• Belonging Is a Basic Need

    Community is something we spend a lot of time thinking about because it’s such an integral part of who we are at OHI. People who come to stay at OHI are seeking a healthier, more holistic lifestyle, and they find that … but they also find something more: a wonderful sense of community. They no longer feel alone because they have bonded with others in a way that transcends the time they spend here.

    The OHI community is the one place where people truly work to love their neighbors as themselves—just as God calls us to do. Community is so important to humans that it is actually in our DNA. In his famous hierarchy of human needs, Abraham Maslow put “Belonging” at the third level alongside “Love.” Needs associated with this level of the hierarchy include acceptance, feeling supported and understood, and having relationships and friendships. When these needs aren’t being met, we can feel rejected, neglected, and lonely.

    Belonging Is a Primal Need

    For our ancestors, being part of a community was integral to survival—the difference between living and dying. And all these centuries later, that need to belong really hasn’t changed much. Even though we’re not threatened by saber-toothed tigers anymore, our mental health is wholly dependent on belonging.

    In today’s busy society it’s easy to miss opportunities to connect with our fellow humans. Then, if or when we happen to run into some difficulty, like suffering a loss or finding ourselves stressed or fearful, we lack the kind of support we need. Suffering alone seems to make any problem worse—and if it continues, it can even be harmful to our health.

    According to a 2020 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, loneliness has been associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. People who are socially isolated and lonely have a 29 percent increased risk of heart disease and a 32 percent increased risk of stroke. And social isolation has also been associated with a 50 percent higher risk of developing dementia.

    The bottom line is, human beings need each other. Albert Schweitzer put it aptly when he said: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

    The First Step in Belonging: Making Genuine Connections

    According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, when you are engaged in a conversation with someone, and the two of you are genuinely interested in the topic and each other, you will point your navels at each other. Observe people talking in public sometime, and you’ll see that this is true. People will be facing each other, even making eye contact, but their hips will be turned away from each other. Neither of those people is really interested in the other person or what they are saying.

    Conversely, here at OHI we see many people leaning into each other and having genuine conversations. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

    Belonging begins with acceptance: accepting others, and being accepted by others. In a Psychology Today article titled “Create a Sense of Belonging,” psychologist Karyn Hall writes: “One of the best ways to communicate acceptance is through validation. Validation builds a sense of belonging and strengthens relationships.”

    Belonging to the OHI Community: How It Begins

    When our guests share their thoughts about the belonging process, they describe it as a learning journey of coming into wellness and wholeness … a path that is a collective effort but also has individualized objectives.

    Guests have also mentioned that as part of the OHI community, they found themselves sharing things that were more intimate than anything they’d ever shared before. People even say, “I can’t believe I’m telling you this.” It’s an emotional outlet that enables people to feel and share their emotions freely.

    Everyone is exuding this positive energy, and this release of energy helps you transform. You feel like you never want leave because there is a sense of safety while at OHI. And the people you meet; many will become lifelong friends. You build friendships that last for years because you let your guard down and felt free to share your most intimate concerns. The next time you feel stressed, you might want to pick up the phone and call one of your OHI friends.

    Belonging to OHI’s Community Helps You Persist and Succeed

    Renowned psychologist Albert Ellis once said, “The art of love is largely the art of persistence.” Persistence is one of OHI’s 5 Ps to Optimum Health, and having the love and support of belonging to a community makes it easier to stay the course and persist until you reach your goal.

    Each week when people attend our program, there is a great balance in the community as some people return for a second, third, or fourth week. These returning guests help the newer up-and-comers by sharing helpful tips and how-to’s that enable them to quickly assimilate into the OHI culture and community. Veteran guests understand—physically and emotionally—what the first-weekers are experiencing and, by offering support, can help them achieve their goals and their sense of belonging even faster.

    When you have a sense of belonging, you want to give back or pay it forward. It’s not only lending a helping hand but also a sharing of wealth. So, as you enjoy these crisp autumn days, and refine your sense of community and belonging, we ask that you please remember the OHI Scholarship Fund when planning your year-end donations.

    Share the Love, Share the Feeling, Share the Gift of Healing

    Please consider contributing to the OHI Scholarship Fund to help those in need experience the benefits of the OHI program. Over the course of our 44 years, OHI has provided scholarships to individuals who could not afford to otherwise attend. In most years, we have been able to fulfill all requests for assistance through the generosity of our community. OHI invites you to join with us in celebrating our healing mission with a tax-deductible gift. Your contribution will help to make our community stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.

    Provide the Gift of Healing today by supporting the OHI Scholarship Fund with a tax-deductible One-Time Donation, or Sustainable Monthly Contribution.

    To all who have donated to the OHI Scholarship Fund – Thank you for your generosity!
    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Meet Jennifer Inman, Facilitator at OHI San Diego

    Today we are so proud to put the staff spotlight on Jennifer Inman, Facilitator at OHI San Diego.

