• Rediscovering Fellowship in Our New Abnormal

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Avoiding Communication Breakdowns Prevents Misunderstanding

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

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

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

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

    Take the Time to Make the Impersonal More Personal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hybrid Communities Provide the Sense of Belonging We Need

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed fall season.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

  • Equinox: The Balance of Darkness and Light

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Healing through Generosity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Looking for Opportunities to Grow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Overcoming Suffering

    There is a certain transformation that can happen after someone experiences a traumatic situation. Those who experience suffering often see and feel positive growth afterwards.

    Bill Gates’ first business, a data processing company, failed miserably. Stephen Spielberg was rejected – twice – by USC, the nation’s top film school. Bethany Hamilton was just 13 and starting to surf competitively when a shark bit off her left arm. Benjamin Franklin’s family didn’t have the money to keep him in school after he turned 10. Jewish Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was interred in a Nazi death camp during WW II. Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was 3.

    The one thing all of these people have in common was their refusal to give up when faced with horrific odds. Being able to tap into deep emotional resources in challenging times and not only survive the obstacle, but actually thrive, is such an important trait that psychologists have even coined a name for it – “post-traumatic growth.”

    It’s something deeper than “resilience,” the ability to rebound from setbacks and resume your life. Of course, resilience is a positive reaction to negative situations, and represents a healthy ability to stay mindful in the present moment and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    The difference, though, is people who exhibit the quality of post-traumatic growth actually end up using the major setback – personal injury, betrayal by a trusted acquaintance, losing everything in a devastating storm or fire, the tragic death of a loved one – as a steppingstone to redefining ‘normal,’ and creating a more purposeful life path.

    Frequently, too, the person will re-dedicate themselves to being of service to others in a similar situation. For instance, Dr. Frankl counseled other prisoners in the concentration camps, and saw proof that those who had deep meaning in their lives – something purposeful left to do – survived. He created the equation, “Suffering without Meaning equals Despair,” and after his release wrote the ground-breaking book, Man’s Search for Meaning.  Bethany not only resumed an award-winning surfing career – she is at the heart of the non-profit foundation, Friends of Bethany, that offers spiritual support to those in need. Franklin, Einstein, Gates and Spielberg all helped elevate and change the nation, and the world despite their early bleak experiences.

    If you find yourself emotionally overwhelmed after an unexpected challenge, there are ways to cultivate the powerful and positive road to post-traumatic growth.

    1. 1. Remind yourself, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” Acknowledge the hurt, but also know you have the power to gradually move through it, into a space of acceptance, and then growth.
    2. 2. Don’t define yourself by the challenge. You endured something intense, but that doesn’t detract from who you are.
    3. 3. Realize healing, and growth, take some time. Even if the incident was instantaneous, coming back into optimum balance isn’t. Be gentle with yourself.
    4. 4. Rely on spiritual disciplines. Meditating, prayer, journaling – all are essential for helping you process your emotions, and guide you in a positive new direction.
    5. 5. Consciously choose foods and beverages that nourish, replenish and fuel you. A healthy, positive, balanced mind and spirit require a healthy body.

    Find the support you need to experience your own personal growth with a visit to the Optimum Health Institute. Let go of past old hurts and embrace positive new experiences with an extended stay at one of our healing missions. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • The Upside of Optimism

    Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “look on the bright side of life.” But if you’ve ever been a tricky situation, say, sitting in traffic, waiting a long line at the grocery store, or worse, the loss of a job or the death of a loved one, you know that finding a silver lining can be challenging.

    While it may be our first reaction to get down and feel sad, evidence suggests that taking an optimistic view is important for coping and recovery.

    In short, optimism provides healthy experience in body, mind, and spirit. Rather than being a simplistic “Pollyanna with rose-colored glasses” approach to life, optimism is realizing that things will have the significance we give to them, and then choosing the most positive, constructive meaning.

    Some very good news to emerge from scientific studies recently is that optimism can be learned. Even people firmly entrenched in a pessimistic mode can consciously shift into a happier, healthier frame of mind. Here are a few exercises proven to raise your joy level:

    • Breathe! Any time we feel stressed, angry, or overwhelmed, the first thing we unconsciously do is start shallow breathing. A brain starved for oxygen negatively impacts body, mind, and spirit. The minute you realize you’re not breathing normally, just stop, and take several deep breaths. With restored clarity, you can more realistically observe the situation and choose the most appropriate positive resolution.
    • Start asking yourself at least one time daily, “How can it get any better than this?” It’s an effective way to reverse our culture’s preoccupation with the question, “What else can go wrong?” While it might seem awkward at first, you’ll soon start to develop a habit of pondering what the next good thing in your day will be – and it will begin to appear.
    • Healthy foods = a happy and healthy mind. When your body is struggling to digest processed foods and animal products, your mind can get as sluggish as your intestinal tract. Choose live, raw, organic vegetables and fruits as much as possible, and see how your happiness level immediately begins to rise.
    • Realize that choosing to give a positive meaning to things changes your body chemistry for the good. A negative mental state can potentially create more acidity in the body than poor food choices.
    • Train your brain to think optimistically. Psychologist Marty Seligman, one of the architects of the field of Positive Psychology, suggests that before we fall asleep, we take a moment to review the three most wonderful things that happened to us that day. Besides putting us in a positive frame of mind that sets us up for a night of peaceful, restorative sleep, the practice subtly rewires our brain. When we arise, we’re immediately starting to anticipate the first of the three most positive things we will experience that day. Of course, negative things will still unfold – but now, instead of endlessly ruminating over them, we’ll acknowledge them, and then refocus on seeking out the positive. Doing this exercise for just one week results in measurably raising your level of optimism for a full six months.

