November 1, 2010

HealingHeartPower Newsletter

Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue
Apologies to the Divine Feminine
Where Have All the Elders Gone?
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
(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 January, 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 LSMHEART@aol.com

 
November 3rd
Networking Event for Health and Mental Health Professionals at Finale in Brookline, MA

November 13th
EKP Clinic Day featuring free 45 minute EKP sessions facilitated by EKP apprentices. To sign up for a session contact LSMHEART@aol.com.

December 11th
"Healing and Nourishing Your Heart" workshop at Healing Moon in Norwood, MA 
 
January 2011
EKP Apprenticeship Program begins 


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 LSMHEART@aol.com.


To find out more . . .
Upcoming 
Special workshop on Making Peace With Money
 More details to follow soon
 


Every 7 years my birthday falls on Thanksgiving, and 2010 is one of those years.  I had a college roommate who was born on Christmas, who shared my experience of often being the "birthday kid lost in the shuffle" of a major holiday.  I am meditating on a way to make it meaningful this time.  We will see what my meditation creates.

This winter, I look forward to leading two workshops in Emerson Hospital's innovative Health and Wellness Program.   "Healing and Nourishing Your Heart:  The Physical-Emotional Connection," will take place on February 16.  The date for "Understanding Your Child's Emotional and Spiritual Needs" is still being set.
 

On November 3, my colleague Betty Chan and I are hosting a Networking Event for Holistic and Mental Health Professionals at Finale in Brookline.  This event is an outgrowth of our two meet-up groups, as we recognize that helping professionals in private practice can benefit from the cross-fertilization of networking with new colleagues.
 
The next "Healing and Nourishing the Heart" will take place on December 11,  at the Healing Moon in Norwood.In an effort to create more ways to connect with community members, dialogue and share ideas, I have created a new blog at HealingHeartPower.blogspot.com. Sign up for new posts and please add your thoughts to discussion threads.
  
Our next EKP Community Clinic is on November 13 in Newton. 

Articles in this issue are: "Apologies to the Divine Feminine," an extraordinary piece of writing by my colleague Jeff Brown and "Where Have All the Elders Gone," with reflections on the world of assisted living that becomes home for so many elders towards the end of life.


 

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!

Heartfully,

Linda


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.
 
Apologies to the Divine Feminine by Jeff Brown 
 
This is a brilliant piece a colleague of mine, Jeff Brown wrote.  I think it can create great healing in the hearts of men, women and men and women in relationship.
 
 

APOLOGIES TO THE DIVINE FEMININE (from a warrior in transition)

I apologize for my inability to distinguish the benevolent warrior from the heartless warrior, a reflection of my own confusion dealing with the battlefields of yore. When I opened my heart too wide, I was vulnerable to attack from warring factions. I was conditioned to believe that I had to stay rigid, focused, prepared for any eventuality, in the desire to protect myself and others from attack. But I went too far, and closed too tight, and eradicated the bridge between our hearts. I am seeing this now and I am sorry.

I apologize for my perpetual absence, a reflection of my own inner absence, my inability to connect from a heart jammed tight by unresolved emotions that I did not have the tools to work through. I still lack many of these tools, but I am open to their emergence.

I apologize for my inability to distinguish relationship from war. Like a warrior in enemy territory, I would sneak in and out of your life in the night, plundering and selfishly taking what I needed, then crawling back to the other side of the abyss with the spoils. I gave little back for fear that I would become vulnerable to attack. I had war on the brain and I could not see the river of love waiting on the other side of the battlefield. I now recognize that love is the antidote for the armoured warrior, but I could not drink the antidote in my driven state.

I apologize for not seeing you, my eyes blinded by congealed rage and unshed tears. If it is any consolation, and I imagine it is not, I could not see myself either. I saw only that which served my hyper-vigilance, my warrior focus. My mirror was a battlefield.

I apologize for my ungrounded materialism, my power driven tyrannies, my obsession with accumulation. Somehow I imagined that accumulation would protect me and those close to me, but I failed to recognize that it just perpetuated the madness. I also apologize for my egoic abuses, a reflection of my own misguided ego, pumped up to deal with an inherently competitive world. I couldn't distinguish the healthy, confident ego from the cocky, unhealthy ego. I went much too far in the wrong direction.

I apologize for a sexuality that was objectifying and disconnected from the heart. I know you longed for real intimacy, a merging of our souls along the heart-genital highway. But there were too many defences around my heart, and no bridge could form between our souls. There were moments when your loving ways freed me from my body masks, but I had no template to stand in that heart-fire. I am sorry for this, for I know that the path you longed for was the path to God.

