During school vacation weeks, my son Alex
and I engage in a wonderful ritual one could
call a "movie marathon." We seek to view all
the good movies that are playing at that
point in time. Christmas vacation is often a
very rich time for movie-going, since many of
the year's best are saved for release just
before Oscar time.
In our last "movie marathon" period, we saw
"Precious," "An Education," "Sherlock
Holmes," "Up in the Air," "It's Complicated,"
"A Single Man," and "Crazy Heart." In
addition to applauding some fine acting
performances by Jeff Bridges, George Clooney
and Colin Firth, to note just a few, I
realized the movies provide a very
interesting window into the psyche of our
culture. And this batch of movies offered a
chilling portrayal of the nature of human
relationships in our modern day world.
The first article in this newsletter, "Is
It Really That Complicated or Simple:
Relationships and the Movies" reflects on
what I saw and what this might mean.
"What DO We Really Need," the January
23 daylong workshop offered a rich and
provocative look into our basic needs as
human beings, and 7 key developmental stages
from conception through about age 6 which
shape who we are and who we become. I
realized how important this information is
for parents and those who work with children.
So, I am very happy to announce that I will
be doing programs on this very subject
in April and September, first with the
North Shore Holistic Moms Network, and
then with the Worcester Holistic Moms
Network. "Creating a Village to
Support Our Children: Meeting Our Basic Human
Needs," reflects on this very important
Our third article this issue is written by
the Reverend Douglas Wilson, who is the
Director of my very favorite place to lead
workshops, the Rowe Camp and Conference
Center. Besides watching over the hearts and
minds of the wonderful people who journey to
this beautiful bucolic location for growth,
renewal and healing, Doug is a savvy
political analyst, who provides the best
"current events e-clipping service" I have
I know it may be considered "politically
incorrect" to include an article even
touching upon politics in a newsletter
focused on the heart and healing. However,
the current state of our government and
economy puts stress and strain on the hearts
of most of us, and surely working and middle
class Americans. I thought Doug's essay,
"Obama Needs to Be More FDR, Less JFK"
was very insightful and well worth
sharing. So, I've included it here.
No matter what political persuasion you
identify with or shun, I hope you can
appreciate the big picture thinking Doug brings.
In response to "Hoarding, Paperless Offices,
Attachment and Detachment, " reader James
Cavenaugh wrote the following:
"Thank you for your insightful writing.
Hoarding and positive thinking strike me as
issues affecting us all the more for their
acceptance as normal, even progressive,
behavior. What keeps us human is at once
crucial and newsless, without crime or
scandal. You make it interesting. I like that."
Reader Emily Konstan noted:
"An article in the Utne Reader ties in well
with your newsletter. It is about
consumerism and the need to replace it with
other community-minded pursuits."
Saturday, February 20, is our EKP
Community Clinic Day. Thanks to everyone
who has signed up for a free EKP session with
our apprentice team.
Sunday, March 14 will be a Keeping A Vital
Heart workshop from 2 - 5 pm in Newton,
MA. Come spend an afternoon listening to and
learning more about caring for your heart.
Your comments and feedback are always welcome!
Is It Really That Complicated or Simple?
Relationships and the Movies
My son Alex and I love going to the movies.
Movies not only provide provocative windows
into our times, our lives and our past, but
also can paint rich emotional landscapes,
tragic portraits of human frailty and
side-slapping humor that just won't quit.
If our movies provide a mirror of the psyche
of our times, what does one say when the
relationships at the center of some of the
most spell-binding movies are an abused
teenage girl with a brutal mother and father
who has impregnated her with two children, a
married man masquerading as a rich single art
collector who pursues and seduces a bright 16
year old girl, a divorced couple who are
drawn into an affair as the ex-husband grows
uncontent with his 2nd marriage to a woman
more than 20 years his junior, and a very
talented, but very alcoholic traveling singer
who falls in love with a single mom nearly 30
years his junior, but loses her young son in
a drunken haze?
Add to the list a closeted gay male professor
during the 1960's, whose grief upon the death
of his partner must be kept hidden, even as
he unravels emotionally, and a non-committal,
always traveling businessman whose specialty
is firing people methodically and seamlessly,
whose heart strings are stirred by his
seemingly similar female counterpart, who
breaks his heart as her dual life, as a married
woman with young children is uncovered.