    Q: Give us a little background on yourself, including your work experience prior to joining OHI.

    A: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Allied Health, and a Master’s degree in Complementary & Integrated Medicine. Before coming to OHI, I was a Holistic Health & Nutrition coach for 14 years, as well as a Nutritional Microscopis for 12 years. I am also a registered yoga teacher, and have had my own studio for 6 years.

    Q: What made you decide to join the staff at OHI?

    A: I had wanted to work at OHI San Diego for 7 years. Their philosophies really aligned with my own, and it just seemed like the ideal place to work and learn. I stayed as a guest in April 2019, and I recognized the CEO walking across campus from his photo on the OHI website. I’m not going to lie, I shamelessly ran after him just to have a personal chat. I told him how OHI’s curriculum resonated with my own background as a nutritional coach and yoga instructor, and he generously offered to hire me on trial to teach stretch classes. I joined OHI full-time in December 2019, and I’m now certified to teach 18 different classes including Mind/Body Connection, Digestion, Elimination, Lymphatic Exercise, Stretch, and more.

    Q: Describe your current role at OHI.

    A: As a facilitator, not only do I teach the OHI curriculum, but I also counsel guests. I meet with them 1-on-1 for a 30-minute coaching session. I answer any questions they may have, we talk about nutrition, how a detox diet impacts the body, and how eating living raw foods can fundamentally change their health, their immune system, and more. Frequently, the conversation turns to emotional detox, so we talk about the benefits of various meditation techniques, journaling, etc. I really love the 1-on-1 coaching sessions because I feel like I have the opportunity to make a personal connection with each guest. It’s an honor for me to provide a safe space to hear their concerns, and to be able to start them off on the path to better health.

    Q: What do you look forward to experiencing most each time a new cohort of guests arrives?

    A: I love watching people heal and transform. Every time I teach a class, I look forward to the experience of watching people “get it.” You can see individuals that put in the hard work to plug back into themselves and peel away the layers of comfort connect with their own growing spirituality. It’s an “a-ha” moment that is just amazing to witness. I always emphasize the science of how the body and nutrition works, and seeing how the body/mind/spirit connection all comes together in a single moment of realization really helps solidify my own faith.

    Q: What is the biggest change you’ve noticed in yourself since you started working at OHI?

    A: Before I came to OHI, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, panic attacks, and heart arrhythmias. I always ate a healthly diet and did lots of exercise, but inside I was cynical and unhappy. Now that I’ve worked through the OHI curriculum, I truly understand the mind/body connection, and can see how negative thoughts and beliefs directly contribute to poor health. Now that I’ve learned to let go of the attitude, looked for the lesson, and found gratitude in every situation, I feel I can live my best life.

    Q: Do you find there is a connection between food and spirituality for you?

    A: Absolutely! Food is a gift! It’s what makes the body work at its best, and the better the food we put in our bodies, the more we get out of life. When I grow my own food, I feel like it’s watching a baby being born. There is something miraculous about planting a seed, and watching that seed grow into a plant that will go on to nourish our bodies. To pick lettuce right out of the garden, feel it still warm from the sun, and be able to turn that into a beautiful salad for dinner is heaven.

    Q: For those seeking spiritual evolution, do you have any advice that might help pivot their journey in a more productive direction?

    A: Some people grow through journaling, others through meditation, and others through exercise. Spiritual evolution is a very personal journey, and you should find the means that is most meaningful to you. For me, yoga is how I heal. It brings me joy. It brings me strength. It brings me closer to God. I hope everyone keeps looking for the means that best speaks to them, because the healing they will find on the other side is wonderful.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 44 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!
    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Get to Know OHI Missionary, Joel Ferry

    Joel Ferry first learned about OHI San Diego when his mother was a guest in 2009. “My mom has had a long-standing connection with the Transcendental Meditation Center in Fairfield, Iowa. She heard about OHI from other guests at the TM Information Center. After her stay there, she couldn’t say enough great things about OHI, and I was interested in experiencing that type of healing for myself.”

    Joel is a career bartender, and at the time he was working long hours as a gaming bartender in Las Vegas. His intense schedule left him little time off so it took 5 years before he was able to make his first trip to OHI. “My first visit was July 2014 for 1 week,” said Joel. “I loved it! I went to every class I could, and took a whole binder of notes. I couldn’t get enough! I came back in March 2016 for 1 week, returned again in September 2017 for 2 weeks, and then again in September 2018 for another 2 weeks. Each visit revealed something new to me. I knew I absolutely needed more time at OHI to work on myself, so I applied for their missionary program. It has completely changed my life!”

    Joel was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011, and used medication to maintain his blood sugar levels. His late-night work hours as a bartender really played havoc with his sleep schedule, and he found himself exercising less and less. He also suffered from diabetic neuropathy in his feet, and couldn’t imagine putting on a pair of sneakers to go for a run after work. It was just too painful.

