On June 8, Alex and I participated in the Bullying Prevention
Conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Coalition of School-Based
Health Centers. The conference took place at the Federal Reserve Bank
of Boston, and attracted over 300 participants from schools, law
enforcement, universities, community service organizations and more.
Rick Phillips, founder of Community Matters and the Safe Schools
Ambassadors Program, provided an on-target and inspirational kick-off
to a very meaningful day, delivering the messages that cultures create bullying and cultures need to change to prevent bullying, and that this kind of change is an inside out process, not an outside in process.
literacy is key to the kind of cultural change we need to get to the
root of the bullying epidemic. Articles in this issue address emotional
literacy, what it means and why it matters:"Today's Emotional Education Movement" and Alternatives to Violence When Conflict Arises."
Overcoming Powerlessness: Taking Back Our Goodness, draws upon some key messages from a new book by Diet for a Small Planet author, Frances Moore Lappe.
Our May 23 EKP Community Clinic was well attended
and meaningful. We are doing another EKP
Clinic on Saturday, September 11 from 11
am - 5 pm in Newton. If you would like a session,
The 1/2 day EKP workshop,
Healing and Nourishing Your Heart on
Sunday, June 27 at Healing Moon in Norwood, MA was very meaningful. Thanks to Trish for her gracious hospitality.
Michella has invited me to do a special program at the
Expo on Making Peace With Money.
In our challenging economic climate, this workshop has particular
meaning. The workshop will take place on Sunday, September 26 from 1 -
3 pm. I will also be doing a talk on "Healing and Nourishing the Heart"
on Saturday, September 25.
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.
Your comments and feedback are always welcome!
Today's "Emotional Education Movement"
In an "Ideas" section article in the Boston Sunday Globe on April 5,
2010, Drake Bennett wrote about "The Other Kind of Smart." Indeed,
there is a growing "emotional education movement," suggesting that
social and emotional skills need not just be learned by encounters on
the streets of life, but can be broken down into skills and concepts
that can be taught "in the same way math and critical thinking can be."
are times I find it almost unthinkable that emotional literacy would be
so overlooked or under the radar. Emotional intelligence not only
impacts the quality of our relationships and lives, but also our
intellectual development. Neurologist Antonion Damasio showed how
"people rendered emotionless by brain damage became not more, but less
rational in many ways."
the heart is a very central and important organ in Chinese medicine,
the brain has been the "highest power" in both Western medicine and
psychology. I find it fascinating that while many other organs are
important in Chinese medicine (including the lungs, the liver and the
kidneys), the brain is not nearly as central.
The Western bias towards the brain and away from the heart and other
body systems has impacted the very fabric of our lives. How is it we
have built a society focusing so singularly on the brain and brain
development, overlooking other essential parts of being a human being?
And is it a surprise that a culture that has overlooked emotional
factors in both individual and collective living is riddled with
threats to sustainability and overrun with bullying behaviors from the
schoolyard to the boardroom?
notes that the emotional research field arose in the early 1990's with
the work of psychologist John Mayer of UNH and Peter Salovey of Yale.
Mayer and Salovey were the folks who brought "emotional intelligence"
to light, evensuggesting that our ability to process new emotional
information and to work with emotionally rich situations contributed to
emotional IQ (EQ).
Daniel Goleman's 1995 bestseller, Emotional Intelligence, written
for a popular audience, brought the notion of emotional literacy into
the public eye. Because we have not valued emotional literacy or
emotional experience, the skills needed to be an emotionally healthy
human being have neither been articulated nor taught in our educational
it a surprise that kids behave in primal ways when they feel upset,
insecure, unsure of who they are, threatened, angry or ostracized? If
we are not given tools, concepts and language to understand our human
emotional responses, then we will respond in crude and often less than
useful ways. Likewise, when emotions and emotional reality are judged,
suppressed, considered to be "weak," and "unmanly" or even "signs of
mental illness," it is unsafe to plumb the depths of this rich and
essential territory and gain mastery of what it really means to be a
Introspective skills are at least as important as analytical skills.
Self-awareness is essential for being able to have empathy and
connection with other human beings. Being aware of bodily feelings and
sensations and being able to translate them into meaningful terms is
fundamental to knowing who we are, what we need and how to communicate
our needs to others in the moment and over time. Learning to listen,
hear and reflect back what another person is saying is critical for
healthy and mutually respectful relationships.
