The month of June seemed like spring in
Seattle, not summer in Boston. Nonetheless,
Alex completed 7th grade, and he and I are
excited about a trip to Greece July 16 - 25
with his wonderful Social Studies teacher,
I will be setting a date for the next Healing
the Traumatized Heart workshop once a program
Alex is part of that begins in September has
provided me with its program dates. For
those of you who are waiting for the date,
know it will be a Sunday in September from
1- 5 pm.
In June, I enjoyed giving a wonderful
presentation to the Boston Law of Attraction
Group on "Reclaiming the Power of the Heart."
Chew-Hoong Koh and Dave Buck do a fabulous
job leading this group and building a very
rich community of interesting people!
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: "Love and
Touch" exploring how love and touch are
really two sides of the same coin and
"Reflections on Love, Joy and Life's
"I Hear Your Cry: Women In Prison",
about the inspirational work Ronnie Shaffer
has done with women in prison. There final
reflection is on the topic of"Emotional
Maturity," which is something our
culture would greatly benefit from having
Your comments and feedback are always welcome!
Love and Touch
Love and touch seem to be intrinsically
intertwined in very fundamental life and
happiness-promoting ways. Anthropologist
Ashley Montagu, whose book Touching: The
Human Significance of the Skin is a
classic, noted "I know very clearly as a
scientist that love and touching are two
facets of the same thing."
How true! Touch is a very direct and
unencumbered language, straight from the
heart. Our arms and our hands are our
heart's ambassadors. What we feel in our
heart moves direct through our arms and hands
to our love one--part of the energy of the
cardiac electromagnetic field.
The impulses and energy generated by the
heart transmit a message our loved ones'
hearts will recognize and receive. A message
of love, comfort and cherishing can move from
heart to heart through touch in the blink of
an eye. Or the beat of a heart!
author of The Power of Touch writes,
"Touch is a language that can communicate
more love in five seconds than words can in
In this light, I find it particularly sad
that we live in a touch phobic, touch
illiterate culture. By becoming untouchable,
we also become unlovable. And we starve.
Touch and love are soul food--a non-verbal
way to provide emotional, physical and
spiritual nourishment and sustenance.
Soul-to-soul communication provides
nourishment that permeates our entire
being--like a gentle wave that cradles and
relaxes us. We bathe in a sea of oxytocin,
the love or bonding hormone, and counteract
the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone,
which underlies much of the stress-related
illness people experience today.
An article in the Boston Globe by Judy
Foreman, cites a study published in
Biological Psychiatry supporting the
idea that oxytocin, generated by cuddling and
touch, may help human couples get along
better. While dopamine is key for the
excitement of love, "oxytocin is key for the
calmer experience of attachment." Loving
touch, snuggling and orgasm all generate
oxytocin, which help couples continue to love
one another and maintain a deep sense of
connection with one another over time.
When we hold back loving touch, our hearts
feel tense. When we are deprived of loving
touch, our hearts feel the pain, the yearning
and the emptiness for the connection that
loving touch brings. We feel an emotional,
spiritual and soul-deep hunger for the love
and touch we both crave and need. And if
this hunger goes unfulfilled for too long, we
may numb out and forget that we even needed
the sensation of loving touch in the first
place. Consider it a survival mechanism.
When a young baby is deprived of love and
touch, it collapses around its unmet need.
When a slightly older baby (9 months - 1 1/2
years) goes too long with its love,
connection and touch needs unmet, it becomes
overly self-reliant, concluding through its
bodily experience, "I have to do it all
alone." While we CAN try to do it all alone,
it is at a psychic and emotional price. We
are meant to be interconnected, to touch one
Just as it takes loving patience over time to
earn the trust of a feral animal, it takes
loving, gentle and patient work with
touch--including knowing when it is not okay
to touch--to melt through the numbness touch
and love deprivation generates over time.
