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

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This newsletter is emerging from a silent and reflective space created by experiencing Ancient Greece, though through the filter of life in 2009.

I decided to do something a bit different this month. Rather than writing articles before I embarked on Jack O'Connor's "Ancient Wanderers" trip, I decided to "sit in the void," and see what emerged from my journey through archeological sites...Almost like an emotional archeologist, waiting to see what rose to the surface in an emotional archeological dig.

What follows is what has emerged and found its ways into words.

For those of you who have been waiting for the next Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop, I will be leading one on Monday, August 24 from 6:45 - 9:45 pm in Newton.

There will also be a weekend Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop on Sunday, October 25 from 2 - 5 pm in Newton.

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: "Passion and Legacy: Passing It Forward" reflecting on the power of mentorship and inspiration as it is passed on from one generation to another, "Sacred Song on Sacred Grounds," and "Honoring the Feral Cats and Dogs of Greece," who are sadly both plentiful and too often neglected and rejected.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 Passion and Legacy: Passing It Forward

While in Greece, we visited the Rion-Antirion Bridge, the world's second largest cable-stayed bridge, which links the Peloponnese with mainland Greece. This bridge, the vision of Prime Minister Charilaos Trikoupis, expressed in 1889, was inaugurated the week before the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. The Olympic Torch passed over the Bridge on its way to Athens. Both Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics torches reside in the business office by the bridge.

To me, the Olympic torch is a symbol of a continuing legacy. The torch allows the Olympic flame to live on over time, being passed from one person to another, in an on-going relay of human endeavor. I came to realize during our trip, that this image and metaphor applied to our experience in a very fundamental way.

Our journey leader, Jack O'Connor, was carrying a torch himself, and we were lucky enough to be the recipients of its flame. When Jack was 12 or 13, the age of his students who were participating in this trip, he had an inspirational teacher who sparked his internal flame, igniting a passion for history that has guided his path from that time forward.

Just as Jack took the torch and has kept the flame alive over the course of his life, all of us who had the privilege of participating in the Ancient Wanderers trip, had an opportunity to take in the richness of the experience that Jack's knowledge and passion illuminated for us.

Being guided to sacred sites by someone who has fully embraced the emotional, historical and spiritual significance of them is a profound and enriching experience. The significance of each place was brought to life by Jack's rendering of what happened, why it mattered, and what unfolded as a result of the story that lived in the ground above or beneath our feet.

Walking through places that held stories dating back 3000 to 4000 years is truly breath-taking, never mind the archeological beauty and wonder of what was created long before the technology of today's world was even conceived.

One of the most poignant moments for me, was when Jack took us to the site of the Battle of Thermopylae, where the Spartans were defeated in 480 B.C. Unlike some archeological sites, which are rich in structures and relics, this site is more barren, but nonetheless, very historically significant. Jack walked us through the land, letting us imagine what it felt like to be there on the battleground, using the mountains and the water and the contours of the land, feeling the heat of the Grecian sun, and imagining how things actually played out many years ago.

We walked up a hill to the Stone Lion erected to commemorate the last stand of King Leonidas I of Sparta. Jack brought with him a bottle of olive oil with herbs to leave at the Stone Lion site, as a gesture of honor and respect for Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae. As he put down the olive oil, he pulled out from his traveler's pouch a piece of paper, on which he had written a very moving poem, which spoke to his feelings about this profound historical moment in time.

Jack's words touched my heart, but his own emotional connection to the moment of rendering the words at this sacred site penetrated even more deeply. As tears interrupted his reading, I was deeply moved by the model he was providing for this group of mostly young boys.

Here, a "gentle giant" who was captain of his high school wrestling team, and had played college rugby, was sobbing with passion at the recognition of the human and historical significance of where we were and what it meant. His tears came with both strength and grace. And unlike in our typical American, vulnerability-fearing posture, there were no apologies for the great show of emotion, but instead, a sense of recognition of how deep the feelings went. Jack offered both passion and humility, and I found this a profoundly special gift for a group of 13 year old boys, and the rest of us who were fortunate enough to share this sacred space.

I have always felt that teachers have a very powerful opportunity to plants seeds of possibility in the hearts and minds of their students. To experience and witness the care, connection and love Jack brought to his students, not only in the classroom, but also extended into private life and real time, was spectacular and deeply moving. I am so grateful my son has had the opportunity to know and study with a teacher who embodies the very highest possibility of what teaching can be about.

