• Guest Spotlight: Meet Nila Sinha, an annual guest at OHI Austin!

    Nila Sinha first learned about OHI Austin 15 years ago, but it took a big life change to springboard her into booking a visit.  “I heard about OHI from my family’s NAET practitioner in South Florida,” said Nila.  “She had been a regular at OHI San Diego for over a decade, and raved about it.  At the time it was early in my career when I was traveling a great deal, and feeling very stressed and burned out.  The detox sounded like a great way to get my body back on track in order to better handle my work stress, but I just couldn’t take a whole week off, let alone three weeks.  I vowed to visit OHI ‘someday’.”

    That “someday” eventually came for Nila in July 2018.  “Basically, my whole life fell apart in the span of two weeks,” said Nila.  “My 19-year career with a company abruptly ended at the same time that my marriage ended.  I was in an emotional free fall!  I tried to flip my perspective, and see these big life changes as an opportunity and not a loss.  I pulled together a list of things I had always wanted to do if I had the time, and a visit to OHI was at the top of the list.  I was long overdue for some self-care.”

    Nila arrived at OHI looking for help.  “Physically, I was experiencing sleep apnea, the lethargy and discomfort from 60 pounds of excess weight, and lots of inflammation in my joints,” said Nila.  “Emotionally, I was feeling completely adrift.  I committed to a three-week stay at OHI Austin, so I could completely detox and give my body the rest it so desperately needed.  After the first week, I could feel the fog in my brain lifting, and began to feel at home in my body.  My inflammation was markedly reduced, and I was amazed that I could sit cross-legged on the floor without discomfort.  I hadn’t been able to do that for years!  After three weeks, I returned to home with a life plan for healthy eating, as well as the mental and emotional confidence to tackle a new career.  I soon launched my own consulting business, and being my best healthy self is essential to the coaching and leadership development side of my business.  I couldn’t have done it without the energy I’ve gained from detoxing at OHI!”

    The pandemic turned everyone’s lives upside down, but Nila still found time for a visit to OHI Austin.  “I have returned to OHI Austin at least once a year since July 2018.  I try to spend at least two weeks on campus for a total body/mind/spirit reset.  I used to come in July, but after the challenges that 2020 brought all of us, I ended up spending two weeks at OHI Austin right before New Year’s.  It was such a rewarding way to start 2021!  I was already on a renewed path to better mental and physical health, and not just making resolutions about it.”

    Nila used the 5 P’s to optimum health (purpose, positive mental attitude, persistence, patience, and prayer) to help her heal. “The 5 P’s allow me to live with intention so that I don’t lose my way again,” said Nila. “Purpose, patience, and persistence have particularly helped on my healing journey. I continue to focus on a foundation theme or intention (purpose), kindness to myself (patience), and a mentality to just breathe and jump in knowing I have to trust that I can handle whatever comes my way (persistence).  I have let go of self-criticism, which I had somehow thought was part of my search for excellence.  OHI has taught me to take a more loving approach towards myself, and to trust my inner wisdom.  I focus more on finding the small gifts in every day life, and being grateful for those things has helped me feel joy.”

    Each time she returns to OHI, Nila feels a rush of comfort and familiarity.  “As I drive onto the OHI campus, I feel an immediate relaxation of my shoulders, and a feeling of hope and safety.  I look forward to that feeling of restoration that I know will come within just a couple of days.  OHI is the place I can always come back to if I need help finding my footing on my path in life.  And when I’m not on campus, they’ve taught me how to take responsibility for my own good health.  For me, a juice fast helps reset my body/mind/spirit in times of stress.  I try to do a juice fast at least once a week to give my body a rest.  If guests learn just one thing at OHI, it’s how to listen to their body, and give it the healing it needs.”

    Come to OHI and learn the 5 Ps to optimum health. We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to empower yourself. Explore the holistic healing program offered at OHI. This program offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind and awaken the spirit.

    Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Rediscovering Fellowship in Our New Abnormal

    Greetings to our OHI community; I wish you a cool, comfortable, and colorful fall as the temperature drops and autumn leaves paint a beckoning background. This is such a wonderful time of year to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and celebrate the spirit of life while noticing God in nature.

    Meanwhile, our Covid-19 world continues to confound many people, including the experts, which makes me want to see our ministry reaching beyond the walls of our two campuses. Our four-and-a-half, decade-long God-centered holistic approach to healing has helped so many people facing health opportunities, and it can help so many more. Ahead of us on the horizon, is the holiday season, and yet new fears, such as the Delta variant of Covid-19, are causing us to pause in our return to normalcy. Still, our physical, mental, and spiritual health is dependent on connectedness within our faith-based and secular communities. Prioritizing fellowship should take precedence.

