September 1, 2010

HealingHeartPower Newsletter

Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue
Intergenerational Healing
Why Connections Really Matter
Quote for the Heart
Join Our Mailing List!
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 . . .

HealingHeartPower Calendar
Would you like to learn how to do Emotional Kinesthetic Psychotherapy

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

  August 25th
"Emotional Safety:  What It Is and Why It Matters" at the "Safe For All" Conference sponsored by the Newton Partnership.
 September 1st
Presentation for the Worcester Holistic Moms Network,
"What DO We Really Need?" For more info, contact

September 11th
EKP Clinic Day featuring free 60 minute EKP sessions facilitated by EKP apprentices. To sign up for a session contact

September 25th
EKP Community Clinic at the Spirit of Change Expo in Sturbridge, MA. Linda will also do a workshop on "Healing and Nourishing Your Heart."

September 26th
Special workshop on Making Peace With Money 1 - 3 pm at the Spirit of Change Expo in Sturbridge.

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
* 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 . . .

The past month has taught me first hand what it means to be part of "the sandwich generation"--where one is both raising one's own children and balancing aging parents' care needs. 

I realize many baby boomers are in this position, and finding a way to be sure that one doeesn't get squished in the middle can be very challenging at times.  Slowing down, taking some time out to breathe, and being able to identify when the demands from both sides are too much is essential.
I am surely being given a real-time workshop to go deeper with these skills!
Reader Hillary Rettig wrote in response to last month's newsletter:
"Another really terrific newsletter.   A book your readers might find valuable is Brennan Manning's book, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus.  While it happens to be a Catholic book, the first part of the book may be interesting no matter your spiritual persuasion.  He talks about things like "having an addiction to security," or more accurately, as per your article about the problem free life, an addiction to the illusion of security."
This past month I had the privilege of presenting in two educational forums:  a presentation on "Sexuality and Spirituality in Counseling" for the Brandeis University Sexuality Information Service training, and a presentation on "Emotional Safety"  What It Is and Why It Matters" at the "Safe For All:  Creating Healthy Environments to Achieve School Success" conference, sponsored by the Newton Partnership.
This month I will have the opportunity to speak on "Basic Human Needs" with the Worcester Holistic Mom's Network, and speak about "Emotional Safety" as part of a wonderful mind-body-spirit television program that practical visionary Chew-Hoong Koh is creating.
I will be giving an intensive workshop on "Making Peace With Money" at the Spirit of Change Natural Living Expo on September 26 in Sturbridge, MA.
On September 25, I will also be doing a talk on "Healing and Nourishing the Heart" at the Spirit of Change Natural Living Expo.
While I have been working with money matters for over 25 years, I am finding myself in a new cycle of my own introspection as I start focusing on Alex's college years, which will begin in 4 years.
We have two EKP Community Clinics coming up, one in Newton  on September 11 and one at the Spirit of Change Expo on September 25.
The first article in this newsletter, "Intergenerational Healing," reflects some of my introspective musings following the death of my father this past month.
"Why Connections Really Matter" was inspired by comments of the "Safe For All" conference keynote speaker Jeff Wolfsberg. This month I have incuded a "Quote for the Heart," provided by my colleagues Joel and Michelle Levey of Wisdom at Work.  Joel and Michelle periodically sent out quotes d'jour for thought and inspiration.

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 "like us" on our HealingHeartPower  Facebook page. By "liking us", you will be notified whenever a new blog post is published.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome!



What is EKP?
EKP is Emotional-Kinesthetic Psychotherapy, a heart-centered, body-centered psychotherapy method Linda Marks developed and has taught and practiced for nearly twenty years. Working with the heart, touch with permission, the wisdom of the body and the intuitive guidance of the spirit, EKP creates a special sense of intimacy that deeply touches and transforms most all who participate.

Participants can be "client," witness or helper as an individual group member has a "turn" to do deeper heart-centered, body-centered psychospiritual work in the center. Since the electromagnetic field of the heart extends out 10 - 12 feet from our bodies, as we go deeper and open our hearts, we are all touched.