And I am very grateful that I too could be there to witness and experience these special moments myself, both as my son's mother, but also as a human being.

I trust that, in time, the legacy will continue to pass forward, and the flame in Jack's torch will find its way to illuminate the lives of others as these boys grow into men and find their paths through life. And perhaps, one day, someone from this group, maybe even me, will bring friends or loved ones to this very site, and share the story of both what happenend in 480 B.C., and what happened in July of 2009 as well.

©2009 Linda Marks

Please share your thoughts... 

 Sacred Song on Sacred Grounds

On Day 6 of our journey, we visited Epidauraus, the world's oldest stadium/theatre. The site dates back to 1200 - 1400 B.C. Our Greek tour guide, Theodaurus, told us that the structure was constructed using principles of sacred geometry, ratios one finds in the relationship between parts of the human body, as well as in components of sacred architecture.

The structure was in remarkably good condition, and we learned that during the summer a concert series takes place at Epidauraus. The acoustics there are extraordinary. When you stand at the very center, sound carries and fills the entire stadium, from top to bottom. No electronic amplification is needed. I could imagine an actor standing at the very center rendering his lines, and projecting the majesty of his voice to a full-capacity audience.

Theodaurus asked for a volunteer to speak at the center of the stadium, and my son volunteered, having just completed two weeks of camp at Improv Boston. He spoke his part, and we had an illustration of the way the sound carried.

However, a singer was needed, and in our group, that was me. While I have sung in all kinds of venues and contexts over the years--from solo performance to singing in jazz clubs with back-up musicians, choral singing, and even being the lead singer on a couple of occasions with a rock band, the thought of singing at the sacred site was daunting for me.

Though I know hundreds, if not thousands of songs, nothing seemed appropriate for this place and time. The tune of a French madrigal I had sung in high school came to mind, "Mon Couer," and I started singing what I could remember, sort of quietly, just testing the waters. Katrin, our tour director told me it was beautiful, and to sing some more. I told her I truly just didn't know what was right.

Theodaurus told me to sing "Amazing Grace," so I did. With my eyes closed, standing at the very center of the stadium, I let my body feel the vibration and the energy that filled this sacred site when sound was emitted. The intensity of the actual kinesthetic sensation was very different than anything else I had ever experienced.

Funny how though I could feel the energy and the vibration that emanated when singing at the center of the stadium, I had no idea what it felt or sounded like in the "stands" where people had spread out and gathered. Singing in the stadium was like throwing a pebble into the ocean, and seeing it skim a bit and then disappear.

At the end of my song, an applause broke out from all around the stadium. Many other people were visiting the stadium in addition to the group I was part of, and they were watching and listening as I sang from the center.

Katrin, who had taken my photograph with my mouth wide open in proper singing form, told me, "They like it! Encore!" Had my repetoire included opera, perhaps I would have continued. But singing Bacharach/David, Barbra Streisand or even the best of Broadway felt out of place. So, quietly, I took a humble bow namaste, and stepped out of the center.

It would be fun to return and sing again, this time with some musicians behind me. And I would love to hear a recording of the sound, so I can experience the quality and energy of my voice as the audience receives it.

Share your thoughts on this article... 

 Honoring the Feral Cats and Dogs of Greece

Iraq Weedflower While many of us consider our four-legged companions virtually members of our families, and sometimes our closest and longest-standing daily companions, sadly, in other countries, cats and dogs are not always held in such a light. Buddy Dog, a wonderful animal shelter in Sudbury, is often full of Puerto Rican street dogs, rescued and available for placement in loving homes.

Four-legged animals are not seen as companions or even respectable living beings in many countries. At best, they are seen as working creatures who have to earn their keep. At worst, they are seen as pests or unnecessary nuisances who human beings can kick or abuse or treat poorly just because they feel like it. And sadly, Greece is one of the countries where this kind of attitude prevails.

While some people DO keep cats and dogs as pets, plenty of people do not look at four-leggeds with a companion mindset at all. In most of the cities we visited during our travels, feral cats and dogs abundantly roamed the streets, and even the dry, isolated bits of countryside we drove through.

While it is hard to be a street cat or dog in Athens, at least there are central places where people gather, so that water fountains, restaurants where food scraps may be tossed and even places of shelter from the burning sun may be found. My heart grew heavy as we were driving in the parched countryside where few dwellings could be found over many miles (or kilometers), and an emaciated dog was walking on the side of the road.

