• 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.

  • Self-Love = Self-Empowerment

     

    At OHI, we think of self-love as a holistic healing practice, and an ongoing process, rather than a simple affirmation. Self-love involves bringing body, mind, and spirit into harmony, and maintaining this alignment requires a great deal of focus and dedication.

    Two of the key aspects of self-love are acceptance and forgiveness. We have all felt at one time or another that we—or parts of ourselves—were ‘unlovable’ in some way. We carry around powerful burdens of guilt, regret, shame, and trauma. And the spiritual and emotional weight of these burdens often prevents us from having the will or drive necessary to heal ourselves, or seek healing in the first place.

    That’s why self-love begins with recognizing the crucial connection and interdependence of mind, body, and spirit. When we open ourselves up to self-acceptance and forgiveness, we begin to free ourselves from the many burdens that keep us from living healthy, joyous lives.

    How a 3-Week Retreat at OHI Can Help

    At OHI, everything we do is centered around this holistic approach to self-love. Through sharing, meditation, healthy eating, and prayer, we give our guests the tools to foster true self-love and continue practicing self-love long after they leave our campuses. Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works:

    • Week One: In week one we focus on the mind, body, spirit connection by cleansing the body with a detoxifying, nutrient-rich diet, calming the mind with regular meditation, and renewing the spirit with daily reflection, inspiration, and prayer.
    • Week Two: In week two, guests already have begun to feel the renewed energy and positivity that comes with cleansing and detoxifying mind, body, and spirit. This is also when we begin learning and exploring the various tools to support us in setting our goals, and making healthier choices for ourselves.
    • Week Three: This is far and away the most popular week of the program because this is when our guests begin to deeply internalize the process of self-love and learn to integrate it into their lives, propelling them toward continued physical, mental, and spiritual health in their lives outside the OHI community.

    The OHI community is a warm and welcoming place to explore one’s self-love journey. The program has holistic benefits that can be found throughout the body, mind, and spirit – all while strengthening those key aspects of ourselves in order to make sure we are giving love where it needs most attention: To US! Visit us at our beautiful retreat centers for more information about how this powerful experience might change your life (or just have some fun).

    OHI offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind and awaken the spirit. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Missionary Spotlight: Get to Know OHI Missionary, Melissa Quimby

    Melissa Quimby is quite the world traveler.  “I was born on a small farm in New York state, but have traveled far and wide,” said Melissa.  “I first served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, then worked with the American Red Cross as a health program manager in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia responding to hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  Humanitarian aid work is quite difficult, and I burned out on a few occasions.”

    In 2015, Melissa was still recovering from burnout from her last job when she lost her beloved father.  “I really just wanted to get away, lose some weight, and rest for a while,” said Melissa.  “I had a friend who was going to OHI, and she invited me to come with her.  After reading more about it, I signed up for the full three-week program.”

    Melissa was used to fearlessly jumping into unknown situations, and her first visit to OHI was certainly like nothing she had expected.  “It was pretty overwhelming at first, but we first-weekers became a tight-knit group and really got to know each other well.  I loved all the classes, and felt amazing by the end of three weeks.  The best part of my stay was how positive everyone was.  People say such lovely things to each other here, and kindly correct you if you say anything negative about yourself.  I am still in touch with some friends that I made during my first visit.”

    So what made Melissa choose to participate in the OHI Missionary Program?  “I became a big believer in the OHI lifestyle after seeing how much better I felt in a few short weeks,” said Melissa.  “There was a dynamic missionary that I really admired, and I thought she was a spry, healthy 30-year old woman.  When I found out she was actually over 50 and had shown up in a wheelchair a few months before, I could hardly believe it.  The transformation was amazing!  I wanted to see a similar transformation in myself, and I wanted to be a part of that journey for others as a missionary.”

    As Melissa soon found out, there is a very big difference between being a guest at OHI and being a missionary.  “As a missionary, there is work to do,” said Melissa.  “You have to take your call to service seriously.  Of course, you need to take care of your own health and well-being, but serving others can be deeply satisfying.  And for me, the best part of the missionary program is how deeply you bond with people — facilitators, other missionaries, and the guests.  The people you meet at OHI are truly the best part of the program.  When you surround yourself with wonderful people, you can’t help but see the positive in life all around you.  The OHI program has certainly improved my health, but it’s the people that I think have changed me for good.”

    Melissa truly has a heart for service, and OHI is all the better for her presence here.  “The personal connections made at OHI are so satisfying for me, that this is my fourth time as a missionary.  I keep coming back because I am fortunate enough to be able to take the time off, and I don’t want to stray from the OHI lifestyle for too long.  Over the last few years, I went back to get a master’s degree which is a very sedentary pursuit, and between that and the pandemic, I really stopped taking good care of myself.  I put on weight and for the first time in my life my blood tests were coming back abnormal — high blood pressure, pre-diabetic blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, and hyperthyroid numbers.  That was a wake-up call, and I immediately re-incorporated OHI teachings into my life.  Within two weeks my blood tests were back to normal.  It was such a good reminder that the OHI lifestyle really works — and works quickly — even if you don’t do everything they teach.  As soon as I was finished with my classes, I applied to be a missionary again and am so happy to be back!”