    “I needed a restart/refresh to my life,” said Joel. “Between my poor sleep patterns, my stressful work environment, my poor diet, and the difficulty managing my diabetes, I was overwhelmed. Depression runs in my family, and I really just wanted to quiet the thoughts in my head. That first week at OHI made such a difference. Not only did the raw diet help with my

    diabetes so that I was off all of my medication by mid-week, but the diabetic neuropathy in my feet subsided. My feet felt so good, I was able to take off my shoes and run on the beach. BAREFOOT! It was utterly transformational!”

    Joel started as an OHI missionary in September 2019. His first three-month term was so successful, that he extended his missionary position for another 6 months.

    “I wanted to be an OHI missionary so that I could be part of a supportive environment that would help me grow into the person I’m meant to be,” said Joel. “I love the camaraderie here. Everyone who chooses OHI is serious about their health. I have met people from all across the country, and while we’re all different, we all want to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. The OHI curriculum and the detox diet put you on the path to improvement starting Day 1.”

    While Joel was busy working as a missionary, COVID hit. “I feel so blessed to have been at OHI during COVID,” said Joel. “The stars aligned, and I was here at the right time for me. Living here in the ‘bubble’ has been a beautiful experience. OHI never closed its doors, so I just continued working to make guests feel welcome, safe, and happy. When OHI offered me the chance to stay on as a Missionary Coordinator, I jumped at it! I love welcoming the new guests every Sunday. I always tell them they are in for the best 3 weeks of their lives. During the week, teaching lymphatic exercise is a blast. And my favorite thing to do is host the Friday Night Live variety show. I also really love hearing the testimonials on Fridays. It’s so rewarding to hear the success stories of people releasing what they are ashamed of. When the people around you are so supportive, you know you’ll never feel alone again.”

    What are Joel’s goals moving forward? “The longer I am at OHI, the more it’s about mental health. Growing as a human being is a slow and deep process, like peeling back layers of an onion. I’m learning why I make certain choices, and am more aware of their consequences.”

    And Joel’s advice for others considering a stay at OHI? “Don’t pigeon hole your life. You can make a change any time! Over the last year I became certified to be an ESL teacher, and I’m hoping to teach overseas in the future. Right now I’m just so happy to be a missionary at OHI, but I also know I have really positive things to move on to in the future. I have taken responsibility for my own happiness, and I’m really proud of the choices I’m making. Thank you OHI!”

    The OHI missionary program is a volunteer extension program for those who have graduated from the OHI holistic healing program and desire to continue on a spiritual path to heal themselves and others. As a missionary, you are able to immerse yourself in the healing process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We encourage all who have a calling, passion, and commitment to serving others and who want to be in a community focused on healing to apply.
    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Finding a Daily Rhythm, Part 2

    In last week’s article, we talked about the importance of following a daily rhythm. This week, we expand on how to establish a schedule that supports your natural circadian rhythm. Here is part 2 of our 2-part series

    In our busy, modern, 24-hour society, schedules can be unpredictable; jobs started must be completed, impatient customers are waiting, and we’re forced to be flexible. This makes it easy to throw your natural rhythms out of balance. Here at OHI we have a solution to helping you return your daily rhythms back to their regular tempo. We follow a daily and weekly rhythm, Benedictine Monastic Rhythm, that organizes the monastic day around periods of communal and private prayer, manual labor, spiritual reading and sleep which in modern times has been replaced with instruction.

    Monastic rhythm is all about ensuring God is glorified in all things we do. According to Strategic Monk, Greg Richardson, a monk’s day consists of “time for reflection and labor, worship and rest, learning and thinking.”

    The monastic way of life is centuries old; its traditions began with the solar day, and it follows our natural circadian rhythm. When the time to stop work arrives, a monk will put down his tools, he doesn’t have a deadline which forces him to continue until the job is done. In days past most people’s lives followed a circadian rhythm. Farmers rose with the sun, and worked until the sun set. Workers in factories, skilled trades, and some offices still follow a similar rigid schedule; even if it’s only 9 to 5. However, in today’s rapidly changing world, and the rise of the gig economy, it becomes challenging to keep the symmetry in our workday. When we lose touch with the rhythms of life, we lose valuable opportunities to rest and reflect. As author, Matthew Kelly, observed, “If you don’t break from the tensions of daily living, they will break you.”

    An important aspect of the monastic day is that it gives you time for pauses. A pause might be a time to phone a friend, listen to music, go for a short walk, be quiet with your thoughts, take deep breaths, meditate, or take a power nap. Pauses are times for deep relaxation – times where you are not working – when you can enjoy the moment fully… and allow your brain to rest.