EKP helps restore our capacity as organs of perception. The skin is our largest organ, and a source of soul deep knowing, perception and expression. When our hearts and hands can work as one, we move beyond defenses safely and respectfully and find freedom, connection and expression.
Threads of Intergenerational Healing
My great grandfather came to this country from Austria at the end of the 19th century.  He had wanted to be a doctor, but with more than 11 children, putting food on the table pre-empted his career ambitions.
The thought of raising so many children is mind-blowing in today's world.  Most families I know have 1 to 3 kids.  A family with four kids is "large" by today's standards.  Yet, my great-grandfather managed to feed and clothe his large breed, and interestingly enough, just about all his children ended up in a medical or medical-related profession.
My grandfather, who was born in the 1890's, became a physician, and worked as a general practitioner during the depression in the Pawtucket, RI area.  As a small child, he conveyed to me the ethical responsibility of a healer to truly care for those who seek them out for care.  My grandfather told stories of patients who came to his home who left with a loaf of bread and milk or butter, rather than an empty wallet.  It seemed more important to make sure people had what they needed, than to focus on the fee one might charge and the money one might accrue providing medical care.
I liked my grandfather's values, and very much embraced the same ethics as I grew older and considered my own professional pathway.  My father, like his father and uncles, pursued a career in the medical field.  He first became a medical researcher, studying prostaglandins as an endocrinologist.  He had a knack for administration, and worked his way up the administrative ladder at the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital to become Chief of Staff.
Working for the government beginning in thet 1950's, maximizing one's salary was never my father's focus.  I watched his reactions as the medical care landscape changed over the next four decades, where health and care became more and more removed from the insurance-driven medical industry.  The more medicine became a "business" focused on "profit," the more troubled my father appeared to be.  He did not recognize what the profession his father had modeled for him was becoming.  He did not like what he saw unfolding before his eyes. 
As a student at Yale during the late 1970's, I did not like what I saw in the behavior of pre-med classmates or professors.  One Organic Chemistry professor rewarded the students who broke into his office to steal the answers to a very difficult test.  For those of us who tried our best to study and take the test based on learning what we could in class, the thought that classmates would break into the professor's office to steal answers to an exame was horrifying.  Yet, the professor's response was "medical school is competitive, and your classmates have demonstrated their competitive ethic."  I felt a knot in my stomach when I learned that their answers had skewed the bell distribution curve.
"If this is who my colleagues will be, I don't want to be a doctor," I concluded.  I turned my focus on my true passion:  the relationship of mind to body, psychology to medicine, and to a career as a healer, not a "competitor."

As I followed my heart, and continued to bring the patient care ethic my grandfather modeled to my work, I realized I was a different kind of physician than the ones who receive MD degrees today.  Yet, I had much in common with a prior generation of physicians, whose attitude and tools might have been much closer to mine than their modern day contemporaries.
I did not want to be limited and even weighed down by a dysfunctional insurance system that was more committed to profits for its managers than providing needed care for its "subscribers" or "customers."  As a "customer" myself, I have experienced my insurance company not wanting to approve benefits I am supposedly paying for based on the statement of "benefits" I thought I signed on for when I started sending in my monthly checks.

While the business of medicine has changed dramatically over the past century, the healing ethic that has been passed down through the generations in my family has not.  With the death of my father on August 10, I have found myself reflecting more on the lineage I am part of, and the power of intergenerational healing threads.
I am proud that I am continuing on in a tradition of health and care that is more deeply rooted and farther reaching than some of the conventions of contemporary practice.  Funny to be an innovator and a visionary, on the one hand, and a deeply rooted traditionalist on the other!
©2010 Linda Marks        Please share your thoughts . . .

Why Connections Really Matter

On August 25, I had the privilege of attending the "Safe For All:  Creating Healthy Environments to Achieve School Success," conference sponsored by the Newton Partnership. 
The keynote speaker, Jeff Wolfsberg, addressed "The Teacher Student Connection and Why It Matters."  In a world in which automation, regulations,and sophisticated technology to monitor and control human behavior have become more and more dominant, it is easy to lose track of the human factor.  People communicate more and more through electronic media--texting, twittering, Facebook and the like--and less and less face-to-face in one-on-one conversations.  Communication is reduced to sound bites, fast and immediate.  The time and space necessary for thoughtful introspection and heartful dialogue is becoming less common, and perhaps is an unknown experience for some.

