Welcome

It is my passion to help others find health on all levels. As a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, and on staff as a supplement/health consultant in retail environments, I gained much knowledge about physical health. As an individual who has had to deal with my own health problems, as well as those of my wife, I have gained compassion for the difficulty one may have in finding the right kind of information and help navigating those problems. From a dedicated 40 year meditation practice I have gained wisdom and patience in helping others on their path to full wellness.

Over time, I hope to post enough content to guide and inspire those who are having small difficulties, the easy stuff. For the more “stubborn” obstacles to achieving your goals, please feel free to contact me privately here and let’s see what we can do together!

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Do we inevitably lost muscle as we age?

Recently several people have told me that they were quite impressed at how good a shape I am in.  One that really stands out in my mind is a young man in his early 30′s who admitted that I am in much better shape than he is. I am 64!  I Do exercise daily, about 40-60 minutes, but I  don’t think it takes even that much. Most Americans don’t exercise at all… Any is much more that none!  There are many reasons to exercise but I find one of the most compelling (second after how much better I feel all the rest of ever day), is what happens as we age.

I have watched quite a number of friends and relatives slowly wind down into helpless weakness, ending up in nursing homes.   Many people seem to believe this is just what happens as we age. THIS IS NOT INEVITABLE! Click on the link below and read the short, excellent article by Dr. Gabe Mirkin to find out why not and what you can do to prevent muscle loss and debility as you grow older–

Lack of Exercise, Not Aging, Causes Weakness and Loss of Muscle in Older People

Even just simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking at the farthest away end of the parking lot so you have to walk a bit will help.  It is definitely not all or nothing and not all at once. Every little bit helps and it all adds up.

This brilliant, short video is done 1/2 humorously but is quite serious that what is demonstrated in it will do very nicely for a simple, at home routine you can start today to dramatically improve your fitness, strength, and mobility.  I requires no equipment and very little room.

Simplified Fitness

So what are you waiting for? Get moving!

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Bad Habits and Addictions~The Fast Track to Freedom

Bad Habits and Addictions~The Fast Track to Freedom

Freedom

The REAL trick to quitting any addiction/bad habit is to realize these are just passing physical sensations and “all things must pass” and they will.

Keep your motivation crystal clear i.e. do you want a few minutes of mouth pleasure or do you want robust good health for your entire life. Really, the mental/emotional aspect is almost the entire deal and I really do believe this is true for hard drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc–all the same roots–we get hooked on the sensations caused by whatever, NOT the thing itself.

If you want to fast track your entire life in terms of development, learn Vipassana mediation (traditional Buddhist approach) which requires zero belief or religious changes. It is a very sophisticated technology for learning to tolerate sensations of all sorts without reacting and freaking out.

You end up with huge amounts more room for creative response instead of reflex twitches. The only down side is that you start to see how much of most peoples’ lives is just reflex twitches and robotic reactions. And even that does not bother you much because, after all, any negative reactions you have are just sensations too and you now how to tolerate them well. So you get to choose the best way to try to help those folks get free!

Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac., Health coach 2020.2014

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Addiction Is It Really (like love) Forever?

Addiction Is It Really (like love) Forever?

Are we “powerless over” _________________(pick yer poison)? I think that model is flat out b.s. and unfortunately, profoundly disempowering and damaging.  Shocked? Good!  Read on… (If you know me personally or have read a couple of my previous postings on addictive behavior maybe not so surprised but read on anyway)

First, we now know from the science, that at root, all addictions arise from the same neuro-chemical and neuro-electric pathways; PET scans, blood work, etc. clearly demonstrate the same pathways lighting up regardless of whether the addiction is to alcohol, heroin, speed, sex, gambling, chocolate, video games… The same reward systems get triggered and we want more-more-MORE!

What are ya gonna do? The AA model is “once an addict, always an addict.” While it is true that during the recovery phase if you indulge even a tiny bit, it is very likely you will fall back into the pit, this is not necessarily a permanent situation.  The roots can be cut out. You can change your relationship to the world and to yourself and be free, really free. The best part is that by actually radically freeing yourself from a particular addiction, there tends to be a great spillover of increased freedom in all areas of your life; you become more able to creatively respond instead of reflexively reacting to new situations, or a repeat of old ones.

To cut to the chase, here is my m.o., tried and proven on yours truly, an experiment with N=1 (one subject, no controls), two methods that work together and reinforce each other.

