Whenever we do EKP Community Clinics,
everyone leaves enriched and nourished! On
February 20, a team of 5, four EKP
apprentices and I, offered a clinic day, and
a meaningful time was had by all!
We are doing another EKP Community
Clinic on Sunday, May 23 from 11
am - 5 pm in Newton. If you would like to
book a session, please let me know.
I greatly enjoy the opportunity to teach
about The Power of the Heart in Body
Psychotherapy in Jan Wall's Holistic
Studies class at Lesley University. Jan's
students are always conscious, receptive,
engaged and vibrant. My February 16 class
was a real joy, and Alex got to come along
too, since it was school vacation.
The class I teach at UMass Boston focuses on
how to create mutually empowering
relationships in personal and professional
life. My students are "adult learners," who
bring "real world" experience to their
studies. One part of our class looks at the
history of relationships since the founding
of the United States. Each time we cover
this material, I find myself reflecting more
deeply into the nature of gender roles, love,
intimacy and relationships, and the
limitations our culture has placed on us as
men, women and human beings.
In an effort to create more ways to connect
with community members, dialogue and share
ideas, I have created a new blog at
up for new posts and please add your thoughts
to discussion threads.
The first article in this issues reflects on
some of these themes: Do We Really Need
Relationships Anymore?: An Historical Look
at Love, Intimacy and Gender Roles.
On the other hand, at a time where job
prospects are scarce or hopeless for too many
Americans, and the economy continues to offer few
opportunities for the middle class American
to build a secure financial future, investing
in one another over time may provide one of
the few avenues for a "return" on the
Investing in One Another: The Human
Investment Alternative," explores this theme.
The third article in this issue,
In response to articles in the last issue,
several people wrote with appreciation about
the article on relationships and the movies.
Several readers also wrote in with thoughts
about Doug Wilson's article:
Reader Robin Daiell wrote:
"Referring to President Obama, Wanda Sykes
said on her show last night, 'People are
upset he hasn't solved all our problems in
one year. The man went to Harvard, not
Sunny Davidson wrote:
"I've been to Rowe twice, thought I've been
enhanced by reading their publications for
years. Thanks for sending Doug Wilson's
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!
Do We Need Relationships Anymore?
An Historical Look at Love, Intimacy and Gender Roles
I teach a class at UMass Boston that looks at
how to create mutually empowering
relationships in our personal and
professional lives. I feel very fortunate
that my students are "adult learners," people
who have worked and continue to work in the
"real world," mostly in human service roles.
One part of the class that has become more
and more interesting for reflection over time
is the study of the evolution of
relationships since the founding of the
United States. We look at male roles, female
roles, relationships between men and women,
intimacy, marriage, and child-rearing
practices in the Colonial (through 1700's),
Jeffersonian (early 1800's),
Progressive (1860's - 1920's), Modern (1920's
- 1950's) and
Post-Modern (1960's) eras.
Some very striking messages emerge from this
1. Emotional intimacy between men and women was
not a consideration or possibility during
much of American history. True intimacy
requires equality, and the gap between men
and women in regard to power, social roles
and social regard was tremendous and
insurmountable prior to the 1920's.
Men found their companionship and intimacy
with their male colleagues and companions, at
work or in the local bar.
2. Love as a basis of a primary relationship
or marriage is a contemporary notion. For
most of the history of our country,
relationships between men and women were
based on gender roles, social class, and
practical need. Men provided. Women tended
to home matters. Marriage was a feather in
one's social respectability cap, and a two
way exchange of services. As Tina Turner
sang, "What's Love Got to Do With It?"
3. Sexual relationships between men and
women were primal and functional, not loving
and intimate, for most of American history.
In the Colonial era, both men and women were
perceived as sexual , raw and raunchy. In
the Jacksonian era, passionless sex became
the social convention in marriage,
integrating religious "morality" and a need
for primitive birth control. In the
Progressive era, eroticism was re-invented,
but other than during the newly minted
"dating period," men and women had little
reason to spend time with one another as
companions. AND, men had extra-marital sex
with prostitutes through all of these eras,
Without the "grease" of emotional intimacy,
marriages, on the one hand offered socially
endorsed structures for functioning and
surviving in society, and on the other hand
were hotbeds of domestic violence and often,
prisons of responsibility and survival.
Gender roles gave men and women a place in
society and a purpose for partnering. Gender
roles also perpetuated a power differential
that made men dominant and women a lesser class.
Neither men nor women had it easy.
Societally endorsed images exerted both
pressure and control on individual identity
and freedom. "Real men," as defined in the
progressive era, were strong, tough and
competitive. The world was a war zone, and
the home was supposed to be a haven. Yet,
how could a man wear his armor day in and day
out, and then suddenly offer a soft
underbelly when he came home from work?
