This Week at OHI


Optimum Health Institute’s Weekly Blogs.
OHI offers a holistic healing program based on ancient spiritual disciplines that promotes healing of your body, mind, and spirit through all-natural, non-medical practices.

How Generosity Transforms the Spirit

In the anxious hours as Hurricane Irma was nearing Florida this fall, a powerful act of compassion was playing out that grabbed the nation’s attention.

A woman had driven 30 miles to a home improvement store in Orlando to purchase a generator. Strong winds would surely knock out power for hours, if not days, and the woman’s father depended on his electric oxygen concentrator to breathe. When the man in line in front of her received the very last generator the store had in stock, the woman dissolved into mournful sobs.

Without even knowing why the generator was so crucially important to the woman, the stranger gave his to her, and hugged her. She clung to him, crying and thanking him for his kindness. The single act of compassion reverberated throughout the country, inspiring others to also help neighbors in need.

The generosity of spirit provokes an open-hearted response. Moving stories of previously mind-mannered people suddenly stepping forth and putting others first serves a dual purpose. It not only confirms the innate goodness of others; it kindles an urge in all who learn of their deeds to likewise be of service. The generosity of spirit, it’s been scientifically proven, is catching. Even if we feel we ourselves don’t have enough, when we see others being generous, we’re willing to go the extra mile to help someone else, too.

This desire to come together and share with others transcends boundaries of religion, nationality, race, age, and gender. It’s a spiritual energy of open-heartedness, charity, and optimism that sweeps everyone into its embrace.

As we head towards the season of gathering for the holidays and celebrating our blessings, it’s an ideal time to think about new ways we can share our own spirit of generosity, without waiting for a crisis to trigger a desire to help.

Identify a cause you feel passionate about, and go online to find local opportunities to share your time and get involved. Everyone probably has at least a few books you’re not going to read again. See if your local library or school could use them. Buy an extra bag of dog food and donate one to an animal shelter. When you let your friends know what you’re doing, they’ll be motivated to get involved, too.

If the OHI healthy lifestyle program has enriched your own body, mind, and spirit, you might want to consider sharing that gift with someone else through a donation to the OHI Scholarship fund. Every dollar you share goes directly into a scholarship, and every donation is 100% tax deductible.

Enrich your spirit with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation. Mention the code “October” to find out about special money-saving offers.

Overcoming Suffering Via Post-Traumatic Growth

Benjamin Franklin’s family didn’t have the money to keep him in school after he turned 10. Jewish Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was interred in a Nazi death camp during WW II. Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was 3. Bill Gates’ first business, a data processing company, failed miserably. Stephen Spielberg was rejected – twice – by USC, the nation’s top film school. Bethany Hamilton was just 13 and starting to surf competitively when a shark bit off her left arm.

The one thing all of these people have in common was their refusal to give up when faced with horrific odds. Being able to tap into deep emotional resources in challenging times and not only survive the obstacle, but actually thrive, is such an important trait that psychologists have even coined a name for it – “post-traumatic growth.”

It’s something deeper than “resilience,” the ability to rebound from setbacks and resume your life. Of course, resilience is a positive reaction to negative situations, and represents a healthy ability to stay mindful in the present moment, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

The difference, though, is people who exhibit the quality of post-traumatic growth actually end up using the major setback – personal injury, betrayal by a trusted acquaintance, losing everything in a devastating storm or fire, the tragic death of a loved one – as a stepping stone to redefining ‘normal,’ and creating a more purposeful life path.

Frequently, too, the person will re-dedicate themselves to being of service to others in a similar situation. For instance, Dr. Frankl counseled other prisoners in the concentration camps, and saw proof that those who had deep meaning in their lives – something purposeful left to do – survived. He created the equation, “Suffering without Meaning equals Despair,” and after his release wrote the ground-breaking book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Bethany not only resumed an award-winning surfing career – she is at the heart of the non-profit foundation, Friends of Bethany, that offers spiritual support to those in need. Franklin, Einstein, Gates and Spielberg all helped elevate and change the nation, and the world despite their early bleak experiences.

If you find yourself emotionally overwhelmed after an unexpected challenge, there are ways to cultivate the powerful and positive road to post-traumatic growth.

