• The Power of One


    In 1998 in Kempville, Ontario, Ryan Heljac, a 6-year-old first grader, was horrified to learn that people in Africa were dying because they didn’t have access to clean water.   His teacher told the class it cost $70 to dig a well in Uganda, so the young boy set to work.  His parents were supportive, and gave him additional chores to do around the house to raise money.  When he had earned the entire $70, he learned from the Canadian charity WaterCan that drilling a well actually required $2,000.

    Undaunted, Ryan threw himself back into the project with renewed vigor.  The local paper picked up the inspirational story, and soon the boy was invited to speak at other schools and regional organizations.  Donations flooded in to supplement his chore money, and within 10 months, the necessary funds were raised.  Ryan, then 7, was invited to visit the village in Uganda that finally had direct access to clean water from its brand new well, thanks to the unflagging focus of the compassionate youngster.  In his honor, the village created a big marker in front of the life-nourishing water source that read, “Ryan’s Well.”

    Today, the non-profit foundation, “Ryan’s Well,” has created nearly 2,000 well and sanitation projects in Africa, benefitting nearly 1 million people.

    Meanwhile, in 2005, An Oakland California mother reading newspaper accounts of the wrath of Hurricane Katrina noticed a Louisiana church was asking for donations of baby clothes to help families who had lost everything.  On a whim, she spread the word to her circle of friends, and started boxing up baby clothes her own kids had outgrown.  In just a few days, she had collected 200 pounds of desperately needed baby clothes, and was inspired to continue.  To date, she’s collected 28,000 pounds of gently used items through Loved Twice, the non-profit she created to help new parents clothe and care for infants.

    It’s not how much money or education someone has, or even how old they are, that can make them a catalyst for positive change and healing on a local, regional, national or even global level.  A single person with passionate dedication to a specific project or cause can make miracles happen.

    Learn how to make positive, powerful and lasting changes when you embark on a life-affirming visit to the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin, Texas.  Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Kindness Transforms People


    Kindness Transforms People

    “Bill” was walking home from school one Friday when he noticed a classmate lugging a full backpack and an armload of books.   Bullies approached the boy with the books and knocked them to the ground, then laughed and ran away.  Bill immediately went over, introduced himself, and started to help “Stan” pick up the scattered materials.

    Although they shared several classes, the two hadn’t previously talked to each other.  Bill carried his share of the books right to Stan’s house, and in the days, weeks, and years after the bullying incident, the two remained good friends. 

    It wasn’t until the buddies were graduating from college that Stan revealed he’d been carrying everything home from his locker that day because he planned to commit suicide over the weekend.  Stan told Bill it was Bill’s spontaneous compassion and kindness that changed his mind, and gave him the hope and strength to keep on going, and create a happy and fulfilling life.

    While this story has been told in various forms through the decades, the heart of it remains the same.  A simple random act of kindness has the power to literally change another person’s life.

    In our fast-paced, instant-gratification, techno-wired society, it’s easy to feel diminished and isolated.  Too many people retreat behind an emotional wall and never have the courage or self-esteem to reach out.  Dr. Candace Pert, a neuroimmunologist, said her research showed people are hard-wired to be in community, or at least have a single other person close to them.  Someone feeling completely alone cannot thrive.

    Our seemingly simple acts of kindness can have a profound impact on others, and give them the gift of feeling connected, and being acknowledged and validated in a positive way.

    A young man in Colorado has adopted the sweet practice of taking dozens of flowers to assisted living facilities on Valentine’s Day.  He makes sure every woman gets a rose, and personally delivers them to delighted ladies.  One particular time he stopped outside an elderly woman’s room to see if she was awake.  In a move typical of a dementia patient, the woman looked right through him, and didn’t register any kind of reaction.

    Undaunted, the young man walked over to her bed and placed a flower on her chest.  The woman immediately became quite animated – she picked up the bloom, sniffed it deeply, and kept repeating happily, “A rose!  I got a rose!  A rose!”  Somehow, the touch and fragrance of the single flower had broken through her mental fog, and reconnected her to a lovely memory. 

    What simple acts of kindness can you do today?  Sharing a smile, holding a door open, giving someone in need a sandwich, helping someone cross a busy street – you have limitless opportunities to be a god-send for someone who needs to feel a little human connection and compassion.  There’s just no way of knowing how much your actions could mean.