    At OHI we follow in the monastic tradition. Each day is designed to ensure that your body’s natural rhythm is restored. Our 21 day holistic program is formulated to bring harmony to your body, mind, and spirit. The first week is the most challenging because you are breaking free from your disrhythmic lifestyle. You will shed old habits and develop new ones as you learn how to cleanse your body, quiet your mind, and renew your spirit. Our classes will enable you to detox your body, your emotions, and your thoughts. You’ll learn meditation techniques to manage stress, release tension, and control pain. You will enjoy the right balance between scheduled activities (classes, meals, exercise) and free-time (optional treatments, journaling, relaxation), so that by the end of week three you will feel amazing!

    The Complete Guide to the Science of Circadian Rhythms by Jeremy Berger, observer.com, December 29, 2017

    Leading Like a Monk: Finding Our Rhythms by Greg Richardson, patheos.com, April 13, 2017

    Monastic rhythm of life by Ian Adams, churchtimes.co.uk, February 22, 2011

    What Are Biological Rhythms? by Amber Erickson Gabbey and Rachel Nall, healthline.com, November 4, 2016

    At Optimum Health Institute, we teach you all about establishing a daily schedule that supports your natural circadian rhythm.
    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Finding a Daily Rhythm, Part 1

    Restore Your Health by Following a Daily Monastic Rhythm

    A famous George Gerswhin song says, “I’ve got rhythm… who could ask for anything more?” It’s a song about a woman who is content with her life. And, there’s an amazing amount of truth in those lyrics, because when you live with rhythm, you will be happier, healthier, more alert and productive.

    Rhythm, not just the musical kind, exists all around us. It’s a huge part of nature. Think about the sun cycle every day – rising and setting, the phases of the moon and its effect on tides, and the change of seasons, each following a rhythm. Then, think about your heart beat, breathing, and digestive cycle – there is rhythm within your own body.

    According to thefreedictionary.com rhythm (rĭth′əm) noun; is “the movement or variation characterized by the regular recurrence or alternation of different quantities or conditions.” As a regular pattern in time, a rhythm can refer to any natural cyclical event that lasts from microseconds on up to many years such as the rotation of the planets around the sun, or Halley’s Comet returning every 76 years. Within our bodies, we have rhythms that regulate our immune system, hormone levels, appetite and digestion, body temperature, blood pressure, even reaction time.

    You’ve heard of Circadian Rhythm which is an innate process regulating the sleep-wake cycle of all living things, and repeats approximately every 24 hours. We all have a “master clock” called the suprachiasmatic nucleus which is located in the hypothalamus of your brain near the optic nerves. It receives information from your eyes about the amount of light you are exposed to throughout the day; it then sends signals that regulate various systems in your body. This process can be altered over time, but ordinarily it attempts to follow its formulaic function even when we stay up late. This was proven in the 18th century when Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan, a French scientist, discovered that Mimosa trees, which fold up their leaves at night and open them in the morning, continued to follow this pattern even when kept in total darkness.

    This is how your Circadian Rhythm works: in the morning, after you wake up, your body temperature starts to rise, as does your blood pressure. Your melatonin secretions stop, and your testosterone secretions increase. It’s time to turn up the lights, open the curtains and let the sunshine in. By mid-morning, your gastro-intestinal system prepares for elimination, and you reach peak awareness. By mid-afternoon, your coordination reaches its peak, and your reaction time is at its fastest. Throughout the daylight hours, your body is absorbing nutrients, so this is the time for your largest meals. In the late afternoon and early evening, your muscle strength, blood pressure, and body temperatures reach their highest levels. As the sun sets and the dark of night takes over, things begin to slow down, and your body begins to assimilate the nutrients you’ve consumed. It’s time to dim the lights, and allow your body to start winding down. Use lower wattage bulbs, and avoid the blue-light of television, phone, and computer screens. Mid-way through the evening, your melatonin secretions start back up. If you go to bed by 11:00pm, you will reach your deepest sleep by 2:00am, this is when healing takes place; and your body releases human growth hormone which triggers tissue repair and cell growth. By 4:00am your body temperature and blood pressure will drop to their lowest levels. Then the sun rises and it starts all over again.

    When you stay up late at night for extended periods, especially if you’re losing sleep, your circadian rhythm gets out of sync which can increase your risk for anxiety, depression, obesity, and diabetes. It can lead to drowsiness and lethargy causing your work performance to suffer, your mental alertness to falter, and you may even become prone to accidents.

    Join us next week for the second part of this article…

    The Complete Guide to the Science of Circadian Rhythms by Jeremy Berger, observer.com, December 29, 2017

    Leading Like a Monk: Finding Our Rhythms by Greg Richardson, patheos.com, April 13, 2017

    Monastic rhythm of life by Ian Adams, churchtimes.co.uk, February 22, 2011

    What Are Biological Rhythms? by Amber Erickson Gabbey and Rachel Nall, healthline.com, November 4, 2016

    At Optimum Health Institute, we teach you all about establishing a daily schedule that supports your natural circadian rhythm.
    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Meet Tamara Magiera-O’Gilvie

    “My dear friend, Julia Brown, had been a frequent guest at OHI, and raved about it,” said Tamara. “She looked so vibrant, fresh, and young when I saw her after a stay at OHI, that I knew I just had to experience that renewal for myself!”

