May 1, 2010 
 HealingHeartPower Newsletter
 Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue

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On April 12, I had the opportunity to speak to an issue near and dear to my heart: "Creating A Village To Support Our Children: Meeting Our Basic Human Needs," for the Holistic Moms Network in North Andover.

Our lack of emotional literacy training in the culture overall contributes to an environment where "need" is considered a "four-letter word," rather than a birthright or essential experience. Emotional and spiritual needs don't usually even make the radar, and today, even food, clothing and shelter are more challenging for too many people.

I believe conscientious parents both want and deserve support--for their own human needs, and for their children's. If we become more emotionally literate, perhaps we can get to the root of the "bullying culture" that seems to be predominant and growing rapidly today.

Two articles in this month's newsletter address this concern: Beyond Blaming the Victim: Getting to the Root of Our Bullying Culture and Emotional Risk-Taking, Emotional Intelligence and Social Integrity.

We are doing another EKP Community Clinic on Sunday, May 23 from 11 am - 5 pm in Newton. All slots are currently full, but we are taking names for a waiting list.

Tammy Robert, a member of the EKP community, is bringing EKP to RI, hosting a work shop in her Pawtucket home on Sunday, June 20 from 1 - 4 pm. To attend, contact Tammy at

There will be another 1/2 day EKP workshop, Healing and Nourishing Your Heart on Sunday, June 27 at Healing Moon in Norwood, MA.

At the March 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 Sign 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 third article in this issue, Exploring Intimacy, introduces a new book by author Suzann Robins.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Heartfully, Linda

 Beyond Blaming the Victim: Getting to the Root of Our Bullying Culture

It seems that bullying as a topic is getting more and more airtime in the media these days. But sadly, while it is more visible at a superficial level, the deeper roots of bullying, and therefore, the deeper solutions remain largely invisible.

Why are bullies who are charming, humorous, or clever viewed as attention-magnets for approval-seeking peers, rather than kids behaving badly? Why do so many teachers and staff throw up their hands and say, "well there isn't physical violence," when verbal assaults are plentiful and even physical affronts are visible if only they are noticed? Very often, when a child is being bullied and they DO go to an authority figure, they are told that "kids will be kids," to ignore it or to go back to class. Somehow, the listening lacks the recognition that if a child seeks help ONCE, there is a real problem to address.

Children learn that if they seek help and no help is granted, it is pointless to keep speaking up. Secondly, if a child who is being bullied keeps reporting their experience, they are viewed by their peers as a "tattle tale," which only exacerbate the bullying.

Third, WHY must the child who is being bullied bear the full responsibility for reporting and solving a problem? Why can't teachers and administrators, and even other students, take a more conscious and proactive approach and NOTICE the bullying happening in their classrooms and hallways, and nip it in the bud BEFORE it gets out of hand?

As I watch news shows present the latest news on the "bullying frontier," I am saddened by what I can label a "blaming the victim," mentality, where administrators say, "but the victim never said anything to the teachers or the principal, so we had no idea," or the families of those being accused of bullying claim they were clueless of the plight of the "victim," or the behavior of their own children.

Bullying is a systems issue, not a squabble between several peers. If bullying is happening, the roots lie in the classroom, the family, the educational environment, and even society at large. Bullies "get away with murder," as kids and proceed to move to larger stages, like corporations, and even the U.S. government. Madoff and those responsible for the collapse of the U.S. financial system are bullies who have grown to play in larger ponds than the classroom. And somehow, their actions are viewed with the same invisibility as the less developed actions of school-aged bullies.

On a television news program, I was struck by the "passing the blame," mentality expressed by administrators, bullies, and parents of bullies, rather than a recognition that there were real, systemic problems that needed a collaborative solution to solve. One school made a "bullies list," where kids got to name names, and those with the most citings were publicly noted. Sadly, the kids who made the bullies list became the next bullying targets, because who wouldn't bully a bully? But isn't this twisted logic?

