• Reclaiming Your Power

    A charismatic young Florida man was killed in a freak caving accident when his rope didn’t hold . Distraught, his family first had to come to terms with his sudden death. Then, the most remarkable things started to unfold. Grant had been an active member of a Christian youth group that did missionary work in some of the poorest villages in Africa. What if, his parents began to think, they could find a way to continue Grant’s work? With the support of his huge circle of friends and their church, the couple was able to create a school in Africa to help educate orphaned children.

    In the years that followed, his family, particularly his younger brother and mother, stayed in close touch with the children in the school, sending essential supplies and Christmas gifts. They even visited the village, and got to see first-hand how Grant’s legacy continued to enrich the lives of so many others.

    Instead of staying paralyzed by grief in the face of this untimely death, his family discovered they had reserves of strength, compassion and vision they didn’t know existed.

    This transformational reaction to traumatic situations is so widespread it even has a name – PTG, or “Post Traumatic Growth.” University of North Carolina at Charlotte psychology professor Richard Tedeschi, PhD and his colleague Lawrence Calhoun, PhD created the term. It describes how people who face tragedy can not only survive, but actually become more self-aware, and permanently change in powerful and substantial ways.

    People who are more able to bounce back from adversity seem to have several factors in common.

    First, they have help. Whether it’s a spouse, other family members, caring friends or the strong support of a minister, therapist or group, they know they have someone they can lean on when the reality of their new circumstances is just too much to bear alone.

    Second, they have a sense of purpose; something meaningful in their life to anchor them. Frequently, it’s the drive to be of service to others, maybe even those who are facing similar unexpected circumstances.

    When more than 260 people sustained injuries during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, many of them lost limbs. Their feelings of despair and fear that they would never resume a normal life were overwhelming. That’s when dozens of people uniquely qualified to encourage the bombing victims entered the picture.

    Military men and women who had also lost limbs visited the bombing survivors, listened to their stories and shared their own. They provided empathy and hope in a way no other people could. They had lived through a similar nightmare, and survived. And now they were reassuring the survivors that they could, and would, learn new skills to resume their lives. While changing the perspectives and lives of the bombing victims, the veterans were finding more meaning in their own.

    Besides a supportive community and purpose, the third thing PTG people have is faith in something greater than themselves. Whether it’s a formal religion, trust in God or a spiritual belief in the power of compassion and love, facing a challenge and growing even stronger because of it requires faith.

    Reclaiming your power after adversity is not only possible, it can be truly transformational. You discover new strengths. You gain a different perspective on your values, your friends and your world. Most importantly, you come face to face with the person for whom you have newfound trust, respect and love – yourself.

    Open your mind to 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.

  • Weekend Explorations

    A new producer at a Miami television station wanted to explore the Everglades. She had never been to Florida before getting hired by the station, and was excited to check out her new “back yard.” She talked a handful of coworkers into joining her, many of whom had lived in Miami for years, but had never visited the unique national park.

    It was a blistering hot day of paddling canoes through saw grass swamps, fending off fist-sized mosquitoes, spotting some illusive petite Key Deer and surprising quite a few sunning alligators. It was also a day punctuated by laughter and good-natured barbs about how she’d tricked them into risking their lives in a deadly environment of primordial ooze.

    Besides being downright fun, adventures like that can be just what the doctor ordered. A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine revealed that such excursions rejuvenate the spirit, lower blood pressure and stress hormones, and improve your over-all sense of well being.

    Too frequently when we have multiple demands on our time, leisure activities are the first thing to be eliminated. Scientists say that’s a mistake. These excursions, even just a day or weekend of doing something completely different and engaging, provide immediate health benefits while strengthening bonds with family and friends. When you get back into your demanding daily routine, you discover you’re much more able to cope with stress, and keep a better balance in your life.

    A quick Internet search will reveal a long list of opportunities in your neck of the woods to pique your interest. Here are just a few ideas, broken into several categories:

    Family Time: If you’re looking for fun activities to appeal to the entire family, start by pinning down dates for local and regional festivals and fairs. Seasonal favorite activities include hayrides in the fall, skiing and sledding in the winter and picking your own blueberries and other produce in the summer. Families who enjoy the great outdoors will love spending a day on or in the water, touring area botanical gardens and wildlife preserves, and hiking the trails.

    Educational Trips: Make learning a hands-on adventure with a visit to historical sites, particularly those that do live reenactments. Planetariums and observatories appeal to kids of all ages, and just might spark the curiosity of a future astrophysicist. You could be lucky enough to find an archeological dig site that teaches volunteers some basic skills, and then allows them to assist in an excavation. LocalHarvest.org is a website that tracks down working farms near specific cities, and lets you know when tours are available. Businesses that offer equine assisted learning and therapy opportunities frequently host open-house sessions, where the public can interact with horses to experience their healing presence.

    Weekend Excursions: For those times when you’re lucky enough to have several days to devote to your adventure, think BIG, and venture off the beaten path. Consider a stay at a quaint bed and breakfast, a tour through wine country, renting a sailboat with sleeping quarters, staying on a farm or a dude ranch, or camping in a national forest. Many give you the option of wilderness camping, bringing in an RV, or renting a cabin or tent for a few nights.

