Cold winter weather getting to you?

Okay…business at my school/wellness center has never truly bounced back since the “Great Recession”, and consequently I’m trying new ways to connect with people with regard to my services. Nevertheless, the following services are genuinely no joke, and QUITE seriously helpful and beneficial to interested people. I’m simply beginning to offer some services individually by phone, vs. in the context of the broader comprehensive classes I generally offer.

SO HERE GOES: Is the cold winter weather getting to you…really an agitation? Well, please give me a call. I will teach you reverse abdominal breathing (coined ‘winter breathing’ in acupuncture/TCM theory). And I will teach you the corresponding guided imagery technique that complements and completes the practice. It will make you feel warmer – you’ll still feel the cold, albeit the cold becomes much less of an agitation, truly so. *Reverse abdominal breathing is also quite beneficial to those who suffer from lethargy, or tend to be more lethargic than otherwise.

These are traditional aspects of the ages-old arts that teach and coach. And in learning to defend oneself against the cold, it is important to keep in mind the following ages-old adage passed down in these arts: “True self-defense is self-defense against our own weaknesses and bad habits.”

What’s more, it doesn’t have to be taught in person – just like mindfulness meditation and guided imagery, I will teach reverse breathing to you by phone.

Learning these splendid techniques is a wonderful gift to allow yourself – please let me coach you…because, YES IT IS COLD OUTSIDE!

Learn to embrace your comfort and discomfort equally!

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Five Senses Guided Imagery Chi Kung…

This is a form of mindfulness meditation guided imagery/visualization chi kung.

Herein, this guided imagery will be set forth for a standing position, but it can also be done in a sitting position – sitting on a chair/stool, or in a lotus sitting posture.

Ancillary preparatory exercise: titled as a question – How Much Gratitude Does One Need to be Healthy?

Stand with one’s feet almost together (called a ‘humble stance’), and bend one’s knees comfortably. Put one’s tongue against the roof of one’s mouth (connecting the Governing and Central Vessels – congruent with acupuncture theory). Relax one’s face, shoulders, hands, and feet – it’s said, “if they’re relaxed, you’re relaxed.”

Realize that relaxation is a true skill – there is always room for improvement. Realize, we ALWAYS have some stress, no matter how relaxed we are. Be so relaxed that one is barely standing – in what we coin as a Swaying Willow demeanor. Gently roll the spine above the waist, forward and backward. This demeanor is much like a willow tree swaying in a gentle wind. Breathe in, all the way forward and backward, and breathe out in between. Constantly adjust one’s eyes so that one is always looking slightly above straight ahead, without focusing or staring (though it is done both with the eyes open and closed – begin with the eyes open).

Get the ‘engine’ of the (advance vs. reverse) diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing going. Breathe in, push one’s abdomen out, breathe out, pull one’s abdomen in. Pretend that one’s lungs are in one’s abdomen. One of the greatest gifts one can allow oneself, is all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing – there is nothing more healthful. If one practices this breathing for five minutes twice daily, in 30 to 60 days most people will realize all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing. It greatly enhances circulation, and promotes the secretion of relaxing, pain killing hormones (empirically substantiated).

Be in a spirit of gratitude and true appreciation. Be all in the moment. A true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. Ask oneself, “How much gratitude does one need to be healthy?”

Try not to think, just witness one’s breathing, relaxation, and subtle movement. Endeavor to play the part of a less and less blemished witness. If a thought comes to one’s mind, embrace it, see it for what it is, don’t hang on to it, just let it go – put all of one’s attention in just what one is doing.

Mindfulness meditation is putting ALL of one’s attention into just one, two, or three aspects of what one is doing at any given time. It is next to impossible to be upset, anxious, worried, depressed, sad, or frustrated, if one is not thinking such thoughts. This is a primary purpose of mindfulness meditation – it is the sword that cuts out internal dialogue and/or cyclical thinking – ideally all thought…BEING ‘light’. Thoughts are often ‘heavy’.