    Tamara Magiera-O’Gilvie was born and raised in Northern Manitoba Canada, and moved to Florida in 1998 with her husband, Eric, and their three children. They started a watersports company, and later expanded the company to three locations on Fort Myers Beach. They also opened two restaurants. In 2018, they sold the watersports company and in 2020 they sold one restaurant.

    “I first came to OHI because I was burned out,” said Tamara. “I was working 14 hour days, feeling stressed and frustrated at not spending enough time with loved ones. For Christmas one year, my husband offered me a trip anywhere I wanted to go, and I said I wanted to go to OHI. My entire family thought I was crazy, but I knew it was the right choice for me.”

    Tamara’s resolve to get the most out of her Christmas gift paid dramatic dividends. “My first visit was both challenging and rewarding,” said Tamara. “In spite of constant fatigue, I attended every class, booked multiple massages and colonics, drank my wheatgrass and my Rejuvalac, and lost 11 pounds in a week. My skin was glowing, and my clothes fit better. I made lasting friendships, and felt energized and ready to focus on my body, mind, and spirit.”

    Tamara felt so rejuvenated by her first visit to OHI that she has become a frequent guest. She has visited the San Diego campus three times, and the Austin campus once. So what keeps her coming back? “The main thing that appeals to me is that OHI is a judgment-free community,” said Tamara. “It’s a place to connect with like-minded individuals working on health, spirituality, and awareness. I find it fulfilling and supportive. Every time I am a guest at OHI, I learn something new about myself.”

    Tamara makes it a priority to attend every class she can during her visits. “The Focus class has had a big impact on me,” Tamara said. “And what I have gotten out of it has changed each time I take it. The first time I took it I was stunned at how much time I was spending on social media, television, and texting. I curbed that, and was happy to have more time to spend doing things I loved. The last time I took it I realized the importance of being protective of my time, and scheduling what is important to me. I bought a planner, and scheduled my preferred activities, yoga, and time with friends and family. It is helpful for me to see it in a time slot in my planner.”

    Tamara has noticed changes, both big and small, in herself since she started coming to OHI. “I have become more present,” said Tamara, “living in the now instead of constantly living in the past or the future. I am more aware of what I put in my body, as well as who I spend my time with. The health of my body and the use of my time are both precious to me, and I want to make the most of them. I listen to my body now, and respect how I feel about things.”

    Tamara’s biggest breakthrough was very personal. “I chose to let go of criticizing myself, and trying to have everything ‘perfect.’ I always had this mental chatter that was unhealthy, and when I let that go (it’s a work in progress), I replaced it with living in the moment. This helped me to stay in the present. I put energy into being happy in the present rather than ashamed of the past or worried about the future. It’s a breakthrough that has brought me peace.”

    Tamara has also made a breakthrough where food and spirituality intersect in her life. “I like to eat a high-quality organic diet. The cleaner and closer to the earth that my diet is, the more open I am to powerful meditations. These meditations allow for clarity, patience, kindness, and compassion. I find that my yoga practice becomes meditative. It all becomes a circle of health beginning with the food then connecting to the spirit/mind, and coming full circle with the body. It flows freely and easily, and I am grateful to OHI for all of the tools to experience this connection.”

    Tamara has found that her healing journey often takes her outside. “I love to be out in nature, hiking and kayaking. And spending time with my dog is also healing for me. She is pure joy.”

    We hope you’ll come stay with us again soon, Tamara!

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 44 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!
    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Find Serenity Through Prayer

    “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.“ Leviticus 23:22

    Here’s a warm and wonderful fall greeting to our OHI community. I love this time of year with the cooling temperatures, the color of the autumn trees, and the promise of a bountiful harvest. I offer you this Bible verse because regardless of the size of the harvest we should feast and share with those in need, especially during turbulent times. COVID-19 has been like an unexpected hail storm that damages the farmer’s crop, but rather than hoard what is left, it is better to take only what we need, and to help others as we can. At OHI, we have witnessed the generosity of so many of you in the most selfless ways and we are so grateful.

    In the spring newsletter, I talked about how seasonal change can be understood as a time of transformation, and a time to rediscover your Purpose in life. You might remember from my article Purpose is one of our 5 “Ps” to optimum health. At the time, I didn’t know just how transformational 2020 would be for everyone including OHI. We’ve responded by making significant improvements without changing our program that you’ve come to know and trust.

    In the summer newsletter, I discussed three more of our 5 “Ps” to optimum health: Patience, Persistence, and Positive Mental Attitude. 2020 has certainly challenged us on all three. We’ve had to be Patient about getting back out in the world. We’ve had to be Persistent in keeping our goals in focus. And, we’ve had to maintain a Positive Mental Attitude in the face of negative news (I’ll have more to say on that further down).