Women had to be hardy in the Colonial era to
survive the elements, and strong
disciplinarians in the Jacksonian era to be
sure their children would be achievers. In
the Progressive era, the notion of employment
before marriage began to emerge, and the
thought that being a good mother and a good
homemaker might not be enough began to take root.
As we have come into our current era, threads
of earlier gender roles and pressures for men
and women still live on, but amidst a
simultaneous rejection and clouding of these
very gender roles and pressures. Women now
have to put on their armor and do battle in
the competitive world of work, as much as
their male counterparts. I read a statistic
that there are actually more women in the
workforce today than men. Yet, these women
make 74% of what their male counterparts do
in comparable jobs. So, women have inherited
some of the downside of the male gender role
while maintaining some of the downside of the
female gender role.
Add in a 20% unemployment rate (10% reported
as currently unemployed and another 10%
beyond the point of reporting their
unemployment), a significant percentage of
under-employed people and people holding
multiple low-paying jobs trying to survive,
and you see current day economic pressures
impacting all people, regardless of gender.
With a rate of technological change that may
soon exceed our rate of learning about and
adapting to change, the world of work still
wields tremendous power, but without the
personal or economic security that used to
come to those who worked.
These conditions do not lend themselves to
men and women coming home and gently relaxing
into vulnerability and connection. Even in
an era where emotional intimacy and
companionship might be envisioned or even
desired in a primary partnership or marriage,
fewer people have the emotional space or
practical time to cultivate emotional
intimacy and shared company.
Women can become well-educated, attain
well-paying jobs and pursue career paths
almost as easily as men. So, many women do
not need a man for economic survival. With
women's energy in the workplace, men are more
likely to fend for themselves domestically,
or contribute to household tasks or even
purchase domestic services, be it cleaning
help or take out dinners.
Men and women simply don't "need" each other
the way they did in the early days of our
country's founding, because they are more
independent of traditional gender roles.
Given that the tools, skills, models and
competencies of connecting emotionally,
integrating sex and love, and nurturing and
sustaining an emotionally fulfilling primary
partnership have never been provided in our
schools, in our homes or our workplaces,
those who aspire to bond with "their soul
mate" often come up short. Four years ago,
when I was on the Montel Williams show, one
of the staff researchers cited the divorce
rate at 62%. And many people chose to never
marry at all. What's the point?
This past month, I noticed women around
me--clients, students, colleagues, friends
asking the question, "do I really even NEED a
relationship?" Lots of hassle. Not much
reward. Why bother? The pattern was very
I have heard men around me express the same
How much of romance is a media-created
fantasy, and not a reality-based form of
relating? If we look at the roots of
male-female relationships in this country,
the answer becomes clear. While love,
companionship, intimacy and integrated
sexuality could indeed be nourishing and
sustaining forces for both men and women, no
matter their orientation or lifestyle, in
reality, being able to give and receive
freely and skillfully with a partner is a
rare model and a rare experience.
With all the confusion about masculinity and
femininity and what is needed for personal
and collective survival, the foundation for
successful relationships is riddled with
holes. The simultaneous ability to reach out
and dialogue with strangers while living in
increasing isolation that our internet era
brings only adds to the emotional chaos and
Both individually and collectively, we need
to find ways to become secure in our maleness
and femaleness, and most fundamentally our
humanness, separate from our work identities
and economic struggles. We need to reclaim
the power of our hearts, or perhaps discover
this essential internal and collective
resource for the very first time. We are not
meant to be islands. But sadly, both men and
women have suffered as islands, perhaps in
different ways in different eras, but fairly
consistently over time. We need to find ways
to build bridges across our personal and
social divides, and work together to create a
more connective, supportive and humane world
in which everyone can win. Wanna play? If
so, join me!
©2010 Linda Marks
Please share your thoughts...
Investing in One Another:
The Human Investment Alternative
Investing our resources in places that will
give back something worthy of what we have
put in makes both emotional and intellectual
sense. We breathe in, we breathe out--being
nourished by the oxygen in the air, and
giving back carbon dioxide to nourish the
plants. There are lots of models of this
circle of life in nature.
But human society has often forgotten about
balance that comes with this circle.
Investing in financial vehicles was supposed
to assure a secure future for middle class
Americans. But with so many abuses of the
financial markets, led by greedy,
consciousnessless individuals like Madoff and
those like him, a small percentage of people
took all of what a large percentage have
"invested" in good faith. And middle class
Americans have been left with empty coffers,
less than they started with, and no vehicles
to build a secure financial future.
In a culture that has made work such a
primary part of life and one's identity, the
jobs crisis has also broken the circle of
give and take. Once, one could count on
becoming educated, and pursuing a career path
in a related field. By working hard, and
contributing to one's organization, one could
be assured job security and remuneration for
one's contribution. Today, with unemployment
and underemployment at high levels, and 6
potential candidates for every available job,
there is often no way to step into the
circle, too many ways to be booted out, and
too many organizations that suck up resources
without giving back in kind.