How long had this poor doggie gone without food or water? And could he or she even make it to a place of shelter before he or she collapsed from the intensity of the sun? Would he or she be hit by a car as s/he traveled down the road? Would s/he just die from starvation and dehydration silently?

Time and time again, we passed mostly dogs, wandering alone on the side of isolated roads, far from food, water and shelter, and at risk of dying from harsh conditions and lack of care.

In Athens, I noticed feral dogs wearing collars with tags attached. Katrin, our tour director, informed me that when Greece was hosting the 2004 Olympics, the legions of feral animals were considered shameful, so the government started a spay and neuter program. The animals received a small bit of veterinary care, before being released back to the street, but no longer able to reproduce.

Most of the ferals were very loving and friendly. However, we were warned not to touch them, because they had not been given their shots, like American cats and dogs.

On the island of Hydra, we were greeted by an abundance of feral kitty cats. Red tabbies, black and whites, tortoise shells cats, brown tabbies, and more exotic Abyssinian looking patterns graced the streets and the side walks. Most were too thin and clearly hungry, meowing as they passed us by.

One of the highlights of that day was sitting at an outdoor cafe for lunch, and realizing the kitty cats needed my lunch more than I did! With great joy, I offered the top of my moussaka to a nursing mommy cat and a pregnant mommy to be. Both cats were starving, and feasted at my offerings.

Realizing that the kids in our group left much food behind, we started to gather meatballs, feta cheese and other appropriate offerings, and provided it to the legion of cats. Boy cats, girl cats, young cats, old cats, mommy cats and kittens all flocked to our table and feasted on our leftovers. I felt much more peace in my heart as we left the cafe and got ready to board the ferry to leave the island. At least we had done one small good deed for the day, and a handful of cats had full bellies for even a short while.

At Epidauraus, one of the archeological sites we visited, Katrin and our local guide, Theodaurus, had noticed that some feral puppies had been born in January. Whenever they visited this site, the visited the puppies, and often brought along food for them. Theodaurus had brought along some cheese for the pupppies, so as my group explored the site, I went along with Katrin and Theodaurus in search of the puppies.

We searched and searched, but the puppies were not where Theodaurus had seen them several days prior. We did encounter a kitty, who was hungry, and Theodaurus broke off a piece of the cheese for the cat to feast on.

Finally, as our group was beginning to surface and head for the bathrooms, we found the puppies. They were gathered by a trash can where someone had left a piece of meat. Bees were swarming around the meat, and one of the puppies was stung by the bees. I gladly brought over some fresh cheese, so the puppies had another alternative.

When I feed our dog (Alex's and mine), Golden, if a few bits of food fall out of the dog dish, I can point to them with my fingers or even my feet, and Golden will eat them. With the feral puppies, I would drop the cheese, and they would only eat what they saw at the moment of the drop. If a piece was a few inches away, and I tried to guide them to it, the way I might interact with Golden, they became very scared. They weren't used to this kind of guidance. So, I would have to pick up the uneaten piece of cheese and toss it again for the puppies to actually eat it!

Towards the end of the trip, when I was asked what made the strongest impression on me, in spite of the majesty and magic of all the archeological sites, I realized what I would take with me most deeply was the plight of the legions of feral dogs and cats that roam the streets and countryside of Greece.

I kept imagining that if one day I am able to generate a large sum of money, I would want to set up a non-profit organization that would provide food, shelter and medical care to the ferals of Greece.

I hope that, in time, more and more people will come to value these creatures as valuable beings. In the meantime, I am grateful for people like Katrin and Theodaurus, who love animals, and try to help the ferals whenever they possibly can.

Share your thoughts.... 

 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

The next two Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshops, are on Monday evening, August 24 from 6:45 - 9:45 pm, and Sunday, October 25 from 2 - 5 pm, both in Newton.

Join us for an experience of heartful healing and community.

To enroll, send an e-mail to, and a check for $50 to Linda Marks, 3 Central Avenue, Newton, MA 02460. Please include your name, phone number, address and e-mail.

Come visit the EKP booth at the Spirit of Change Expo in Sturbridge, MA on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, 27. We will be running a Student Clinic, led by 4th year apprentices on Saturday. Linda be be giving a workshop from 4:30 - 6 pm on Saturday, as well.

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 Psychotherapy.

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 at MIT.

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...