How much gratitude do ya need to be healthy?

Humbly and respectfully, this is all about working toward taking deep and abiding ownership of a WAY OF LIFE in which one gathers a genuinely honest spirit of true appreciation and gratitude…more and more each moment. What makes this all the more real, is in knowing that among the greatest gifts of all is that there is always room for improvement: It is a significant aspect of taking true responsibility for one’s own health and well-being. This deep and abiding sense of living loving gratitude greatly enhances the quality of our lives, and is a substantive part of a dynamic of raising ourselves up, up, and up, so well beyond what are often pernicious stagnant plateaus which can be like a living death.

This splendidly healthful outlook is distinguished by its remarkable, thought-provoking, and ingenious notion of coalescing ethics, morality, and deeply rooted insight/objectivity skills with concepts of health and wellness, i.e., True Health through True Responsibility. A primary notion within this philosophy is that one cannot realize true health without the necessary and genuinely skilled attributes of true appreciation and true honesty. It is a deep and abiding sense of mindfulness, insight, morality, clear objectivity – learning the genuine skill of being able to look within and without (into one’s internal and external environments), without fear, without preset patterns of thinking, and/or weight of expectations. AND in addition, it is with the SO healthful spirit of the bright beautiful living light of forgiveness.

Certainly this is ‘tough stuff,’ to say the least…but quite likely there may be very little that could be more rewarding. As an example, and to put it most simply, the notion that, each moment, we are living, breathing, thinking/intelligent, free-willed functioning beings, on a lava-filled rock/planet which supports us while we act out our innumerable comedies and dramas on its surface/stage setting, while spinning at 1000 miles per hour, traveling through space at an average of 66,000 miles per hour around a star, in a solar system tuned like a clock, in a galaxy in a universe moving at least at the speed of light, means, when one views it objectively, that each moment is by any rational and appreciative standard, a miracle without measure. And truly, this is just one example of the innumerable blessings for which we can choose to be appreciative of in our lives: Just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ so-to-speak.

No matter how difficult life is for us, no matter the many ‘thorns in our side’ in our daily lives, how dare we not appreciate the gift of each moment for the miracles that they are! Why do we not feel a deep and abiding rational, emotional, and even spiritual appreciation for each moment, in each moment, as a way of life, a way of being? Maybe the key to this is outrageously simple: we need to overcome our seemingly instinctive fear of a deep, abiding, altruistic, and living loving spirit of gratitude which is congruent with gathering a level of objective insight that introduces us to the notion of not needing anything to hide behind. Such healthful clarity is a significant aspect of what is humbly described as a ‘glimpse of heaven.’

John F Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” This may be an especially significant point to make on this day – Memorial Day.

We can face and overcome our clinging, our addiction to desire and fear of healthful change. This healthful way of being cannot be realized without deep gratitude…without gathering a genuine spirit of true appreciation more and more as a way of life – way of being. It is consistent with living each day in a sparkling spine-tingling/shivering fashion in which we are resplendently recharged and inspired anew. — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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How important is True Appreciation? How important is it to recognize the genuine abundance in our lives?

How important is it each day, even each and every moment…NO MATTER the quality of the day, the moment – choosing to find a means by which to make even the most difficult of days/moments into splendid blessings that we will never forget? Do we have such wherewithal?

What would the world be like if more and more of us learned to succinctly see this as a true responsibility? Would it require that we learn to better and better embrace healthful change and avoid getting lost in a mien of blind craving and desire? Would it require that we learn to better and better embrace the notion that we are all so much more in the same common ‘boat’ than we often think and act? Would it require that we endeavor to do the right thing for the right selfless sake…more and more and more? Would it require that we endeavor to be resplendently benevolent, compassionate, and empathetic (albeit NOT co-dependent) in our interaction with others…displaying dignity, decency, goodness, and grace…and figuring out how to truly mean it, NO MATTER WHAT? Would it require that we be supportive of others in their healthful goals?

