On March 14, we kicked off a new EKP
workshop, Keeping A Vital Heart, with a
wonderful group of participants. Focusing on
listening to and caring for our hearts was
both nourishing and truly heart-warming. I
will be scheduling this workshop again in the
months to come.
Tammy Robert, a member of the EKP
community, is looking to bring this work to
RI. She is graciously willing to host a
workshop in her Pawtucket home. If you
are interested in attending a RI workshop,
please let me know. Also, if you know
good people for Tammy to network with, to get
the word out so people who would want to
attend know about the workshop, please let me
know as well.
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.
At the Keeping A Vital Heart workshop,
the idea of inviting EKP community members
to be "helping hands" in our EKP Community
Clinic at the Spirit of Change Natural Living
Expo in September emerged. If you would
like to be part of our team of "helping
hands" at the Expo, please let me know.
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.
You can also become a fan of
HealingHeartPower on Facebook. By signing up
to be a fan, you will be notified whenever a
new blog post is published.
The first article in this issue draws from
the HealingHeartPower.blogspot.com menu,
Orthorexia: When Healthy Eating Goes
Over the Edge, exploring what happens
when you really do get too much of a "good
"Coherence, Incoherence and the
Heart," explores how the heart thrives on
a sense life is purposeful, manageable and
meaningful, and struggles when life is
chaotic and spikey. There is a parallel
between the language of "coherence" or
"incoherent" when applied to speech and
"coherent" or "incoherent" when applied to
experiences of the heart.
The third article in this issue, Weight
and Eating: When Life Is Hard to Swallow,
draws from heart health expert, Dean Ornish's
reflections that issues related to both
weight loss and weight gain go deeper than
just diet and exercise alone. Emotional
stress is a significant factor in weight gain.
Thanks Linda. I always enjoy your
newsletter; its a oasis of sanity in an
EKP community member, Diane Gaw sent in the
A Mother's Gift of Light
Six months after my son was born, I resumed
my meditation practice, with the addition,
near the end of each practice, of the
visualization of a golden light. The light
reached from my heart to my son's heart so
that he would know how much he was loved, and
so he would be protected and soothed by this
energy. When he was five, he turned to me one
day and said, "Mom, do you know what is my
favorite thing to pretend? That I am the
Master of Light. And I have a golden power
cell here" - he pointed to the center of his
chest - "and it's so powerful that it has the
power to turn people good!" In practicing my
meditative seva, I inadvertently taught him
to value the good in himself! What greater
blessing could have been bestowed upon me?
Spirituality and Health Magazine (July/August
Your comments and feedback are always welcome!
Orthorexia: When Health Eating Goes Over the Edge
The adage "everything in moderation"
maintains its wisdom these days, even when
looking at supposedly "healthy" behavior.
While healthy eating is important, if not
essential, for cardiac health, vitality and
overall well-being, when one becomes
obsessively focused on only eating a narrow
band of initially "healthy foods," one can
suffer from a new member of the eating
disorder family, orthorexia.
Orthorexia, a term coined in 1997 by
Colorado physician Steven Bratman, has its
origins in two Greek words, orthos,
meaning "correct of right" and orexis,
meaning "appetite." An orthorexia suffer may
initially have "health-minded" goals in their
eating plans, but may take these goals to an
extreme, to the point their diet is so
restricted or severe, malnutrition can result.
I remember, in college, one of my classmates
was obsessed with eating carrots and carrot
juice. While a healthy food, when eaten in
mass quantity, carrots turn your skin orange
and can make you sick. My classmate became
more and more orange, and started to feel
ill. It was an earth-shattering revelation
for her to discover that you CAN get too much
of a "good thing."
Raw food eating can become a breeding ground
for orthorexia as well. When taken to the
extreme, it can become a kind of anorexia,
where the individual becomes emaciated and
denies themselves the nutrition their body
truly needs in pursuit of a rigid principle.
Likewise, avoiding food preservatives and
additives is important in healthy eating,
however, when one's definition of products
that are "pure and healthy" (in contrast to
industrial products and processed foods,
which can be considered artificial and
unhealthy), becomes too extreme, one's health
can start to decline.
While the anorexic wants to be thin, and
compulsively works to lose weight beyond what
is tolerable for their well-being, the
orthorexic wants to feel pure and natural to
the point they lose sight of what is actually
Sadly, eating issues in one generation may
translate into eating issues for another
generation. A woman I know whose thoughts
and habits are at least borderline
orthorexic, is the mother of a young teenage
daughter who has become anorexic. In some
ways, the teenage daughter is in a power
struggle for perfection with her mother.
Since her mother is so focused on being
healthy and pure, the daughter needed to find
a trump card. Anorexia became her point of
Finding a way to a healthy middle ground is
an emotional, spiritual and educational
journey in a culture that too easily swings
between extremes. With eating, the healthy
middle ground is truly a balance point worth
©2010 Linda Marks
Please share your thoughts...