    Feel the kindness and compassion from the positive, supportive team at the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin, Texas.  Find out how they plant the seeds of transformation for body, mind and spirit to help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation for one or all three weeks of the OHI healthy lifestyle program.


    BOB newsletter photo

    OHI in 2015: Laying A Strong Foundation for the Future

    “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts on it will never be dismayed.’”  –  Isaiah 28:16

    This Biblical truth applies equally to people and institutions — to endure and flourish, one must first carefully establish a solid spiritual foundation. Trying to build a plan, an organization or a life without a clear direction is futile. Without a vision, where are you going? Without core values or principles, what guides you? These elements must be defined in your heart and mind to create a clear vision for growth and fulfillment.

    Our commitment to being an effective God-centered community has remained the cornerstone of OHI since its beginning. We looked to the scriptures to define our core values of holism, generosity, relationships, life-long learning, stewardship and service. Our guiding principles were then, and continue to be, trustworthiness, respect, empowerment and alignment.

    Next year Optimum Health Institute (OHI) celebrates its 40th year as a change agent for human-kind, continuing our mission to improving the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of everyone we touch.

    Connecting the Optimum Health Institute Community Spring 2015

    To prepare us for this milestone and following the rhythm of the OHI program, we are dedicating 2015 to being the year of  inspiration, exploration, reflection  and  integration . We are prayerfully reflecting on where we have been, where we are, and where we are going as we build on the solid foundation our founders created.

    We’re digging deep into the roots of what makes our program elegantly simple and uniquely OHI. We’re evaluating how we can best be of service to our guests and how we can take the OHI holistic healing program to the next level.

    “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…”  –  Matthew 16:18

    You are part of this “rock,” part of our mission to change and heal the world by changing and healing ourselves. When we feel whole and healthy in body, mind and spirit, we have a solid foundation for growth and living each moment in gratitude, compassion and God’s grace.

    As your needs change, we’ve changed and evolved our holistic healing program and our facilities in San Diego and Austin to best be of service. Some of the foundational work we’re doing is purely physical. We realize that part of creating a safe space for guests to heal and grow requires comfortable, affordable and engaging accommodations. This year we continue the renovations and upgrades to rooms and classrooms at our missions in both San Diego and Austin, Texas.

    In alignment with our commitment to a holistic healing program, we’re equally committed to providing guests with an opportunity to celebrate their spirit, and grow in their personal relationship with God. Every OHI class now includes at least a one-minute guided meditation to take guests into a restorative and receptive Alpha state.


     “The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.”  – Mother Teresa

    As a member of our growing OHI community “family,” you can count on us to continue to provide you with material to inspire, educate, nurture and delight you during our year of strengthening our foundation. In 2015, each issue of our quarterly newsletter will focus on inspiring and exploring our personal growth through self-study in order to  know thyself , as we are instructed in Psalm 77:6.

    In this issue, you will find articles that  Inspire  personal growth through spiritual disciplines, such as journaling and meditation; the importance of body consciousness in the body-mind-spirit connection, and an update on OHI’s progress in refurbishing the interiors and exteriors of our accommodations and classrooms.

    Moving into the summer, our theme will focus on the second step of insuring a strong foundation –  Exploration and Encouragement , and how to deepen your practice of self-awareness. In the fall, we’ll share practical advice and tools that support the process of  Reflection . We will end the year, appropriately, with ways to  Integrate  your new-found knowledge and wisdom. In alignment with the Quaker proverb, “When you pray, move your feet,” this issue will share practical, step-by-step guidance for following through.

    We invite you to join us this year as we mindfully reexamine each aspect of our program and our facilities. How can we enhance your experience with us, and help you know yourself better? Are there any additional classes or practices that could enrich your path to optimum health? How would you like to become more involved with OHI?

    We look forward to hearing from you, and continuing to serve you on your path to optimum health.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute

    of San Diego and Austin

  • Scholarship Spotlight: The Gift of Living a Full Life

    Larry Newsletter_3_10_15

    There are some people who, the minute we meet them, we realize they’re special. This is the story of one of those people.

    The gentleman was a spirited 80 years young when he arrived at OHI in April 2013. Doctors had diagnosed him with liver and lung cancer, and given him just two months to live.

    When I met him, I was struck by how personable, engaging and positive he was. It wasn’t that he was afraid of dying – it was that he still had one more river to raft. He and his wife of 50 years had rafted every river in the country, except for the Mississippi. They had saved the largest river for last, and he didn’t feel he could leave this life in peace until the two of them shared this final adventure.