And then, of course, is there are the systems
designed to take care of us in our old age.
While social security should be a birthright
after a lifetime's contribution to the works
of society, we are more likely to encounter
the "social insecurity" system. There are
not enough funds in this government-built
structure to provide for even babyboomers
going forward, never mind the generations
after them. Pensions have vanished. If we
look to fall into a catchment net, we will
fall out the holes in the web!
So, what do we invest in, when money is hard
to come by and even harder to grow, and work,
while a central institution in our culture,
is not providing an open door, stable seat or
a protected future?
What we have left to invest in that might
provide a real "return on investment," is our
relationships with one another. While at one
time, investing in our relationships with our
partners, our children, our famiies and our
communities would have been a given, today it
is actually less common, and in some cases,
off the radar. If people focus primaily on
their job security and economic survival,
investing time, care and thought in other
people falls to the bottom of the priority
list. Sadly, self-care--including in very
basic ways like sleep, healthy food, downtime
and exercise, also get lost in the shuffle.
While we don't have control of the
government, the workplace and the stock
market, if we neglect to invest in our
self-care and our relationships with loved
ones, we are dying at our own hand.
When we are struggling with the larger
world's challenges, it is in our personal
worlds that we could find refuge, company and
comfort. But to have this safe, nurturing,
protective haven, we need to invest our time,
energy and hearts into important
relationships in an on-going way. If we
neglect relationships with family, community
and loved ones day to day, when we need to
fall back on these relationships, there will
be major holes in this net!
An article by Sue Johnson published on
www.psychologytoday.com, notes that we are
not built to face stress and anxiety alone.
Johnson writes, "Our most basic instinct,
which is to reach for someone we love when
things get rough, is our most powerful
survival skill. The touch of someone we love
literally calms the jittery neurons in our
Johnson cites a study where women lying in an
MRI machine, about to receive an electric
shock, used the touch of their husbands "to
calm the stress centers in their brains and
lessen the pain of the shock." The power of
another person's love, touch and presence can
be the best insurance policy around!
But to have these resources, we need to
consciously seek them, cultivate them and
sustain them. Relationships take face time,
in regular and consistent intervals over
time. Being available to listen, to hear, to
hold, to reflect, to just BE with another
must be a priority in the competing list of
items that demand our daily attention.
Learning how to let loved ones in, and keep
them close is a very important capability.
In our often overly self-reliant world, where
most of us believe "we need to do it all
alone," it is not easy to build and maintain
a sense of interdependency and
Learning how to ask for help and finding ways
to define what we need is important to let a
loved one give at the times we are in need.
If we can ask, and receive, and be asked and
give, the circle of life falls back into
balance and sustains us.
Healthy relationships do require a sense of
equality, fairness and mutuality, so that
resources can flow both ways. And it does
take two, if not a village, to sustain human
relationships over time.
Perhaps, if we would slow down, get grounded
and truly come to our senses, we would
remember or discover for the very first time,
that investing in one another mutually and
consistently will give a favorable ROI
tomorrow and maybe even today!
©2010 Linda Marks
Share your thoughts on this article...
A Revised Definition of Insanity
Many years ago, I was told that the
definition of "insanity" was doing the same
thing over and over again and expecting a
different result. For many years, that
seemed to make good enough sense, and I could
see plenty of real world situations where
that definition applied.
In today's world, as our infrastructures
break down, I think it is time to redefine
what "insanity" is. Now, "insanity" is
trying to reconcile a seemingly simple
problem using the rational, clear and
definited channels made available to you, and
expecting to actually reach a resolution.
Here's just one example. My parents are in
their 80's. My father is dying of colon
cancer and my mother is taking care of him.
Many decades ago, my father purchased bearer
bonds from the US Government, which have
coupons that can be redeemed twice a year,
paying interest on the bonds. The interest
from the bonds has helped pay for my parents'
living expenses since my father retired from
his job. And my mother would go into Boston
to a bank that could redeem the coupons.
Today, bearer bonds are no longer issued.
And many people have never heard of them.
However, this is only backstory.
On Saturday, I received a notice from the
local bank my parents use with a "bounced
check" from the Boston bank who redeem the
bond coupons for my mother. I was surprised
to see a "bounced check" since I would expect
there to be funds in a big bank's account to
pay a small coupon redemption fee. The
reason for the bounce listed was "refer to
maker." I had no clue what this meant.
I had to wait until Monday to call my
parent's local bank to inquire what this
meant and what to do to get my parents their
money. The local bank had no clue what
"refer to maker" meant and said I had to call
the Boston bank to find out.
