• Belonging Is a Basic Need

    Community is something we spend a lot of time thinking about because it’s such an integral part of who we are at OHI. People who come to stay at OHI are seeking a healthier, more holistic lifestyle, and they find that … but they also find something more: a wonderful sense of community. They no longer feel alone because they have bonded with others in a way that transcends the time they spend here.

    The OHI community is the one place where people truly work to love their neighbors as themselves—just as God calls us to do. Community is so important to humans that it is actually in our DNA. In his famous hierarchy of human needs, Abraham Maslow put “Belonging” at the third level alongside “Love.” Needs associated with this level of the hierarchy include acceptance, feeling supported and understood, and having relationships and friendships. When these needs aren’t being met, we can feel rejected, neglected, and lonely.

    Belonging Is a Primal Need

    For our ancestors, being part of a community was integral to survival—the difference between living and dying. And all these centuries later, that need to belong really hasn’t changed much. Even though we’re not threatened by saber-toothed tigers anymore, our mental health is wholly dependent on belonging.

    In today’s busy society it’s easy to miss opportunities to connect with our fellow humans. Then, if or when we happen to run into some difficulty, like suffering a loss or finding ourselves stressed or fearful, we lack the kind of support we need. Suffering alone seems to make any problem worse—and if it continues, it can even be harmful to our health.

    According to a 2020 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, loneliness has been associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. People who are socially isolated and lonely have a 29 percent increased risk of heart disease and a 32 percent increased risk of stroke. And social isolation has also been associated with a 50 percent higher risk of developing dementia.

    The bottom line is, human beings need each other. Albert Schweitzer put it aptly when he said: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

    The First Step in Belonging: Making Genuine Connections

    According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, when you are engaged in a conversation with someone, and the two of you are genuinely interested in the topic and each other, you will point your navels at each other. Observe people talking in public sometime, and you’ll see that this is true. People will be facing each other, even making eye contact, but their hips will be turned away from each other. Neither of those people is really interested in the other person or what they are saying.

    Conversely, here at OHI we see many people leaning into each other and having genuine conversations. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

    Belonging begins with acceptance: accepting others, and being accepted by others. In a Psychology Today article titled “Create a Sense of Belonging,” psychologist Karyn Hall writes: “One of the best ways to communicate acceptance is through validation. Validation builds a sense of belonging and strengthens relationships.”

    Belonging to the OHI Community: How It Begins

    When our guests share their thoughts about the belonging process, they describe it as a learning journey of coming into wellness and wholeness … a path that is a collective effort but also has individualized objectives.

    Guests have also mentioned that as part of the OHI community, they found themselves sharing things that were more intimate than anything they’d ever shared before. People even say, “I can’t believe I’m telling you this.” It’s an emotional outlet that enables people to feel and share their emotions freely.

    Everyone is exuding this positive energy, and this release of energy helps you transform. You feel like you never want leave because there is a sense of safety while at OHI. And the people you meet; many will become lifelong friends. You build friendships that last for years because you let your guard down and felt free to share your most intimate concerns. The next time you feel stressed, you might want to pick up the phone and call one of your OHI friends.

    Belonging to OHI’s Community Helps You Persist and Succeed

    Renowned psychologist Albert Ellis once said, “The art of love is largely the art of persistence.” Persistence is one of OHI’s 5 Ps to Optimum Health, and having the love and support of belonging to a community makes it easier to stay the course and persist until you reach your goal.

    Each week when people attend our program, there is a great balance in the community as some people return for a second, third, or fourth week. These returning guests help the newer up-and-comers by sharing helpful tips and how-to’s that enable them to quickly assimilate into the OHI culture and community. Veteran guests understand—physically and emotionally—what the first-weekers are experiencing and, by offering support, can help them achieve their goals and their sense of belonging even faster.

    When you have a sense of belonging, you want to give back or pay it forward. It’s not only lending a helping hand but also a sharing of wealth. So, as you enjoy these crisp autumn days, and refine your sense of community and belonging, we ask that you please remember the OHI Scholarship Fund when planning your year-end donations.

