• Finding Your Purpose — A Way Forward

    Living almost two years with the pandemic has changed us.  Our priorities have shifted.  Our routines have been altered.  So how do we find a way forward in this new pandemic-defined world?

    Start by living a life of purpose.

    Those seven words pack an enormous punch.  “Finding your purpose” is more than just a cliché.  It’s actually a tool for creating a happier, healthier, more balanced life.   There’s even research that links having a sense of purpose to positive health outcomes including fewer strokes and heart attacks, better sleep, and a lower risk of dementia.

    What is purpose?  Your life purpose consists of the central motivating aims of your life — the reasons you get up in the morning.  Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning.  For some people, purpose is connected to vocation — meaningful, satisfying work.  Purpose is #1 in the 5P’s to Optimum Health, with the goal being to achieve a natural balance and reconnection to the Divine.

    So how on earth do you discover what your purpose is in life?  First, understand that finding your purpose is often a lifelong journey.  Give yourself the grace of time.  Second, you might also find that your purpose changes over time.  Give yourself space to regularly reflect on whether the path you’re on is taking you in the direction you want to go.  If not, then change course.  The road to finding your purpose will inevitably have a few curves, forks, and stop lights.

    Four key questions to help you discover your purpose:

    1. What drives you?

    Is there an injustice that touches you so deeply that it drives you to change it?  Often a powerful purpose can come from seeking to right a powerful wrong.

    2. Who do you want to help?

    There are many perspectives from which to view an issue.  By figuring out the specific person/people you want to help, you can more easily define your purpose.

    3. How do you want to help?

    Your passions in life are what you love to do.  When you use your passions and skills to achieve your goals and solve problems, they will lead you to find your purpose.

    4. What you are willing to sacrifice?

    Often we think we want to do something, but don’t end up following through or putting in the work to succeed.  Once you find something worth true sacrifice, then you know you’re on the right track to finding your purpose.

    Are those questions challenging to answer?  Don’t panic.  Keep reading…

    Four steps to focusing on what matters most to you:

    Step 1:  Take inventory of your achievements, values, gifts, and talents.

    What have you excelled at both personally and professionally?  Identify attributes you are proud of.  Are you a good listener?  Are you a great organizer?  Our successes and accomplishments tell us where our skills, talents, values, integrity, and heart reside.

    Step 2:  Explore your interests via new opportunities.

    Think about what you used to love to do.  Join a MeetUp group, a running club, a writing club, a Mom & Me group, a book club, etc.  Try new things that might spark your creativity.  Step out of your comfort zone to learn new things about yourself that will help define your passions.

    Step 3:  Practice journaling.

    Start writing for 5 minutes a day, and build up to 30 minutes each day.  Write down your thoughts and feelings.  Notice dreams and signs.  Pay attention to what keeps coming back.  Prioritize creative expression.  Journaling helps you uncover what you love/don’t love about your life, face your fears, and pinpoint what you truly want.

    Step 4:  Embrace a daily mindfulness practice.

    Turn down the distractions.  Make the time to quiet your mind and tune out the noise, giving your brain the chance to sift through everything, shift from reactive mode to thoughtful mode, and help you realize where your priorities truly lie.  Find the mindfulness practice that works best for you — writing, yoga, meditation, nature walks.

    At OHI, in our Focus class, we teach you how to focus on your highest priorities. Look at how you spend your time, identify your core values, and define goals that support these values to achieve what matters most to you. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Setting a Vision for 2022

    Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Set a Vision During a Pandemic

    It’s Covid Year 2.  So how do you stop surviving and start thriving amid a pandemic?

    You set a vision and manifest an amazing future.

    Ready.  Set.  GO!

    What does it mean to have a vision?

    Why is it important to have a vision?  A vision gives direction to your life.  Each of us is put here on Earth for a purpose.  When we are deeply passionate about something, we need a vision to help us accomplish goals that serve our purpose.

    Purpose:  WHY you are here?

    Vision:  HOW you see your life unfolding to achieve your purpose.

    Goals:  WHAT you want to accomplish.

    What is manifestation?

    A “vision” for your life is the roadmap you set for yourself to achieve your purpose.  You use manifestation to traverse this “vision” roadmap.  In the context of productivity, manifestation means bringing your dreams into reality by “living” your goals.  Manifestation takes a holistic approach to goal setting by adopting a positive mindset and behaviors.

