• 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.