Disneyland on Christmas?

Quite humbly and respectfully, I’m both kidding and not kidding. I’m not speaking of THE Disneyland. I’m speaking of my own version of Disneyland. Selfishly, I gave myself a wonderful Christmas present last night on Christmas Eve.

Last night my wife was working her evening shift (2 pm to 2 am – she is off today – Christmas Day), e.g., she genuinely enjoys her job as an emergency room charge nurse at the local-regional medical center.  So Henry (our pooch) and I were on our own. I’ve been a jogger throughout most of my adult life, and I was antsy to go on a long run. ‘Bright star (oh boy!)’ that I am, I decided to accomplish two things at the same time in this. I left at 7:15 pm and jogged all around our small city (about 30,000 population), stopping at the homes of my friends, family, students – AND last but NOT least, to steal a really great kiss (actually quite a few kisses) from my darlin’ wife at the ER. I didn’t stay long at any one place, just long enough to share a benevolent holiday spirit with my own VERY special version of “ho, ho, ho!” (Henry is getting on in age – about seven years, so I took him for a short run just beforehand.)

All of the people who I stopped to see (for over two and a quarter hours of meandering ten miles all around town) seemed very pleased to see me, but they expressed concern (except my wife, i.e., she knows I’m a ‘whacked-out dudie from outer space’): During my run it was 6 degrees above zero (fahrenheit), with a 5 – 15 mph breeze and gusts up to 20 mph, while snowing lightly with about one-and-a-half  to two-and-a-half inches of snow and ice on the roads and sidewalks.

I was quite adequately dressed. Either way, that didn’t seem to matter. Again, SO quite humbly and respectfully, I was having a genuinely wonderful time…most especially just in mindfully/meditatively jogging along…alone in my own oh-so-light/bright sparkling spine-tingling winter wonderland! There was no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today…just ‘true appreciation of the miracle of the moment.’ It was more like dancing than running – I’m not even sure my feet were always touching the ground. Magic was in the air, all around and inside – warm and fuzzy and full of love…bright, light, childlike fun and wonder. And each time I rang a doorbell, it turned out to be the perfect time for them as such – glowing smiles and warm hugs. Each step, and each snow bank I hurdled over were better than the previous ones – and each one was perfect. Each sight, sound, smell, and feeling was a miracle. Each snow flake tasted…well some things can only be witnessed firsthand. I wasn’t cold, it was warm all over.

Am I selfish for going to Disneyland on Christmas Eve? I guess I don’t care…it was a ‘little bit of Heaven,’ e.g., it was well worth the ‘true effort,’ and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world (inclusive of those beyond-words wonderfully warm loving kisses I got from my wonderful dear wife in front of all the patients and her co-workers in the ER!). Does it get better than that? I don’t know – I’m just gonna keep trying (and trying and trying…).  — Dr. Glen Hepker

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Ideally, how important is it to be mindful of the spirit by which we go about making our income…our living?

A recent inquiry: “I read your post with great interest. I have a question. I run a ‘leadership development’ company. I hate the term ‘consultancy’ because it smacks of greed. My question is, does ‘lightness,’ commercially speaking, imply I should be offering my skill and service for free (altruistically)? And conversely, if I make a profit, am I dancing with the devil? ‘Profit is quite a filthy word (to quote Russell Brand v Paxman).’

I’m not sure pure altruism in business is sustainable – even Bill Gates’ fortune will fall foul of commercial entropy eventually. But to offer my service to the market at the best price I can, instead of ‘milking the client for all I can,’ brings me pleasure. Not because I still make money, but because I know I did my best for the customer – including how I priced. I am building a business based on this philosophy and I find customers refer me to others because they perceive the underlying care/fairness in my approach as well as a quality service. This makes me happy. Is this aligned with your thinking? Thanks for the post.” — Tony ***THIS IS AN INQUIRY FROM A READER OF ONE OF MY BLOG POSTS, i.e.: “What would life be truly like if one could honestly say…’If in Heaven I have what I have now, I would be happy?'”  WordPress: Dec. 2, 2013 https://aglimpseofheaventhephilosophyoftruehealth.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/what-would-life-be-truly-like-if-one-could-honestly-say-2/

Response: Hi, Tony. Thanks so very much for sharing your such splendid thoughts and insights, please know it so genuinely means a lot.

With regard to capitalism and making money, I believe it is the ‘spirit’ (healthful or unhealthful) in which we make money that is important (and PLEASE know I mean this all in a ‘spirit’ of genuine humility and respect). I believe that the ‘Three Portents’ (prompts for all bad tidings), i.e., hate, greed, and ignorance, can be easily associated with forms of capitalism which are NOT congruent with a healthful spirit or more-so altruistic mien of making the world a better place. Having said that, I do believe that in so many cases, capitalism works to serve the better good. Once again ideally speaking, I do believe it is important to be mindful of the notion that our vocational way of life should make the world a better place (inclusive of the spirit by which we go about it).