Emotional literacy skills are now being packaged in the framework
called "emotional and social knowledge." And because we are becoming
more aware of the intensity and insidiousness of the current bullying
epidemic, emotional and social knowledge is gaining more visibility as
an essential ingredient in solving the bullying problem.
do believe that emotional illiteracy is at the root of the bullying
epidemic, and emotional literacy is at the heart of unraveling the
problem and changing the cultural and environmental context in which we
think and live. My hope is that the emerging emotional education
movement is not seen as a passing fad or a temporary trend, but part of
an on-going, evolutionary groundswell, that in time, we recognize as a
critical, transformative and positive step forward in human history.
If we can learn to define, articulate and work with the power of the
heart, we can, together, create a more sustainable and liveable
society. Hearts can hear heads, but heads cannot always hear hearts.
While differences in thought can divide us, most any problem can be
solved through committed, respectful and heartfelt communication.
look forward to the day when instead of doing therapy and personal
growth workshops outside the primary chambers of worldly life, I can
proudly step into the classroom, the courtroom and the boardroom, as a
recognized and valued player, helping people tune and enhance their
introspective, self-management, empathy, self-care and communication
skills, the same way that today I might edit their writing or critique
their business plan.
©2010 Linda Marks
Please share your thoughts...
Alternatives to Violence When Conflict Arises
Both Alex and I had the privilege to participate in a SCORE teen
mediation training conducted by Chandra Banks for students in the
Cambridge Public Schools.
On the first day of the training, Chandra made some very striking points:
People often don't think ahead about the consequences of violence, and
end up doing needless damage to themselves and/or others.
While violence is a human phenomenon, the United States is a very
violent place. In the US, people resolve their conflicts with violence.
Countries with acts of war taking place have fewer people going to the
emergency room on a Saturday night than in the US.
Homicide has become so prevalent in the United States, the Center for
Disease Control now tracks it. Homicide is considered a "preventable
While a lot of talk is circulating about bullying at school, school is
actually the safest place for youth ages 10 - 24. School-associated
violent deaths account for 1% of violent deaths for youth in this age
What do these messages say about the emotional climate we live in?
While conflict is inevitable because of human differences, be they
differences in values, experience, beliefs, cultures or feelings, why
do we need to escalate to the point of hurting one another, often in
such deep and traumatic ways?
The lack of emotional and social education received by Americans seems
to be at the root of our violent responses to conflict. While we highly
prize a well-developed intellect, emotional illiteracy in this country
is very high, even amongst the rich, the educated and the materially
kids are raised in homes where their parents yell at them, judge them,
hit them, punish them without just cause, and treat them as
"underlings" in a power struggle, how do we develop any capacity for
mutual respect, understanding, and non-violent conflict resolution
The following are key tools and experiences that can help provide
non-violent alternatives to conflict resolution:
1. Creating emotionally safe environments.Emotional
safety is critical for understanding the roots of any conflict,
including each party's most essential needs. When we don't feel safe,
our defenses lead, and our deeper needs may stay protected and far from
the conversation. Emotional safety allows us to slowly test the waters,
and participate more fully in a collaborative conflict-resolution
2. Learning to see more than one side of a story.
we are in a conflict, it is too easy to become polarized, and think you
are right and the other is wrong. Every story has more than one side,
and until we can look at a conflict from multiple points of view, we
are operating with incomplete information.
3. Participating in mediation.
is a voluntary, self-directed, confidential, non-judgmental process
that is future-oriented, focusing on solving the problem in a mutually
agreeable way. Mediation provides a contained space to work on having
both parties' needs identified and considered, and a clearly
articulated document drawn up once an agreement is reached. Mediators
hear both sides of a story and help the parties generate a resolution
that each can live with.
4. Speaking and listening from the heart.
practice creates emotional safety in any relationship. "While our
minds' arguments can divide us, most anything can be solved through
heartfelt communication," says author Jacqueline Small.
5. Finding some common ground with another person, rather than making them an "other."
we "other" another person, we make them separate from us, disconnected
from us, and at times can forget their humanity. With the anonymity the
internet creates, it is easy to feel a distance between ourselves and
other people. Finding tangible, meaningful ways that we share common
ground can help take down the barrier of "other."
6. Learning to work with anger in a responsible way, rather than "acting out" in anger.
our boundaries are threatened, when people break important agreements,
when we are treated unkindly or even inhumanely, becoming angry is a
natural reaction. What is key, however, is how we manage our anger. If
we learn to become more grounded, and have the space inside our hearts
and minds to recognize anger, and consciously manage anger energy, our
anger can give us the power to take healthy steps forward. If we are
unconscious about our feelings, and reactive when angry, we can act
out, hurt self and/or other.