1) Remind yourself, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” Acknowledge the hurt, but also know you have the power to gradually move through it, into a space of acceptance, and then growth.

2) Don’t define yourself by the challenge. You endured something intense, but that doesn’t detract from who you are.

3) Realize healing, and growth, take some time. Even if the incident was instantaneous, coming back into optimum balance isn’t. Be gentle with yourself.

4) Rely on spiritual disciplines. Meditating, prayer, journaling – all are essential for helping you process your emotions, and guide you in a positive new direction.

5) Consciously choose foods and beverages that nourish, replenish and fuel you. A healthy, positive, balanced mind and spirit require a healthy body.

Find the emotional, nutritional and spiritual support you need to grow past old hurts and embrace positive new experiences with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation. Mention the code “October” to find out about special money-saving offers.

Can a Healthy Lifestyle Be Contagious?

It’s not unusual for an extended stay at an Optimum Health Institute mission in San Diego or Austin, Texas to have a positive, powerful, life-changing impact on a guest. What IS a bit unusual is for it to have a transformational influence on someone who never set foot on the grounds.

Doug Fulwider’s wife was a staunch advocate of OHI’s healthy lifestyle program for decades, and had even studied with Ann Wigmore, the founder of Hippocrates. She insisted on following the plant-based, live, raw organic food plan to such an enthusiastic extent that Doug playfully named their home, “OHI West.”

When his wife tragically succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a two-year battle, Doug was heartbroken. Even in his deep grief, he knew that emotionally ‘giving up’ and reverting to old, unhealthy eating habits was not an option. He decided to honor his wife’s legacy, and maintain his own health, by signing up for an OHI stay. By his second week there, he knew he wanted to apply to be a missionary. The support from the OHI staff and other guests, the healthy plant-based meals and the beautiful surroundings were the perfect prescription to heal his hurting heart.

He applied and was thrilled to be accepted into the missionary program. First, though, he had to find someone to housesit for three months. The son of an acquaintance was at a crossroads in his life, and Mikey expressed his desire to live at Doug’s while he pondered his future direction. Doug had just one rule for the young man – there could be NO meat in the house.

While Doug continued his deep healing during his months as an OHI missionary, Mikey threw himself into completely changing his diet, inspired by Doug’s no-meat rule, and the delicious vegan OHI recipes Doug left with him.

What began as a “house rule” quickly blossomed into a brand new, healthier and happier life path. Mikey learned how to ferment foods, grow sprouts and make seed cheese. He prepared delicious plant-based meals for his mother and uncle, both of whom were soon able to get off nearly all medication as their health radically improved.

Mikey even took a raw-foods course, and is studying to become a vegan chef. He’s developed quite a social media following, too, posting photos of his beautiful and delicious creations online. While Doug was healing his heart at OHI, Mikey was healing his life – and preparing for a fantastic new future – using the transformational tools OHI provides.

Bring body, mind, emotions and spirit into a healthy balance this fall with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation. Mention the code “October” to find out about special money-saving offers.

Transforming Emotions, Part 2

Last week we shared some tips on how to transform emotions, like anger and anxiety, to achieve and maintain a positive balance in body, mind, emotions and spirit. Today we’ll continue our look at the remaining core emotions: Trust, Grief, Fear and Love.

Trust

The emotion of ‘trust’ can be a tricky one. It implies a vulnerability – we have expectations about a person or situation, and we’re required to have a ‘leap of faith’ that those expectations will be met. A good rule of thumb is, compassion is always appropriate, but trust is earned. In those instances where trust is required, rely on your instincts, and also seek some information about the trustee’s attributes, like reputation and past experiences. It will help transform ‘trust’ into ‘confidence.’

Grief

Any time we experience a loss of any kind, there is a certain element of grieving involved. Losing a loved one, relationship, job, health, reputation, friends, youth, even moving into a new home – all will generate some degree of grief. The biggest mistake we can make is trying to ignore or deny this emotion. Until we acknowledge our grief, we will remain mired in it. It’s important to be realistic, and admit things in our life have changed with this loss. The next step is to look at how this loss has transformed us. What have we learned? What memories can we cherish? What meaningful things can we do, moving forward, that will not only help us heal, but will benefit others? We can consciously choose to redirect our grief, and our sense of loss, into an opportunity for positive growth.

