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

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This past month I wrote an article on "Healing the Traumatized Intergenerational Heart," and with it came an incredible journey that has provided me the opportunity to work deeply with three intergenerational family systems.

While the effects of past generation's experiences may seem distant or invisible, they can cast large shadows on our daily lives and relationships. Only in times of crisis, do we discover that the roots of some of our struggles predate our birth! Healing through these challenging times may require releasing and reintegrating energies that originate in the experiences of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents or even great-great grandparents.

Having the opportunity to work with the actual family members in the here-and-now has been both deeply healing and transformational for all involved, and very moving for me. It is very sacred work, and I am very thankful my path has been bringing these opportunities my way!

Interestingly, the "Bad Dates" vignette from last month's newsletter generated quite a lot of reader feedback. I've included some comments in the Community Voices section of this month's newsletter.

The April 26 Healing the Traumatized Heartworkshop was very special, since it provided a place where some of my students from the College of Community and Public Service at UMass Boston and some of the current 4th and 1st year apprentices could meet, dialogue and join together in a healing space! What an amazing experience to watch two worlds come together and cross-fertilize!

If you are interested in Apprenticing in EKP, I am starting to take applications for the next apprenticeship group beginning in January 2010. For more information, read the programs section in this month's newsletter.

Articles in this issue include: "Your Four-Legged Healer," which shares recent research findings that cats actually contribute to our physical health and well-being, The Spirituality of Time," reflecting on life's natural rhythms and how time really does tell, and "Time Unfinished: Loss Grief and Healing," introducing a new book of heartfull poems by Sandie Rotberg.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 Your Four-Legged Healer
 How Cats Are Good for Your Health

All of the four-leggeds who live in this house have had their time as "senior clinical associates." Golden is the ambassador of love in the front yard most of the year, when the weather allows him to meet and greet all who pass by. The five felines who live on the second floor have all contributed their special breed of medicine in the bathroom and in the kitchen and hallways.

An article in the April 20 Boston Globe, however, provided them with more impressive credentials: hugging your cat can improve your health and even increase your longevity! "A growing body of medical research suggests that people who own or interact regularly with animals may be healthier than people who don't."

And specifically, "cat owners are less likely to die of a heart attack than non-cat owners....Pet interaction may help protect against allergies, asthma, and even some kinds of cancer."

While, on the one hand, there have been studies that have shown that elderly people who have pets live longer and are happier than those who don't, because pets are so common and familiar, there are many ways we overlook them and take them for granted. No more! The National Institute for Health has recently formed a public/private partnership with MARS (the world's largest maker of pet food), "to fund and encourage research on the timeless bond."

James Griffin, deputy branch chief at NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, stated that "while there are many small studies and much anecdotal evidence of improved health among cancer patients, autistic children, and others after interacting with animals,....large-scale, controlled studies are needed to determine" the role animals play in human health, and "how that healing power may best be tapped."

Adnan Qureshi, a neurologist and executive director of the Minnesota Stroke Initiative at the University of Minnesota, discovered that "cat owners were 40% less likely to die from heart attacks than non-cat owners. They were also less likely to die from all cardiovascular diseases--including strokes. The findings held true, he said, even when the researchers took into account other heart disease risk factors, such as age, weight, gender, race and ethnicity, smoking and cholesterol levels."

These findings do not surprise me at all. I have long considered a cat's purring their "love song." Holding and petting a purring cat is soothing for both cat and human. It also generates oxytocin, the anti-stress hormone that counteracts the effects of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol contributes to cardiac illness. Oxytocin contributes to cardiac health and reverses the effects of cortisol. Science aside, I always feel more joyful, receptive and open when I am holding and petting a purring cat! It just plain feels good!

Cats are also very emotionally tuned in. I have countless stories of times cats responded to emotional and physical distress in their human companions. When I am sad, my cats will curl up next to me, offering comfort and connection. They just know when I need them, and make their presence known!

While some people fret about pet dander and pet hair, several studies have shown that pet ownership is actually good for our immune system. A recent study in San Francisco found that people who reported ever having owned a pet "had about a 30 percent lower risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the body's blood-filtering tissues, compared with non-pet owners. The longer they owned the pet, the more protection they appeared to have."

"Earlier studies have linked pet ownership during infancy with a reduced risk of asthma and allergies, because exposure to pet dander is believed to desensitize the body toward later contact." The California researchers "theorize a similar chain of events with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."

Whether biologically or emotionally, it just plain makes sense that beings whose primary purpose is connection, companionship and love would contribute to our well-being and improve the quality of our lives! So, pull out the vacuum, let your four-legged into your bedroom, and enjoy their company on your bed!

©2009 Linda Marks

Please share your thoughts... 

 The Spirituality of Time:
 Time Will Tell

As I walk through the world, how often do you hear people say "there's never enough time?" Do you ever find yourself saying "I don't have time for" a laundry list of things that really matter, but aren't on your "should do" list? How often are your friends and colleagues "busy," in a "rush" or on a "timeline" or "deadline?"

There is a lot of power in our language and imagery, and this kind of language, imagery, and way of life feels joyless, burdensome and devoid of spirituality. Time, as we most often envision it, is something outside of us, and often something that "controls us" or "pressures us." It is something we "fight against" rather than flow or dance with.

Within our body, is an innate sense of time, a natural rhythm, as unique to each of us, as is our heart beat. Yet, rarely do we measure time in this context. The familiar externally defined sense of time uproots us, and often disconnects us from our internal timeclock.