Five Senses Guided Imagery

Continue in the humble stance with the gentle Swaying Willow chi kung. In all forms of chi kung, be as relaxed as one can be while still standing (or like earlier, this can be done sitting, but without the Swaying Willow mien). Keep one’s tongue against the roof of one’s mouth. Keep the engine of the diaphragmatic breathing going.

Put all of one’s attention in one’s sense of sight:

Ideally, try not to think about, just witness through one’s sense of sight. ALL of one’s attention is therein. Look slightly above straight ahead – about one degree above the imagined or real horizon. Be aware of everything in the 360 degrees of one’s peripheral vision – while NOT moving one’s eyes, just gazing, not staring, again just one degree above straight ahead. If the light in one’s eyes seems to fade, change, or darken…

Try not to blink it away.
Try not to move one’s eyes.
There is nothing to fear.

This visual effect is part of gathering a ‘visual meditative demeanor’. Meditation is not just with one’s eyes closed.

Often we take these wonderful gifts, these five senses for granted…endeavor to be in a spirit of gratitude and true appreciation for these wonderful gifts. Again, endeavor to witness, not think about, just witness through one’s sense of sight.

Moving on, close one’s eyes: Put all of one’s attention in one’s sense of hearing:

Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of hearing. ALL of one’s attention is therein. As always, one can hear the music, me, background noises – one can hear one’s own breathing (*to the point, this is set forth as such with the instructor narrating these steps and calming music in the background). Imagine all is new to you, you know nothing – without expectations, like witnessing it for the first time. Be aware that witnessing is a true skill – it will never be perfect, there is always room for improvement.

Moving on, put ALL of one’s attention in one’s sense of smell:

Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of smell. Breathe in and out through one’s nose, or breathe in through one’s nose and out through one’s mouth – all-the-while still performing diaphragmatic breathing. Never breathe in through one’s mouth, unless one has congestion.

It is said in these traditions that “the senses of smell and taste have an intrinsic connection which can be greatly enhanced by the deep diaphragmatic breathing.”

Moving on, put ALL of one’s attention in one’s sense of taste:

Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of taste. Place all of one’s attention at the top of one’s tongue. And try to witness, not think about, just witness what we in these traditions coin as the ‘five tastes’ plus neutral…

Sour, bitter, sweet, hot, salty, rarely neutral.

It is usually a combination of a couple (of tastes).
One does not have to have food or any such in one’s mouth, in order to taste.

Moving on, put ALL of one’s attention in one’s sense of touch:

Ideally, try not to think, just witness through one’s sense of touch. As always, one can feel one’s…

Feet on the floor –
Clothing on the body –
Air currents in the environment –
Feelings within one’s own body –
Ideally one can feel the rise and fall of the abdomen with each diaphragmatic/abdominal breath.

One can feel a budding sense of lightness, a lightness of being, a lightness in the moment – according to the Theory of Lightness, one feels lighter and lighter the more and more relaxed one is.

The sense of touch is so broad, it is likely impossible to be aware of the whole of it at one time. Place all of one’s attention in just one or two aspects of it, at any one time.

In moving on, but still with regard to the sense of touch…

Imagine there is a fire, a flame, a sparkling furnace just behind one’s navel (CV-8), and that one can fan that furnace stronger and stronger and stronger, with each diaphragmatic abdominal breath – so strong that one can learn to feel that sparkling furnace AT WILL. There is nothing more healthful, combined with the deep breathing and playing the part of a less and less blemished witness. These are important facets of this mindfulness meditation guided imagery chi kung. 

– Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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True appreciation of the miracle of the moment…oh boy!

