• Cleansing and Strengthening the Mind – New Way Forward

    Greetings to our OHI community; I wish you a sunny and warm spring as we leave the cold season behind. It feels wonderful to get outside and feel the sunshine on our faces and the warm air on our skin after a long winter. Getting outside once again is an apt comparison to the way in which we are emerging from our two years of Covid-19 precautions.

    You may recall from our January newsletter, I wrote that after two years of restrictions it was time to move forward, and 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. I also wrote about how to recognize and deal with limiting beliefs. In this issue, I wish to address spring cleaning of the mind and how to strengthen our mental resilience.

    Cleaning with Meaning

    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

    The return of spring always reminds me of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning can apply to cleaning the home or cleansing the mind of negative thoughts about ourselves and other people. At OHI, our tradition for “cleansing the mind” is our Wednesday Release Ceremony. During this sacred ceremony, our guests are encouraged to reflect on limiting thoughts, words, or deeds. Then, on a slip of paper, they write a list of things that no longer serve them. The entire community forms a circle around a fire, and each guest symbolically releases their limiting beliefs by burning their slips of paper with the full unconditional support of their fellow guests, staff, and missionaries at their side. By releasing these limiting items, space is created for future positive intentions.

    Moving Forward in the Face of Adversity

    We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

    As we begin to emerge from the restrictions of the past two years, it’s time to plan how we are going to forge ahead. Meanwhile health experts are predicting either another wave of Covid variants or an entirely new pandemic; war has erupted in Eastern Europe; and inflation is causing prices to rise dramatically.

    How are we going to handle the next crisis? We will handle it by developing mental toughness and mental resilience.

    The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress, and that it is a trait that can be learned by anyone.

    Humans are creative creatures, and when adversity strikes we adapt and find new ways of thriving. We are resilient, but it takes practice and planning. Developing a resilient mindset begins with positive thinking and avoiding anxiety through mindfulness. It means staying focused on your goals, even when circumstances force you to find a different path to reach them. Regularly visualizing the achievement of your goals will reduce anxiety and build self-confidence. A high level of self-confidence gives you control – not over unanticipated developments – but over your emotions and how you perceive and react to them. And, your commitment to your goals will help you overcome the challenges to achieve them.

    Snap Back from Setbacks the OHI Way

    On a practical basis, here are some things you can do to build your mental resilience:

    Life is a learning process. Manage your self-talk by catching negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. Acknowledge what you did correctly, what you learned from the mistake, and remind yourself that life is a process of learning. Just think of the old saying: “If you aren’t failing; you aren’t trying hard enough.”

    Accept life on life’s terms. If something is frightening you, find its source. Identify the cause, investigate it, analyze it, and determine if it’s real. Knowledge and understanding quell fear, and help you determine what you can do within your power to resolve it. Dale Carnegie, in his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, suggests that you ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen?” Then he says to either accept that or seek out the answers you need to fix it.”

    Build up your skillset. Nothing is more empowering than developing your abilities. The better you get at a particular skill the more your confidence and self-esteem will grow. Mastery and competence also enhance your problem-solving skills and enable you to handle challenges as they arise.

    Limit your exposure to anxiety producing situations. If you know you’re not ready to move to the next level, don’t force yourself. However, there is sometimes a fine line between feeling ready and being ready. Many times our fear of failure keeps us from trying even when we are fully competent. This is a good time to have a friendly colleague help you determine if you are indeed qualified; someone who will give you a push if you’re holding back when you needn’t be.

    Practice self-care by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Following OHI’s healthy holistic diet and taking regular walks outside in the sun and fresh air will do wonders to keep you mentally strong and resilient. Make sure you are including fun in your schedule. Do something on your bucket list. Alternatively, take on a chore you’ve been putting off, there’s nothing more fortifying and energizing than the sense of accomplishment that comes from finally doing something you’ve been putting off.

    Cultivate community. Develop a support network; start with your cohort here at OHI, the people who truly understand you and your goals. When you talk out your problems, fears, and challenges with others, it helps you put them in perspective and come up with solutions you may not have thought of.

    Engage in self-discovery to identify your strengths and weaknesses. I like to do this first by meditating to clear my mind. Next by journaling: I inventory my talents and accomplishments to set a positive tone, and then I vent about my struggles. I find that the very process of writing often brings an idea for the solution I need.

    Accept that change is inevitable. Helen Keller wisely observed, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” One way to accept change is to see it as the advent of opportunity – for creating new business or making new friends. For many people change causes fear and anxiety, but when you live mindfully (one day at a time) and patiently (another one of OHI’s 5 Ps to holistic healing), you find that most change is not nearly as bad as you anticipated, and oftentimes it turns out to be better.

    See your life as a journey. Don’t let the bumps in the road upset you, see them as new experiences from which you can learn.