Must add that I thought this was crap going in, that the physical stuff I could indeed not do but the mental/emotional stuff always had already happened by the time I had noticed it and there was nothing I could do about it. BUT I tried the experiment anyway and learned something new.~

1) First is method detailed here in previous post: Changing Habits – it ain’t easy!

This is really a version of mindfulness meditation that is more specific. It does not go as deep but may be particularly useful when you are “in the grip” so to speak.

2) More directly Vipassana/Mindfulness linked— just” stop, do not act yet, take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Relax. Close your eyes. Being comfortably seated in a chair can be helpful; feet flat on the floor, legs and ankles not crossed, hands in comfortable resting position. Eyes closed is best and easiest.  Now notice how you feel, both in general and in the detailed specifics. No need for any sort of labeling or internal verbiage. Just pay objective attention to your sensations and feelings as objects. After all, you are experiencing them. They are objects of your attention and not you!

As you watch them, they will change. Absolutely guaranteed! Everything changes, constantly and always. This is no exception. Might get weaker or stronger, might move around, might change quality completely, but it will change… Hang in there. As best you can do not allow yourself to get distracted or sidetracked.  When/if he sensations and feelings vanish in the general feel of you body, you are done for now; the craving has subsided at least for the moment

If after some time, they linger on or are even stronger, no worries, you have still been successful. In this case, take a quick inventory again of how you feel overall. And go ahead and move on. If possible do NOT indulge the craving but if you slip up, it is not “the end” but only the beginning of your journey. Pay attention to what exactly pushes you over the edge. Do you just give up? Is there some particular rationalization you use? Just note all this for future reference as you may come up with creative work-arounds.

Either way, doing this repeatedly, as often as the issue comes up, will set you free.

How do I know this to be true? My own addictions and the results of these practices.

I have been addicted to tobacco/cigarettes, marijuana, refined starchy foods, sugar,  and sugar and sugar, thoughts/obsessive day dreams of righteous violence, thoughts/day dreams of very explicit sexual activity… All of these have served to distract me from my real life, the real issues I have faced. After applying the two methods outlined above they are all now non-issues, dead ashes. Examining them now reminds me of picking up some toy I treasured when I was a very young child, I remember playing with it and what it felt like, but it now seems almost like someone else’s, not mine.

It is true that some addictions go MUCH deeper than others. The roots of most all of them are in our early programming and imprinting, childhood, infant, and birth traumas.  BUT THEY CAN ALL BE ELIMINTATED!  It is just that for some the bomb squad (you) has to be more patient, slowly cutting one wire after another, until the explosives can be safely picked up and tossed in the trash.

You can be free~May it be so!

Please feel free to contact me privately or in the comments, for trouble shooting or further details on how to make this work for you.

Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac., Health Coach

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Embarking On The Journey Of Consciousness: Staying On The Train [in the face of the catastrophe of modern life -GL]

This is great.  Long but well worth the read.  What I consider to be a truly spiritual response to the multi-faceted global calamities facing us TODAY!
~GL

“Whether we acknowledge it early or late in the journey, we eventually grasp that what we are ultimately confronting is our own death. The sooner we can honestly confront our mortality, allowing ourselves to actually feel it in the body, the easier it becomes to ingest and assimilate more distressing information. For example, when I have led some people in a “die before you die” exercise, they have often told me that once they sat with their own death and how it might actually feel, they felt more capacity to face not only near-term extinction but a variety of losses and catastrophes….

Eventually, death becomes not a symbolic surrender but a literal necessity, and the question of what needs to die in me today becomes a declaration that today is a good day to die. For this is indeed is the culmination of all spiritual teaching and the destiny toward which every being is headed from the moment of birth….”