If this is what today's relationships are
like, is there any hope for commitment,
continuity, emotional stability and anything
longer lasting than the number of months you
can count on your hands?
Things seem both inordinately complicated and
inordinately simple at the same time. Battle
worn hearts yearn for love, but cannot
deliver anything trustworthy or sustainable.
Young hearts, innocent and naive, are broken
and perhaps rendered battle worn, by those
named in the sentence above.
Lives on the road allow space for secret
liasons and dual identities or short-term
affairs you can drive or fly away from.
Incomplete emotional break-ups from the past
leave lasting trails of tears and unavailable
futures. And somehow, all the players, young
and old, male and female, are mostly
oblivious to the impact of relational
complexities and baggage on any children who
through no fault of their own, find
themselves in the middle of a parent or
parents' confused wanderings along the
I was both sad and aghast as I watched the
three young adult children of the Meryl
Streep and Alec Baldwin characters in "It's
Complicated," huddle under the covers
together as their inner children freaked out
at the thought of their mom and dad having a
post-divorce affair behind their backs. At
least Maggie Gyllenhaal's character in "Crazy
Heart," draws a line with Jeff Bridges'
character after he loses her young son while
charged with watching him.
It need not be so complicated or simple. But
what it would take for things to be different
in all of these movie scenarios would be
emotionally mature and grounded adults, who
let their skeletons out of the closet, and
recognize the need to work through the
relational baggage before meeting or engaging
with "whoever is next."
The Jeff Bridges character does hit bottom
after seeing what his alcoholism has done not
only to the Maggie Gyllenhaal character's
love, but also his entire life. He does
entire rehab, and actually chooses to change
his longstanding but unsustainable ways. It
is too late for his relationship with the
Maggie Gyllenhaal character, but not too late
for his relationship with himself.
The Meryl Streep character wakes up, or
perhaps, grows up a little, by the movie's
end, realizing that she and the Alec Baldwin
had never completed things, but there was a
reason their marriage ended when it did. She
recognizes the value of the more emotionally
stable, yet still vulnerable Steve Martin
character, who has been trying to take time
to heal from his recent divorce. Small
inklings of emotional maturity shine throw in
some of his dialogues, and his actions.
Do we make movies ripe with characters in
complicated or tragic relationships because
these characters portray an accurate picture
of too many of our lives? Do we take comfort
when we see other people struggling with
life's and love's complexities, realizing it
really IS hard and we are not alone? Do
these kinds of characters live more exciting
lives than those of us who are fortunate
enough to have seemingly simpler lives? Or
do these images represent our struggle to
find connection, with ourselves and others,
to sustain love over time and to deal with
I would really enjoy a movie where the
relationships between all the characters were
mature, healthy, sustainable and real. But,
might this be too unreal for the mass
markets? Or too deep? Or too heady? Or too
The movies offer a powerful tool for creating
cultural imagery. And if healthy,
sustainable relationships are truly a goal
many of us aspire too, perhaps this medium
could provide a useful sampling of what they
might look like and how they might operate.
We'll see what comes out next Christmas vacation!
©2010 Linda Marks
Please share your thoughts...
Creating A Village to Support Our Children:
Meeting Our Basic Human Needs
In a world where MacMansions have replaced
the ranch and Cape houses that many baby
boomers called home as children, handheld
devices continue to evolve, making paper and
perhaps one day, even desk-based computers,
stories for an ancient history class, and
media messages tell us who we should be and
what will make us attractive and successful,
many of us have lost touch with or perhaps
have never even reflected on what we REALLY need.
Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or
more recently, the earthquake in Haiti, wake
us up from the distractions of daily life
momentarily. As long as the grim images are
there on the screen, Maslow's hierarchy of
food, clothing and shelter DOES seem more
real. However, when the media moves on to
whatever is next, even though those who have
survived the disaster remain in crisis, it is
too easy to worry about putting another tank
of gas into the SUV or making sure one's
middle school aged daughter has the "in" kind
After food, clothing and shelter, Maslow
reminds us that emotional and spiritual needs
are also important. Has our culture,
overall, forgotten this part of the model?
Most of what we need to be a human being, and
the experiences that define who we become
take place between conception and age 6. And
getting our basic needs met is a relational
dance, not a Wall Street deal.