    You may recall from our January newsletter, we looked at two ways of protecting ourselves during our current circumstances and beyond by using Situational Awareness and Self-Care. In the spring issue I expanded on how we can remain safe by keeping mentally and physically healthy by staying socially connected, and doing so by utilizing Safety Bubbles. In the summer issue, I addressed how we can intelligently and safely move forward into our new abnormal with purpose, mindfulness, and critical thinking. In this issue, I will discuss how we can rediscover our empathy and fellowship in these trying times.

    And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approachingHebrews 10:24-25

    I share these Bible verses because we’re all weary from the pandemic restrictions especially those that have kept us apart from our extended network of friends, loved ones, and communities of faith. Spending time with those we most value – in other words belonging – is a huge part of the human condition; in fact, as I have mentioned before it is built into our DNA.

    Renowned professor of social work, Dr. Brené Brown, says it best, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”

    Avoiding Communication Breakdowns Prevents Misunderstanding

    Covid-19 is a coronavirus which by its nature, isn’t going away anytime soon, nevertheless, it’s time to focus on new ways to get back together and stay involved with our most important relationships.

    Pandemic masking, social distancing, and isolation have disrupted our natural communication structure. Despite that we still strive to stay in touch, feel connected, and enjoy the sense of belonging that comes from our communities. Because of the lockdowns, we have relied more and more on digital communication. But, well before 2020, the world was moving toward a preference for corresponding via email, text, and instant message.

    The problem is that these lack the humanity and richness of one-on-one linguistics. Words, without seeing faces and hearing voices, can be misinterpreted. They simply cannot accurately convey the body language, hand gestures, eye contact, nodding, emotional expression, vocal tonality, and non-verbal cues of face-to-face conversation; and the real meaning of your tidings get lost. Even worse is how much it curtails meaningful conversation and physical touch. And, sadly many people have been upset, and relationships destroyed, over a poorly written text.

    The simple solution is to take more time when you write. Depending on the age of the person you’re messaging limit the use of abbreviations (especially for Baby Boomers like me). When you take the time to use full words, proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation, it can make all the difference in how your message receiver interprets the intention of your words. Ask yourself before you hit SEND, “Could this message be understood differently from what I think it means?” Or even better, hand write your letter and deliver it in person.

    Take the Time to Make the Impersonal More Personal

    If it’s not urgent, let it sit for a while as a draft, then re-read it before you send. You’ll be surprised how often stepping away, then returning with a fresh set of eyes, will enable you to view your words in a whole different light. It also helps to read your messages aloud in a neutral tone of voice as it will help you hear the tone of voice as your recipient will.

    If you must quickly send a brief message, and you don’t want it to come off as curt or insensitive, use an emoji.  I know, I know, I had to be dragged into the 21st century too, but the fact of the matter is that humans are hard-wired with a negativity bias that makes us assume the worst when the objective of a message is unclear. Using an emoji helps clarify your emotional intent, and because of this their acceptance has grown immensely.

    The best solution, if you can’t meet in person, is a one-on-one conversation via Zoom or Skype. These real time applications enable us to see and read faces while hearing the tone of voice nuances so vital to understanding intention. And, let’s not forget a good old fashion phone call. The goal is to stay connected and not allow today’s circumstances to keep us apart.

    Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sisterRomans 14:13

    The future is here, and it looks like we’re going to be blending the in-person world with the virtual one for a new hybrid community. How well that will work depends on how much we reach out to the people in our communities. Most of us will have several communities such as work, family, friends, hobbies, and communities of faith, such as the OHI community.

    As we head into the holiday season, we will be test driving this hybrid community with our family and friends. Many of us have seen how it functions at work, now we can expand it the rest of our lives. Imagine a Thanksgiving dinner with a computer screen logged into Zoom at one end of the table, and around the rest of the table will be seated the host and those guests who are able to attend in person. We may have to learn new forms of etiquette in order to make those attending virtually feel fully included. These friends and family will still be praying together, showing gratitude together, and conversing together, all while sharing a meal together.

    Fellowship and belonging, which I’ve written about before, is vitally important to revisit as we move forward into our new abnormal. It affects our life satisfaction, happiness, health, mental health, and longevity; and it helps us find and achieve our purpose.

    Hybrid Communities Provide the Sense of Belonging We Need

    According to Forbes Magazine, belonging is more than just being part of a group. It is critically tied to social identity, which means having a shared set of beliefs or ideals with the members of your group. Belonging has to do with identification as a member of a group and the higher quality interactions which come from that.