    This spring, I highly encourage you to come to OHI for your own personal retreat. Our program classes, cleansing diet, and the warmth of the OHI community will undoubtedly support you in your journey to optimum health.

    OHI, The Safest Place to be Outside of Your Home!

    We continue 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, 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.

    Here’s wishing you health and wellness in this spring season.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

  • 6 Amazing Benefits of Colon Cleansing

    We all know that our bodies are more than the sum of their parts; it’s also made up of proteins, enzymes, and bacteria. But what you may not have been aware of is how these microorganisms affect your day-to-day life – or even worse: they can cause illness! That’s where colon cleansing can help.

    The OHI three-week program teaches what it means to cleanse properly, as well as how foods are digested for us to feel better both inside AND out!

    Here are 6 amazing benefits of colon cleansing: 


    1. 1.Immune Support – As much as 70% of the immune system’s optimum function can be driven by how well the colon functions.


    1. 2.More Energy – Colon cleansing clears toxins out of the body. This process can help naturally improve circulation in the bloodstream, which means better oxygen flow and increased energy levels.


    1. 3.Healthier Skin – High levels of body toxins take a toll on your organs, including your skin. Many people report clearer, brighter, healthier-looking skin after colon cleansing treatments.


    1. 4.Weight Loss – As your body strains to fight off toxins, your body’s other natural energy functions slow down. This includes your metabolism. Getting rid of burdensome toxins means allows your body to refocus that energy on boosting your metabolism and helping you burn off excess weight.


    1. 5.Reduced Acid Levels – Regular colon cleansing will help restore the body’s natural alkaline levels and create a healthier balance.


    1. 6.Better Concentration – A study by the Harvard Medical School on the “Gut-Brain connection” found that an unhealthy intestine can send disruptive signals to the brain which can impair focus and hamper the ability to concentrate. Colon cleansing can help to clear up that fogginess and keep you a bit throughout the day.


    OHI promotes colon cleansing as one aspect of a healthy, well-balanced life. We invite you to book a retreat at OHI and experience the many benefits of being clean from the inside out!
    Experience the energy and clarity of eating and living clean, all in an environment of encouragement, support, and spiritual fellowship. During your stay at OHI, our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, 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.

  • What Does Your Inner Wisdom Tell You?

    You are stressed, anxious, and torn between two choices. Do you feel like you have no idea what to do or who is right for you? The answer lies within yourself; simply access your inner wisdom!

    Your body, mind, and emotions are all connected to one another. When they’re in balance you will have a greater sense of well-being than when there’s an imbalance between them; which leads us to the question: how do we get our minds back on track so that peace can live within?

    For starters, breathe. When we go into stress mode, the first thing we usually do is tense up and start shallow breathing. That starves the brain and body of oxygen and impairs our ability to think clearly. Andrew Weil, MD, founder, professor, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, suggests deeply inhaling to a slow count of four, holding the breath to the count of seven, then forcefully exhaling to the count of eight. Do this three times and feel the stress melt away.

    Now that you’re in more of a relaxed and receptive Alpha state, think of one person, situation, or thing for which you’re truly grateful. Focus on how that object of your sincere gratitude enriches your life and be very specific. As you mentally get in that place, you can literally start to feel your heart expanding. The Mayo Clinic is conducting research on how gratitude not only opens the heart – it also activates positive emotion centers in the brain.

    Getting into the habit of quieting the mind with several deep breaths and feeling gratitude will automatically help bring you into body-mind-spirit balance and guide you into that deeper awareness of connecting to your inner wisdom, God Consciousness, or, in scientific terms, the Unified Field. From this place of open-hearted connection, you will get the right answers to your questions – the answers that are in alignment with your values.

    You can quickly double-check those answers by monitoring whether those panicky physical sensations go away. Feeling stress leaving your body is an excellent indicator that you’re making the right decision.

    It’s scientifically proven that the verbal part of our brain processes around 40 pieces of information per second, but the non-verbal part processes between eight to eleven million bits of information per second.

    That means the thoughts we put into words are less reliable than the physical sensations and emotions we feel coming from the non-verbal part of our brain. Even if everyone else is saying, “THIS is what you should do,” if your body is still sending out stress signals, it’s probably not the best decision for you, and it’s not in alignment with your values.

    Learn more about bringing healthy balance into your life when you cleanse your body, quiet your mind, and rejuvenate your spirit at OHI. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, 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.

  • How to (Re)Claim Your Power

    Grant’s parents were heartbroken when their son died in an accident while caving. But then they began to think about how he could still make a difference; it just took some help from friends and Grant’s Christian youth group that did missionary work in Africa. With the support of many, the family created a school in Grant’s name that continues to provide education for orphaned children across Africa.

    In the years that followed, his family, particularly his younger brother and mother, stayed in close touch with the children in the school, sending essential supplies and Christmas gifts. They even visited the village and got to see first-hand how Grant’s legacy continued to enrich the lives of so many others.