We are told to eat lunch because it is noon, rather than because our stomachs tell us we are hungry. We are asked to work longer and longer hours and override our natural rhythm for fear of losing our jobs. The norms of the work world do not give consideration to the fact that our self-care, our families and our outside interests are sacrificed in doing so. When we are not respected for our internal sense of timing, is it any surprise there is so much cardiac illness in our culture? What would our days look like if we followed our hearts? It takes great courage to follow one's heart and live by one's own natural rhythm in a world whose pace requires leaving one's body in order to keep up!

There is a spirituality in our natural rhythm which helps us feel our connection to the larger rhythms of life. If you stand in a circle and hold hands with the people on both sides of you, you will feel their pulse in your hands, and they will feels yours too. As our heart energy flows through our hands and around the circle, and as we receive others' heart energies in return, we can very viscerally feel the sense of connection that is possible when we are in touch with both our own natural rhythm and the collective rhythm we share.

When working towards a vision, it is important to take action steps. However, any vision, dream or plan must pass through the crucible of time. Your vision determines what you are creating. Time determines how and when a vision will become real. We can dance with the creative forces of the universe. Yet, we have to also surrender to a sense of divine timing as well. Dancing with time is a spiritual practice of holding on, yet letting go. And it is a magic and artful balance.

If we follow our hearts, consider our place in the greater good, become clear of our vision, and use the generative powers of our minds, we can create most anything. We need to keep in mind, however, that creation is a balance of action and letting and allowing. We can direct our energies, and we still need to go with the flow of life and time. If we don't, we will experience much stress, be it in the form of physical symptoms like high blood pressure, knots in the stomach, and an everpresent hand pushing us from behind to go, go, go.

Becoming aware of the spirituality of time can ground us in how life really works. We are co-creators with the larger life force, and are most effective when we dance with it, rather than fight it or try to control it. Efficiency, in my mind, is being able to prioritize what is important, and then to go do those very things. This is a kind of grounding that lets us well use our time.

©2009 Linda Marks

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 Time Unfinished
 Loss, Grief and Healing

Iraq Weedflower My long-time friend and colleague, Jeff Levin, invited me to his friend Sandie Rotberg's book-signing. I was really glad I went, because Sandie's book of poems, Time Unfinished: Loss, Grief and Healing, is a treasure.

Loss and grief are not subjects most of us want to talk about or think about. Yet, in the course of life, we lose loved ones to death, to illness, to separation and even to disengagement. Being able to look deeply into the process of loss, moving from through healing phases from the initial passing towards recovery is very powerful and profound. As the back of Sandie's bookcover notes, "Time tends to be the paramount healer."

Sandie writes, "Loss is death. Any kind of loss. It may come in a variety of forms: physical, emotional and spiritual, but regardless of the occurrence, it is never timely. As prepared as one may be, it is always difficult and life-altering."

"Relief may come after a long and painful illness. However, in the end there is still a yearning for the person who has passed....No matter how it comes to us, we feel emotionally unzipped because each person we have loved is special and can never be replaced."

Death often forces those left behind to re-examine themselves, and to ponder the importance of life. Why are we here? What really matters? How do we find meaning and comfort when someone we have loved so deeply is no longer with us? How do we find peace? How do we go forward with a sense of renewal, and not just of grief? Sandie's poems invite us to move through all the stages of loss and grief into renewal and rebirth.


One is never

Ready for loss

Even with preparation

Our mind tries

To make sense of

This sudden break in life


Emotions and logic

Rarely embrace.


Fear and denial

Couple regrets as they

Accompany daily routines

If we're even able

To resume them.

Grief lingers like

The slow setting sun

Of open plains


In the end

Clarity reveals a long

Awaited breath of reality


Being rational doesn't even matter.

--Sandie Rotberg

For more information about Sandie's book, Time Unfinished,you can contact her at

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 HealingHeartPower Calendar

Would you like to learn how to do EKP? Applications are being accepted for the 2010 EKP Apprenticeship Program. The apprenticeship group meets once a month for a weekend training session. For more information, contact or call Linda at (617)965-7846.

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

Sunday, May 31, is the next Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop, from 1 - 5 pm in Newton. Join us for an afternoon of heartful healing and community.

We will be doing another Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop on Sunday, June 14 from 1 - 5 pm at Kim's house 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. Our March workshop was very poignant, so we are returning!

On Sunday, May 17, 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.

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)
  • Apprenticing in EKP

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 13-year-old son.

To find out more about Linda... 

 Community Voices

The piece I published on the winner of the "bad dates" contest, submitted by a newsletter reader, generated a lot of reader feedback. A key message from the feedback is that "where you stand is based on where you sit." What is clear about the two people described in the "bad date" story, is that they were mismatched, and from very different worlds. It is very easy for a person from one world to criticize and judge a person from a very different world. While we may make our own choices about who we feel is a "good match," there is a danger that we trash other people we barely know just because they are different from us.

Here are a few reader comments:

Yeah, country boys are getting a bad rap these days. The trailer park crowd is pretty much the end of the road for a lot of really good folk who didn't get on the train of consumerism and high income. My sympathy is much more with the old boy than the silly girl - how about maybe she show a little interest in what his dreams and ideals were rather than scorn for his inability to fit into this ridiculous sub/urban world we are all in down here.

I happen to think that a pickup with a guy rack is a sign of a pretty useful guy...she didn't get that all. No acknowledgement or anything - just stupid conceit over how with it she was to know how to waste a large amount of money in a restaurant which really isn't that valuable a life skill to me.


My take on the date vignette is compassion for a man judged by his appearance, visual disability, social awkwardness and income. Clearly, this guy wasn't for the woman who wrote about him. However, a "bad" date is someone who would have judged this woman based on her looks and station in life. I hope she and all who read your e-letter are able to open their hearts to tolerate, not ridicule, superficial differences!

--A reader

I welcome your thoughts....