    Belonging is a powerful emotion. Sometimes we don’t notice how the sense of belonging really feels until it is gone. Have you ever gone back to visit friends at a company where you once worked? The place looks the same, your friends are happy to see you, but it feels different than you remember. That’s because you are on the outside of the group, versus the inside.

    It is crucial right now to maintain contact with the members of your groups during this time of change and adjustment, so that you don’t lose that special feeling or those connections. Without a sense of belonging, we can fall into loneliness and depression. Social media helps, but it falls short; it simply doesn’t provide the personal interaction that we all need and crave.

    How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1

    As I mentioned above, I see this hybrid world as a new opportunity for our ministry to reach out beyond the walls of our campuses. A church may have five areas of participation and influence: worship, mission, discipleship, ministry, and fellowship. Here at OHI, we have all five.

    We worship individually and together as each of us understands our creator. We have missionaries who help our new guests navigate the curriculum. We have disciples who advocate to their friends and family the benefits of becoming a guest. At the core is our ministry: a holistic healing program for the body, mind, and spirit that teaches participants how to: cleanse and nourish the body with diet, fasting, and exercise; quiet and focus the mind with journaling and meditation; and renew and awaken the spirit with study, prayer and celebration.

    Best of all, we create a safe and sacred environment for fellowship that lasts a lifetime, and with people who understand you better than anyone else. Reach out this holiday season and spend time with your cohort either here at OHI, or by creating your own hybrid community.

    The Safest Place You Can be Away from Home Keeps Getting Better

    We’ve made these recent updates with your safety and comfort in mind: At OHI San Diego, all 60 guest rooms have been remodeled including replacing the carpeting with wood flooring. This upgrade is more hygienic and makes the rooms feel larger and warmer. At OHI Austin, we added new wood flooring and carpet to our exercise classroom. At both locations, we added 100% certified organic cotton bedding. And, by the time you’re reading this, we will also have certified organic cotton towels.

    We hope to see you at OHI soon – either to help us celebrate our 45th Anniversary or for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year holidays.

    Inside this edition: Read further about building strong families and community and best practices in communication. Get to know our colonic provider, Dr. James Novak; Jane Jones, an OHI San Diego missionary; OHI guest, Nila Sinha; and Jan Hemming’s story of how the OHI Scholarship helped her. We remain humble and grateful to all those who contribute and help people like Jan. Please also consider contributing to the OHI Scholarship Fund which helps OHI community members in need. And finally, be sure to turn to page 10 for details on your Optimum Fall Cleanse.

    Call us to book your reservation today: (800) 588-0809. Or visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org.

    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

  • Equinox: The Balance of Darkness and Light

    Mark your calendars – the northern hemisphere officially welcomes the Fall Equinox September 22 at 19:21 UTC.

    Equinox signifies the time of the year when the sun and moon each claim 12 hours, creating a cosmic balance of darkness and light.  It symbolizes the world itself moving into balance, creating a period of symmetry and harmony across the world.

    This moment is a perfect opportunity to reassess your own balance of body, mind, and spirit—and take positive action steps to heal any imbalances to bridge your past and your future.

    First, in the physical, have you been gifting your body with the care and attention it deserves?  A healthy mind and spirit require a healthy, balanced body.  Have you been neglecting any of the basics – predominantly live, raw organic vegan food, sufficient pure water, and daily stretching, brisk walking, and other exercise?  Take this opportunity to renew your commitment to honoring your body temple.

    In the realm of the mind, take a moment to reflect on the things that nourished and depleted you this year.  For those positive things – how can you bring more of them into your life from this point forward?  And for the challenging ones, now is the opportunity to release them.  A simple affirmation statement, like, “I release all worry to the light,” is deceptively powerful.  Just saying the words, even if you don’t quite believe them 100%, will start to set a healing shift in motion.

    As Albert Einstein said, “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”  Neuroscience shows that affirmations effectively create brand new neural pathways in our brains, literally transforming our mind with a positive new directive.  It’s a proven way to assure that your future will not just be a repeat of your past.

    Concerning your spiritual balance, the fall equinox has ancient associations with the last harvest of the year, and joyful celebrations to mark the gathered bounty. The prevailing spirit of community and gratitude is pervasive, and a powerful catalyst to seek out and cherish joyful fellowship.

    This time of inner and outer balance is ideal for reconnecting with old friends you’ve neglected, or writing a note of gratitude to a former teacher, mentor, or boss.  Track down that inspirational movie or book you’ve meant to get and spend more time in journaling and quiet reflection.  All will nourish your spirit.