Certainly this is ‘tough stuff,’ to say the least…but quite likely there may be very little that could be more rewarding, inclusive of realization of true health. Such appreciation of life and its living is absolutely requisite of quintessential levels of love and deeply genuine gratitude – sparkling spine-tingling/shivering impeccable true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. So humbly and respectfully, it is requisite of true effort – realization/enjoyment of levels of true mastery whose ‘secret’ may be in enjoying deep appreciation of one of the most significant blessings of all on this Earth, e.g., that there is ALWAYS room for improvement, greater and greater levels of objective insight and mastery. Is this a ‘key’ to true health? Each of us can only answer this for ourselves.

Congruent with this outlook is the notion that enjoying free will is among the most wonderful of blessings. Albeit, LOTS of responsibility comes with it, most particularly IF we CHOOSE to RESPECTFULLY answer to it. Ideally, it must be harmoniously consistent with the wonderful spirit thereof, e.g., creating a truly healthful and appreciative WAY OF LIFE.

Getting ongoingly lost on crepuscular/stagnant plateaus can be like a living death: Embracing healthful change CAN make it possible to more and more realize the ability to play the part of the less and less blemished Witness…taking part in the living loving story of our lives, vs. just being a pawn in the story of our lives. It is so much about true appreciation and true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. — Dr. Glen Hepker

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Rethinking primary/secondary school physical education…

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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“Embracing our comfort and discomfort equally” – what the…?!#@! That’s crazy! Or is it?

An excerpt from a chapter in my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health, e.g., Chapter XIII – “Embracing Our Comfort and Discomfort Equally”…

“The notion of “embracing our comfort and discomfort equally” will likely seem quite odd and eccentric to most, to say the least. In reading about it, I am only asking that you allow yourself an open and objective mind – as in these arts, it is viewed as being a very important concept – which when utilized in practical application, is a significant key to realization of ‘true Health.’

As individuals, we often develop a way-of-being, a way-of-life, without utilizing definitive levels of strategic thinking. We do make choices – commonly we do decide what we like and do not like, albeit it seems that we are often unaware that our choices are what make up our way-of-life – a way-of-being which will largely dictate the quality of our health and wellbeing throughout our lifetime. Many of our choices are rooted in an often-unhealthful desire for immediate gratification (though to be fair, this is not unusual – in fact it is quite frequently the norm). Modern societies are quickly evolving, becoming more and more complex – as are the temptations: some of these things are (more) evidently unhealthful, and some not-so-evidently so. Notwithstanding, too much of (almost) anything can be a bad thing. New ‘toys,’ new tastes, new fun, can be very tempting and catering to our seemingly innate desires, though often such things can distract us from what is truly important. If our health and happiness are not rooted in strong foundations, then all we may have are our “new ‘toys,’ new tastes, and new fun.” (And such superficial stimuli can quickly become old and boring – prompting the desire for more and more – which may be, after all, the ‘grand plan.’)

Obviously, we are all born into a given culture, and each culture is made up of an intricate web of customs and values. Without culture, we as individuals would be unable to survive. Even so, it is equally obvious, that not all of the intricacies of culture are healthful. Some cultures seem to thrive more than others, and the least healthful ones sometimes disappear – not unlike that which occurs when we as individuals depart this life earlier than necessary.

Is it too much to ask, that we learn to routinely ask ourselves, how healthful do we want to be? Is it unreasonable to view such a practice as a ‘true responsibility?’ What would the world be like if this would become a cultural norm? And what does this have to do with ’embracing our comfort and discomfort equally?’ The answer is that we can choose to make difficult choices – choices which are healthful, yet initially at least, provoke discomfort and necessitate self-discipline (which for most of us, unto itself, is uncomfortable).

Earlier in this writing, the following notion (intrinsic to these arts) was set forth: All illness is prompted or made worse by a way-of-life which is inclusive of unhealthful nutritional practices, a lack of necessary mobility/exercise, and the inability to inhibit unhealthful levels of stress and anxiety. For all of us, it is likely that evidence of this point is in some fashion displayed in our lives each day. The scientific research which supports this outlook on nutrition, exercise, and stress is undeniable, yet it is extremely difficult to enforce healthful change and sustain it. It seems too easy to go with what is comfortable, versus choosing to work really hard at what is uncomfortable.” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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Why is exercise so commonly such a chore?

An excerpt from my book, e.g., A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health, 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.’” – Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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How important is mindfulness…objective insight?

An excerpt from my book, i.e., Chapter XII – “True Happiness: A Glimpse of Heaven”…

“Even though we are quite often moving quickly through our daily lives, we do have the wherewithal (if we choose to exercise it) to slow our sense of awareness down. We can actually get more done when our minds are more relaxed and we are less scattered in our thinking – thus able to better focus on, and truly embrace what we are actually doing – all-the-while elevating the likelihood that we can realize a deep and loving sense of true appreciation of the miracle of the moment (more and more and more…as we nurture this skill). This old handed-down saying presents a relevant point in a subtle, yet telling fashion, if one takes the time to explore its deeper meaning:

‘Go fast, one can only go fast – go slow, one can always go fast.’

The notions herein could easily be seen as haughty high-minded ‘stuff.’ Please know that this is not the goal. Life is difficult, and at times, it can seem to be a painless thing to simply allow oneself to ‘get stuck,’ versus trying ‘really hard’ to improve oneself. In these arts, The Five Virtues are viewed as a simple vehicle toward deep insight and philosophical and practical clarity and happiness when we most need it. Even so, nothing may be more difficult to answer to – particularly when seen as a vehicle toward our ‘true responsibility’ of making the world a better place:

1. Healthful Respect

2. Healthful Loyalty

3. Healthful Humility

4. True Honor

5. True Integrity

Getting stuck on the ‘plateau of not trying’ is a living death. In purely colloquial terms, ‘nothing is worth anything unless we are willing to keep trying.’

What would life be truly like if one could honestly say…

If in Heaven I have what I have now, I would be happy…in the spirit of perfect appreciation, remember the true and real import of warm-heartedness, compassion, and dignity…?” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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How healthful is it that our moods so often dictate the spirit with which we treat others?

What is the importance of treating people just as well in our worst of moods vs. just our best of moods (and figuring out how to TRULY mean it)?

“When describing the philosophy within the traditions of the health and wellness arts which I teach and coach, I commonly begin by defining the theory of the Bright Beautiful School of Thought, e.g., the principle that the world would be a much better and different place if more and more people took True Responsibility for their own health and wellbeing – in short, True Health Through True Responsibility. In practical application, a central feature of the Bright School of Thought theory and hence, True Health, is the True Responsibility of Healthful Interaction – the employment of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace in our interaction with others – AND figuring out how to do so while truly meaning it – No Matter What.

According to this theory, there are two things that we as human beings can absolutely control…the fashion by which we interact with others and the level of objectivity and insight we choose to employ with ourselves. In support of this thesis, is the concept that a clear gauge of one’s True Health is congruent with one’s ability to honestly display oneself with “dignity, decency, goodness, and grace” – inclusive of the realization that the quality of our interaction with others and the depth by
which we enjoy insight into ourselves is a primary gauge of our wherewithal to manage stress and anxiety (inclusive of stressors of ALL shapes and sizes).

In a fundamental sense, this notion is congruent with the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is just honest and healthful diplomacy, whether with a spouse or other loved one, a friend or acquaintance, a coworker, or with anyone we come into contact with – a store clerk or waitperson. If we wish to take True Responsibility for ourselves, it is the REAL CHALLENGE – No Matter What.” (Copyright 2011) — Dr. Glen Hepker

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