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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If there is a Heaven…

If there is a Heaven, 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. What does this mean? It means that there is a so-to-speak place where there is no time, no space, no distance…where all is known…but most importantly once again, nothing “to hide behind.”

What does this have to do with this existence? It means that the more and more healthful we are in the here and now (spiritually, emotionally, and even often physically), the more we can catch sweet and innocent benevolent sparkling spine-tingling/shivering glimpses of Heaven. Why is this important? Because in this existence, we genuinely are much more in the same common boat than we so often think and act (whether we accept it or not, this is a significant aspect of true health and true responsibility). In so-to-speak Heaven, there is NO separation whatsoever, and accordingly, the more and more responsibility we here on Earth take for our own health and well-being, the more prepared and open we will be when it is our time to go and/or be there. Is it true that ‘God helps them that help themselves?’ Maybe it is up to each of us to do decide.

The more and more we can learn to do the right thing for the right selfless sake, the more and more we will be able to treat others with a loving spirit of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace – realizing better and better that we genuinely are so very much in the same common boat, here AND everywhere. Accordingly so much so, that our taught/perceived differentiation is a grand or maybe not so grand illusion…a beyond-words terrible and sad joke. Maybe this is an important reason we are here on Earth, to rediscover the Truth.

It is so very important here on Earth, that we learn to better and better support others in their HEALTHFUL goals and objectives. It is so very important that we learn to live our lives as living loving art forms, vs. getting permanently stuck on stagnant plateaus – all being so much about, once again, taking true responsibility for our own health and well-being. Again, it is so very much about endeavoring to do the right thing without the need for selfish recognition or hidden agendas.

What would it be like to be light and fluid, embracing healthful change, vs. running away from it and/or ignoring the possibility? The following Lotus Flower saying states it succinctly…

The Lotus Flower Blossoms (as set forth in Chapter XV – “True Freedom” of my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health):

“There is a place where, wherever you are there, whatever you are doing…no matter what, in any given moment, there should be nowhere you would rather be. It is where you are right now – and you have the ability to so deeply and artfully appreciate your life and its living…to connect one healthful insight to the next, and make them all one…learning to witness this already-existing truth.

In the wilderness of our existence…a place of budding flowers about, about to unwrap in a showing of perfect appreciation for all to thrive upon, we are the flowers which can blossom again and again in each season of our deeper and deeper insights…all connected…each better and more healthful than before.

It is not unlike Heaven and it can become Heaven, with enough insight and appreciation. It takes quite a few sparks, glimpses – spine-tingling moments as a way-of-life which becomes more and more purposeful, more and more without time or space or distance. More and more there is less and less to hide behind.” (Copyright 2011)

*Consistent with this ages-old philosophy, is that here on Earth we enjoy the brightest of blessings, e.g., that there is ALWAYS room for improvement – greater and greater objective insight. Sadly, this so often does not seem to be a blessing at all, in fact quite the contrary. We often fool ourselves into thinking that embracing healthful change is a terrible, even ugly thing. It is SO important that we learn to see it in a more and more positive light. We truly can enjoy a beautiful faith that this light can glow so bright that it will become beautiful beyond words, in a fashion which there is no need for time or space or distance, and one more time…nothing to hide behind. The walls of lies CAN come tumbling Oh boy!


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Going with what’s comfortable?

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 (Tao Chan/Ming Chia – the Bright Beautiful School of Thought), 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 well-being 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, with our ‘eyes wide open,’ mindfully and strategically make difficult choices – choices which are healthful, yet initially at least, provoke discomfort and necessitate self-discipline. Using significant self-discipline as such, unto itself, can be quite uncomfortable.

Intrinsic, central to the ages-old traditions I speak of herein, is the notion that all emotional, physical, and spiritual 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. Our culture more and more seems to be promoting the notion that ‘if it isn’t easy, then forget it.’

What would life be like, how different would our world look, if we learned to better and better see that, it is our responsibility, each moment, each day, to make the world a better place. How different would things be if we better and better embraced what is likely the most difficult of things, e.g., ‘true heath through true responsibility.’ This is all about true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. We CAN learn to play the part of a less and less blemished witness, witness to our treating life, TRULY so, as a living loving art form, vs. getting permanently stuck on stagnant plateaus which can be like a living death.

Getting stuck in a spirit of craving, desire, and fear of healthful change is a frightening thing, but we CAN move on to a more healthful spirit of love, compassion, empathy, and maybe most important, true forgiveness. It CAN be a spirit of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace. We CAN realize that we are ALL much more in the same common boat than we often think and act. It IS the right thing for the right selfless sake, SO quite inclusive of being humble unintentional role models.

If there is a Heaven, a key to the universe, even a sixth sense, they are rooted in true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom, and once again, needing less and less to hide behind. If we embrace and nurture this notion, we may learn to better and better catch glimpses of a so-to-speak existence, where there is no time, no space, no distance…where all is known. Once again, nothing to hide behind. Oh boy! — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)


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