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=b8e53c620300ae88791163048&id=4278f8b24a

 

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Affirmations~Making life changes

Affirmations I frequent a couple diet/nutrition forums sponsored by “whole foods, plant based” diet M.D.’s.  I see over time a lot of people transition fairly smoothly from their old, relatively unhealthy, disease causing diet to a whole new way of eating. But I also see a lot of people struggle, some very hard and for a long time. We all have very deep emotional resonance with what we eat; our diets mostly were learned in early childhood from our parents.  Giving up your old comfort foods and exploring the new frontier of childhood “icky” vegetables can be emotionally difficult. Because of this, people seek leverage to make the change and “affirmations” often come up as a tool.  To me they are problematic and I will briefly go into why and then outline what I see as much more useful approach to making dietary or any other change in your life. The tools are applicable to anything really, changing your diet yes but also getting a raise or running your first marathon. First I must say that if affirmations strongly attract you and seem to work for you, then go with what works.  Far be it from me to contradict that! But it also true that my objections to the “affirmation” approach come from my very literal mindedness and great love of “actuality”.  I like to differentiate the “actual”—what is actually present now in our lives vs the “real” what we each create from that when it bumps into our beliefs, emotional holdings, etc.  In that sense we do create our own “reality” and it is not actually what we are living! So first, my ‘dis on affirmations~ If I feel the need for an affirmation, by definition, whatever I am affirming IS NOT TRUE in the present!  It is not the actual state of affairs. If it were there would be no need to do anything.  So to me, doing or making an affirmation is a lot like spreading frosting on a pile of dog poop and trying to convince myself it is chocolate cake.  Ewwwwwwwww!!!!  Enough said, yes? My alternative approach is all about the actual. I will outline a step by step procedure to follow that is quite simple and will get you clear and detailed knowledge of what is actually the present situation. I have found that generally when I am clear enough about the present moment, what to do in the next becomes so obvious that really no decision is necessary; I just do it. Do each and every step with as much honesty and accuracy as you can. Take your time. WRITE IT ALL DOWN!  You want to have multiple sensory inputs of what you learn so it goes in deep and ideally, hard copy on paper so it is easy to access and refresh yourself on. 1) Clearly define your goal in as much detail as possible. “I want to eat better” is not so great.  “I want to eat a diet based on whole, natural, mostly plant source foods starting in two weeks,” is much better. 2) Is the goal realistic?  If your goal is to run your first marathon and you have little or no cartilage in one or both knees, you need a new goal! 3) Pro’s vs Con’s–In as much detail as possible write these down, taking several days even a week.  Maybe carry a small notebook to jot down ideas as they occur then transfer to master list as time allows.

1) Make two lists.

  • List the pro’s, the reasons to attain your goal.

“What will I gain that I really want to have if I accomplish this?”  “What will I lose/get rid of that would love to eliminate from my life?”

  • Equally important, list the con’s.

“What will I get that I would really rather not?”  “What will l lose that I would prefer to keep?”

4) What significant supports might I have available or enlist?

  • Ask close friends to support in specific ways
  • Post reminder notes around the house and/or in the car
  • What else?

5) What significant obstacles might show up?

  • Spouse strongly opposed to my goal and might try covert sabatoge?
  • I work in a candy factory? (I knew a diabetic who did just this!)
  • What else?

And

  • What might I do to nip these in the bud before they really become an obstacle?

6) Finally answer this one on a scale of 1-100 based on all you have learned from the answers to the above questions:

  • “How likely do I believe it is that I will accomplish this goal?”
  • “How much do I want it?”

If the answer to #6 is 70 or above GO FOR IT. The magic 8-Ball says success is likely. And we know that success breeds success. Even small successes add up to big reservoirs of “can do” thypeself esteem. On the other hand, we also know that failure tends to bread failure. Repeated failures drain our positive reserves and make success in the future less likely. So if the answer is below 70, reconsider. Maybe a bit smaller goal is more attainable and can lead to he bigger, original one in the future.  Maybe loosing 100 pounds in a year is overwhelming but losing 50 seem doable.  Go for the 50 then reset and continue on with your recent success helping support you! That ought to do it. An actuality based approach to making changes. If you have any questions or issues come up along the way feel free to contact me. I will be delighted to do what I can to help out…

Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac., Health Coach

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Evidence is growing all the time…

Meditation is much easier to do when you are not under great stress and in a crises. The time to start is NOW and practice practice practice. That way you will have a solid vehicle to carry you across rough waters when they come. I now is rough water time, start anyway, it will help. There are many, easy, effective techniques.  Feel free to ask me questions!

~Geoffrey

http://www.tunedbody.com/scientists-finally-show-thoughts-can-cause-specific-molecular-changes-genes/#

Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes

http://www.news.wisc.edu/22370

Study reveals gene expression changes with meditation

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306453013004071

Rapid changes in histone deacetylases and inflammatory gene expression in expert meditators

Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac.  Health Coach

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The End Of Antibiotics

Holy medical nighmare, Batman! Was I prescient or what with my posting of that cartoon yesterday?  Read the article linked at end of this post.