I called the Boston bank, and they told me
they could not help me, because the check was
issued by their corporate office in
Minnesota. I called the corporate office in
Minnesota, and got a very nice man named
Greg, who truly wanted to help reconcile the
problem. He did research on why the check
might have bounced and could not come up with
a reason. There was money in their account.
There had been no stop payment issued on the
check. He said I needed to speak with the
local bank again, and that they could call
him to discuss the problem.
I called the local bank again, and spent 45
minutes on successive holds, as the issue was
escalated up the customer service center
supervisory chain. No one there had the
authority to speak with Greg at the other
bank. I was told I had to walk into a local
office of the local bank and someone there
could call Greg and solve the problem.
I went into the local branch of the local
bank and met with the branch manager to solve
the problem. I spent 40 minutes with her as
she escalated the issue through her support
chain, and was told they could not figure out
the problem and no one had the authority to
call Greg. She told me I had to physically
bring in the facsimile of the returned check
to the originator and get it reissued. I
explained it came from Minnesota, and I was
NOT going to hand carry the facsimile to
She said I could not redeposit the facsimile
because the processing people had made a
technical error on the original check and had
double printed a set of numbers, so the
facsimile would be rejected. I asked her to
remove the $10 service fee issued to my
parents' account, since they should not have
to pay for an error that had nothing to do
with them or even the Minnesota bank. I was
told this was not possible. There was no
procedure to do this.
I pushed back and said this was not fair.
Why should 80 somethings have to pay a fee
for something that had nothing to do with
their actions. She said she would file a
claim to try to get the fee removed, but the
process was cumbersome and unlikely to bring
a positive outcome.
Now, having invested 3 hours of my day trying
to solve the problem, in addition to working
with clients and checking in with Alex, my
son, after school, I called the Boston office
of the check issuing bank and told them the
dilemma. They reaffirmed they could not do
anything and I needed to talk to Greg in
I reached Greg, and he said this was insane.
He said the banking industry is totally
dysfunctional, because people are not in jobs
long enough to know what is going on or how
to solve problems. They receive no training,
and get frustrated and turn over, and leave
customers in the lurch with serious issues
that are not able to be reconciled.
I asked Greg how long he had been in his job,
and he said 10 years. He said that was
unusual. He said his bank required people
who were going to handle customer calls like
mine to have 6 weeks of traning before they
answered one customer phone call.
Greg instructed me that I could mail in the
bounce slip and the facsimile check, but that
I had to write a letter and get my mother's
signature and state the the local bank had a
processing error and we needed to get the
check reissued. There were certain
conditions that would require a notary to
sign and seal her signature and mine. But we
were able to define a set of circumstances
that would allow me to just bring the letter
to my mother and have her sign it and have me
send off the paperwork and hope for the best.
Now, 4 1/2 hours of my day into trying to
solve this problem on behalf of my parents, I
still don't have it solved. And I cannot
imagine my 82 year old mother who is trying
to care for my 84 year old father who is in
the last stages of dying from colon cancer
having to go through what I went through
today to reconcile a seemingly simple problem.
In fact, I can't imagine my mother even
understanding my attempt to explain what
happened, what it means and what we need to
do to solve the problem. Should an 80
something be subject to this kind of wild
goose chase when tending to a dying spouse?
Should ANYONE be subject to this kind of wild
And how many people would have the tenacity
and wherewithall to keep pushing for
resolution when one pathway leads to another
dead end and it all comes back in a circle to
where you started?
How many stories are there like this of
people trying to reconcile issues that impact
their daily survival--be it with banks,
insurance companies, hospitals and other
social institutions? And how did we get here?
Somehow, we need to gather together from the
bottom up and rebuild models of commerce so
that transactions are more grounded, and the
complexities of overcompartmentalization and
reliance on technology to the point that
humans are unable to solve seemingly simple
problems can be eliminated.
On the upside, it is much harder to do the
same thing over and over again, at all, never
mind expect different results. Following a
pathway is likely to lead to a random,
chaotic or circular trajectory that could
probably not be repeated, because different
characters will pick up the phone or e-mail
as jobs turn over or are handled by multiple
people, all sharing the same function.
I will see this through til my parents get
their check reissued and successfully
deposited into their checking account. But
how many more times will this kind of
craziness or worse knock at the door?
Perhaps another definition of insanity is
"the resulting condition of trying to solve a
human scale problem in a chaotic,
©2010 Linda Marks
Add your thoughts on:
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.
If you would like to apprentice in EKP and
get involved before September, you may want
to consider participating in a half-day EKP
workshop or a special seminar for current
On Sunday, April 11 from 2 - 5 pm, we will be
doing an apprentice seminar looking at the
DSM, which is the insurance company's bible,
and something any apprentice should be
familiar with, since that is where diagnoses
are defined. The will be in Newton. Contact
Linda for more information or to register.
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.
Sunday May 23 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....