    Share the Love, Share the Feeling, Share the Gift of Healing

    Please consider contributing to the OHI Scholarship Fund to help those in need experience the benefits of the OHI program. Over the course of our 44 years, OHI has provided scholarships to individuals who could not afford to otherwise attend. In most years, we have been able to fulfill all requests for assistance through the generosity of our community. OHI invites you to join with us in celebrating our healing mission with a tax-deductible gift. Your contribution will help to make our community stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.

    Provide the Gift of Healing today by supporting the OHI Scholarship Fund with a tax-deductible One-Time Donation, or Sustainable Monthly Contribution.

    To all who have donated to the OHI Scholarship Fund – Thank you for your generosity!
    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 Jennifer Inman, Facilitator at OHI San Diego

    Today we are so proud to put the staff spotlight on Jennifer Inman, Facilitator at OHI San Diego.

    Q: Give us a little background on yourself, including your work experience prior to joining OHI.

    A: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Allied Health, and a Master’s degree in Complementary & Integrated Medicine. Before coming to OHI, I was a Holistic Health & Nutrition coach for 14 years, as well as a Nutritional Microscopis for 12 years. I am also a registered yoga teacher, and have had my own studio for 6 years.

    Q: What made you decide to join the staff at OHI?

    A: I had wanted to work at OHI San Diego for 7 years. Their philosophies really aligned with my own, and it just seemed like the ideal place to work and learn. I stayed as a guest in April 2019, and I recognized the CEO walking across campus from his photo on the OHI website. I’m not going to lie, I shamelessly ran after him just to have a personal chat. I told him how OHI’s curriculum resonated with my own background as a nutritional coach and yoga instructor, and he generously offered to hire me on trial to teach stretch classes. I joined OHI full-time in December 2019, and I’m now certified to teach 18 different classes including Mind/Body Connection, Digestion, Elimination, Lymphatic Exercise, Stretch, and more.

    Q: Describe your current role at OHI.

    A: As a facilitator, not only do I teach the OHI curriculum, but I also counsel guests. I meet with them 1-on-1 for a 30-minute coaching session. I answer any questions they may have, we talk about nutrition, how a detox diet impacts the body, and how eating living raw foods can fundamentally change their health, their immune system, and more. Frequently, the conversation turns to emotional detox, so we talk about the benefits of various meditation techniques, journaling, etc. I really love the 1-on-1 coaching sessions because I feel like I have the opportunity to make a personal connection with each guest. It’s an honor for me to provide a safe space to hear their concerns, and to be able to start them off on the path to better health.

    Q: What do you look forward to experiencing most each time a new cohort of guests arrives?

    A: I love watching people heal and transform. Every time I teach a class, I look forward to the experience of watching people “get it.” You can see individuals that put in the hard work to plug back into themselves and peel away the layers of comfort connect with their own growing spirituality. It’s an “a-ha” moment that is just amazing to witness. I always emphasize the science of how the body and nutrition works, and seeing how the body/mind/spirit connection all comes together in a single moment of realization really helps solidify my own faith.

    Q: What is the biggest change you’ve noticed in yourself since you started working at OHI?

    A: Before I came to OHI, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, panic attacks, and heart arrhythmias. I always ate a healthly diet and did lots of exercise, but inside I was cynical and unhappy. Now that I’ve worked through the OHI curriculum, I truly understand the mind/body connection, and can see how negative thoughts and beliefs directly contribute to poor health. Now that I’ve learned to let go of the attitude, looked for the lesson, and found gratitude in every situation, I feel I can live my best life.

    Q: Do you find there is a connection between food and spirituality for you?

    A: Absolutely! Food is a gift! It’s what makes the body work at its best, and the better the food we put in our bodies, the more we get out of life. When I grow my own food, I feel like it’s watching a baby being born. There is something miraculous about planting a seed, and watching that seed grow into a plant that will go on to nourish our bodies. To pick lettuce right out of the garden, feel it still warm from the sun, and be able to turn that into a beautiful salad for dinner is heaven.

    Q: For those seeking spiritual evolution, do you have any advice that might help pivot their journey in a more productive direction?

