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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
©2009 Linda Marks
Share your thoughts on this article...
SURVEY ON TRAUMA AND BODY-CENTERED
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
You can also contact Sunshine at
Thanks for your support of this project!
CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITY OUT OF
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.
ROOM/HOUSE SHARE AVAILABLE
A member of the EKP community asked me to post her
notice for housemate in her sunny, spacious home in
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-
Share your thoughts....
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
February 21, is the next Healing the
Traumatized Heart Workshop, from 1 - 5 pm in
Newton. Join us for an afternoon of heartful healing
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 -
On Sunday, March 22, Dan Cohen and Linda
Marks will be leading another Healing the
Integenerational Heartworkshop. This workshop
Hellinger Family Constellations work with EKP to
provide an incredibly powerful opportunity to heal
integenerational enegy doing soul work and oversoul
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 Thursday 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....