I apologize for my horrifying acts of violence, a reflection of my own congealed rage, my own inability to distinguish real enemies from friends. There are no words that can undo what I have done in those moments of madness. I know this, I do. I would hide my face in shame, but that won't make things better. I need to own my misdeeds, and then find a way to believe in my capacity to move from a more loving place. I call out to other male warriors to be accountable for the actions of our gender, not in a way that is self-hating, but in a way that is courageously self-honest and genuinely compassionate. The heartfelt warrior acknowledges the error of his ways, and has the courage to do all he can to make amends over time.

I apologize for my inability to develop a conscious relationship. You were right there with your beautiful heart on your sleeve but I was too attached to my individualism and afraid of this unknown terrain. I know the forests, the marketplace and the ways of the outer world so well, but my inner geography is foreign to me. You called me to a place I was ill-prepared to go, although I sensed, below the surface of my bravado, that you called me home.

I am grateful for your willingness to believe that who I was in those rare moments of vulnerability was the real me. You were right- the real me lives inside of my heart- but a few moments now and then was the most I could handle. I saw you as dangerous, for in your presence I began to taste a surrendered way of being. Nonetheless, your faith in my goodness kept me going through many a battle, and restored my faith in life when I most needed it. You were the light at the end of a barbaric tunnel, and I am blessed.

I am grateful that you stuck with me through thick and thin, and I also understand those times you had to give up and let go. I now recognize that there is meaningful difference between a love-ship and a relationship. Love alone is not enough. Without a shared willingness to become conscious, there can only be frustration. I was so often impossible, clinging to my unconsciousness like a soldier clings to his weapons. I recognize the courage it took for you to keep your heart open in the presence of my resistance. You had every right to seek an authentic relationship, as your spirit was ignited in its presence. Your beautiful heart had every right to be met in its openness and willingness. I am grateful for the time you gave me, a moments respite from the hiding places I mistakenly called home.

I am grateful for Grandmother, for no one saw my tenderness more clearly. I am grateful for Mother, for choosing to bring me into being and for nourishing my body until I could find my feet. I am grateful for Mother Earth, for grounding my expansion and enlivening my spirit. I am grateful for the Divine Mother, the real Mother of us all. I now feel her divine presence, so close. Fiercely compassionate, she was always right here, breathing life into me, holding me safe. I sit in her lap as she breathes me.

I look forward to the day when the only thing that ignites relationship is two souls calling out to one another, two soul-hearts beating in the same direction, a whisper of longing that bridges one essence to another. I want to want you not because it gratifies my ego, not because you are outwardly beautiful, but because your very presence invites my Godself out of hiding. I want to touch you with my heart on my sleeve, to know chemistry between us that is not gender identified, but that is essence sourced, loves liquid lava flowing from the heart to the genitals to the great beyond. In this love-struck world, relationship will always be experienced as spiritual practice, a devotional expression of our God-self.

I had always believed that sensitivity is impossible to hold to in a harsh world. Yet in this moment, I feel sensitive, but without the fragility. I am still wearing armor but there is a shift in the direction of my intensity. I can linger in the heart-space a little longer than I once could, I am softening in places. After so many lifetimes with weapon in hand, a tenderling warrior is being birthed in the core of my being. He is confused, but he intuitively knows that this is the way home.

Please don't give up on me or my fellow warriors. Forgive us our misdeeds, or, at the least, be open to the possibility that we will change as the trail expands to meet our shifting intentionality. The day will come when our warrior spirit loses its harsh edge, and comes into alignment with benevolent action. Some of us are already there, and many more of us will follow. The road to transformation is dependent on a bridge between genders, a benevolent bridge that celebrates our differences with respect and kindness. That work must begin with healing the rifts along the gender continuum, working hard to heal the collective heart until one day we can stand on a bridge across forever, hands held together, hearts open and alight, embracing the sacred masculine and divine feminine living at the heart of us all. I will meet you there.

May you feel the love of the Divine Mother crashing down on your heartfelt shores, graciously lifting you up above the madness of the world, nestling you in the grateful arms of those you have nurtured. Those of us who have received your blessings may not always acknowledge it, but your acts of love have landed within us, growing us stronger and infusing us with love's light. Thank you.

Jeff Brown, 2010 www.soulshaping.com

       Please share your thoughts . . .


Where Have All the Elders Gone?

There is a term "sandwich generation" that is used to refer to adults, most often baby boomers, who are trying to simultaneously care for the needs of teenage children and elderly parents.  When my 83-year old mother was diagnosed with moderate stage Alzheimers this past month, I found myself smack in the middle of an intergenerational "sandwich." 