To be fair, this of course is not always a simple or easy thing to accomplish: If possible, it can be requisite of looking WITHIN ourselves to realize significant levels of happiness and deep objective insight, vs. looking externally for things which might (only) seem to make us happy. Does another pair of shoes or another gadget make us a better person? Ongoing ‘true effort’ can be consistent with, and a result of ‘true happiness,’ and vice-versa. “It may be up to each and every one of us to decide if a ‘path of heart’ is congruent with a lack of blind or unmitigated fear and ambition…yin to yang – yang to yin.”

Most of us live in societies in which capitalism is the basis of our financial enterprise ( I am NOT here to argue this as a good thing or bad thing), and thus it is accordingly important that we endeavor to earn a responsible level of income (i.e., ideally speaking: in a fashion in which we complement our society – IF it is humanly possible). It is requisite of paying fees and taxes for the ‘roads’ and ‘bridges’ we use, along with ALL of the amazing levels of infrastructure and other relevant amenities that we enjoy (of course with regard to taxes, I know there is a lot of ‘waste’ – but that is also another issue which is not the point here).

I believe that there may come a time in the far-off future in which we could possibly ‘outgrow’ capitalism (which unto itself, is a whole other VERY complicated subject). Simply put, it is loosely congruent with the notion of ‘true health through true responsibility.’ It would mean that a large majority of people will have been raised up in a fashion in which they will work hard to make the world a better place, without the need for riches or recognition…just the right thing for the right selfless sake. The science of economics is among the most complicated of issues, and it would be up to expert economists as to how this might work in practical application (if this ever would occur at all). If this did occur, I am in no way saying that it would automatically work – it is just a possibility or potential hypothesis.

So yes, what you are saying IS so quite aligned with my thinking – it is quite clear that you are acting responsibly…mindfully in a spirit of altruism and the right thing for the right selfless sake. I believe you are succinctly making the world a better place through your splendid insight and effort. It is a pleasure and honor, Tony. Once again, thanks so much! — Dr. Glen Hepker

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Could exercise become an important aspect of our popular culture – more and more commonly a way-of-life? How important is it that we be mindful of this possibility?

An excerpt from a chapter in my book, e.g., Chapter XIII – “Embracing Our Comfort and Discomfort Equally”…

“A great majority of us took part in physical education and sport activities in primary and secondary school. In this setting we were often required to perform athletically, with the goal of trying to do our best competitively, or at least take part and try to show improvement within the various activities of our ‘physical education.’ Some will recall a distaste for having to, for instance, try to run fast. Their experience as such, leaves an unhappy memory of running – in fact were quite ‘turned-off’ by it. It is sad that this is the case. Wouldn’t it be better, if physical education was really just that, being educated that exercise is once again, a way-of-life, not just an unhappy memory of having to take part in competitive sports (or simply be pushed toward accepting a competitive mindset)? 
    
This is not to say that competitive sports are a bad thing – albeit they are clearly not for everyone. On the other hand, comprehensive health education in such school settings – the promotion of exercise as a way-of-life, could be for everyone. Healthful exercise as a way-of-life could be, more and more, enjoyed by most everyone: Exercise can be exercise, without having to actually be athletic. The world would look quite different if, for instance, slow jogging and walking were promoted as a way-of-life in our school systems. Humans were meant to walk and run – the speed is not very relevant to overall health…it is the doing which is clearly relevant. Even so, the most important thing to promote within the young minds of school children, is that if they learn to desire healthful success as such, they each need to realize that it is never completely easy. They will have to learn to better and better embrace their discomfort, each day, each year, throughout their lives, in order to realize genuine levels of comfort/wellness. Enjoyment of a truly healthful quality of life takes a lot of effort…it is not meant to be an easy thing – it does not need to be easy. ‘True health’ necessitates ‘true effort.’ It necessitates learning to deeply appreciate challenge…as that among the most significant of blessings.

Notwithstanding, for those of us beyond school age, it can be obviously said that we cannot change the past. For those of us who do not participate in healthful levels of exercise, it would require a lot of effort to do so – especially when we have almost innumerable types of distractions – “toys,” “tastes,” and “fun.” A healthful response might be that toys are best utilized in moderation, tastes (of whatever type) can be enjoyed in moderation, and fun can become something healthful. Albeit, at least until one develops a liking for healthful exercise, it does require one to embrace one’s comfort and discomfort equally. We can change the past in a sense, if we are willing to learn to embrace the discomfort of painful memories. By doing so, we can look at and witness the past, and use the resulting knowledge as impetus to further educate ourselves – discovering why we can justify turning uncomfortable effort into something positive, though initially hard and difficult, into a healthful way-of-life which sustains our health in ways many only dream of or think impossible. To further
support this point: It is difficult to argue against the notion that we all have a true responsibility to be the best role models we can be – most particularly for those school children spoken of earlier. The better role models we are, the less difficult it will be for children to see that healthful effort and outcomes are normal – not simply just something that they are being told to do…not simply just ‘do as I say, not do as I do.’ Making healthfulness a norm is doing the right thing for the right sake, without the need for selfish recognition – and ‘it doesn’t get better than that.'” (Copyright 2011) 

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