Introducing OHI guest, Patricia Ramsay. She has led an extraordinary life, and at 75 years old is still striving for a deeper connection with God every day. Her spiritual journey has taken her around the world — from Jamaica to London to the United States and India — even to the doorstep of OHI. We are so grateful to be a repeat stop on her travels.
Q. How did you hear about OHI?
In October 2017, I felt there was a cloud between myself and the mentee I was working with, so I asked God for guidance. The phone rang, and it was my girlfriend calling to tell me about OHI. Clearly, this was the answer God was sending me. When I have meditated on something, I listen to what the voice inside me says, and I never question it.
Q. What was your first visit like?
It was simply amazing! I felt like it got my body-mind-spirit back into alignment. I was a vegetarian when I went there, but after completing the 3-day juice cleanse, I said to myself that this is how I want to feel all of the time. So I became a vegan, and I’ve never felt better in my life.
Q. In 2014, you were accepted as a Distinguished Fellow at Harvard University in their Advanced Leadership Initiative. Tell us about that experience.
The former CEO of the International Women’s Forum (IWF) recommended me for the Harvard program. I was just approaching turning 70, and thought I was a bit too old to be going back to college, but Harvard invited me to interview, so I went. I met with the Deans of three schools — Business, Law, and Education. I was accepted into the program, and Harvard awarded me a full scholarship. It was God’s plan, and He most definitely provided! I spent a lovely year sharing ideas with the most amazing minds. God has given me the courage and support to do his work. I am just a vessel and cannot do otherwise.
Q. You make time for prayer and meditation every morning. Are there any spiritual experiences you would like to share?
About 6 months ago, a voice came to me clear as a bell, and told me to go to Bali. I knew in my heart this would be a spiritual retreat that would further develop my being. I booked passage to Ubud but didn’t schedule too much. I feel that you always have to leave space for grace. Too much structure shows a lack of faith, and ego managing everything. I want room in my life to let the Divine enter. I met with a sacred healer, and when he laid his hands on me he told me that I harness a tremendous amount of energy. I am only able to balance it all because my faith is so strong, and I listen to God without ever second guessing. He told me I needed to share my spirituality with others more freely instead of holding back so that my energy can flow. That conversation marked a quantum leap in my faith. I felt a complete shift in my consciousness. I realized that I need to share my story with the world, because in that way I share God with the world.
Q. Have you come back to OHI since you first visited last October?
Yes! I returned in August 2018, this time for 3 weeks. I felt like my body was out of alignment again, but after completing the 21-day program and juice fasting each week, I felt my body was where it needed to be, linked with my mind and spirit.
Q. What classes spoke the most to you in this visit?
Each Vocal Toning Class was magnificent. I could feel the trees and the energy of the ground. Wednesday’s Release Ceremony was also quite moving for me. God always puts me in the right place for the nourishment my body, mind, and soul, and OHI will always be a place that nurtures me back into alignment.
Q. Looking back on your life, what advice do you have for others?
At 75 years old, I feel like life is a total adventure. Every day is better than the last. Yes, I’ve had bad times, but they all brought me to exactly where I needed to be. The mantra I use most often in my meditation is “Be still and know that I am God.”
When Natalia Eric was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2010, it was not her first experience with cancer. Two years earlier, she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and her thyroid was removed. This time, the health opportunity was even more aggressive. Doctors removed her spleen, which had swollen to seven pounds, and started her on chemotherapy. They also gave her only five years to live.
Natalia was not one to passively surrender. She had been born in Russia, and navigated challenging situations before. Now a resident of Toronto, Natalia realized if she wanted to take charge of her health, she was going to have to change things dramatically.
While scouring the internet for information, she came across YouTube videos of people sharing their transformational experience at Optimum Health Institute (OHI) San Diego. Natalia booked a three-week stay.
“Those first three days, I got so sick,” Natalia said. She realized her body was purging toxins she accumulated during her chemo treatments, but that didn’t make the process any easier. She was ready to quit the program right then and there. Compassionate OHI team members and fellow guests convinced her to stay.
“Just three days later,” Natalia said, “Everything changed for me. The sun was shining, the grass was green, the birds were singing — it was wonderful. I was so happy to be there!” Natalia celebrated every day of the rest of that first stay, relishing the instant closeness of the OHI community. She felt fantastic, and shed 17 pounds those three weeks.
When she returned to Toronto after that first visit, her oncologist was amazed at the dramatic changes in her body. Her bloodwork was fantastic, no lymph nodes were swollen, and her bone marrow looked good.
“I started thinking,” she said. “If three weeks at OHI could do this for me, what could three months do? I applied to become a missionary.”
Since then, Natalia has been a proud part of the missionary program five separate times. With each visit, she continues to learn more about herself while she’s also meeting new guests, and making new friends. “I find I can help people by sharing my own stories. I tell them how I incorporate the OHI teachings into my life.”
Russian guests in particular immediately connect with Natalia. Many time their return visits to coincide with hers. Some of the older Russian guests don’t speak English, and Natalia is happy to translate for them, and help them reap the benefits of learning new ways to eat, think, meditate and move.
Natalia said that with each new missionary assignment, she’s able to go deeper into the heart of OHI’s healing program. Her biggest personal transformation is emotional healing. For the first time in her life, Natalia said, she is truly loving herself. “We’re told that to think of ourselves first is selfish,” Natalia said. “But until you can love yourself enough to make time for yourself, you can never really love anyone else. I know that everything about OHI is to make sure the body, mind and spirit are all taken care of. You can’t heal the body if the mind and spirit are still doing the same old stuff. To heal your emotions, you have to make changes.”
Those changes don’t just happen during a stay at an OHI mission — they continue to transform lives when people take the program home with them.
“My grown children will ask me about the food I eat now, and I help them understand emotionally how important it is. They start to eat more raw foods, and have salads at every meal. And that means my grandchildren are getting healthier, and learning healthy habits at such a young age. It makes me so happy.”
We sat down and chatted with Evie Edington and Karen Labat, an amazing Mother-Daughter duo, who have worked at OHI Austin, teaching almost every class over the years. Here are Evie & Karen’s thoughts on the wonders of witnessing healing daily and what Community means.
Q. What do you like most about working at OHI?
The most rewarding part of the work we do is that it is not just a job to us; it is a calling. Witnessing the impact that this program has on the body-mind-spirit, and to be a part of that impact is a blessing that we gratefully acknowledge every day. We love being able to inspire others to live healthier lives. We are very passionate about food-as-medicine, so when we teach Elimination I and II, this is the message we convey. Guests become empowered to change their lives and take back control of their health. This is why we love OHI. We aren’t trying to sell people magic pills. We are providing them with real tools that can boost their wellness quotient. All of it can be done at home after re-entry!
Q. What is the biggest change you’ve noticed in yourself since you started working here?
The funny thing about being a part of transformation is that it pulls you along with it. We have been challenged over and over to grow beyond our small thinking. Since working at OHI, we have added more fresh foods, more fermented foods, more wheatgrass shots, and more veggie juice to our own daily diets when not at the OHI campus. This has taken our brains to a whole new level! Working on this team, we are joined together to be a transformative and healing force in the world.
Q. What OHI class has had the most impact on you?
For Karen, who has had the privilege of teaching every class in the OHI curriculum, she has had the benefit of seeing the way all of the classes build on each other to create a beautiful, healing outcome. She is very partial to the Alpha Classes, especially Alpha I, Emotional Detox and Mental Detox.
For Evie, the classes that she loves most are Elimination I and II. She is constantly learning more about the impact of nutrition on the body, and it never ceases to inspire her. She recently taught the Mind-Body Connection class, and the content blew her mind. She was so excited to talk about the power of the mind to influence messages to our body. We live in a world where daily news program messages can be quite negative, but we don’t realize how these messages impact our health. Having this class on our schedule is wonderful because we help people understand that unique aspect of wellness.
Q. What are the pros & cons of working together as mother-daughter?
One positive of working together is the way that we support one another in both our private and work lives. We love bouncing new ideas for classes off of each other. We sub for each other when one is on vacation, sick, or has an emergency. Working together has brought us closer and deepened our friendship. The only downside of working together is that we give each other very honest feedback, which isn’t necessarily what you always want to hear. But we get to see each other’s talents and contributions to the program, and that is very bonding.
Q. What does community mean to you?
For us, community starts with the OHI team. They are our friends as well as co-workers, and we have a deep, abiding respect for all of them. That respect radiates out to the guests that join us at OHI, and then beams out to the broader world. “Community” has come to mean a great deal to us. There is no greater feeling than being part of a community that we can trust and depend on.
Q. What’s OHI Heartbeat?
We are passionate about empowering people to live healthful lives. Being part of the wellness community as a whole is very life-affirming. There is also a giant self-confidence boost that comes with all the appreciation and acknowledgement for simply being a teacher and counselor. But the bottom line is, our job here is a calling to do God’s work on Earth. And we are honored to do God’s bidding.
Q. What inspires you?
Healing inspires us. Living a healthy, active life that is full of the little things we love is also very inspiring. We only get one life, and helping others as we make our way on own journey lifts everyone up.