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

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Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the "holiday season," which can be joyful for some, and for others, isolating or sad. All the cultural images about reuniting with family and loved ones create a dark shadow when faced with dysfunctional families, loss, being alone or the pressure to spend money and buy in tough economic times or simply because it is expected.

If we can find ways to make our holidays meaningful, rich with connections more than with boxes of things, we can counter some of the darker forces than make holidays something to "get through," rather than something to truly celebrate and enjoy.

With a Thanksgiving time birthday, this year I was amazed at all the e-happy birthday messages I received through Facebook and e-cards. I did appreciate the thought that was expressed by so many this way. Yet, the old-fashioned part of me still deeply appreciates the physical cards and phone calls from some of my longest standing friends. Navigating the contemporary virtual world and integrating its new benefits with treasured rituals of less virtual times is an interesting frontier.

I will be doing a new workshop on January 24, Keeping A Vital Heart. Rather than just focusing on healing trauma, this workshop will look at the "care and feeding," of an already vital heart. Keeping our emotional and physical hearts vital and vibrant is important work!

The next EKP apprenticeship training group will begin in September 2010. If you are interested in studying EKP, and want to get started before September 2010, please let me know.

Articles in this issue include: "You Can Get Too Much of A Good Thing: The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking," reflecting on a new book by Barbara Ehrenreich and its mirror of contemporary society, and "Food and Survival," inspired by a presentation I attended by nutritional consultant Beth Colon.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 You Can Get Too Much of a Good Thing:
 The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking

As a child, I remember learning that there was value in having everything in moderation. Most people who I know who are truly happy have come to a place where they feel they have "enough."

"Enoughness" is a very elusive concept in an age where we are taught to want more, more, more. While some believe "you can't be too rich or too thin," we have seen first hand that, in the case of Bernie Madoff, and the epidemic of anorexic models in the fashion industry, one who lives by this philosophy does so at great risk.

These contemporary examples teach us, you CAN get too much of a good thing. Or perhaps, even more accurately, taken to an extreme, a good thing can even turn bad.

In her book, The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America,author Barbara Ehrenreich explores how "positive thinking," a school of thought that originated as a healing method when espoused by Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy, Maine-based craftsman who was a metaphysician on the side, Phineas Quimby, has morphed into something very different and even destructive when taken to the extreme.

Funny how the pendulum swings in the understanding of concepts and practices. Quimby rejected a Calvinist worldview, where people were seen as sinners damned to hell for their foibles and flaws. According to Ehrenreich, Quimby "understood that worldview was making people sick. He was a part of a larger populist health movement arising against the regular medical profession."

As scientific medicine emerged, with effective treatments, the positive-thinking movement shifted its focus in the 20th century to "prosperity, wealth and success." While a person surely needs a vision in order to define the steps needed to reach a goal, when left unfettered, positive-thinking can cease to be a heart-based vision, but instead can be corrupted by greed.

Ehrenreich correlates the subprime housing crisis with positive-thinking taken to an extreme. "We had a culture by the mid '00's that was totally encouraging debt, the assumption of reckless debt."

"We often blamed the victim, the rather low-paid person who wound up with a subprime mortgage, but they were hearing it from their preachers if they went to one of these megachurch, positive-thinking preachers who said God wants you to have a larger house."

When they then saw the mortgage company requiring no down payment or proof of income, they saw it as a divine message. Their prayers had been answered, so they thought. What one could actually afford to pay for or sustain was no longer in the mix.

In this way, the positive thinking movement became twisted and totally ungrounded in reality. Sadly, like a plague, this new strain of the "positive thinking virus" infected the corporate culture in America. Ehrenreich states, "It was mandatory to be positive."

In fact, companies would fire people for being negative in the sense that they saw a dangerous trend coming or a negative consequence of an action taken. Instead of being seen as a good manager, a strategic thinker or even a damage controller, this person was seen as "raising too many questions" or "expressing doubt," in a disloyal, negative way.

Ehrenreich cites an example of a man who was the head of the real estate division at Lehman Brothers in 2006, who told the "CEO that he thought the whole housing thing was a bubble and they should start getting out." He was fired for that. The message was: No reality allowed. No possibility that bad things actually happen in life or decisions can have negative consequences, or that when human greed or corruption is involved, negative consequences might even be right consequences.

Positive-thinking taken to the extreme also colors the way people who suffer unfortunate circumstances are blamed for what is beyond their control. A person who has tried to live a healthy lifestyle can still get cancer. A person who is a hard-worker in a professional field, can still lose their job due to globalization of the labor market. People under such circumstances need a compassionate ear and practical solutions, not judgment that they could have avoided their circumstances if only they had more positive thoughts.

Is it really a baby's fault if they are born into a family in poverty? Is a person really weak or lacking if they experience vulnerability, fear or anger?

Fear and anger are not "negative emotions," but healthy human responses to real life circumstances. They can help us draw necessary boundaries, take care of ourselves, and even ward off harm.

Positive-thinking is a useful tool when balanced with a healthy dose of realism. Knowledge of one's human limits can actually help set a sustainable pace and take right action. Embracing all parts of our humanness helps us define what we really need with respect for those around us. There is a reason a pendulum comes to rest in the center after swinging from one extreme to another. I hope as a society, we can see the wisdom in this natural rhythm and regain our center, individually and collectively.