Fear

Fear and Anxiety are closely linked – they both arise when we’re facing a real or perceived threatening unknown. It’s part of our instinctual survival mechanism, when that twig snapping in the dark might have indicated a saber-tooth, ready to pounce. A ‘fight or flight’ fear response empowers us to take immediate action to remove ourselves, or others, from harm’s way. Pushing a child out of the path of a car, for instance, or freezing when a venomous snake slithers across a mountain trail.

While the emotion of fear can sometimes protect us from taking unwise risks, taken to the extreme it can also paralyze our ability to try anything new. Reliving fear, as in post-traumatic stress disorder, can keep us stuck in an old pattern.

To transform fear, first take a deep breath to help bring mental clarity. That will also empower you to assess the situation realistically. Is there a clear and present danger? If so, take the necessary steps to alleviate it. If there is not, a simple affirmation like, “I release all fear to the light,” can help bring you back into a positive emotional balance.

Love

Love is the essence of emotion, or ‘energy in motion.” It is that transcendent state where we feel a heart-centered connection; to God, another person, our children, our community, the Cosmos, all of creation. It can be a gentle contentment, a deep respect and regard, or a smoldering passion. At its core, Love is life’s greatest blessing, available to us all if we choose to open our hearts and minds.

Experience the emotional freedom of nurturing yourself first with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. It is time to get inspired and take this opportunity to become a better you! Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

Transforming Emotions - Part 1

Candace Pert, PhD, the late neuroimmunologist and spiritual author, speaker and visionary, described our emotions as the thing linking our physical bodies to our spiritual selves. Cultivating positive emotions is essential for achieving, and maintaining, optimum health in body, mind and spirit.

The trick to cultivating those positive emotions, though, is to resist ignoring or suppressing less than happy feelings when they arise, as they inevitably will. Instead, learning the tools to realistically register, honor and then shift our emotions, as needed, is a powerful life skill that can change virtually everything for the better.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be looking closely at eight core emotions, and how they impact us.

Joy

The emotion of Joy is closely linked to optimism, serenity and ecstasy. It’s the sense of wonder, satisfaction and a peaceful excitement that you are part of something greater and magnificent. For many people, joy is experienced when they see or hear something of incomparable beauty, or feel a deeply personal connection to God.

Anger

The body has many ways to alert the brain to feelings of anger – muscle tenseness, shortness of breath, feeling flushed and an uncomfortable sensation in the stomach are just a few. Anger is usually an immediate response to a perceived wrongdoing. It can range from mild annoyance to exasperation to a hostile rage. In the short term, pure anger can sometimes be beneficial. Dr. Pert talks about a patient who made only healthy choices, but still received a cancer diagnosis. The woman became furious, and the cancer immediately went into remission. It was as if the unhealthy cells were burned away by the emotional surge.

A quick burst of anger is one thing, but a sustained slow-boil can have serious consequences for heart health. A positive way to process that emotion is to take a deep breath, remember what the thought was the moment before you physically felt anger, and change that thought. You can’t have an angry feeling without first having an angry thought.

Anxiety

Anxiety is that unbalanced emotion arising from fear of the unknown. Instead of staying suspended in that state of constant worry about what might go wrong, shift your thoughts to mentally listing all the things that could go RIGHT. The quickest way to come into balance from an anxious state is to take three deep, mindful breaths. That simple exercise will immediately propel you up into an Alpha state, where clarity and peace are yours.

Surprise

Whether it’s a happy surprise – office birthday party! – or an unpleasant one, the feeling of surprise means you are not in control of an immediate situation you have not anticipated. Take those deep breaths again to enter into Alpha, and be in the present moment. If it’s a positive surprise, enjoy! If it’s not, going right into a more aware, ‘plugged in’ Alpha state will empower you to quickly assess the situation. Are you in danger? If so, take the appropriate steps to remove yourself from harm’s way. Are you upset? First find something in the situation for which you can authentically be grateful. Even if it’s, “Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” that will immediately shift you into a more calm, collected and positive state of mind.

We’ll continue our roundup of effective ways to transform emotions in our next blog.

Experience the emotional freedom of nurturing yourself with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Help OHI celebrate 40+ years of holistic healing with special Anniversary offers. Call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org for additional information about our program.

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