You can protect yourself in very large measure with proper diet.  A whole plant foods based, low fat, low sugar, low salt diet that is high in nutrients and low in calories will not only provide you with everything you need for optimum immune function, it will deeply satisfy and nourish your body and tastebuds in ways you would not have believed possible. The trick is to “force yourself” to try it out, very strictly, for a month or two. This will give your taste buds and aesthetics a chance to adapt and find the new pleasures you are swapping for the old ones…

The End of Antibiotics–Daily Mail of England

‘We’ve reached the end of antibiotics’: Top CDC expert declares that ‘miracle drugs’ that have saved millions are no match against ‘superbugs’ because people have overmedicated themselves

By SNEJANA FARBEROV

PUBLISHED: 05:30 GMT, 26 October 2013 | UPDATED: 06:17 GMT, 26 October 2013

Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac., Health Coach

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One source of antibiotic resistant bacteria everyone is concerned about

Got a cold?

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Do it the easy way!

Just came across this interview with Jeff Novick from last year who is a tremendous resource of clear, concise information on healthy diet.  His summary of his views/suggestions I think really nails it:

 

 

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Meditation and addictive and unwanted behaviors we all engage in–

Meditation and addictive and unwanted behaviors we all engage in–

We all have deep patterns in our nervous systems, software patterns, that strongly tend to reactivate in certain situations. These come from all sorts of places, pre natal, birth trauma, early childhood, later trauma, habits built up gradually from a little “hiccup” and also habits entrenched from a single overwhelming experience. The net result is the same.  When one of those patterns get activated, we will almost certainly react to it in our own stereotypical way, repeating things we don’t like about ourselves and our behavior and also, simultaneously, deepening the pattern by practice/repetition.

We do that because when the pattern activates, deep down in our physiology we secret messenger molecules, hormones, neurotransmitters…(psychoneuroimmunology blah blah blah, mind and body are not two separate things, they are one thing looked at from different perspectives).  Those in turn cause all sorts of activity on cellular and musculoskeletal levels which in turn generate sensations of various intensities. That concert of sensations, we either crave or hate, grab for more or try to push it away.  The way we do that last part is the reflexive actiing out, the cravings, the compulsive eating, or gambling, or video game playing, or sex, or rage attack, or name it and claim it!

In my experience, the ONLY way to finally overcome these patterns is to train ourselves to tolerate increasingly strong sensations, both the ones we want more of and the ones we want less of, without reacting to them on any level.  If we do that consistently enough, the pattern starts to extinguish, gets weaker, and finally vanishes. That leaves us free!  We can respond to our environment, both inner and outer, in appropriate and creative ways instead of reacting reflexively in stereotypical patterns.

In over 45 years of experimenting and working on just this issue I have found a particular type of meditation to be the one thing that really works directly on this issue at the deepest level. Everything else I have tried, a number of other forms of meditation, cognitive psych, Jungian psych, behavioral psych, Reichian psych, various other mind/body modalities, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, crystals, psychic healers, I have made the rounds, absolutely nothing compares.

For me this has specifically been  Vipasana meditation in the style taught by S.N. Goenka. I think maybe not for everyone; it is a very demanding and rigorous practice and at first not at all pleasant for most, though as time passes, it can get mighty fine in there ;)  Likely other modalities will work for other people but the bottom line of all this is building tolerance for any and all sensations without the compulsion to act, not reacting. Cravings will vanish, addictions will melt away, freedom will become more and more a reality…

Summary

If you examine your neuro-electrical-chemical responses to stimuli in a lab, you will find electrical impulses, adrenalin, serotonin, dopamine, cortisol, etc.  If you close your eyes and look at the same thing by turning your attention inward, you will find subtle, body sensations.  So in short you are not addicted to chocolate, or gambling, or bowling. You are addicted to the sensations exposure to those things generates in your body.  And you don’t hate Bob or Sally; you hate the sensations exposure to them generates in your body.

Also, your body reacts with much the same responses to your thoughts; if you think of chocolate or Sally, you will either crave more immediately or really want none of that, depending on which on it is.

The body will have its reactions but if you train yourself to not react to them, you will be free of addictions regardless of whether or not those sensations are present.

Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac., Health Coach (now in Ecuador!)

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