Nowhere in our educational system are we
taught emotional literacy. So, it is the
rare parent or parents operating in isolation
or in a small, self-gathered group of peers,
who delves into the depths of human development.
Meeting our basic human needs DOES involve
the "village," be it our families, the
doctors and other health care professionals
who care for us, the hospitals we
predominantly give birth in, the schools our
children go to and the neighborhoods we live in.
How DO we bring more emotional, developmental
and human awareness to ourselves, our loved
ones and our villages?
I wonder if our overfocus on materialism,
economics, career success and wealth loses
some of its staying power, as we see our
children being diagnosed with adult mental
health disorders and physical health disorders.
Every child deserves to begin life feeling
the right to exist and a sense of welcome
into the world. We deserve to feel safe,
loved and nurtured for who we are as a ground
of being. Having a sense of emotional and
relational stability is just as important as
having food and shelter.
Having mentors who help us learn the
boundaries of appropriate independence and
interdependence is essential for self-esteem,
a sense of personal power and the ability to
define one's life as one's own.
We need to do our own emotional and spiritual
healing and deepening work to be able to provide
spaces to others in their journeys. If we
feel purposeful, grounded and at peace in who
we are, we can really listen to and hear
another explore the inner workings of their
mind and heart. Our children need this to
grow into healthy, happy, connected people.
So do our friends, our neighbors and our
adult family members.
Having ways to express ourselves creatively
and productively help us feel purposeful and
fulfilled. Being patient with ourselves and
others when things are unclear, chaotic,
difficult and unknown creates far more peace
and security than impatience, judgment or
If we learn how to become quiet and peaceful
enough in ourselves to sit with another
person, create a safe enough space where they
can share their deeper thoughts and feelings
and feel heard and respected, we are going a
long way towards creating connection, health
and world peace. Restoring a
safety-creating, nurturing and even
nourishing connotation to touch, rather than
its current fear-invoking, boundary-crossing,
hurt-inducing current imagery would take us
miles along the road to feeling comfortable
in our own skins, as well as being physically
connected to others.
For many years, I have taught a body-centered
model of developmental psychology that
provides real, practical, experiential tools
to help people meet their most basic needs
and heal from wounds of deprivation, neglect
and trauma. I would love to turn this course
into something I could offer to both aspiring
and practicing counselors and psychologists
at universities, teachers, doctors, and other
service providers, whose work shapes and
holds children and adults.
If future parents were given the opportunity
to learn this model when they discovered they
expecting, or better still, young men and
women had the chance to explore this model
prior to making the decision to become parents,
we would improve our social capacity to
consciously welcome, nurture, presence and
respond to other human beings from birth
through all the stages of life's journey. We
could more presently and compassionately care
for our elders. We would more likely value
intergenerational contact, and be less
isolated from others at other life stages.
I hope in the next several decades, the
social lens can shift its focus from trying
to move or change old, clumsy and inadequate
political and institutional structures to
building human-scale, community-based,
emotionally-informed bodies that allow us to
feel the world IS our oyster, a world where we
share a common understanding of our basic
©2010 Linda Marks
Share your thoughts on this article...
More FDR, Less JFK
An Essay by the Reverend Douglas Wilson
One year ago most of my friends were euphoric
as Barack Obama came into office on the winds
of change. The economic system had collapsed
and needed to be fixed and the people
expected the change they had voted for. One
question being asked was, "Will Obama be an
FDR or a JFK?" FDR really changed things; JFK
put a smart and sophisticated face on more of
the same. (To be fair, he was in office less
than three years.) We need an FDR, but one
year in, we've got a JFK.
A lot has changed since FDR took the side of
the people against the corporations and Wall
Street. The Republicans sided with the
bankers, so the people who lost their jobs
and their farms knew who was on their side.
FDR created inventive organizations, some
that failed, others that were works of
genius, but most designed to make jobs for
people out of work.
With the rise of campaign contributions
(which is bribery, pure and simple), the
Democrats also learned to sell out to the
bankers and corporate contributors. While
some Democrats still spout populist rhetoric,
many are hypocrites, dancing to the tunes the
owners and donors are playing. Now, with the
recent disastrous Supreme Court decision,
corporate rule is even more assured.