    No matter what kind of adventure you choose, know that you’ll return home with a new perspective, lots of good memories, and a feeling of accomplishment that will continue to enrich your life for a long time to come.

    Enrich your body, mind and spirit with 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.

  • Open up Your Mind and Your World

    In the late 1800’s, workers at Proctor and Gamble making batches of a high quality white soap left for their lunch break, but forgot to turn off the mixing machine. So much air was blended into the soap that it couldn’t sink to the bottom of the basin, like all the other bars on the market. The company realized it had something, and started marketing the ‘mistake’ as, “Ivory soap — so pure, it floats.” The soap became an instant success.

    Nearly a century later, a scientist at the 3M corporation was trying to create an extremely strong and durable adhesive for use in airplane construction. He failed, and ended up with a ‘low-tack’ substance. He appealed to colleagues to think of other possible applications. A few years later, a fellow scientist wondered if the ‘mistake’ glue could keep bookmarks from fluttering out of his hymnal during church services. He borrowed some yellow scrap paper from the lab next door, applied the defective adhesive, and created what was to become one of the most in-demand office products ever – the Post-it note.

    “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it,” said Albert Einstein. When something turns out differently than you first envisioned it, you could choose to see it as a mistake, or you could step back, look at the bigger picture, and come up with completely new and positive ways to make it work.

    There are many ways to cultivate a more adventurous and open way to viewing not only failures, but every aspect of your personal, professional and spiritual life.

    1. Pray/Meditate . Prayer is asking for divine guidance. Meditation is listening for the answer. Go into a relaxed state of mindful receptivity, breathe deeply to enter into Alpha, and be open to any answers that may gently float into your awareness.
    2. Ask others for their input . Frequently, we’re too close to a situation to be able to look at it from a different perspective. Asking family, friends or colleagues for their take frequently brings a completely new solution to light.
    3. Go outside and play . Taking a break in nature is a tried and true way to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate. It’s amazing how many smart new ideas are generated by a walk in the park.
    4. Sleep on it . Salvador Dali, the master of surrealism, would place a plate upside down on the floor to the right of his easy chair. He’d hold a heavy key in his right hand, and let himself drift off. As he fell asleep, his right hand relaxed, the key hit the plate with a loud clang, and he’d jolt awake with brand new ideas of what to create next. Give it a try!
    5. Listen to music . Science is churning out study after study of how music impacts brain function. Depending on whether you’re listening to gentle meditation music or heavy metal anthems, tunes can pump you up, calm you down, and activate completely different parts of your brain. It’s a harmonious way to empower you with completely different ways to look at the challenge.

    With a little practice, an open mind can become your key to discovering an exciting, positive and practical new way to live your life.

    Open your mind to 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.

  • Discover Your Passion

    A woman wrote to syndicated newspaper advice columnist “Dear Abby” in a quandary . Her children were grown and embarking on careers of their own, and she felt “incomplete.” She loved the field of medicine, and had every intention of going to med school after college but married, had kids and stayed home instead.

    “I’d love to become a doctor,” she wrote, “but after eight years of medical school and a residency, I’d be 49!”

    Abby sagely replied, “If you did NOT follow your passion, how old would you be in eight years?”

    In our zeal to grow up and “be mature,” we can too quickly dismiss things we love to do as being “frivolous.” The words “job” and “drudgery” seem to go together frequently, and dreading Monday morning becomes the norm.

    Imagine for a moment how different your life would be if you were so delighted with what you were doing, you hated for the workweek to end. Have you ever become so fascinated with and engrossed in a task that the entire day flew by? Do you find yourself grinning, or even laughing out loud, when out of the blue you get ANOTHER great idea for a project at work?

    If so, you are living your passion. And if not, it’s time to figure out why you’re distancing yourself from your talents and your spiritual path. When we’re very young, we’re on a journey of self-discovery and exploring our world 24/7. What did you love to do when you were a kid? What did you want to be when you grew up? Who were your heroes? Chances are, the things that resonated for you then, those that sparked a sense of wonder and connection, were actually the things most closely aligned with your natural talents and strengths. Meditate on ways to bring more of your childhood passions into your life in ways that compliment and enrich your personal and professional paths.

    Another way to figure out what your passion is – take a moment to think of who most annoys you, or makes you jealous. Those emotions can be evoked when we see something we unconsciously want in our OWN life happening for someone else. After you’re processed that uncomfortable fact, turn it around, and contemplate realistic ways you can incorporate some of that energy yourself. If someone is “frittering away their time” as an artist, sign up for a sculpting class. If someone is a “lame” musician, arrange for a few guitar lessons. Sampling something that resonates for you just might open an exciting and passionate new chapter of your life.

    What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Spend some time meditating on the answer, and when you find it, go deeper. See yourself doing exactly that. Notice where you’re doing it, who’s around you, what sounds you hear, what colors you see. Breathe in the emotion of SUCCEEDING at it, and feeling the sense of jubilation that what was once a distant dream is, in your heart and mind, there for the taking. Energetically and emotionally validating your wildest dreams is the first step to bringing them into reality.

    Perhaps the most important thing to realize is, it’s never too late to discover your passion. Grandma Moses, one of the country’s best-known primitive painters, didn’t start painting seriously until she was 76.

    If part of your passion is being the best version of yourself you can be, set the dream in motion with the positive, powerful and lasting changes you initiate 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.