An Alzheimers diagnosis can be overwhelming for the person diagnosed, but it is surely overwhelming for members of their immediate family, who must now figure out how to provide care to keep their family member safe, while still respecting the spirit of the person while they are alive.  Taking away my mother's car was essential for her safety, yet it has compromised her freedom to get out and about to the places she is used to.  She is in perfect physical health, and loves to walk, which will allow her to still get around her town. However, when the cold weather comes, there is a new kind of safety issue.

Whether it is just strong defense mechanisms or a manifestation of the disease itself, my mother stubbornly denies anything is wrong, says she does not want or need any help, and will get angry when attempts to "reason" with her about safety concerns are voiced.  The director of one assisted living facility I visited recently commented that some people with Alzheimers notice their deterioration and are psychically pained as they watch their capacities fade.  Others are oblivious, to the point of self-endangerment, denying fully that anything has changed, as they forget where they placed something, lose track of the day and time and struggle to get their keys into the lock to open their own door.  Is one better or worse?  Each path brings its own challenges, for sure.

Going to visit assisted living facilities is quite a journey of its own.  After calling various facilities, and engaging in the long conversations needed to see if it is worth taking the next step of visiting the facility takes a lot of time.  Visiting facilities can be overwhelming, both from information overload and from taking in the harsh reality of where a large percentage of society's elders end up towards the end of their lives.  Just as pre-school is a rite of passage for young children growing up, independent living and assisted living have become "the village" needed to care for people as they age.

It is so easy to become isolated when one is deteriorating mentally and/or physically.  And deterioration can take place so unevenly.  My mother's brain is deteriorating as her body remains vital and strong.  I have friends whose parents are at exactly the opposite end of the spectrum:  major physical health problems without any deterioration of the mind.

The doctor at BU Medical Center who gave us the sad news said that 50% of people over 85 have Alzheimers.  The good news is that 50% of the people over 85 DON'T have Alzheimers.  However, I found the statistic daunting, nonetheless.

People ask, is the incidence of Alzheimers escalating because people are living longer and longer, and our bodies were not designed to live forever?  Or is our way of life, the chemicals and toxins in the environment, the long-term effects of stress or abuse or isolation taking a toll on our minds?  I have no answers.  I am just beginning to wrap my mind and heart around the reality that Alzheimers is a kind of fading process, and it isn't just happening to my friends' parents or my clients' parents, but to my own mother.

Walking through assisted living facilities places you in a whole new world, where the density of people aged 70 something to 90 something is thicker than you could ever imagine.  Thank goodness for therapy animals, which seem to be a common these days.  Caring Canines.  Visitors' four-legged friends.  They surely made MY preliminary visits more humane.  Each of the facilities I visited tried hard to make their village setting as much like a community and as little like a warehouse as possible.  But it is very easy to see assisted living facilities as a kind of warehouse of the elders.

Each one has its own country kitchen, which seems to be an "in trend," these days, a common room with a big tv, a handful of pianos for sing-a-longs, an art therapy room, and a dining hall with white linen tablecloths.  One had a lovely "mini-pond" in the front lobby by a baby grand piano.  Another was a converted hospital with very hard floors under the thin rug.  All of them have the kind of furnishings that 20 years from now we will call "so 2010."

One gives up so much when leaving ones home and going into this kind of setting.  Yet, there comes a time that for health and safety, there really isn't much of an alternative.  And for some elders, who wait too long before leaving their homes, an accident may happen that will take them directly to a nursing home for their final days.  Hard realities.  Hard choices.  No easy answers.

A friend of mine told a story of a friend's mother who wanted to stay in her home with the risk of a serious accident, because at least it allowed her to fully live her life until she died.  "Why go into an institutional setting and have 10 bland years?  I'd rather have fewer years, but live every day of my life."
There's no right answer.

I am now just much more aware of a day-to-day world where the occassional older lady or older man might be seen at the grocery store, or at the pharmacy, but the mix of young and middle-aged people fars outnumbers the elders.  I guess society really does need structures to care for and protect the very young and the very old.  And we do try our best to do so.  It is just not simple or easy.  And it is so easy to be invisible to the common eye, unless you have reason to go where so many of the elders have gone.
 
2010 Linda Marks      Share your thoughts on this article . . .


My first blog at www.heartspacecafe.com/blog 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 HealingHeartPower.blogspot.com is user friendly, and even something you can subscribe to.
Please let me know what you think of this new blog.

Heartfully,


Linda Marks


email: lsmheart@aol.com
phone: (617) 965-7846
web: www.HealingHeartPower.com