    How to set a vision & manifest

    Here are seven steps to manifest the best future possible for yourself:

    Step 1:  Get clear on what you want out of life.

    If you don’t know exactly what you want, you can’t actually take steps to make it happen. Start by creating a list of 10 things you want to manifest.  List the attributes in the positive — avoid using the word “don’t.”  For example, if you want a better relationship with your spouse, get specific about how you will improve communication, kindness, patience, and tenderness.  Your vision can’t be murky.  No detail is too insignificant.

    Step 2:  Set your intentions.

    Once you have the list of what you want to manifest in your life, it’s time to set your intentions.  There are many ways to put your goals and desires out into the universe with positive energy.  You can pray.  You can meditate.  You can create a vision board.  Whether you write a letter to God, or chant your desires as you take a walk in nature, put an actual voice to what you want once a day.

    Step 3:  Work toward your goals.

    Working toward your goals means putting all your positive energy toward making those goals a reality.  Start by writing down three actions you can do today to bring you closer to your goal.  Running out of ideas?  Google it!  It’s likely someone else has struggled with the same issue and has written about it.  Let yourself be inspired by the path that others have traveled.  If you take consistent action EVERY SINGLE DAY, all that positive energy will bring you results.

    Step 4:  Trust the process.

    As you work diligently toward your goals, there may be moments where you feel stuck.  You might get discouraged or frustrated that you aren’t making as much progress toward your goals as you had hoped.  Whenever you find yourself doubting, cancel that negative thinking.  Instead, focus all your positive energy on saying, “I’m getting closer to my goals every day.”  Re-center yourself with positive thinking.

    Step 5:  Acknowledge what you get, and receive it with gratitude.

    Help and guidance toward your goals are all around you, but it can be easy to miss the signs.  Practice gratitude by writing down the evidence of the progress you have made toward your goals each day.  Did you read an inspirational quote on Facebook that you really connected with?  Did you feel particularly energized after praying or meditating on your vision?  Acknowledge it all with a grateful heart, and redouble your efforts to focus on the positive.

    Step 6:  Practice authentic positivity.

    According to the Law of Attraction, you attract what you are sending out.  Spend at least 10-15 minutes a day doing something that makes you feel truly happy.  Go for a run with your dog.  Meditate outside in the sunshine.  Keeping your positivity authentic is the best way to open your arms to the abundance of good things that are headed your way.  If you give in to negativity, you can bet negative consequences are on the horizon.

    Step 7:  Clear your resistance.

    If you haven’t yet manifested what you want, it’s likely you are resisting what you’re being guided to.  Doubts, pain, procrastination, frustration, anxiety, fear, regret, and resentment are all forms of resistance.  Resistance is totally normal.  Just name it to tame it.  When you notice conflict within yourself, acknowledge it, cancel the negative thinking, and remind yourself to breathe, relax, and work to turn your thinking around.  Counsel yourself with grace and understanding by saying something like, “I’m frustrated again.  I’m going to let it go, breathe, and look for signs of goodness in the world.”  If you are having a particularly difficult time letting go of a problem, find someone to help you through it.  Connecting with others is always a positive use of your energy.

    What is the science behind setting a vision?

    Oprah Winfrey likes to credit her success in life to a keen understanding of the Law of Attraction.  And even centuries ago Plato seemed to know it, too, when he observed “like attracts like.”  The Law of Attractions states that we attract events and situations of similar frequency as our feelings, thoughts, and beliefs.  Be it consciously or unconsciously, we constantly broadcast a vibrational energy that determines the circumstances, experiences, and people we attract or repel.

    The science behind manifestation is based on the impact of positive thinking on positive action, and the importance of habitual action to reach a goal.  Here are four manifestation techniques people have used to great success:

    1. Sensory Visualization

    Muhammad Ali credited visualization techniques for enhancing his performance.  This technique encourages you to experience your vision by immersing all your senses.

    2. Vision Boards

    This technique involves curating images and inspirational quotes that resonate with your vision, to be displayed on a board in a prominent place where you will see them every day.  According to science, vision boards gain their power via the Reticular Activating System (RAS).  It’s a part of your brain that filters all the information you receive.  When you look at your vision board, your subconscious retains the positive connections to everything pictured on that board.  As you move through the world and different opportunities present themselves to you, your brain can immediately make associations and connections with the goals posted to your vision board, and you can focus on options that will help you reach those goals.