    Melissa’s four turns in the OHI Missionary Program have given her a lot of life experience to fall back on, and she is happy to share what she’s learned with others.  “I think the best advice I have for others is to incorporate just one or two changes into your daily life at a time, so that ‘healthy living’ doesn’t become an overwhelming process of trying to change everything overnight.  That’s a setup for frustration and failure.  If you start small, maybe just drinking a lot more water and stretching for a few minutes every night before bed, you will still see results and be motivated to incorporate other healthy practices.  Start small.  Stay positive.  Be kind to yourself.”

    Optimum Health Institute is here for you! 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. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Scholarship Recipient Finds New Lease on Life through OHI

    Lisa Williams was facing a life-threatening health opportunity.  “I had 5+ months of aggressive chemotherapy for breast cancer, and was also placed in an international clinical trial with an immunology drug.  I had lumpectomy surgery with lymph nodes removed, and while no cancer was found, I had complications and collateral damage from the chemo and the surgery.  I suffered from debilitating arthritic pain and could barely walk or sleep.  My doctors wanted me to continue with aggressive radiation, but my WBC (white blood cell) counts had never recovered from chemo.  All I wanted to do was detox from all the drugs and heal my body.  My friend, Elena, who had been to OHI several times, told me about the scholarship program, and encouraged me to apply.  Within days I was accepted.  It was a true miracle!”

    Lisa fully embraced the program.  “My first week at OHI was a little rough,” she admitted, “but I followed the program, attended all the classes, exercised every morning, and did the juice fast.  On the fifth night, I realized my pain was completely GONE, and my hands were no longer numb from neuropathy.  On the eighth day, I walked eight miles and could sleep through the night.  The second week I had a blood test done and found my WBCs had nearly doubled and were in the normal range.  This program truly gives the body the ability to heal itself.”

    The emotional component to Lisa’s healing was also vital to her overall health.  “As soon as I arrived at OHI, I allowed myself just to feel it all — the tears, the grief, the stress.  The energy sessions at the massage center also helped me a great deal.”

    Lisa’s gratitude for the OHI scholarship is palpable.  “I feel so blessed to have been able to come to OHI for the full three-week program,” she said.  “My time there gave me my life back.  I am grateful to be alive and enjoying every precious moment.  It takes courage to go outside your comfort zone and invest in yourself.  But OHI’s amazing health and wellness education is a game-changer.  YOU ARE WORTH IT!”

    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 45 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

    Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, or call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your contribution.

     

    Thank you for your generosity!

     

    Optimum Health Institute is a non-profit, religious organization. Your donation is tax deductible.

  • Guest Spotlight: Meet JoJo Lewis, a regular at OHI San Diego!

    Some people are lucky enough to be able to travel the world.  But then there are a few like JoJo Lewis who are lucky enough to have been able to live all over the world.  “I was born in Munich, Germany,” said JoJo.  “My mother’s family comes from Austria and Germany.  My father’s family hails from South Carolina and Georgia in the United States.

    Growing up, we moved throughout Europe quite a bit, and I lived in beautiful places in Germany, Austria, and Italy.  I didn’t move to the United States until I was 28.  Once settled in the States, I started a real estate appraisal business.  I poured my heart and soul into that career for 30 years, and loved every minute of it.  But you have to be a workaholic to succeed in real estate, and after weathering so many ups and downs in the market over the years, I decided enough was enough.  I closed my business, sold my house, and retired.  My dream was to travel the world visiting extended family in the United States and Europe.  But after all the work of shuttering my business and closing escrow on my house, I was completely exhausted.  I couldn’t imagine walking around the block, let alone traveling around the world.”

    JoJo needed a plan, if not for her extended future, at least for the near term.  “I remembered reading in a Dr. Mercola newsletter a few years prior about a health center in Lemon Grove,” said JoJo.  “I did a little research, figured out that the health center I had read about was OHI in San Diego, and made plans to attend the next Sunday Open House.  That Open House was the lifeline I needed.  After touring the campus and learning all about their body/mind/spirit program, I booked a one-week stay on the spot.  That one-week stay turned into two weeks, and those pivotal two weeks literally saved my life.  Being a first-time guest at OHI opened my eyes to how physically and emotionally exhausted I had let myself become.  I threw myself into the classes, I bonded with the other guests, I leaned hard on the staff and let them teach me all the ins and outs of a raw food diet.  The juicing and detox cleansing is overwhelming for most people, but I loved it.  The whole concept of the body/mind/spirit connection was already very real to me, so the detox made complete sense as I could feel my body coming alive again, my mind clearing, and my spirit reaching out to others for connection.  During the second week, I came out of my cocoon and took note of the wonderful people supporting the guests and staff.  They were the missionaries, and I was fascinated by their ability to connect to people one-on-one and still have the time to work on their own personal growth.  The idea of becoming a missionary and spending an extended period of time at OHI to recharge mentally and physically, and really dig into what I wanted to do with the next stage of my life was something I just could not let go of.  I left OHI after two weeks as planned to visit all of my extended family throughout the United States and Europe, but I left my heart at OHI.  I returned a few months later to complete the third week of the program so that I would be eligible to formally apply to the OHI Missionary Program.”

