodywork involving direct touch as a healing modality, along with one year of psychotherapy, you can participate in Sunshine's survey.

To fill out the survey, go to http:www.traumaandthebody.net/

You can also contact Sunshine at sfinnera@smith.edu.

Thanks for your support of this project!


Living in a tough economic time has cost many people their jobs, and great difficulty finding a new one! There is a saying that "when one door closes, another one opens," but sometimes, one has to be very creative to find the new door. In fact, sometimes, one has to build the door and open it oneself.

Difficult times challenge us to learn to live "out of the box," in more creative ways than we ever imagined. The upside of "out of the box" thinking and living is that we can create wonderful new possibilities that inspire our hearts and feed our souls.

In the special Holiday issue of the HealingHeartPower newsletter, I introduced Sybaris Singles, EKP community member Mike Barad's new project. Mike shared a little window into his journey to create this website, and gave me permission to share it with you.

"Part of the inspiration to create this site comes from my work with you. You help me understand the "new" (and sometimes unpredictable) opportunities arise when one opens themselves to accepting risks and changes into their life. As you may remember, I've been struggling for almost 3 years now with a changing and "age-unfriendly" job market." These difficult circumstances invited Mike to be creative and think outside the box.

Perhaps for many of us, the opportunity during hard times is to think outside of the box, and create what is fun, meaningful and needed--and to do something we may never have imagined ourselves doing, but that ultimately helps us find an enriching path.


A member of the EKP community asked me to post her notice for housemate in her sunny, spacious home in Weston.

I am mature, divorced and looking to share my home. I have lots of great toys: an elliptical machine, a treadmill, an inversion machine, and even a pottery studio. My house is 2900 sq. ft on an acre of land in the bucolic upscale community of Weston, just 15 minutes from downtown Boston, but with miles of wooded trails, lots of trees and nice small town feel. Seeking roommates with positive energy and healthy life styles. No smoking and no drugs. Two rooms are available. Both as 12 x 12 with a large closet. Please respond with information about yourself, your interests and your schedule. $625- 675 utlities included.

Phyllis Biegun Phyllis@biegun.us (781)424- 7028

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 are offering a Stress Management workshop at Beacon Hill Athletic Club in West Newton, MA on Wednesday, February 11 from 6:45 - 8:15 pm.

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... 

 Heart's Desire Party

On Friday, February 13, there will be a Heart's Desire Party here in Newton. Come join us for a potluck dinner and creating community the day before "heart day."

The party is from 7 - 10 pm.

RSVP to Linda at LSMHEART@aol.com. Friends and loved ones are welcome. Let me know what you are bringing to the potluck.

I welcome your thoughts....