Looking back a year, the first step Obama
should have taken was to fix the banking
laws. There was enough anti-Wall Street
sentiment to push through real reform. We
should have concentrated on helping
homeowners instead of the giant banks,
stopped allowing 20-30% interest rates,
stopped investment banks from becoming
commercial banks, and stopped Wall Street
from creating phony schemes for repackaging
debts. Even Alan Greenspan admitted that
greed had exceeded the restraint and sanity
he expected from his friends the bankers.
Obama would have greatly increased his
political capital by showing he sided with
the common people and used that capital to
reform the health care system. Now the
opportunity has passed; Wall Street is too
powerful to be checked.
Meanwhile, climate change is going to ruin
the delicate balance necessary to maintain
our beautiful planet, but the oil and coal
industries have been injecting enough
misinformation into the discussion so that
people are confused. It doesn't take much to
muddy the waters, as big pharma and the
health insurance giants have shown.
In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John
Perkins explained how it was his job to go to
Third World countries and bribe their elites
to get their countries to take on massive
debts they could not pay back, so they would
become compliant clients of our economic
interests. Haiti is just one stark example.
Seeing how well this worked, our bankers
decided to do the same, on an individual
basis, with American citizens. That explains
why we continue to get innumerable credit
card offers inviting us to get loans without
any security to back them up. If you lose
your job, or you develop a health problem, or
you just aren't paying enough attention, you
could quickly get into hock, where you might
stay for the rest of your life.
On the military front, we're running a world
empire, the iron fist in the glove of
international corporate capitalism. G. W.
Bush and Dick Cheney financed the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan as if they were
unlimited ATM machines for their friends and
donors. They didn't care that Hamid Karzai
was corrupt; so what, that's normal. When
Gen. David Petraeus finally got them to
implement counterinsurgency policies in Iraq
in 2007, it was too late. Unbelievably, we
still know almost nothing about either
country's cultures. The Afghans and the
Iraqis will never accept our armies. What we
are bringing them is death. At least five per
cent of the Iraqi people have died since our
invasion. If this had been our country, 15
million Americans would be dead -- it's
highly doubtful we would look upon our
invaders with kindness.
On the financial front, Bush and Cheney
allowed the looting of the treasury. Remember
it was W. who wanted to "privatize" social
security. Great idea, if you're Wall Street.
We have no idea what the bankers are doing
and to hear their testimony before Congress
last week, neither do the heads of the big
banks, though I believe they were lying,
under oath. They want what is sometimes
called casino capitalism to continue. "Too
big to fail" really means they can gamble and
win big, but when they lose, the taxpayers
pay. Until the bankers become responsible for
their losses, the system will not work.
The Republican responses to Obama's programs
are like temper tantrums of two-year olds:
"No! No! and No!" Obama is being blamed for
Bush's failure to restrain casino capitalism
and when it brings down the banking system
again, Obama will take the blame. It's too
bad he didn't start fixing the banking system
on his first day in office.
With Scott Brown on his way to Washington,
perhaps President Obama will decide it is
time to emulate FDR, but I fear he missed his
Doug Wilson is Executive Director of
Unitarian Universalist Rowe Camp and
To explore their excellent programs, go to
To offer opinions about the essay, contact
Rowe Camp and Conference Center
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 LSMHEART@aol.com or call
Linda at (617)965-7846.
The Thursday night EKP Therapy Group
is currently full. If you would like to be
part of a committed long-term group using
EKP, we are putting together a waiting list,
should openings occur in time An interview
and one EKP session are required to apply.
Linda if you are interested at LSMHEART@aol.com
Keeping A Vital Heart,a new EKP
workshop, will take place on Sunday, March
14 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
LSMHEART@aol.com, and a check for $50 to
Linda Marks, 3 Central Avenue, Newton, MA
02460. Please include your name, phone
number, address and e-mail.
Saturday, February 20 will be an EKP
Clinic Day featuring free 60 minute EKP
sessions facilitated by EKP apprentices.
To sign up for a session, contact
On Monday, April 12, Linda will be giving a
presentation for the North Shore Holistic
Mom's Network. The topic will be
Village to Support Our Children: Meeting Our
Basic Human Needs." For more information,
On Wednesday, September 1, Linda will be
giving a presentation for the Worcester
Holistic Moms Network. The topic will be
"What DO We Really Need?" For more
information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 a
waiting list for new members)
- 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....