    JoJo’s transition from guest to missionary was seamless.  “My first missionary experience was amazing,” said JoJo.  “I formed long-lasting friendships with the other missionaries that I still have today.  I hold them all dear to my heart and consider them my found family.  The OHI program is structured to build true connections, and I feel like we are all one big OHI family — guests, missionaries, and staff — all with the common purpose of helping others heal while healing ourselves.  To me, there’s no greater reward than helping others.  For the next five years, I served as an OHI missionary once a year, all while continuing my travels.  OHI makes it easy to be my authentic self while there.  I give myself over to vulnerability and try to be as open and trusting as I can. In return, I feel completely supported and safe with fellow guests, missionaries, and staff.  That true interaction with other human beings is all anyone really needs and wants out of life, and I try to carry this purpose out into the world each time I leave campus.  To feel truly seen and heard as a spiritual being is something quite special that I’ll never take for granted, and I feel completely validated each time I return for a stay at OHI.”

    Optimum Health Institute is here for you! 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.

  • From Missionary to Staff Member OHI Employees are the Heart of Our Healing Organization

    Get to know staff member, Doreen DeRose, with our quick Q&A…

    As a leader in holistic healing, OHI strives to foster a community of people dedicated to living healthy, joyful, and spirit-filled lives.  Our employees are the heart of our healing organization, providing guests with a safe and sacred space to cleanse and nourish the body, quiet and focus the mind, and renew and awaken the spirit.

    So who are OHI employees?  Our devoted group is made up of both missionaries and staff members.  Let’s take a look at what each position entails, and meet someone who has traveled the path from guest to missionary to staff member.

    OHI Missionary Program

    Many guests find their OHI stay to be truly transformative, and look to continue their healing journey by joining our Missionary Program.  The OHI Missionary Program is a volunteer extension program for those who have graduated from the OHI holistic healing program, and want to continue on a spiritual path to continue to heal themselves and others.  As a missionary, individuals are able to immerse themselves in the healing process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It is an amazing opportunity for those who have a calling, passion, and commitment to serving others, and who want to reside in a community focused on healing. To learn more about OHI’s Missionary Program, visit www.OptimumHealth.org.

    OHI Staff Member

    For those with a calling, passion, and commitment to serving the OHI community at the highest level, there are a wide range of full-time staff positions including Food Preparation, Program Consultant, Facilitator, and more.  At the core of each position, our staff members serve as a change agent for holistic healing by creating a safe and sacred space for healing.  OHI offers career opportunities like no other. To learn more about a career at OHI, visit www.OptimumHealth.org.

    Meet Doreen DeRose

    Doreen DeRose has seen OHI from every perspective.  She has been a guest, a missionary, and is currently a full-time staff member in our contact center.  Let’s learn more about that progression…

    Q:  Give us a little insight into your background.

    A:  I graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Business Administration. I later earned a 2-year master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.  I am fascinated by the science of the mind, and the connection between mind and body.  I made my first visit to OHI in 2014, and was so grateful for the opportunity to experience my first real detox, improve my health, have emotional release, and be in a community with so many beautiful souls.  I applied to the Missionary Program in 2018, and stayed for 6 months.  The journey was so inspiring that I applied for a full-time position.  I joined OHI in June 2019, working as a Guest Services Associate at the front desk and the contact center.  The contact center is now where I spend most of my days.

    Q:  What appealed to you about the OHI Missionary Program?

    A:  The opportunity to be in service, and witness people’s transformations, and hoping to experience one of my own.  Being a missionary taught me to love and accept myself for who I am, and to offer that same acceptance to all people.  It may sound simple, but it takes a lot to retrain your brain to cancel negative thinking and focus only on the positive.  The reality is that without the OHI Missionary Program, I would never have taken the time to focus on myself and improve my own health.  Being a missionary gave me the tools to change many of my behaviors around food and see a new way of managing my health and my mind.

    Q:  What made you want to become an OHI staff member?

    A:  The  Missionary Program taught me to become more self-aware, and that led to more peace.  That’s when I knew I wanted to make a permanent change, and join the OHI staff.  I wear a lot of hats at this job, but they are all in service of the same goal — to keep the OHI community growing.  Everyone who calls OHI is looking for transformation.  I can honestly tell them that they will find that here.  It may not be the transformation they are expecting, but it will be the transformation they need.

    Q:  Do you have any advice for guests who might be considering applying to OHI?

    A:  Resist NOTHING!  It is the resistance that causes the struggle.  Focus on what you want out of life, and see where that intention leads you.  It just might lead you to OHI. Simply put — MORE FAITH, LESS FEAR.

    Optimum Health Institute is here for you! 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.

  • 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