    Instead of staying paralyzed by grief in the face of this untimely death, his family discovered they had reserves of strength, compassion, and vision they didn’t know existed.

    This transformational reaction to traumatic situations is so widespread it even has a name – PTG, or “Post Traumatic Growth.” University of North Carolina at Charlotte psychology professor Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D., and his colleague Lawrence Calhoun, Ph.D. created the term. It describes how people who face tragedy can not only survive, but actually become more self-aware, and permanently change in powerful and substantial ways.

    People who are more able to bounce back from adversity seem to have several factors in common.

    First, they have help. Whether it’s a spouse, other family members, caring friends, or the strong support of a minister, therapist, or group, they know they have someone they can lean on when the reality of their new circumstances is just too much to bear alone.

    Second, they have a sense of purpose; something meaningful in their life to anchor them. Frequently, it’s the drive to be of service to others, maybe even those who are facing similar unexpected circumstances.

    When more than 260 people sustained injuries during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, many of them lost limbs. Their feelings of despair and fear that they would never resume a normal life were overwhelming. That’s when dozens of people uniquely qualified to encourage the bombing victims entered the picture.

    Military men and women who had also lost limbs visited the bombing survivors, listened to their stories, and shared their own. They provided empathy and hope in a way no other people could. They had lived through a similar nightmare and survived. And now they were reassuring the survivors that they could, and would, learn new skills to resume their lives. While changing the perspectives and lives of the bombing victims, the veterans were finding more meaning in their own.

    Besides a supportive community and purpose, the third thing PTG people have is faith in something greater than themselves. Whether it’s a formal religion, trust in God, or a spiritual belief in the power of compassion and love, facing a challenge and growing even stronger because of it requires faith.

    Reclaiming your power after adversity is not only possible, but it can also be truly transformational. You discover new strengths. You gain a different perspective on your values, your friends, and your world. Most importantly, you come face to face with the person for whom you have newfound trust, respect, and love – yourself.

    Open your mind to positive, powerful, and lasting changes when you embark on a life-affirming visit to OHI. Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, 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.

  • The Healing Power of Community

    There’s something about the feeling of community at an OHI holistic healing retreat that is unparalleled. When guests arrive for their first time, they’re greeted warmly and assigned a “OHI Buddy” to help orient them in this new environment while answering any questions their soul may have had before fully indulging in organic, plant-based, raw food! There are moments where everyone shares spiritual messages or inspiration with each other which creates such love between all those present – it really feels like one big family here…A beautiful transformational scenario plays out every day as you’ll see when looking into our San Diego and Austin campuses (or maybe even better yet–head over now!).

    Strong Bonds 

    Strangers become friends, and all are enveloped in the accepting, non-judgmental OHI community that supports and encourages them through each moment of their 21-day stay. During classes like Food Combining, Self Esteem, and Conscious Breathing, guests assist and reassure each other, sharing their fears, their hopes, and their laughter. Strong bonds are formed, and many coordinate return visits so they can enjoy “reunions” while rededicating themselves to strive for optimum health in body, mind, and spirit. This community-building dynamic that has been at the heart of OHI since day one is now being corroborated by scientific research. Clinical studies show the validating experience of being accepted into a group of positive, like-minded people can set significant healing transformations into motion.

    “Humans are wired for connection with others,” says Matthew Lieberman, UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral science. “Life does not usually go well when we try to live it on our own. Oftentimes, when we face a problem or crisis, we feel as if we can and should handle it by ourselves, but it’s the opposite. We need to handle it with the help of others, even if only with one person.”  Dr. Lieberman is one of the founders of social cognitive neuroscience, a discipline analyzing how brain function underlies social thinking and social behavior.

    Dr. Dean Ornish Says…

    This healing power of community has such a profound and measurable influence that cardiologist Dean Ornish writes in his book Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy, “I am not aware of any other factor in medicine – not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery – that has a greater impact on our quality of life or incidence of illness. Anything that promotes a sense of isolation often leads to illness and suffering, while that which promotes a sense of love and intimacy, connection and community, is healing.”

    One thing OHI guests mention repeatedly is how their interaction with others facing similar opportunities gives them strength and hope. Instead of feeling alone, they experience a powerful connection with others whether they’re on the same path or not. They can develop a sense of accountability to each other, which helps them collectively stick to their goals.

    Hard Wired to Help 

    Clinical research supports that healing benefits occur within the cooperative dynamic between the person providing help and the person receiving help. Dr. Sara Konrath, a faculty member of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan, writes, “Social connections can be good for us. We are hard-wired for face-to-face contact, which includes a lot of eye contact, touch, and smiles. Such interactions release a hormone called oxytocin, which helps us to bond and care for others, and helps us to handle stress better.”

    Experience the healing power of community during an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.