Parents today invest a lot of time and resources "coaching" their children for early success, and remain "helicopter parents" as their children try to grow and individuate, delaying true separation and emotional maturation.  On the one hand, people say children today are spoiled and have much more support than in past generations.  On the other hand, the pressure for immediate success, and the demanding schedules and stringent rules kids today grow up with constricts the freedom, creativity and "natural process" of childhood and growing up.
Our culture focuses on intellectual development and athletic achievement, but overlooks cultivating emotional and social literacy, which takes place through the quality of our human relationships.  Wolfsberg noted that our educational systems are based on a patriarchal model, which features "power over," "domination" and "control."  He commented, "This gives compliance, but not consent."
Wolfsberg added that 20% of kids who enter school have mental health issues, the top ones being anxiety and depression.  40% of families have an immediate family member with an alcohol or drug problem.  Americans really dislike pain, so "self-medicating is as American as apple pie."  Wolfsberg acknowledged that while Americans make up 5% of the world's population, we consume 65% of the world's drugs. Whether through our medical system with prescription drugs, or at our own hands with alcohol, marijuana, cocaine or other "street drugs," we have enculturated a norm of taking a substance to distance us from our pain.
Wolfsberg reflected that "schools are defacto mental health systems when kids walk in the door."  And from my experience, that is not a context that teachers, administrators or parents see or address consciously and intentionally.  Wolfsberg noted that many kids suffer from "developmental trauma--the absence of effective nurturing," and still others suffer from "developmental misfortune," with an epidemic of narcissistic parents.
Many children and young adults carry the emotional burden of this context, and yet are invisible in an environment that does not take our emotional pulse or monitor our mental health.  Wolfsberg acknowledged that "academic success if based on a child's ability to learn," yet we don't seem to understand or focus on the relationship of a child's emotional climate at home, at school and in society with their ability to learn or their learning challenges.
Many kids feel like numbers in a big system and are viewed that way.  It is not emotionally safe to show vulnerability and there is no clear, safe channel to go to when things are not okay.
It seems that we focus on externally-defined measures of success, but rarely ask ourselves the introspective question, "what really matters?"  Wolfsberg suggests we ask ourselves this question, and use this as a framework to live and work from, and a basis for our relationships and conversations.  People grow to their potential when they feel they matter, and know that someone actually notices them and cares about how they are feeling and how things are in their lives.
Wolfsberg cited a school in which the headmaster know every student by name and something about them.  Knowing students' names matters to students.  "The health of a community is based on the quality of relationships in a community," noted Wolfsberg, and developing a sense of connection between people--students and teachers, students and students, teachers and teachers, parents and teachers andn so on is the foundation of quality relationships.
One principle in EKP is that EVERYONE matters, and what matters to someone really matters.  All our thoughts, feelings, experiences, hopes, dreams, losses and aspirations really matter.  And to be treated as though we matter and what matters to us really matters is the foundation of what I call love and respect.
Connection comes when we feel safe enough to share our humanness, our vulnerability and not just our knowledge, advice or judgment.  While we may need to play roles and act with authority, if we are impermeable robots and not compassionate and human beings, we perpetuate the patriarchal model that makes too many of us feel emotionallly invisible, as though we don't really matter.
Wolfsberg encourages us to ask "what is a worthy conversation?" and to dialogue about what really matters.  This will allow a space of safety, respect and connection.  And this will allow us to develop a base of "empowered citizenship," rather than a society whose security comes from mechanical devices at airports.  There is great power in noticing that someone is sad, withdrawn, angry or "not okay."  And there is even greater power in respectfully approaching the person and trying to make a connection with them, so they know someone notices and cares.
Perhaps we have learned to turn to alcohol and drugs because we have not been given the opportunity or skills to turn to one another.  I believe we all have the intuitive and emotional capacity to notice and respond to our own pain and the pain of others.  We just need to work together to create an emotionally safe climate where it is okay and even considerd a good thing to reach out respectfully, connect, listen and care.

©2010 Linda Marks      Share your thoughts on this article . . .

Quote for the Heart

Consultants Joel and Michelle Levey of Wisdom at Work send out periodic quotes d'jour that are often provocative and inspiring.  Here is one they shared that I thought was worth passing on.

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could."

- Louise Erdrich

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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.

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Linda Marks

phone: (617) 965-7846