7. Having models of healthy conflict resolution.
many of the models that are most familiar when conflict arises are not
healthy and do not resolve the conflict in any kind of mutually
respectful way. If we act out in anger, leave abruptly, push the
conflict underground, or engage in a power struggle, conflict will lead
to hurt and defensive behavior. If we learn to recognize conflict as it
arises, and develop tools to slow down, manage our energy, emotions and
thoughts, choose conscious and constructive behavior and seek
containment from a third-party when needed, we can experience conflict
as a breakthrough point, rather than a breakdown.
©2010 Linda Marks
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Overcoming Powerlessness: Taking Back Our Goodness
In her newest book, Getting A Grip2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want,
Frances Moore Lappe, provides a very powerful guide to taking back our
power in a time where many of us feel overwhelmed and powerless by the
larger social forces that impact us all.
know that no human being actually gets up in the morning vowing, 'Yeah,
today I'm going to make sure another child dies needlessly of hunger,'
or muttering, 'Sure, I'll do my part to heat the planet and obliterate
the species,'" begins Lappe, yet tens of thousands of young children
die of hunger each day, and we are besieged with a litany of global
Lappe notes that until we can answer the question of WHY we are
creating a world that no one wants, we cannot take the steps forward to
create a better world.
is at the root of our current crises, and with powerlessness comes
depression, despair and fear. Lappe notes that the World Health
Organization identifes depression as the fourth leading cause of "lost
productive life worldwide," and soon it is expected to jump to second
How did we get here? Lappe shares her insights:
1. In our minds, we blame our current problems on "the bad other."
While we may not feel that we are bad people, we can believe that basic
human nature is bad: "we're essentially selfish, competitive and
We are operating from assumptions that don't embrace the truths of the
human heart. If we did, we would focus on positive attributes, not
As Marshall Sahlins, a biologist, notes in a quote offered by Lappe,
"Westerners are the only society on earth that thinks of itself as
having arisen from savagery, identified with a ruthless nature.
Everyone else believes they are descended from the Gods."
So, with this in mind, if we are going to reclaim our power and create
a society that is most fair, just and happy, we need to reclaim our
goodness as well.
1. Human beings are empathetic cooperators.
"Soft-wired empathy is well-documented." When we answer the question
"how are you feeling," the same part of the brain lights up as when we
ask, "how is she feeling." The relationship between giver and receiver,
and the helper and the helped is much more closely wired than we may
2. A sense of fairness lives within most of us.Lappe
cites a psychology experiment that illustrates, "at least half of us
will walk away with nothing before letting the other guy get away with
treating us unfairly."
3. Human beings are problem solvers. Lappe notes that the human species could not have grown to nearly seven billion if we weren't doers.
4. Human beings are creatures of meaning.
From my own work with the human heart, I can vouch for this point. The
human heart thrives on coherence: a sense that life is purposeful,
manageable and meaningful. Remove the sense of purposefulness,
manageability and meaning, and both our emotional and physical heart
Some of our challenges, however, are that human beings have a dark
shadow, and without conscious attention, can be cold, cruel and even
destructive. If we are going to tap into our goodness, and overcome our
unconscious shadow parts, we need to consciously work on our thoughts,
ideas and actions.
Lappe includes a powerful quote from Andrew Newberg, M.D., author of "Why We Believe What We Believe,":
person has the biological power to interrupt detrimental, derrogatory
beliefs and generate new ideas. These new ideas, in turn, can alter the
neural circuitry that governs how we behave and what we believe."
the degree that we become aware of, embrace and cultivate what I call
"the power of the heart," we can shape our neural circuitry and
strengthen the goodness in our human nature. To the degree that we
banish, suppress, and invalidate the human heart, we fall prey to our
own shadow qualities.
times ask us to recognize and draw upon the power of the heart, so we
can create not only a just world, but also a sustainable one.
Getting a Grip2 by Francis Moore Lappe is published by Small Planet Media.
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
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
and one EKP session are required to apply.
Linda if you are interested at LSMHEART@aol.com
Saturday, September 11 will be an EKP
Clinic Day featuring free 60 minute EKP
sessions facilitated by EKP apprentices.
To sign up for a session, contact
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.
Saturday, September 25 is the EKP Community
Clinic at the Spirit of Change Expo in Sturbridge,
MA. Linda will also do a workshop on "Healing and Nourishing Your Heart."
On Sunday, September 26, Linda will be giving a
special workshop on Making Peace With
Money from 1 - 3 pm at the Spirit of Change Expo
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
- 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....