    3. Gratitude Journaling

    A series of studies by Nathaniel M. Lambert concluded that developing an attitude of gratitude results in more positive life outcomes.  Making a daily gratitude list can enhance the power of your manifestations by elevating your consciousness.

    4. Manifestation Affirmations

    Affirmations are positive statements designed to eliminate the negative tendencies of your subconscious mind.  A 2015 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that future-oriented self-affirmations can help break limiting subconscious patterns and create newer, more useful neural connections.

    Put in the work today to set a vision, and manifest the best life possible for yourself.  With an outlook of positivity, you can make the world a better place all while creating a life of purpose that is meaningful to you.

    At OHI, in our Vision Board and Rock Painting class, we work with the laws of attraction and affirmations to create a visual representation of your optimum life. There is also time for connection and fellowship with other OHI community members.

    Our caring staff members are eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

    “There is actual science behind vision boards,” by Angelo G. Garcia, May 2, 2019, news.abs-cbn.com

    “The Importance of Seeing the Vision for Your Life,” by KatieMae, September 17, 2018, medium.com

    “An In-Depth Exploration into the Psychology of Manifestation,” by Adam Sicinski, blog.iqmatrix.com

    “An In-Depth Exploration of the Science of Manifestation,” by Adam Sicinski, blog.iqmatrix.com

    “8 Manifestation Techniques: Understanding the Law of Attraction,” by Sonia Vadlamani, happiness.com

    “7 steps to Manifest Anything You Want, Including Money,” by Nathalie Guerin, December 6, 2017, huffpost.com

  • New Year, New You – A New Way Forward

    Greetings to our OHI community; I wish you a brisk and bright January as we enjoy the crisp fresh air of a brand new year. I love the contrast that winter gives us because it enables us to more fully appreciate the warmer months when they return. It’s a great metaphor for how the contrast of the last two years has prepared us to move forward in new ways.

    2021 will be remembered as the year we learned to work within the new abnormal of Covid-19. We found new ways to communicate virtually instead of in person; we discovered how to mix the two by creating hybrid environments both at work and with our extracurricular activities; and we learned how to live safely and healthily.

    The last 22 months made me recall, when I was growing up, my parents would occasionally recollect the privations Americans suffered during the Great Depression and World War II. They spoke of people living in tarpaper shacks in city parks, waiting in long lines at soup kitchens, and desperately searching for jobs when few were to be had; then during the war how everyone was issued ration cards and stamps which they had to use for buying food, clothing, gas, and pretty much everything else.

    They said there were always shortages due to the war effort. And, how the military needed so much food that people in the cities had to start gardening in order to have fresh vegetables. Those little “Victory” gardens, as they were called, ended up providing 40% of the country’s produce. Finally the war was over, and after 15 years of nonstop hardship, Americans were more than ready to move forward.

    It was hard for me to imagine how very difficult things were for my parents’ generation because by the time I was coming of age America had become the land of plenty. But the last two years have given me a taste, and I, like many of you, am ready to move forward. It is how we should move forward that I’d like to address in this newsletter.

    Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

    I offer you these verses because it’s time to stop yearning for what we had in 2019 and start forging a new way forward.

    The Quarantines Disrupted Our Lives – Now It’s Time to Regroup & Move Forward

    The inactivity we experienced during the Covid-19 lockdowns created new levels of fear, self-doubt, and confusion. Thankfully, in the past two years, we have learned to live with Covid-19, its variants, and now it’s time to move forward. But how does one move forward? I liken it to re-learning an activity or sport. First, it’s hard to muster the energy to get started, then when you do – you need to practice until you’ve regained coordination of your body and mind – and if you’re like most people, at first you will underperform and feel frustrated. This detracts from your enjoyment and leads you to doubt your ability. At that point, if you don’t push ahead and continue honing your skill, you could lose your self-confidence to the point of giving up.

    Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Proverbs 4:25

    As we begin forging our new way forward, it can be challenging at first. Author, Simon Sinek, offers this advice, “If we think of everything we have to do, we feel overwhelmed. If we do the one thing we need to do, we make progress.” So, where do we start this process?

    Rediscover What is Most Important to You

    The New Year is a great time for re-evaluating our purpose, vision, values, and goals. It’s a time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go; what we know and what we still need to learn; and what our dreams are and how to implement them.