“Life seems to fly past us at a speed which is congruent with the level at which we detach ourselves from its potentially deepest and most loving and heartfelt aspects.” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

What are your thoughts on this dynamic? We often complain that the “year” or the “time” have “gone by SO quickly.” Albeit, when we genuinely think of all of the things we’ve done during that so-called ‘time (inclusive of the innumerable moments),’ then it doesn’t seem to be so fast. AND additionally, if we make genuinely significant effort in order to learn to be more and more mindful, present…BEING the moment that we are in, I can promise that the time will NOT fly by (and it will not be boring either!). Not at all. From this perspective, SO many moments each day will likely also not be so easily forgotten, e.g., they will be appreciated in a more and more healthful loving spirit. In a state of mindfulness, we can become less and less blemished witnesses to our internal and external environments…witnesses to so much of the magic that we often ignore.

If there is a ‘key to the universe,’ then this level of bright beautiful sparkling ‘true appreciation’ may be a substantive part of it. It is light of the pernicious weight of preset patterns of thinking and expectations. It is not living for the moment, it is living in the moment. This is truly a skill, AND there is always(!) room for improvement: Abiding awareness of this dynamic is a VERY important aspect of mindfulness and its congruent sense of splendid appreciation.

‘Being’ present and mindful is SO very much about true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. It is SO very much about true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind.

It is QUITE difficult to be upset, angry, depressed, sad, anxious, or frustrated, if one is not thinking such thoughts. If one is mindful, present, focusing on just what one is doing in the moment, and enjoying (‘being’) a deep sense of gratitude, then it is really difficult to be lost in the dark and heavy cyclical thinking that can make us ill or worse.

This is by no means easy stuff – it is a skill. Albeit, nothing can be more rewarding than embracing such true effort – except maybe the resulting ‘glimpse of Heaven.’ It IS true health through true responsibility. — Dr. Glen Hepker

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Appreciating my life RIGHT NOW.

We all can take a lot for granted. As you read this, this is YOUR life RIGHT NOW. In a REALLY significant way, we can become more and more aware that each moment…it is our life and its living. Each moment, we can become less and less concerned with past and future – NOT living for the moment, but IN the moment. Each moment we can better understand the saying, “No yesterday, no today, no tomorrow”: SO important is the notion that we can ALWAYS gain greater skill, deeper insight into this genuinely healthful outlook. We can learn to further and further relinquish ourselves of fear of healthful change.

How so? First, it is quite important to ask ourselves, “How happy can I handle being?” How much deeply loving appreciation and gratitude can I realize, enjoy, feel in any given moment? How ‘present’ can I be, how mindful, how light can I be of the terrible weight of unhealthful expectations – preset/habitual patterns of thinking. How long can we stand to remove the dark lenses tainted by addictive patterns? How long can we lift the weight off of our shoulders…the weight of unhealthful outlooks which become more and more ingrained each day. Yin to yang, how long can we stand being lost in our pernicious cyclical thinking…round and round and round, like a living purgatory?

Think of the time and place in which you were the happiest. Do you hope that you’ll again be that happy – in some future? Someplace? Somewhere? Does it really seem impossible right now? Please think of the blessings/gifts you have in your life. Life may be quite difficult, albeit you ARE a living, breathing, thinking miracle in this universe…NO one of us more than the other!

What if true health is intrinsically linked with true appreciation – deep loving gratitude? What if it is true that ALL things would be easier, more pleasurable, even a whole lot of fun, when we deeply embrace a loving spirit of genuine appreciation? What if true appreciation is SO very much about a light bright beautiful spirit? What if this is all consistent with the notion of ‘true health through true responsibility?

What if, what if, what if? You may say that some of us have it more difficult than others. Quite likely so! Albeit, human beings have SO quite often accomplished the greatest things (in human history) during the most difficult times – the darkest of times. Do you think maybe they experienced some VERY special moments, some epiphanies – even in the most difficult of conditions? What if it is possible to have such epiphanies…deep and wonderful insights each day? Do you think this has something to do with living your life RIGHT NOW – living it in a splendid spirit of true appreciation – living life as a living loving art form? How many living loving sparkling spine-tingling/shivering epiphanies can we handle in one day, one life? Once again, how happy can we allow ourselves to be – how much can we handle?

It is SO much about learning to better and better play the part of a less and less blemished Witness, being more and more aware and appreciative of the miracles going on inside of us and all around us, ALL OF THE TIME. Do you want a ‘glimpse of Heaven?’ How many? How many do you want to handle? How honest are you willing to be about it?

Blaming and complaining are a disease and may be a significant part of the problem – that which holds us back from genuinely living life: If there is a Heaven, if there is a ‘key to the universe,’ they are rooted in true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. It is SO very much about doing the right thing for the right selfless sake: In each thought, statement, and action, it is SO important to ask ourselves if what we do or think are serving the greater good. It is SO very much about a true love, inclusive but so(!) much more than, familial, friendship, and romantic love. It is SO very much about deep and abiding appreciation of the notion of true health through true responsibility.

What else might it be about? It might be about true forgiveness. I’m not here to push religion, but I can’t think of a more to-say-the-least shining example: As Christ was dying on the cross, he said, “Forgive them…for they know not what they do.” This REALLY is true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. This REALLY is living life RIGHT NOW. So quite humbly and respectfully, we could use a lot more role models and mentors like that.– Dr. Glen Hepker

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Is gratitude a key to health and wholeness?

“What would life be truly like if one could honestly say…’If in Heaven I have what I have now, I would be happy?’” (Copyright 2011)

What are the consequences of this outlook? This is NOT to say that it is up to any of us to decide what Heaven should or would be like – it certainly is not the point here. The spirit of the (initial) question is most particularly congruent with the following questions, e.g.: What level of ‘true health’ would we have to realize/enjoy, before we could honestly make such statement? What level of ‘true responsibility’ are we willing take and/or enforce? Is it our (even dire/true) responsibility to make the world a better place (as such)? Consistent with this outlook, most of us have the ability to do this…we already have the gifts/blessings we need to do so.

Humbly and respectfully in the ages-old health/wellness philosophy that I teach, coach, and endeavor to follow, it is so VERY much about a deep altruistic spirit of true appreciation – consistent with living one’s life as a LIVING LOVING ART FORM. This level of benevolent gratitude is a splendid healing mechanism unto itself…even a quintessential form of preventative medicine. It can allow us a level of true freedom which is almost impeccably light and almost impeccably free of the heavy crepuscular weight of addiction to unhealthful expectation, entitlement, desire, craving, AND fear of healthful change.

What level of honesty, objective insight does this necessitate? How healthful do we want to be? In these arts it is said that such a healthful way of life is requisite of “true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less (and less!) to hide behind.” Such a healthful way of life is congruent with the true effort to realize life as a genuine ‘work of art.’ It is Acting Without Acting – endeavoring to do the right thing for the right selfless sake. It is lovingly, selflessly, honestly, and appreciatively learning to play the part of a less and less blemished ‘witness.’ It is being more and more mindful, meditative, AND ‘light’ of addiction to our fear of healthful change (AND light of the potentially pernicious fear of what things can really look like in reflection…our reflection inwardly and outwardly).

What does all of this mean in practical application in our daily lives? It is up to you and I to decide for ourselves. But there is a traditional hint which is given, e.g.: “It is NOT about some far-flung time/goal/objective to accomplish/reach in some mysterious future…it is about right NOW.” It is about being ‘present’ and loving and deeply appreciative right now, this moment, nothing more and nothing less. IF we are willing to see it, BE it for real, it just might be a beyond splendid/beyond words oh boy(!) ‘glimpse of Heaven.’

Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” In Christianity, there is an old saying we’ve likely all heard – “God helps them that help themselves.”

Just one more point to make – to complement these aforementioned points: What could make one feel more light than the ‘light’ – ‘lightness’ of ‘true forgiveness?’ I am not here to set forth religious tenets, albeit I can’t think of a more genuinely impeccable model of such forgiveness, e.g., as Christ was dying on the cross he said, “Forgive them…for they know not what they do.” It is requiring of another big “oh boy!” If this isn’t true health then what is?! Quite humbly and respectfully, this was/is some very special mentoring. — Dr. Glen Hepker

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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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