    Fall is a Time of Preservation, Maturity, and Gratitude

    We now enter fall, when nature’s bounty is ripe and ready for picking. I recall from my youth how many of the neighborhood families would bring out the Mason jars, boil them for purity, load them up with fruits and vegetables from their gardens, then put them away to savor on some winter’s day. In many ways autumn is all about preservation – of values, traditions, and truth.

    We can find a great deal of spiritual symbology in the fall season. The changing color of the leaves reminds us that change is constant. The falling of the leaves reminds us that letting go of the past and moving forward is what life is all about. And, the ripening and maturing of crops is symbolic of our spiritual maturity.

    The season of harvest is a time for work, mindfulness, and gratitude. Every effort of the farmer working the land, every furrow turned, seed planted, and weed pulled, is with the harvest in mind. His commitment is to the reward at the end. Here at OHI our commitment is to fulfilling the needs of the body, mind, and spirit. One of the ways we do that is through Prayer, the most powerful of OHI’s 5 “Ps” to optimum health.

    “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

    Lately I’ve become concerned that news stories have been spreading mixed messages that contradict each other. News sources I’ve considered reliable are running stories that seem at odds with each other. Sadly this is very confusing; and finding the truth requires verifying every report from multiple sources. It seems that some media, politicians, and experts are posting messages that are not based on facts, and you have to wonder why they are not being transparent. There should be no hidden agendas. We want to trust our government officials, newscasters, scientists, experts, in short, our fellow human beings. We are all in this together, and if we can’t trust the purveyors of vital information, then doubt and uncertainty will tear us apart.

    The reason I’m bringing this up is because significant portions of the truth are being left out which distorts stories and creates fear, the most powerful of our. Media creates sensational stories to build an audience, and sell advertising. You may recall from the summer newsletter how I mentioned that people have a propensity for bad news, and how it is a natural instinct that protects us. Some media companies and politicians know this and use it to manipulate us. So, when you hear a story that makes you anxious or afraid, you should verify its accuracy.

    OHI Is Your Trusted Partner

    The problem is what fear-based news does to people. It keeps them in a state of panic and nervousness which creates an imbalance in their body, mind, spirit, and hides the truth. And, all of this unease can turn into disease. Here at OHI, we are committed to the truth. For example, we provide both biblical and scientific sources for any medical or scientific claims we make. We are here to empower you through our classes and activities, so that you learn to understand your body, mind, and spirit and restore balance. It’s good to have a community with which you can discuss concerns and focus on healing. OHI provides the community you’ve come to know and trust. When you start feeling anxious, we help you get back to basics with daily practices, mindfulness, intention setting, and prayer. Our mission statement, guiding principles, and spiritual identity are all founded in truth. OHI’s tried and true program and loving supportive community remain constant in our changing world.

    Our program has integrity; we’ve been doing this for 44 years – despite the various fads and trends on nutrition, health, and fitness – our program is still as effective as it was on the day we opened our doors. Our program, leadership, staff, missionaries, donors, and guests all contribute to holistic healing by creating a safe and sacred space. We wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t true. We have guests who have returned every year for decades, and who regularly refer their loved ones to us. Our main concern is the safety of our entire community: guests, missionaries, and staff.

    “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

    The Power of Prayer

    In troublesome times like we’ve been experiencing; the act of prayer calms you and brings peace. But, prayer does much more than soothe the soul; it enables you to awaken the love of God within you, so that you can better cope with pain, disappointment, and loss. It nourishes your body, mind, and spirit so you stay focused on what is important – like your Purpose. You can even pray for Patience, Persistence, and a Positive Mental Attitude. Prayer is the fifth of our 5 “Ps” to optimum health that I have been discussing with you this year.

    Prayer is powerful in many ways. For me it is often enough to simply pray for strength every day. It brings me closer to God, and it will bring you closer to your higher source. Sharing the load reduces the burden you may feel on your journey through life’s opportunities. With prayer you can express gratitude, ask for guidance, and listen for answers. You can pray for healing, and you can pray for others. As English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, once observed, “Prayers are the very highest energy of which the mind is capable.”

    Prayer is portable, you can pray anywhere for any length of time. As little as 30 seconds of prayer, acknowledging God and giving thanks for all the blessings in your life, can relax and calm the nerves. Pray in the car while you’re driving (but please keep your eyes open), pray in the checkout line at the store, pray in a place that is sacred to you, or pray while you’re out on a walk or communing with nature.

    You can pray alone as Jesus did, or you can pray with others which helps create and maintain community.

    Science Proves the Healing Power of Prayer

    “Studies have shown prayer can prevent people from getting sick,” says Harold G. Koenig, MD of Duke University, ” and when they do get sick, prayer can help them get better faster.” After analyzing 1,500 reputable medical studies, Koenig concluded that people who pray more have better mental and physical health. He adds, “They have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, and probably better cardiovascular functioning.”