©2009 Linda Marks

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 Food and Survival
 Will It Nourish You or Poison You?

Nutritional consultant, Beth Colon, opened her presentation for the Wellness Roundtable, a group of mind-body health professionals, with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

"Agriculture is our wisest pursuit. It will contribute to health, morals and happiness."

Perhaps we have lost touch with this personal and collective wisdom, as agriculture as Jefferson knew it has virtually disappeared. It has been replaced by a kind of food production system that would make him shake in his grave. And calling some of what is produced "food," in the sense of a healthy, nourishing, natural product, is a bit of a stretch.

Colon noted that in the 1970's, the U.S. government subsidized production of corn and soybeans. This effort drove the family farmer out of business. What emerged in the place of the family farmer was industrial agriculture, which Colon noted, "has no brain and no soul." All the knowledge that was passed down from generation to generation in a farming family was lost.

With the rise of the processed food industry, where cheap corn, soybeans and oils were prized, looks, convenience and taste became priorities. Nutrition was not a consideration. Quantity ruled over quality, as a giant pipeline was needed to feed the processed food industry.

With the rise of industrial agriculture and the processed food industry, we have seen a tremendous decline in health. Over the past 30 to 40 years, in spite of the low fat craze, 30% of people in this country are obese and 60% are overweight. Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 health issue in spite of cholesterol checks. Colon postulates, "Maybe cholesterol is not the key."

Perhaps the practices, products and byproducts of industrial agriculture have created our contemporary malaise. At the turn of the century, the average person consumed 7 - 10 pounds of sugar per year. Now, the average person consumes 150 pounds of sugar per year. At the grocery store, we buy products with genetically modified foods, without even knowing it. Industrial agriculture has created a line of "Frankenfoods." We don't have the data to tell us if some of these products are good or bad. It is virtually impossible to get "pure," non-genetically modified corn or soy. If one farmer uses genetically modified seed, the wind will help share the wealth with the farm next door. Nature gives us no barriers to keep the genetically modified produce in "its own backyard."

The human body is not design for processed foods. When the body tries to metabolize them, they are turned into sugars. This leads to cardiovascular illness, noted Colon.

The collusion of business and government has exacerbated the problem. Nutrasweet (aspartame) is a case study of business and government colluding to get a toxic product onto the market. In 1995, information was released that aspartame was a neurotoxin, a carcinogen, caused headaches, taxed our livers and caused depression. In spite of this information, the company wanted the product released. So, Donald Rumsfeld was appointed CEO. By having someone with military and political connections at the helm, the company got Nutrasweet onto the market.

The list of toxic foods is long, including high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, sugar, salt, artificial sweeteners, fat, dye and chemicals. Junk foods contribute to malnutrition and obesity. Junk foods offer no nutrition, do not satisfy the body, make us need to eat again soon after consuming them and do not allow the body to function optimally. A person needs 1/2 teaspoon of salt each day to remain healthy, yet eating a snack of chips alone gives you that amount of salt.

Poor people are in a crisis of health and malnutrition. With little money to buy "real food," they are subsisting on junk food and suffering all of its health side effects. Colon reflected that we are the only nation that markets dangerous, unhealthy foods to children. The profit-driven food industry thrives on advertising, and throws questionable nutritional information at the public.

What can we do to fight for our nutritional rights and advocate for our health? Colon suggests a number of strategies:

1. Purchase organically grown foods. Organically grown food is nutritionally dense, providing 25 - 50% more nutritional value than conventional foods.

2. Explore local food options. Support local farmers so they stay in business. Joint a CSA (community supported agriculture, where you can buy a share and get produce directly from a local farm). Look into other forms of direct to consumer distribution, including your local farmer's market, if you town runs one.

3. Eat whole foods. Keep away from junk foods.

4. Cook your own food. Too many people rely on prepared foods, frozen food or take out food, because they are too busy to cook for themselves or don't know how. It is easier to eat whole, quality foods if you shop for them and prepare them.

5. Eat regularly. Too many people don't eat breakfast, don't have time for lunch and work long beyond dinner hour at demanding jobs. Your body needs you to take time out for nourishment.

6. Drink more water. Most people are dehydrated. Drinking soda contributes to dehydration.

7. Avoid chemicals. If an ingredient on a package has so many letters you can't recognize or pronounce it, it was likely created in a laboratory, not grown on a farm.

By slowing down, becoming more knowledgeable about nutrition, and speaking with our wallets, Colon believes we can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

©2009 Linda Marks

You can learn more about Beth Colon's work at Beth works at the Hudson Natural Health Center in Hudson, MA and out of her home in Bolton, MA.

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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 beginning in September 2010. 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 Healing the Traumatized Heart Workshop, is on Sunday, December 6 from 2 - 5 pm, in Newton.

Join us for an experience of heartfull 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.

Keeping A Vital Heart,a new EKP workshop, will take place on Sunday, January 24 from 2 - 5 pm in Newton. Taking care of your heart is an important practice that will deepen happiness and fulfillment, as well as help to heal trauma and pain.

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.

If you are interested in being part of an on-going EKP group that meets once a month, let me know. We had run a Sunday EKP Process group for many years, and could consider forming another one, if there is interest. Whether your schedule is too busy for a weekly group, or you live far enough away that a monthly session is more sustainable, if a monthly group would best meet your needs, we can try to put one together.

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)
  • 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...