    While he didn’t come to OHI expecting a cure, he did hope to gain enough strength, and time, to create one more joyful memory for his wife and family.

    In line with OHI Scholarship eligibility requirements, the man paid for the first week of the OHI program, then applied for and received a scholarship for the second and third weeks.

    To everyone’s delight, he found that the food, wheatgrass, fellowship and information he gained made him feel better than he had in 30 years. He not only regained enough strength to do the Mississippi rafting trip – he was still living seven months later, and feeling great.

    His wife shared how fantastic the trip was, and how blessed her husband felt to have the opportunity to do the entire OHI healing program. The experience gave him more precious time than he could have imagined.

    It was several more months before he went into hospice, and he had time to accomplish everything he wanted to do. To me, that’s the true essence of the OHI Scholarship program.

    It’s being of service to people who are working to balance health opportunities, and realizing that “healing” can take many forms, depending on what an individual’s personal situation is. For this gentleman, the healing he received through his scholarship was living his life to the fullest, with grace and dignity to the very end. His three weeks at OHI gave him time to finish what he wanted to do, enriching every moment he had left and bringing joy to all those around him.

    Daily, I get to see how the OHI Scholarship program is such a healing and humbling service to people. The dollars donated are more than just dollars. They’re the gift of life.

    When you give to the OHI Scholarship Fund , you are giving the gift of healing to OHI community members who require financial assistance. Please consider a one-time donation or a sustainable monthly contribution of $19.99. Your generosity will directly benefit those in need of healing.

    The Greatest Gift of Love is the Gift of Healing

    The OHI Scholarship Fund was established to help those who have a life-threatening health opportunity and require financial assistance. The OHI community relies on  acts of kindness and generosity to support.

    Thanks to your support in 2014, we were able to provide 115 scholarships, which represents a 26% increase given in the previous year. Our overarching goal for 2015  is to raise $500,000 in scholarship funds.

    You can give the gift of healing for those who are ill, and in need by supporting the OHI Scholarship Fund by making a:

    • One-Time Donation

    • Sustainable Monthly Contribution

    Three Ways to Give

    1.Donate by mail: Use the newsletter donation envelope

    2.Donate online: www.optimumhealth.org

    3.Donate by phone: (800) 993-4325

    Optimum Health Institute is a non-profit, religious organization. Your donation is tax deductible.

  • Doing “The Write Thing”

    girl journaling

    When a retired Kansas politician got word her 3-year-old grandson had a malignant tumor in his intestines, everything changed.   Already a nurturing matriarch, she shifted her compassion into high gear to give extra time and love to her entire family.

    To everyone around her she was the rock; the calm in the storm.  The only time she could let down her guard, weep, and work through her feelings of fear and grief was when she picked up her pen and opened her journal.

    During the years of the young boy’s surgeries, chemotherapy, and a slow but complete recovery, Elma faithfully wrote about her panic, anger, helplessness and hope.  This daily “time out” to honestly tune in to her feelings brought her a sense of peace, and let her feel God’s grace and presence in a deeply personal way throughout this challenging time. She realized, in retrospect, her discipline of daily journaling nourished her spirit and strengthened her soul.

    Journaling is almost a deceptively simple spiritual discipline.  All you need is paper, a pen, and a few moments – longer if you desire – to jot down what’s on your mind or in your heart.  Rather quickly, people who start a regular journaling practice discover what a powerful healing tool it is.  Journal writers become more self-aware. They’re able to reflect, let off steam, get in touch with their deepest fears and highest hopes, and release stress.  Through honestly confronting and addressing what’s unfolding in their lives, they’re building a firm foundation for positive change and growth.

    A potentially transformative journaling and meditation exercise taught at the Optimum Health Institute specifically helps guests resolve painful issues.

    First, ask for Divine support and guidance.  For example, recite the Lord’s Prayer, or visualize yourself in a bubble of white light.  Through deep breathing and relaxation, move into a more open and receptive mental state.  From this place of peace and introspection, write about a troubling issue from your perspective.

    Then, write about the same issue, but from the opposite perspective.  Finally, address the same issue a third time, but now from a completely neutral perspective.  Writing from a different point of view can frequently provide answers for how to bring an undesirable situation into healing balance.

    Experience the positive power of journaling and other healthy new habits when you embark on a life-affirming visit to the OHI in San Diego or Austin, Texas.  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) 993-4325 to make your reservation.