I notice when I have an abundance of loving
touch in my lie, I am happier, healtheir,
more energetic and more at peace. May we all
have abundant helpings of "vitamin T" each
day, and may we shower the people we love
with safe, respectful loving touch, with
permission, from the depths and the lightness
of our hearts and souls!
©2009 Linda Marks
Please share your thoughts...
Reflections on Love, Joy and Life's Treasures
From the journal of Diana Metsisto
In May a very special woman who I first came
to know at least 10 years ago died of
complications of breast cancer. Diana was an
extraordinary woman, who recorded some
incredibly poignant pearls of love and wisdom
in her journal during her final days.
The following reflections are shared here
with the permission of her daughter, Nicole.
I feel real grief, real sadness that I
won't have the years with you that I had
hoped. I believe that we are all connected:
to each other, to all that is alive, and to
those parts that are not alive--on this earth
and in the beautiful universe.
Sharing love, with parents, children, other
family and friends, is what gives our lives
meaning. Loving the beautiful being that
lives inside each of us is most important of
all. If we can't marvel at the wonder that
is ourselves, it will be hard to have the
compassion and love for others that brings us
close, intimate relationships, which are the
pure gold of life.
All of life's treasures are already yours.
Take time to become still, to go inside, to
watch your breath, to watch your thoughts as
just clouds passing by--not to be grasped and
held onto--we really cannot hold onto
anything really. It's funny to watch your
thoughts: sit still, focus on your breath in
and out--then notice--your thought has
drifted away from your breath, notice the
thought, then let it go--come back to the
breath--then another thought comes and you
To live with this sort of awareness all the
time is to recognize the transitory nature of
things, to truly accept what it is to live
life at its higheset. It's a path I've been
on; it's the way I'm learning each day to
fall into. I am fine just the way I am as
are you and all of us.
Your value is already there--just in being.
You don't acquire more value by doing
anything special. The joy lies in accepting
ourselves as we and they are.
--From the journal of Diana Metsisto
Share your thoughts on this article...
I Hear Your Cry: Women in Prison
Veronica (Ronnie) Shaffer had a medical
She was an MRI and CAT scan technologist at
the Massachusetts General Hospital. Years of
lifting patients and moving the portable
X-ray machine through the hospital had
weakened her back and neck. Medications
weren't working, so she sought yoga as a way
to build a healthy body. Pleased with the
results, she became a certified yoga teacher,
knowing others would also benefit from her
training. For this reason, she began
wondering what type of volunteer service she
could perform in the community, really
wanting to work with women who were incarcerated.
Ronnie discovered that it was not easy to
work in a prison, even as a volunteer. She
brought her proposal for a women's yoga
program to the program director at
Framingham. She thought the idea was great,
but then said, "What will the taxpayers
think?" Ronnie responded, "They're not
paying anything." Dead end.
There were many dead ends over many years,
but Ronnie persisted. Eventually, she made
contact with the women's program director at
a minimum-security prison for men and women.
Sadly, when something is unfamiliar, there is
often fear about trying it. When Ronnie
presented her program write up, she was
asked, "Can you take the words 'yoga' and
'meditation' out of your write up?" So,
Ronnie called her program "Fit and Wellness:
Guided Imagery and Stretching." At least
the title allowed her to build a bridge.
"I felt like a pioneer," reflects Ronnie.
"We started the program without using the
word 'yoga." Then, people get to know you,
see the results and realize it is not a
religious cult." Ronnie developed a 6 week
One thing lacking among the prisoners she
worked with was the word "commitment."
Ronnie decided her class could provide an
opportunity to embrace a commitment, another
facet of self-care, in addition to learning
yoga. Upon completion of the class, Ronnie
would give out a certificate. This was a
motivational tool. Class members would need
to attend all classes to receive the
certificate. At the end of the program,
Ronnie would ask the women to write about
what the program did for them, as a way of
planting seeds to continue to use what they
had learned as a means of support when they
were paroled or released.