    Science is also showing us why prayer makes us feel so peaceful. Herbert Benson, MD, a cardiovascular scientist at Harvard University, who has conducted studies on prayer for the past 30 years says, “All forms of prayer evoke a relaxation response that quells stress, quiets the body, and promotes healing.” He discovered what he calls the “relaxation response” which is a physiological state of the body during prayer. It shifts the body’s dominant state from the fight, flight, freeze mode in which people tend to spend most of their day to the rest and digest mode. He has also observed that prayer increases the brain’s release of dopamine which helps us feel more relaxed, focused, and happy.

    If you’ve ever thought that prayer only works because you are programming your subconscious to believe that it does, then I have good news for you. Praying for another person’s healing, or having others pray for yours actually works, even when the recipient doesn’t know about it, and science has now proven it.

    OHI – The Safest Place To Be Outside of Your Home

    OHI provides a safe and sacred place for healing and prayer. Our campuses offer many comfortable spots that are private where you can pray. You don’t have to wait for the pandemic to be over to visit us here at OHI and work on developing your positive habit of prayer. We are open now and serving guests just like you. And, keeping your safety in mind, we have taken great strides in implementing the CDC’s protocols of physical distancing; limiting the number of guests in our program; we use electrostatic spray disinfection systems, and we use only safe,

    non-chemical cleaners in all common areas; and we continue to test all our employees on a bi-weekly basis to ensure we maintain a healthy operation. We’ve also been busy developing our new OHI for Life Wellness Rooms – where safety meets comfort. Each guest room is outfitted with 100% certified organic cotton bed linens and a Molekule air purifier. OHI is your safety bubble for healing and that’s why we are the safest most sacred place to be.

    Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed fall season.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.,

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

    At Optimum Health Institute, we teach you all about the 5 P’s to optimum health, help you establish a powerful practice of prayer, and help restore your peace.

    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Restoring the Body’s Natural Balance Through Detoxification

    “Detoxify” is a common word among holistic healing advocates, but not everyone is clear about its meaning. The process of detoxification simply refers to cleansing and nourishing the body to promote healing and longevity. The body has the marvelous ability to heal itself—as long as it is treated right. With a lifestyle that includes eating nutritious, natural foods; drinking plenty of water; exercise; and enough rest, the body has the tools it needs to restore itself to a natural balance.

    Many people turn to this lifestyle because they’ve grown tired of the effects of poor health and they want to feel better. This was the case with Regina, who was 40 years old but felt twice that age. Her joints ached constantly, her brain was foggy, and she was always tired.

    Finally, she decided she’d had enough; it was time for a major change. And that was the beginning of her pursuit of a healthier, happier life.

    Regina started by focusing on her eating, because she knew her diet needed a serious overhaul. She completely eliminated fast food, and substituted fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other nutritious foods.

    It was tough at first, as breaking bad habits often is. But after just four days she was breathing more easily, and by day seven she felt no pain for the first time in years. She was thinking clearly again, and had more energy than she’d had in a very long time. This huge transformation in Regina’s health was the eye-opener she needed. From that point on, she was totally committed to a healthier way of life.

    If you identify with Regina’s experience, you are not alone—and you can change your life too. Start with your diet; a food plan that consists of raw, organic vegan meals can detoxify your body and help you embrace behaviors that will positively affect every area of your health, happiness, and well-being.

    Foods that are rich in fiber not only detoxify and nourish you; they also keep your digestive system running smoothly. This can help prevent chronic constipation, which has been associated with the development of depression. When the body fails to properly eliminate waste products, nutrients that are essential for brain function can’t be digested and absorbed. Toxins from the accumulated waste can filter back into the system and cause irritability, anxiety, and even insomnia.

    Another important aspect of detoxifying the body is proper combinations of foods, since eating two foods together that differ in digestion times can have a toxic effect. A dense protein like avocado, for instance, can take from two to three hours to digest, whereas digestion of a melon only takes about 30 minutes. The protein will keep the fruit in the stomach longer, causing it to ferment. Learning about proper food combinations can go a long way toward detoxifying the body.

    At Optimum Health Institute, we can teach you all about detoxifying your body, as well as how to adopt healthier habits that can change your life. Experience the energy and clarity of eating and living clean, all in an environment of encouragement, support and spiritual fellowship.

    During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • The Peaceful Beauty of the Alpha State

    During times when you’re feeling stressed, or you can’t seem to relax, or your mind won’t stop racing, do you ever wish you had the magical power to instantly feel peaceful?

    Actually, you do have that power.

    No matter how keyed up you may feel, peace and serenity are only a few breaths away. All you need to do is find a place where you can sit and close your eyes for a few moments. Take a long, slow, deep breath through your nose, and then release your breath slowly through your mouth. Repeat two more times, and you will feel measurably calmer.