And punishing bullies by taking away recess, having them followed into the bathroom, and basically shaming them, does not help either the kids or their families, teachers and peers explore WHY bullying behavior started in the first place. No one asks what changes might need to be made to truly change the backdrop or what kinds of education and counseling might be needed to change the individual kids' behaviors.

Parents blame the schools for not addressing issues, but don't ask themselves what they might be doing to contribute to the bullying problem. Might a child's bullying behaviors at school not reflect what is going on (or not going on) in their home environments? What ever happened to skills like introspection and taking personal responsibility? Without emotional literacy training, I am afraid some of the most fundamental skills needed to be a healthy human being might never be cultivated.

Finger-pointing, blame-shifting, ignoring, denying and focusing on the parts, not the whole will only deepen the bullying groove for our children and our world as a whole.

Until we start to look at personal responsibility, interdependence, and what helps an individual develop a grounded sense of self that allows a child to stand up for fairness and respect, rather than being lured in by an intense need to "conform" to "belong" to be "okay," we will be lost in space and time. Schools don't seem to have time for emotional literacy programs, but as a result, they end up spending countless hours dealing with the effects of emotional illiteracy. Countless young lives are shaped and even harmed by the emotional illiteracy and lack of containment that characterize our schools, families and culture today.

If we are going to solve the bullying problem, we need to get to the root of the matter, and involve kids, parents, teachers, administrators and other community organizations. We need to look inside and see who we are and what we really believe in. And we need to develop the courage to speak up when things aren't right and stand up and fight for what is right, just and fair.

If we begin to build emotional literacy skills in our schools, communities and families, we can rebuild the environments that we live in, work in and are governed by. This needs to be a collaborative effort. And if we recognize the value of emotional teamwork, we can truly change things for the better for all!

©2010 Linda Marks

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 Emotional Risk-Taking, Emotional Intelligence and Social Integrity

My son, Alex, participates in a wonderful community called Boys to Men. The community consists of adult men who recognize the value and even essential contribution of mentoring teenage boys as they transition from boyhood to young adulthood. A key part of the mentoring work includes developing a connection to their sense of integrity, courage, respect, compassion and leadership.

What is very sad is that many adult men have never had the opportunity to spend time with or relate to, in either the short-term or in an on-going way, men who can model these very qualities. As a result, they never have the chance to fully develop into integrated men, who have the emotional space to pass the torch on to the next generation.

Jeff Kidman, the MA leader of the Boys to Men program, made the comment that boys need to engage in "emotional risk-taking," not just physical risk-taking. Every time a man takes an emotional risk, he grows spiritually and emotionally. And he also models and helps create a climate of emotional safety that empowers boys to take emotional risks as well.

Creating a climate that is safe for emotional risk-taking, that includes emotional support, and accountability for one's commitments, behaviors and actions, not only helps individuals develop emotional intelligence, but also helps a group of boys and men develop a sense of social integrity.

Today's society fosters so much isolation and disconnection, we struggle to develop and maintain personal integrity, never mind create and sustain a sense of social integrity. If we can build emotionally safe spaces that empower boys and men to be real, vulnerable, accountable, responsible and community-minded, we can transform the fabric of society and remove the space that allows and perpetuates a bullying culture.

Jeff pointed out that kids need something to push against so they can get stronger internally in their sense of self. Just like going to a gym, where we exercise muscles by lifting weights or running on a treadmill, which helps us build physical fitness and strength, having relationships and social spaces that offer healthy limits, consequences and accountability build emotional fitness and social strength.

Although I am a mom, and the wrong gender to be directly involved in the weekend programs for boys and men, or the monthly Journeymen group, I can surely offer my behind the scenes support for such a powerful, impactful, valuable and needed program! And I can also offer my appreciation for people like Jeff and his comrades, who are growing this work here in Massachusetts, and elsewhere in the world!