    Embrace this time of transition and balance, and reap a lot of benefits in body, mind, and spirit throughout the coming seasons. Find the support you need to experience your own personal growth with a visit to OHI. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Healing through Generosity

    As challenging as crises can be—from wildfires to the pandemic—they can also be moments of true human compassion. Why? Because in every crisis, countless people quickly respond by sharing their time, their resources, and their compassion.

    Being generous goes a long way in helping others heal…while at the same time it can help you feel happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.

    A famous line from The Mr. Rogers Parenting Book is frequently quoted in challenging situations: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.”

    This generosity of spirit cuts across all age barriers.  Another powerful example of openhearted compassion this year centers on a 5-year-old with inoperable brain cancer.  Doctors have given the boy only months to live, and his parents made the tough decision to take him out of kindergarten.

    When the only thing he wanted for his 6th birthday was cards, his unselfish wish went viral.  Over 100,000 people responded immediately, and the delighted youngster has been seen on the national news sitting in mail bins stacked with well wishes and climbing over piles of envelopes.  Other children around the nation also responded, wielding crayons to create personalized construction paper cards adorned with hearts and angels.  The generous outpouring of compassion has made the child’s remaining months joyful ones.

    Moving stories of previously mind-mannered people suddenly stepping forth and putting others first serves a dual purpose.  It not only confirms the innate goodness of others; it kindles an urge in all who learn of their deeds to likewise be of service.  Generosity of spirit, it’s been scientifically proven, is catching.  Even if we feel we ourselves don’t have enough, when we see others reaching out, we’re willing to go the extra mile to help someone else, too.

    In this season of bringing in the harvest and celebrating our blessings, it’s an ideal time to think about new ways we can share our own spirit of generosity, without waiting for a crisis to trigger a desire to help.

    Identify a cause you feel passionate about and go on-line to find local opportunities to share your time and get involved.  Everyone probably has at least a few books you’re not going to read again.  See if your local library or school could use them.  Buy an extra bag of dog food and donate one to an animal shelter.  When you let your friends know what you’re doing, they’ll be motivated to get involved, too.

    If the OHI healing lifestyle program has enriched your own body, mind, and spirit, you might want to consider sharing that gift with someone else through a donation to the OHI Scholarship fund.  Every dollar you share goes directly into a scholarship, and every donation is 100% tax deductible.

    Learn more about how generosity enriches everyone it touches at OHI in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement and inspiration needed to improve your outlook on life, quiet your mind, and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Looking for Opportunities to Grow

    A freelance artist found a home that was a perfect complement to his creative soul. Nestled in a pocket of woods near the heart of downtown San Diego, it’s striking lines and walls of glass and stone were both inspiring and moving.

    Even the moon cooperated, shining through a skylight in his bedroom, lulling him into a deep slumber every night.

    Yet, after three idyllic months in his new home, the man suddenly realized the “moon” hadn’t moved, as the moon must do. He went outside to investigate and discovered the “moonlight” that had been so soothing was actually a streetlight.

    The man was furious. How was he supposed to sleep with that blasted light in his face? For a week, he tossed and turned, unable to fall asleep, fuming at this unacceptable intrusion into what had been a perfect place. Then, even in his exhausted state, he made a realization. The fingers of light streaming into his bedroom since his first peaceful night in the home hadn’t changed. The only thing that WAS different was the meaning he gave to the light.

    He was first shocked, then intrigued with the growing awareness that he gave the people, places and things in his world the value and power they would have to him. As he dedicated himself to looking past what was on the surface to find the deeper truth in every aspect of his life, everything began to change for the better. Through pain came great emotional and spiritual growth.

    When everything in our world is moving along smoothly, it’s too easy to drift into a relatively comfortable rut. We tend to disengage from what’s happening to us because at least we’re getting by. We can become spectators in our own life.

    Our real spiritual, mental and emotional growth happen when we’re faced with a situation that pushes us out of our comfort zone. The situation demands our immediate attention and thrusts us into unknown territory. Maybe it’s a major health opportunity, or a change in a close relationship, or a shift in our financial security. That’s when the adrenaline kicks in. We have to assess the situation, determine the most appropriate response, and take action. Frequently, at least part of the most effective action will involve shifting how we view the situation.

    When we learn to see the things that frighten, annoy or confuse us to be potential opportunities for growth, we’ve taken a huge step on our spiritual path.

    Find the safe and sacred space, the support, and tools for walking your spiritual path at the OHI missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Learn more about finding opportunities for growth at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI). Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement and inspiration needed to improve your outlook on life, quiet your mind, and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.