Coherence, Incoherence and the Heart
Coherence and Incoherence and the Heart
This past Sunday, as I was leading a workshop
on "Keeping A Vital Heart," I was showing the
group a picture of the heart rhythms when a
person is experiencing Frustration and when a
person is experiencing Appreciation.
The difference in the images was very
striking: while the amplitude between the
high and low points in the "heart waves" was
about the same, the patterns of the heart
activity were very different. The heart
pattern for frustration was very spikey, and
irregular. The heart pattern for appreciation
was much smoother and more regular.
Is it a surprise that we experience cortical
inhibition and chaos when feeling frustrated,
and cortical facilitation and coherence when
feeling appreciative or appreciated?
The word "coherence" is very important in
matters of the heart. Coherence means we
experience life as purposeful, manageable and
meaningful. The heart thrives on coherence
and is stressed when our lives lack coherence.
I began to think about the word "incoherent,"
which is usually used in relationship to how
someone speaks. Someone who is incoherent is
hard to understand and may speak in a
jarbled, chaotic and confusing style. We feel
evoke more comfort in a listener when we
speak coherently, and more discomfort when we
speak incoherently. Interesting to see the
parallel between our thoughts and words and
the experience of the heart.
One of the workshop participants made a
comment about an article she had read on how
multi-tasking makes us stupid. As I reflected
on this, it made a lot of sense.
Multi-tasking can be chaotic, especially when
taken to the extreme. The more chaotic, the
more incoherent our thought patterns,
actions, and most likely our feelings.
I would love to see the heart rhythm patterns
of a person who is frantically multi-tasking
as we so often feel pressured to do in our
fast-paced world, and a person who is fully
present and focusing deeply on one task.
Somehow, I suspect there would be parallels
between the frustration and appreciation
diagrams. Multi-tasking may make us
"stupider" because we become incoherent, lose
our grounding and no longer have a sense of
what is most important. Multi-tasking surely
is stressful, so our bodies generate
cortisol, the long-term stress hormone.
Focusing deeply on one thing is its own kind
of meditation, and may release oxytocin, the
love or bonding hormone that counteracts the
effects of cortisol.
Perhaps we need to look for ways to be more
coherent in all aspects of our life and
reduce incoherence as well! This will bring
us more focus, inner peace and healthier hearts!
©2010 Linda Marks
Share your thoughts on this article...
Weight and Eating: When Life Is Hard to Swallow
When looking at weight and eating, there's
lots of information available about the
importance of healthy food and exercise. What
is less commonly voiced is the role emotional
stress plays not only in eating behavior, but
also, in weight gain.
Dr. Dean Ornish, a visionary physician who
has spread the message that "heart disease
can be reversed through comprehensive
lifestyle change,"1 notes that to lose weight
and maintain weight, we need to work more
deeply than with just what we eat and how we
In "Why A High Protein Diet May Make You
Fatter" by Kathy Freeston (see 1 below),
Ornish notes, "The real epidemic in our
country is not only obesity, but also
depression, isolation and loneliness. As one
patient told me, 'When I feel lonely and
depressed, I eat a lot of fat. It fills the
void. Fat coats my nerves and numbs the pain.'"
In this sense, we can both overeat when life
is hard to swallow. And we can choose
unhealthy foods to offer emotional comfort
and soothing, since it may not be readily
available in other, non-food-based ways.
Ornish points out that emotional stress plays
a big role in weight gain, even beyond eating
or overeating foods that are high in fat,
salt and sugar.
1. Ornish notes that "chronic emotional
stress stimulates your brain to release
hormones that cause you to gain weight,
especially around your belly where it's most
harmful and least attractive." Long-term
stress (which is sadly, defined as stress
lasting 15 minutes or more) causes the body
to produce cortisol, which contributes to
stress-related eating and weight gain.
2. "Chronic stress also causes stimulation of
hormones such as cytokines that promote
inflammation." He notes that obesity itself
causes a low-grade inflammation, "which in
turn, tends to promote more obesity in a
3. Because chronic emotional stress causes
you to gain weight, using stress management
tools may be necessary to lose weight and
keep it off. So often, we ignore our
emotional and spiritual needs, including our
need for connection with self, a higher power
and others. And when we lack connection, we
feel a void. Meditation, mind-body tools and
reaching out to others can fill the void with
emotional, physical and spiritual nutrients
not available in food.
It is important we pay attention to our
emotional, spiritual and relational diet when
looking at health and weight management. As
we nourishing ourselves emotionally,
spiritually and relationally, our bodies will
response by generating oxytocin, the love or
bonding hormone, and we will experience a
greater sense of peace and well-being at all
There is a lot of truth that when life is
hard to swallow, we might really need a hug,
a shoulder to cry on or a hand to food--not a
bag of chips!
1 = From "Why A High Protein Diet May Make
You Fatter" by Kathy Freston, AlterNet, March
©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....