Comfort in one's own body was a big issue for
many of the women prisoners. Because prison
life can be quite sedentary, many women were
quite large. "The first day, I saw a 300 lb
woman, a woman who was close to 400 lbs, and
some average weight women too. How am I
going to make large women feel comfortable in
their bodies?" Ronnie pondered. "And how I
am going to have regular women say, 'Aw, this
is nothing?'" She found a way to connect
with both groups of women. They said to her,
"Are you coming back next week?"
Over time, it was very clear that what Ronnie
was doing was reaching the women in a very
deep way. The women were feeling moved, not
just physically, but also emotionally and
spiritually. When they turned in their
papers at the end of the class, they wrote
things like, "you touched my soul," "this was
so empowering," "I don't get angry," and "the
relaxation you do at the end helps me feel my
body, which I haven't ever done."
These comments were very moving to Ronnie, so
she started to come home from the prison and
write on her computer. She reflections led
to a book entitled, I Hear Your Cry:
Women in Prison.
What perhaps is most moving when working with
people is the opportunity to see how we are
all interconnected and how we are truly
mirrors for each other. Ronnie writes, "I
may not have been incarcerated, but I had
periods in my life when I felt I was
Being married to an alcoholic with three
young children, no money and no support
system, led Ronnie to feel powerless and
desperate. Working two jobs as a single mom
was a struggle to survive.
Ronnie writes, "I identified with their
struggles to get out of prison, only to be
drawn back into prison. I drew on the
strength from my soul, my spirit. The will
to succeed. It was one step at a time, one
moment, one minute, and slowly the tide began
The stories of many of the individual women
resonated with experiences Ronnie had lived
through. She writes, "Like Luvell, who was
pregnant while in jail, I felt trapped when I
became pregnant with my third child while in
a suffocating marriage. Like Cecily, who
wanted to be loved and feel safe, I longed to
be genuinely loved as a child and a wife.
Like Sui, who explored the world of drugs
with a questionable boyfriend, I, too, kissed
a lot of frogs before I found my prince."
Life is often humbling, and what separates us
from those in prison can be a very thin line.
We are all human. And through finding our
deeper human connection, we can find
liberation from powerlessness and pain.
Yoga became a medium for Ronnie to connect
with and empower women to connect with
themselves. Some women changed as a result
of the program. Some did not. But the
journey was profound.
What I take away from the story is the power
of mind-body healing in all kinds of
settings, and the importance of bringing
tools for well-being to those who may be have
the least access to them. I also take away
the power of the vision and care of a
pioneering woman, Ronnie Shaffer, and the
profound transformations she facilitated
through her commitment and love.
For more information on Ronnie's book,
visit her website www.veronicashaffer.com.
Share your thoughts....
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 LSMHEART@aol.com 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.
Linda if you are interested at LSMHEART@aol.com
I will announce a Sunday September date
for the next Healing the
Traumatized Heart Workshop, from 1 - 5 pm in
Newton. Stay tuned! Join us for an
afternoon of heartful
On Tuesday, September 29, I will be
presenting as part of Jan Wall's Holistic
Psychology class at Lesley University
onThe Power of the Heart in Body
And on Tuesday, October 6, Linda Marks and
Alan Krentzel will be leading a Stress
Management for Peak Performance event for the
Sloan School of Management Alumni Association
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
- Apprenticing in EKP
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....
"Emotionally Mature" Love
Michelle and Joel Levy send out wonderful
quotes most days. I particularly love this
one. Perhaps it helps define what "emotional
maturity" really means!
"Love is a temporary madness; it erupts
like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a
decision. You have to work out whether your
roots have so entwined together that it is
inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is. Love is not
breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is
not the promulgation of eternal passion. That
is just being in love, which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when
being in love has burned away, and this is
both an art and a fortunate accident. Love is
the roots that grow towards each other
underground, slowly and determined. And when
all the pretty blossoms have fallen from
their branches, you find you are no longer
two, but one.
One root, One tree, One Love."
- By Louis de Bernieres, from Captain
I welcome your thoughts....