February 1, 2011

HealingHeartPower Newsletter

Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
In This Issue
Equality, Vulnerability and Well-Being
It's How We Live
Tiger Mothers and Other Approaches to Parenting
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 15-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 2011 EKP Apprenticeship Program. The apprenticeship group meets once a month for a weekend training session. For more information, contact LSMHEART@aol.com or call Linda at (617)965-7846.

If you would like to apprentice in EKP, you may want to consider participating in a half-day EKP workshop or a special seminar for current apprentices.

The Sunday night EKP Therapy Group has room for new members. 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

Sunday Night EKP Therapy Group
seeks new members
6 - 8 pm
 Newton, MA

February 16
Healing and Nourishing Your Heart
  Emerson Hospital
 Concord, MA

February 20
Community As Healer
1/2 day workshop
1 pm - 4 pm
Newton, MA
March 20
Community As Healer
1/2 day workshop
1 pm - 4 pm
Newton, MA
EKP Apprenticeship Program accepting applications. 

EKP opportunities in Newton include:
* Being a guest client in the Student Clinic
* Apprenticing in EKP

If you would like to sponsor a Healing the Traumatized Heart workshop, a Community As Healer workshop, or have a group of people who you would like to bring EKP to, please contact LSMHEART@aol.com.

To find out more . . .

It seems that everywhere I turn, I find more and more inspiration to develop a team of heart-centered healers who help bring "Community As Healer" experiences out into the community, where people need them.

I did a wonderful radio  interview with a heartful colleague, Doris Jeanette, speaking about the importance of living from the heart in an emotionally unsafe world, and the need for heartful contexts for a healthier, happier and more sustainable culture.

Doris pointed out how rare it is to find emotionally safe people, including amongst therapists and helping professionals.  Not enough people are aware of the importance of emotional safety, and the need for us all to be doing our personal emotional introspective work and healing in an on-going way.
You can listen to the radio program at www.ladybuglive.com/edge.htm.  A pdf on Emotional Safety is available on www.drjeanette.com/safe.htm.
  Our next Community As Healer gatherings will be in Newton on February 20 and March 20.
Together we can create safe healing space in the larger world, and  empower people to literally, "lend a helping hand."

If you have an organization, community group, school or other situation where members might be interested in learning these skills, please let me know.

I have created a new Community As Healer group on Facebook, for people who want to be part of or support this healing work.  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Community-As-Healer/192746177418410

The long-standing Thursday night EKP group has transformed into a Sunday night EKP group.  The group meets from 6 - 8 pm in Newton. We have room for a couple new members.  The group is a wonderful way to do deep healing work in a safe, community space, and work on vision and goals as well.
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.
This issue's articles are "Equality, Vulnerability and Well-Being" inspired by an article by NY Times writer Nicholas Kristof and a talk by University of Houston researcher Brene Brown, "It's How We Live," which spotlights the inspirational film my high school classmate Kasia Clark, MD, has been making during her 9 year journey as a survivor of advanced ovarian cancer, and "Tiger Mothers and Other Approaches to Parenting," building on a series of articles about parenting practices that do not include or recognize or prioritize the emotional or psychological well-being of the child.

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.
Find us on FacebookEquality, Vulnerability and Well-Being

  While when many of us hear the word, "vulnerability," we run the other way 

as quickly as we can, vulnerability is actually a critical human capacity, necessary for connecting to self and others.


Thanks to the wonders of the internet, on the very same day, two people in my network sent me links to two very powerful pieces:  an article from the New York Times, "Equality, a True Soul Food," by Nicholas Kristof, and a video clip of Brene Brown of the University of Houston presenting on "Wholeheartedness" for TED.  While the two pieces seemed unrelated at first, together, they got me thinking deeply about the nature of vulnerability, and how equality and vulnerability relate to well-being.


Few people I know like to be vulnerable.  Vulnerability is usually given a bad rap, bringing to mind images of being hurt, taken advantage of, powerless and unprotected.  In "Equality, a True Soul Food," by Nicholas Kristof (New York Times, January 1, 2011), the cost that comes with the vulnerability of being low in the social pecking order is made clear.  The kind of vulnerability that comes from not having what you need for physical survival (food, shelter, clothing) or psychic well-being (connecting, meaning, inner peace) is an emotionally unsafe and disempowering kind of vulnerability.


Kristof reflects on the "stunning" levels of inequality in America, which "seem profoundly unhealthy for us, and our nation's soul."  We live in a time of "polarizing inequality," where the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possess a greater collective network than the bottom 90 percent."  The inequality is not just economic, but soul deep, marked by high rates of violent crime, drug use, teen birthrates and even heart disease.


Kristof refers to a book by British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level:  Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.  "Gross inequality tears at the human psyche, creating anxiety, distrust and an array of mental and physical ailments," concludes the authors.  Inequality not only makes us vulnerable, but even polarizes vulnerability and invulnerability.


To read the rest of this article.... 


Copyright 2010 Linda Marks

Find us on FacebookIt's How You Live

I first met Kasia Clark at Beacon Nursery School, when we were both pre-school aged kids.  She was one of several artistic-leaning kids from artistic-leaning families, and we remained schoolmates through grammar school and high school.
Many years passed before our paths crossed again, but when they did in the early 2000's, Kasia had become a physician practicing at Hudson River HealthCare in New York state, but even more shockingly, had been diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer in 2000 at the age of 42.
As a woman who had always possessed great courage and a strong spirit of determination, after radical surgery and chemotherapy, Kasia pursued a path of great effort and focus to "reclaim her body and spirit."  She maintained a strict nutritional regiment, pursued extreme athletics, and studied violin with the masters of the Manhattan String Quartet.

Kasia's mother, Liz, who is a visual artist in NY, joined Kasia in making a series of short films as part of her recovery, which became a documentation of her cancer journey.  In 2002, Kasia joined with film professionals to create "The Kasia Project," a chronicle of her cancer experience that could become an educational medium for a wide audience to learn about living with a life-threatening illness.  Film became a way to marry her interests in art and science and help others.

Independent films have ups and downs, and Kasia experienced the challenges of bringing her vision to fruition.  In 2006, as she battled her first recurrence, the film she was putting together evolved into "Outside In," a 1 hour documentary about nine years lived with advanced ovarian cancer, drawing from over 170 hours of material with a score by computer Cyrus Sink.

The film tells Kasia's story, with interviews from doctors, patients, and many scenes of inspiration, wisdom and enlightenment from Kasia herself, as she makes real and vivid the experience of living with a life threatening illness.
There is an inspiring trailer on her website www.outsideinthefilm.com.

And perhaps to say it all, Kasia's site includes the following quote:  "We're all going to die, it;s choosing how to live that counts."--Kasia Clark, MD

Kasia paints an inspiring and transformational picture of what it really means to live.

Find us on FacebookTiger Mothers and Other Approaches to Parenting
This past month, the Wall Street Journal has managed to run an article each week presenting very different and even extreme approaches to parenting.  While perhaps not intentionally envisioned as a "series," this series, nonetheless, was kicked off with Amy Chua's article, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" on January 8.  Chua proudly states that her two daughters were not allowed to do what we in the Western world consider, "normal" activities, such as attend a sleepover, have a playdate, or be in a school play.  In addition, more severe disallowed behaviors include, complaining about not being in a school play, choosing ther own extracurricular activities, getting any grade less than an A, or not being the number 1 student in any subject other than gym or drama.

Chua assumes that American parents are wimps, psychological and emotional factors don't exist, and if you don't get what you want from your child, you humiliate them, berate them and shame them into submission.  Chua suggests that this is for the child's own good, since children would not be motivated to be successful without such a heavy hand and rude mouth coming from their mothers. 

She details vignettes of parenting her own daughters, speaking to them in ways those of us who are psychologically inclined would consider verbally abusive, such as "Hey fatty--lose some weight, " or calling a child "garbage, stupid, worthless or a disgrace," and psychologically abusive, such as forcing her 7 year old daughter to practice a piano piece she was struggling with for hours and hours, including working through dinner and not being able to get up for water or to go to the bathroom for days, weeks and months.

While books may portray these "Tiger Mothers" as "scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids' true interests," Chua posits that maybe Chinese believe they are more committed and caring to their children than Westerners.

The second article in the "series," appeared on January 16, a sort of rebuttal to the "Tiger Mother" article, entitled, "In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom" by Ayelet Waldman.  Waldman identifies herself as a modern day Jewish mother of four, who allowed her children to quit the piano and violin, sleep over at friends' houses and participate in any intercurricular activity they wanted to, with a few narcissistic caveats thrown in. 

Waldman was delighted if the child quit their instrument near a recital, so she wouldn't have to be "tortured" listening to other children play or if the sleepover was on a holiday or night she wanted to go out with her husband to save her the cost of a babysitter.  More narcissistic was her insistence that she not have to drive more than 10 minutes to get her kids to an activity or "sit on a field in a folding chair in anything but the balmiest weather for any longer than 60 minutes."

All practicality aside, the thread of narcissism strikes me as just as troubling as the streak of domination expressed by Chua.  For the most extreme article on parenting, the January 22 Wall Street Journal presented the case of a Russian-born Christian couple living in Oregon, who were arrested on criminal child abuse charges.  When their 14-year old son escaped to a pay phone to report his beatings (and that of his 6 siblings) to the police, all 7 children, aged newborn to 15, were taken away from the parents, as the parents were sent to jail.

Within their isolated and non-assimilated Slavic Christian community, the brutal beatings of children for wanting to wear Western clothes, trim their hair without permission or wear eye make up were considered "disciplining their children according to Biblical law."  Being whipped, struck and beaten with wires, branches and belts was considered an expression of their faith.  In the Western world, it is considered child abuse.

All 6 of the older children, aged 5 - 15, were sick of their parents' abuse and told police they wished to be removed from their home.  At times, their beatings were so severe, they could not go to school.  Eventually, the infant was removed from the parents' home as well.

While cultural differences do account for differences in parenting styles, too few take into account the actual nature and developmental needs of human children.  Religion, narcissism, and historical norms do not allow for or even recognize psychological needs.  As I studied the reality of family life in early Colonial families in the US, I discovered just how rampant domestic violence was.

Sadly, while those who practice Tiger Mothering or Slavic Christian parenting can rationalize and justify their behavior saying they must shape their child to be "successful" or even "good," their children often have serious mental health issues as teens and adults.  The suicide rate for Chinese teenage girls is much higher than for their Western counterparts.

Perhaps the cultural model I find most appealing is that of my Siamese chocolate point kitty, Prayer.  When Prayer had her kittens in April 2008, she was a present, attentive, nurturing, loving mother.  She knew to stay close to her kittens and keep them warm, fed and safe when they were tiny.  She knew to give them more space to stretch their paws and explore as they grew ready to do so.  She nursed them gladly until they were ready to start eating solid food.  And she carried them in her mouth by the scruff of their necks when she perceived they were in danger.  Prayer occasionally "disciplined" her kittens with a growl or a gentle tap of her paw.  But she never beat them, humiliated them, rejected them or hurt them.  All of her kittens grew up to be well-adjusted, loving cats.  Might there be something to learn here for human parents?

Copyright 2011 Linda Marks

Share your thoughts about 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.


Linda Marks

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