©2010 Linda Marks

The Northeast Boys to Men Community will be holding a RItes of Passage Adventure weekend for boys who are 12 - 17 years of age, August 13 - 15 near Brattleboro, VT. For more information, contact Jeff Kidman at

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 Exploring Intimacy
 A new book by Suzann Robins

Iraq Weedflower I met my colleague, Suzann Robins, in two worlds we both travel in: the world of body psychotherapy and the world of integrating sexuality and spirituality. It seems fitting that her new book, Exploring Intimacy, represents the juxtaposition and integration of these worlds. Suzann also integrates these two more contemporary bodies of work and world views with more traditional schools of thought about psychology, health and human development.

The subtitle of the book is "cultivating healthy relationships through insight and intuition." I might add my own subtitle: "developing an integrated framework to understand the evolution of relationships, energy and connection in today's world."

Suzann does a remarkable job of outlining an evolutionary timeline of the history of thought, the history of medicine and the history of holism, and brings them all up to date with an understanding of energy medicine, emotional intelligence, intuition, gender energy and the spiritual dimensions of intimacy and sexuality.

At the very center of human experience and human relationships is our life energy, a vital force that seeks movement, connection and expression. I love the way Suzann defines emotion or "e-motion," as "the actual energy charge in motion," and also a basic part of a sixth sense, intuition, and "and intuitive intelligence that formulates ideas about other people and our reactions to them."

She continues, "Perceptions formed through our sense of intuition relate to our ability to 'read' another person's energy fields, which is different than how a body is positioned in space. We detect location, orientation, and movements of the body through the nervous system, especially visually and within the semicircular canals of the inner ear. Reactions to others occurs within the internal systems of the body's mind. Different streams of information combine to send signals to the brain."

The more levels of perception we are consciously aware of, the more completely and subtlely we can read other people, express ourselves and relate and connect with others. When we add the less commonly acknowledged lenses of the heart and the kinesthetic felt sense to more commonly acknowledged lenses of visual cues, sounds and thoughts, we gain a more complete experience of ourselves and others.

When we add the energy dimension to human psychology, we unite an understanding of the body and the mind. When self-actualization expands to include the transpersonal as well as the personal, Maslow's hierarchy of needs can be updated to provide a more comprehensive progression towards an integrated self.

For the past two years, I have taught a class at UMass Boston on how to create mutually empowering relationships. We look at the history and evolution of relationships since the founding of the United States, explore the wide variety of approaches to counseling that have evolved over the past several decades, and in the case of tools from other than Western cultures, longer than that, and try to describe a contemporary model of healthy relationships that incorporates the challenges we face as we grown beoynd our past models in a climate of constant change.

Suzann's book could be a wonderful textbook for my class, skillfully integrating past and present, with an eye towards the future, and encouraging us to know ourselves both more broadly and deeply, so we have the space and perspective to more deeply connect with others as well.

This book is fascinating for students and practitioners of psychology, energy medicine and counseling, and provides a template for what it means to be a human being, on ones own and in relationship.

Exploring Intimacy: Cultivating Healthy Relationships through Insight and Intuition"

by Suzann Panek Robins

Rowman and Littlefield, 2010

©2010 Linda Marks

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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.

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 apprentices.

The Thursday night EKP Therapy Group has room for another member. If you would like to be part of a committed long-term group using EKP, this is a very special group. An interview and one EKP session are required to apply. Contact Linda if you are interested at

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

EKP comes to Rhode Island on June 20. "Healing and Nourishing Your Heart," will take place from 1 - 4 pm in Pawtucket. Contact Tammy Robert for more details

Linda will be presenting "Healing and Nourishing Your Heart" at Healing Moon in Norwood on June 27. Contact Trish for more details. 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

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 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 14-year-old son.

To find out more about Linda...

My first blog at will still be active, but it is built in forum software, which many people find more cumbersome to use than official "blog" software.

In an effort to cultivate more dialogue in more contemporarily relevant ways, my new blog at is user friendly, and even something you can subscribe to.

Please let me know what you think of this new blog.