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Posted By Opening the Heart

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The Opening the Heart Workshop has always defied description.  Yet I long to put words to my experience there, these 22 years.  I realize there are no literary shortcuts.  Here is a snapshot.

It involves remembering.  It pulls me into a powerful vortex of possibility, being in that sacred, human arena.  My brain begins firing like a sparkler, burning hot and radiant, right down to the "quick" of the stick, where we hold on.

The content of Opening the Heart is  A*L*I*V*E, sometimes a rushing river that picks up stuck energy and moves it along, depositing a person on the grassy bank, panting and released, wet, glistening, and new.  Sometimes, the experience is more like being pierced by the rays of a determined sun, illuminating places inside that have never been met with kindness, or tender companionship.  There are times when the choreography of the weekend causes old pain to burn like a forest fire, moving with speed, friction and flame to demolish the "under story," or, as I've come to think of it, the "cover story."  Who among us couldn't use the chance to peel off the habit of pretense, lift the veil, remove the mask?  You might say that Opening the Heart is like being exposed to the elements, and for that reason, change is inevitable. We surrender to the current of life, allow ourselves to be taken for a ride, giving our intelligent hearts their way with us, and in so doing, we are "moved."

Participants have often told us that they do in a single weekend, what would take years in talk therapy to accomplish.  While each person "paddling the waters" of Opening the Heart has a unique experience, we facilitators admit that we aim deep, trusting the work to take each of us to the core, to the root of what wants transformation.  We are respectfully unapologetic for our exquisite aim, and deeply trusting of what arises from wisdom of the body.  Your body!

We facilitators "hold" this process with years of experience, with a skill set that weaves together the best practices of all our combined years.  We "walk the walk" in our own lives, grateful for the effectiveness of the techniques we've inherited and honed over time.  We work from a place of genuine humility, believing in the dignity and resilient nature of  humankind.  Time and time again, we witness extraordinary courage, and the capacity we embody as a species to face the task at hand.  We are all innately brilliant at showing up for life. We can meet both triumph and tragedy at the door, with a kind curiosity, allowing life to open us from the inside out.

We aspire to be loving agents of change in our facilitation, often surprising a culture accustomed to distance and self sufficiency, with disarming warmth, and the truer hues of interconnectedness.  Leading the Opening the Heart Workshop is a privilege.  It is one of our purest joys, our most beloved, human "offering."

Ron Ortner, a magnificent contemporary artist says this:
"It is already a given that life is a failure, by which I mean that we come with an expiration date.  You should seek as though your hair is on fire, and you need water."

Why wait?  We invite you to dive in, with the spirit of the loving warrior you already are.

With heart,


Posted By Opening the Heart

Someone recently asked why they should even consider experiencing an Opening the Heart Workshop™. Here's the list I gave them to consider:


You're living life with a 'safety first' approach.

You want to be more 'whole hearted' in your relationships.

You tend to substitute a fantasy life for the real thing.

You wish you were able to be more spontaneous.

You spend a lot of time being anxious.

You'd love to live life more gracefully.

You live a constricted existence.

You'd like to be more genuine in your interactions with others.

There's a compulsive or desperate quality to your actions.

You'd love your responses to others and to situations to be more appropriate.

Real fulfillment is absent from your life.

You long for clarity of expression.

You'd love to be more gratedul and less grouchy.

You'd like to feel that you had more choices.

You live in the past or future rather than the present.

Your responses don't match the situation.

You are hesitant or tentative in your interactions with others.

You are inhibited in living up to your potential.

You'd love to be more 'present'.


We're very confident that the workshop can help any of the above conditions. If you haven't done so already you might like to investigate further at The Opening the Heart Workshop™


Posted By Opening the Heart

     When my younger son Andre was about a year and a half old, like most toddlers he was a people magnet.  Because his heart had not yet been hurt it was always open and he constantly sought connection with others in the variety of ways that toddlers do.

     One summer afternoon he, my oldest son Alex   and I were driving in the backwoods of New Hampshire.  We were on our way home.  In those pre-GPS days I had not known the ride would last so long.  Everyone was getting hungry.  Trees lined both sides of the road ahead like silent rows of evergreen skyscrapers.  There would be no Dunkin Donuts nearby.  I felt only relief when I saw a sign for a chicken barbeque next to a small baseball field.

     We turned into the parking lot and found out that it was an event put on by a  biker’s club to raise money for the March of Dimes.  They were not clean cut like many of the bikers you see today but they were also less scary than some Hell’s Angels.  Hmmm…a woman alone in the country with two very hungry children and no food in sight.  Should I risk it? I assessed the situation and bought three tickets.

     A one-eyed, grizzled man greeted us at the entrance.  He had a gravelly voice somewhat reminiscent of Sean Connery.  As he handed me the tickets he whispered loudly, “We’re just a bunch of bad guys doin’ a good thing”.  My plan was to go in, get the chicken, eat it and get out within 15 minutes max.

     The kids and I sat down at a picnic table in the dining area and began to eat.  Around us I saw many tattoos, a fair number of scars and many hard faces.  Alex was mostly interested in eating his chicken.  But Andre was after something else entirely.  Before I knew it he had started one of his favorite toddler games.  He ran away from our table laughing as he looked at me and then went right up to someone seated nearby.  He looked into their eyes, took a piece of food off their plate, put it into his mouth smiling and then went over to someone else.  I groaned inwardly.  This didn’t look like the right crowd for even a toddler to steal from.

     Luckily I was wrong.  It was almost like Andre had a magic wand.  When he approached a table it was as if the ‘storm clouds’ hanging low in the sky parted and the sun came out – both for the person whose food he took and for everyone nearby who saw him do it.

     This experience caused me to think about my own fears and assumptions about other people. One of my mentors Neil Friedman, now deceased, was fond of saying “All of us long for love but we have been hurt by life and so we are afraid.” 

     Andre’s open heart touched that universal longing.  In his innocence he reached out in a friendly way to others whose own hurts had  set up some very effective defenses.  But behind defenses it seems that there is always the same thing - the heart that, however wounded, still longs for love and connection.

     I took a page out of Andre’s book that day.  Seeing what really lies underneath other people’s sometimes tough-looking defenses has given me the courage to reach further past my own. I'm reminded of something that 12th century Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi wrote, “They say there is a window that opens from heart to heart.  But if there are no walls there is no reason for fitting the window, or the latch.”


Come meet and work with Lindaa at The Opening the Heart Workshop™ at Kripalu Institute, Stockbridge MA March 19 - 21 2010