    Purpose. I have written about purpose in this newsletter many times; it is one of our 5 Ps of Optimum Health. Your purpose is all about what makes you happy combined with using your natural talents, then getting so involved and absorbed with it that you completely lose track of time. If you don’t know what your purpose is, you can find it by following your joy. When you feel joy, it is such a powerful emotion that it speaks the truth from your very soul. Think of the things that brought you joy in the past. Make a list of those times, then look for a pattern, and before long you’ll know your purpose. To learn more about finding your purpose, see the article on page 5.

    Vision. Once you’ve revealed your purpose, you can work on your vision. Your vision is the roadmap that aligns your purpose with your goals. It is the big picture of where you hope to be in the future. There are many techniques to identify a vision for your life – a couple of examples include: creating a vision board and journaling. For more details about how to set a vision for 2022, see the article on page 3.

    Values. Identifying your values will help guide you when it comes to carrying out your purpose and vision.  Our values illustrate what we cherish, inform our belief system, and guide our behavior. We all have two types of values: intrinsic and extrinsic. The first is internal (inside of you) and the second is external (outside of you). Intrinsic values are our core ethical beliefs such as honesty, kindness, compassion, respect, and personal responsibility. Extrinsic values create the motivation for our purposeful actions such as the rewards or the acknowledgment we receive for achieving our goals. Now is a good time to contemplate the values that are most important to you because they will help you work on your purpose, vision, and goals.

    Achieve Your Goals in 2022

    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

    In this new year, it’s important to keep forging ahead, build confidence, and not backslide into habits that undermine our goals.

    Renewing your mind and creating new habits will help you forge ahead and achieve your goals. At OHI, we teach if you engage in a behavior and do it every day for 21 days, it will become a habit. Creating new habits can sometimes seem daunting and we can feel overwhelmed before we even begin. But now there is a new way of adding a habit that is nearly instantaneous. It’s called habit stacking.

    The brilliance of habit stacking is that you attach a new habit to an existing one. You simply perform the new behavior right before or right after a habit that’s already second nature. Next add extra activities, again and again, as fast as you’re comfortable, until you create a stack. You then treat the stack as one activity instead of a bunch of separate tasks. For example, after breakfast each morning add the following activities: conscious breathing, stretch, alpha practice, and gratitude journaling – then eventually perform them as a single routine. You can get started with this by thinking through your day and pinpointing your various habits. Then select the ones you want to turn into prompts for your stacks.

    Here are some additional tips for achieving your goals: give yourself deadlines for each little task; find people with similar or the same goals as you and then work together or become accountability partners; reconnect or rebuild your support system (such as your OHI cohort); remember that your path may alter (as it has over the past two years), but your vision and goals remain constant; practice gratitude; last but not least come to OHI and let us help you forge a new way forward into 2022.

    Steer Clear of Limiting Beliefs

    I am excited for this new year and for you to start forging a new way forward! We’ve discussed how identifying your purpose, vision, values, and goals are key ingredients for the recipe to do so; but also remember how limiting beliefs can undermine you in achieving your optimum self. Limiting beliefs that formed in childhood can continue to hold us back as adults.

    If you wish to eliminate a limiting belief, you must first identify it. You do this by noticing when you become anxious or depressed, then try to recognize what stimulated the emotion. Look for any habits or patterns in your behavior that provoke those feelings.

    Next, replace the limiting belief with an empowering belief. Establish your new belief with positive affirmations that you repeat throughout the day. Your replacement belief, however, must be believable to you or it won’t stick. Start gradually and build up to the empowering belief you desire. For example, you can’t go from “I’m not afraid” to “I have the courage to do anything.” Instead repeat to yourself, “I’m excited about having new experiences.” Then every time you do something you’ve never done before record it in your journal.

    If you need more support in forging a new way forward, consider a visit to OHI. Many of our classes – including our Focus class, Vision Boards, Mental Detox – teach you how to identify your purpose, vision, values, and goals and will set you up for success in this new year.

    Still the Safest Place You Can be Away from Home

    We are continuing to make upgrades to both of our facilities. At both locations, our OHI for Life Wellness Rooms are outfitted with a Molekule air purifier and 100% organic cotton linens and towels (including fitted sheets). We also brought Covid-19 testing in-house. At OHI San Diego: every guest room has wood flooring, high-speed internet, black-out shades, and 80% of our guest room bathrooms have been renovated; and 80% of our food is from local organic farms. At OHI Austin, we added new wood flooring and carpet to our exercise classroom. We hope you come to experience our OHI for Life Wellness Rooms – designed with your safety and comfort in mind.

    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 New Year.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin