Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI (Part 1 of 2)


A very happy new year to our OHI community. Hopefully, you just received your January 2020 edition of the Optimum Health Institute Newsletter. If not, you can find a link to the digital version here.

Our theme for this issue is “Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI”. In this edition, we feature articles that highlight one of our newest staff members, Danielle Demko, a senior facilitator at OHI San Diego; Susan Manning, an OHI Austin missionary; John Hagan, a long-standing and now life-long OHI community member; and Sharon Peck’s touching story of how the OHI Scholarship was a god-send in helping her through Lyme and Parkinson’s Diseases. We also feature a science-based article that focuses on the basics of Intermittent Fasting (IF) and how IF works within the OHI program. And lastly, my article where I share ways to ‘renew’ in the New Year.

Please keep reading for a preview of my “Renewal” article.

Renewal: New Year, New You, New OHI (Part 1 of 2)

‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’

-2 Corinthians 5:17

A warm and wholehearted New Year greeting to our OHI community. As we enter the new year and the Spring season approaches, this verse is an excellent reminder that it is a time of renewal. As we witness the cycle of life starting once again, the world becoming greener as plants sprout new leaves and blossoms, it is the perfect time for us to renew and be recreated in body, mind, and spirit. As the verse above states, “the old has gone, the new is here,” it is time to let the past go and focus on the present and the future.

When I was a kid, Spring cleaning was a big deal at my house and in my neighborhood. Everyone on the block would throw open all their windows and doors and let the fresh air inside. My parents and I would dust, vacuum, scrub and cleanse until the inside of the house smelled as good as it did outside. Nowadays, I like to add some mental Spring cleaning as well. It’s a great time to clear out the clutter in your mind, find ways to simplify your life, and reorganize your priorities, so that you can do more of what you really want to do.

Here at OHI through our classes and activities, we show our guests many ways to renew, restore, and recreate. And, over the past year, we have been renewing, too – our facilities. We have refurbished many of our rooms, including 80% of our guest rooms on the main campus, and 100% of our townhouses. We’ve removed the carpet and updated with wood flooring; we have repainted; and in the bathrooms we’ve put in new tile and tubs. And, further down in the newsletter, I’ll share some of the exciting new programs we’re offering.

New You: Now is the Time to Harmonize with Change

As the days lengthen, and the world around us brightens and becomes more colorful, it is a good reminder that our world is constantly evolving. New ways of thinking, new ideas, new methods for doing things, new challenges with new solutions, and lots of new things to do. All of which makes the upcoming Spring a great time to reflect on how we fit into this new world, and what part of it fits us.

Change can be frightening, we fear it will cause us to fail or get hurt. But, when we step back from it for a moment, we realize that it is constant, and that we have been adapting to it all along. History is nothing if not ongoing transformation: birth and death; construction and destruction; order and disorder. “The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it,” stated Helen Keller, who at 19 months old experienced dire change, learned it wasn’t the end of the world, then for the rest of her life modeled resilience to all of humanity.

The best way to deal with change is to prepare for it, then it is so much easier to accept and enjoy. At OHI, we’ve found that stretch, alpha practice, and mindfulness not only strengthens our minds and bodies, but gives us a growth mindset that empowers us to encounter failure and not get upset. Instead we learn from it, and acclimate to the change it brings.

‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ Romans 12:2

Science has shown that light exercise stimulates our brain and increases creativity. Over the long winter, with the shorter days and the colder temperatures, we tend to stay indoors. Spring is just around the corner, which makes it time to break free and get outside. A short walk every day has amazing health benefits.

Another wonderful outdoor activity is gardening. I like the old proverb that says, “Gardening is an exercise in optimism.” Gardening is an activity that keeps you in the present, yet allows you

to anticipate future progress. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as watching a plant grow, mature, and blossom.

Our guests here at OHI enjoy volunteering their time in our garden. Tending the plants from which we make our famous juice. Come join us in this and the many other mindful activities offered everyday at OHI.

You can also brighten your spirit by doing volunteer work, or spending time on a hobby or a favorite activity. Better yet, start a new one – experiencing new things stimulates your brain starting with the dopamine receptors which make you feel good. Trying new activities also creates new neural pathways in your brain (more electrical connections between brain cells) which strengthens your brain and makes you more creative. It even helps reduce the effects of dementia as you age.

‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:’ Ecclesiastes 3:1

This wonderful verse reminds us that the beginning of the year is a time for renewal. A time to take inventory of our life and consider where we want to be in the future. As we read further into the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, we learn in verses 3:2-3 that there is a time for restoration and progress: ‘a time to plant and a time to uproot… a time to tear down and a time to build.’ At OHI where we focus on the body, mind, and spirit, you’ll find a great place to rejuvenate, regenerate, and revitalize.

As we move toward Spring, this is an excellent time for letting go of the past. To quote Helen Keller once more, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Holding onto past emotional hurts can harm our physical health, and ruminating over old wounds keeps us stuck. The changing season is a wonderful time to work on becoming more of the person you’ve always wanted to be. Now is the time to commit to decisions you’ve been putting off.

Keeping in touch or reconnecting with your extended OHI family is a great way to release your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Those friends you made here, who understand you better than anyone else, are ready to help. They will be the sounding board for your thoughts and dreams when your family and older friends simply won’t understand the diet and lifestyle changes you want to make. Plan a reunion visit to OHI in the coming months and spend some quality time with your people. A personal retreat to OHI will give you the time to reflect on your life, the past year, and what you may want to incorporate into your life moving forward.

Join us next Saturday for the second part of my article.

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