    What you’ve just done is touched into the Alpha state, a meditative level of brainwave activity in which you automatically release stress and negative feelings. It is in the Alpha state when the body, mind, and spirit are gently brought into balance.

    We spend most of our waking moments at the Beta level, which is the opposite of Alpha. Whereas Alpha is a state of non-arousal, Beta is a state of hyper-arousal. It is in the Beta state when the brain solves problems, makes decisions, and keeps us engaged and attentive. We need that level of brain activity in order to be productive—but prolonged periods of time in the Beta state can be exhausting, physically and mentally. It can also lead to chronic stress and depression.

    By learning how to slow those brainwaves down, we can immediately shift into the more balanced and healing Alpha state. Rather than being alert, easily distracted, and focused on what we need to do next, we’re relaxed and fully mindful of the present. We feel peaceful as our body, mind, and spirit begin to effectively integrate. We become aware of all that is sacred to us, and are able to let go of what no longer serves us.

    You can switch from the more frenetic Beta state into the deep relaxation and receptivity of Alpha anytime you feel the need to do so. Simply practice the deep breathing exercises described earlier. You can also take it to the next level with mindful meditation. Sit straight with your feet flat on the floor, or sit in a cross-legged position. Gently rest your hands on your legs, palms up, and bring your thumb, index finger and middle fingers together. Close your eyes, and be mindful of your breathing.

    It can be helpful to silently repeat a word or phrase that has special meaning to you. “God is love,” “Shalom,” or “Om” are popular choices to get you into a peaceful state. Starting at your toes, imagine all the tension and stress of the day slowly flowing out of your feet and into the earth. Relaxation continues to wash over your body, taking you deeper and deeper into a place of complete contentment.

    As you bask in the peacefulness of Alpha, inspiration, creativity and sudden insights may float into your awareness. People often find solutions for issues they’ve been dealing with, or discover a completely new way to look at a situation.

    When you feel you’ve spent enough time basking in the Alpha state, you can gently bring yourself back into consciousness. It’s helpful to silently say a positive affirmation, like, “Every day in every way I am getting healthier and healthier, happier and happier.” Count from one to five, bringing yourself back into a state of refreshed alertness. One, feel the chair beneath you; two, three, wiggle your fingers and toes; four, you’re back in the room, and five, open your eyes. Take a moment to stretch and mentally review your experience. Do any images, thoughts, or insights stand out? If so, write them down.

    Once you’ve practiced mindful meditation a few times, and have seen for yourself the profound difference it can make in your state of mind, you’ll want to use your “magical power” over and over again. And the more you use that power, the more you’ll benefit from the Alpha state, and be able to return to it whenever you need calming.

    Experience a healing Alpha state in all the mind-body-spirit classes offered at the Optimum Health Institute holistic health missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 44 years of holistic healing. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement, and inspiration to detoxify your body, quiet your mind, and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty.

    Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Embracing Your Spiritual Awakening

    A new season beckons … and it’s a wonderful time to think about awakening the Spirit within.

    That is an essential part of our well-being, although we don’t always focus on it as we should. Especially today, when the world seems fraught with challenges that crowd our minds and threaten to steal our peace—but we needn’t let that happen. By purposely turning away from the challenges, we can see that a brand-new season offers renewed hope. And there is no better time to focus on our spiritual health.

    After all, when we feel turmoil, it’s often a sign that our souls are aching. By looking inward, we can experience the kind of healing that truly replenishes us—the kind that comes only from our Creator. In the Bible, the prophet Elijah heard God speaking to him in the form of a “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). If we don’t make an effort to tune out life’s noise and listen for God’s voice, we could miss His quiet message to our hearts.

    But when we do make an effort to listen for God’s quiet message, it can bring an amazing, incomparable sense of calm and renewed purpose.

    Byron Katie experienced this sort of calm—but not until she reached the lowest point of her life. She was suffering from addictions and severe depression, and then, in a moment of striking clarity, Katie had what she calls her “spiritual epiphany.” Suddenly she knew that by letting go of the turmoil that had long consumed her, and focusing instead on positive, hopeful thoughts, she could change her life into one of joy, purpose, and love. That’s when she created “The Work,” a method of self-inquiry that helps people separate myth from truth and is based on four questions:

    1. 1. Is it true?
    2. 2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
    3. 3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
    4. 4. Who would you be without the thought?

    From that day forward, Katie had a renewed purpose, and she dedicated her life to sharing her personal epiphany with others. She is convinced beyond any doubt that if she hadn’t confronted her own desperation, she would never have experienced the spiritual awakening that has transformed so many lives.

    We want you to experience your own spiritual awakening and be ready to face the new season with a renewed sense of purpose, hope, and joy.

    Take the first step by visiting our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and then call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation. Give yourself this precious gift of healing, and your life will be forever changed.