    A: Some people grow through journaling, others through meditation, and others through exercise. Spiritual evolution is a very personal journey, and you should find the means that is most meaningful to you. For me, yoga is how I heal. It brings me joy. It brings me strength. It brings me closer to God. I hope everyone keeps looking for the means that best speaks to them, because the healing they will find on the other side is wonderful.

    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.

  • Get to Know OHI Missionary, Joel Ferry

    Joel Ferry first learned about OHI San Diego when his mother was a guest in 2009. “My mom has had a long-standing connection with the Transcendental Meditation Center in Fairfield, Iowa. She heard about OHI from other guests at the TM Information Center. After her stay there, she couldn’t say enough great things about OHI, and I was interested in experiencing that type of healing for myself.”

    Joel is a career bartender, and at the time he was working long hours as a gaming bartender in Las Vegas. His intense schedule left him little time off so it took 5 years before he was able to make his first trip to OHI. “My first visit was July 2014 for 1 week,” said Joel. “I loved it! I went to every class I could, and took a whole binder of notes. I couldn’t get enough! I came back in March 2016 for 1 week, returned again in September 2017 for 2 weeks, and then again in September 2018 for another 2 weeks. Each visit revealed something new to me. I knew I absolutely needed more time at OHI to work on myself, so I applied for their missionary program. It has completely changed my life!”

    Joel was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011, and used medication to maintain his blood sugar levels. His late-night work hours as a bartender really played havoc with his sleep schedule, and he found himself exercising less and less. He also suffered from diabetic neuropathy in his feet, and couldn’t imagine putting on a pair of sneakers to go for a run after work. It was just too painful.

    “I needed a restart/refresh to my life,” said Joel. “Between my poor sleep patterns, my stressful work environment, my poor diet, and the difficulty managing my diabetes, I was overwhelmed. Depression runs in my family, and I really just wanted to quiet the thoughts in my head. That first week at OHI made such a difference. Not only did the raw diet help with my

    diabetes so that I was off all of my medication by mid-week, but the diabetic neuropathy in my feet subsided. My feet felt so good, I was able to take off my shoes and run on the beach. BAREFOOT! It was utterly transformational!”

    Joel started as an OHI missionary in September 2019. His first three-month term was so successful, that he extended his missionary position for another 6 months.

    “I wanted to be an OHI missionary so that I could be part of a supportive environment that would help me grow into the person I’m meant to be,” said Joel. “I love the camaraderie here. Everyone who chooses OHI is serious about their health. I have met people from all across the country, and while we’re all different, we all want to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. The OHI curriculum and the detox diet put you on the path to improvement starting Day 1.”

    While Joel was busy working as a missionary, COVID hit. “I feel so blessed to have been at OHI during COVID,” said Joel. “The stars aligned, and I was here at the right time for me. Living here in the ‘bubble’ has been a beautiful experience. OHI never closed its doors, so I just continued working to make guests feel welcome, safe, and happy. When OHI offered me the chance to stay on as a Missionary Coordinator, I jumped at it! I love welcoming the new guests every Sunday. I always tell them they are in for the best 3 weeks of their lives. During the week, teaching lymphatic exercise is a blast. And my favorite thing to do is host the Friday Night Live variety show. I also really love hearing the testimonials on Fridays. It’s so rewarding to hear the success stories of people releasing what they are ashamed of. When the people around you are so supportive, you know you’ll never feel alone again.”

    What are Joel’s goals moving forward? “The longer I am at OHI, the more it’s about mental health. Growing as a human being is a slow and deep process, like peeling back layers of an onion. I’m learning why I make certain choices, and am more aware of their consequences.”

    And Joel’s advice for others considering a stay at OHI? “Don’t pigeon hole your life. You can make a change any time! Over the last year I became certified to be an ESL teacher, and I’m hoping to teach overseas in the future. Right now I’m just so happy to be a missionary at OHI, but I also know I have really positive things to move on to in the future. I have taken responsibility for my own happiness, and I’m really proud of the choices I’m making. Thank you OHI!”

    The OHI missionary program is a volunteer extension program for those who have graduated from the OHI holistic healing program and desire to continue on a spiritual path to heal themselves and others. As a missionary, you are able to immerse yourself in the healing process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We encourage all who have a calling, passion, and commitment to serving others and who want to be in a community focused on healing to apply.
    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.