    Learn more about the power of optimism at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI). Your body, mind and spirit will be happy with a week, or two, or ideally three, at the OHI holistic health missions. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement and inspiration needed to improve your outlook on life, quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809  or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Create More Mindful Meals

    As you know, mindfulness is a critical aspect of healing. But have you heard of mindful eating? In a world where most accessible foods are processed, it can be tough to eat mindfully by choosing healthier, more nutritious options.

    Processed foods lack nutrition

    When you eat a diet primarily consisting of processed foods, you may not be getting optimal nutrition from your food. Processed foods have also been tied to an increased cancer risk, so you might be ready to change the way you think about preparing meals for your family. Start by eliminating processed food and appreciating the natural flavors of fresher choices. Below you will get a look at the ways to bring out the best flavors in your food and ensure better health through more nutritionally dense meals.

    Be aware of food texture 

    The various textures of foods should not be overlooked when it comes to creating pleasing flavors for your palate. Foods without much textural variation like soup can be livened up with the addition of crunch from chia seeds, flax, and hemp hearts. Adding textural variation can enhance the flavors of your food and keep you interested in eating healthier foods and increase your awareness of what you are eating.

    Explore pairings of distinctive flavors 

    Knowing how to match flavors with one another will let you get more creative with the same set of ingredients so that you enjoy every meal you prepare. To get a better understanding of how flavors pair with one another, you might experiment with some contrasting elements like hot peppers and sweet fruits. Fresh herbs can also liven up foods by infusing earthy, aromatic flavors into each dish and reducing the need for salt and fat to flavor your food.

    Use ingredients in their purest form 

    Simplifying recipes and using only whole, organically produced foods will be the healthiest strategy for making more mindful meals at home. When you are more aware of where your food comes from, you will be better able to ensure good nutrition for yourself and your family.

    Take control of your health by starting with mindful meals. When you have greater awareness of your body and what you’re eating, you create a clearer pathway to living healthier. At the Optimum Health Institute, mindful eating is a core aspect of our holistic healing program. We use 24 ancient spiritual disciplines to design a curriculum that promotes natural healing from the inside out. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.

  • Strengthening the Spirit Through Prayer

    Prayer is an incredibly powerful act and a spiritual discipline we at Optimum Health Institute (OHI) practice to create and nurture our connection to God. Prayer is talking to God and meditation is patiently waiting, listening for God’s answer. Because we’ve been given the divine gift of free will, prayer is actually our first step in reaching out to God and affirming the existence of a Higher Source.

    There are thousands of ways to communicate with God. Some people get out in nature; others use music, a candle or incense to silence mental chatter. There are others who can pray anywhere, any time. When we connect to God on a heart level, we can stay mindfully in the moment without mentally over analyzing the experience.

    When you learn how to quiet the mind, you become more aware of God’s healing presence and your direct connection to Him. It can be particularly powerful to open all your prayers with an expression of gratitude for God’s many blessings.

    While we encourage individual prayer at OHI in the manner that’s most comfortable for each guest, we also cherish our tradition of prayer circles before meals and ceremonies.

    There’s great symbolism in prayer circles. When two or more are gathered in the name of the divine, their prayers generate powerful, purposeful energy and there’s a deep spiritual fellowship. While a group prayer may be more general, there is an undeniable healing energy that enfolds everyone. A circle symbolizes eternity, the perfection of creation without beginning or end. We hold hands and appreciate our community of caring, mutual respect for individual differences, and fellowship in our love for and surrender to God.

    Another OHI group prayer tradition is our Friday morning testimonials, where guests and adherents share their experiences. I remember when a young woman told how God had answered her prayers, but not as she anticipated. She endured a tough childhood and was raised by her grandmother. The girl fell in with a bad crowd and got involved in drugs and destructive relationships. Each time she began to straighten up, she sabotaged herself.

    She prayed for help and found a substance abuse recovery center. When she still didn’t feel whole, she kept praying for assistance and met a person who suggested she come to OHI. Her first few days she was sick as a dog while her body released years of toxins. By the middle of the week, she turned the corner and was transformed in time for Friday morning testimonials. She developed a personal connection to God and resumed her spiritual path with clarity and joy.

    What made the difference? She had to just trust that God really WAS answering her prayers, even though the first days at OHI were tough.

    Sometimes God responds to our prayers in ways we didn’t anticipate. Other times He responds so much more magnificently than we could have possibly imagined. The bottom line is this – the only true prayer is the sincere desire of the heart. And all true prayers are answered.

    Strengthen your relationship with God through prayer and discover a clarity that can’t be achieved through your works alone.

    And remember, Optimum Health Institute is here for you! We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to connect to a Higher Power. 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.

  • Missionary Spotlight: Get to Know OHI Missionary, Amber Hicks

    Amber Hicks grew up in a family that was health conscious and focused on prevention, but it wasn’t a specific health concern that eventually brought her to OHI.  In 2017 Amber lost someone close to her in an unimaginable way.  “I was really struggling to deal with the loss,” said Amber.  “I stopped doing many of the things I loved, and wasn’t living a very healthy lifestyle for a while.  I knew I needed a change.  My parents offered to send me to OHI, so in September 2018 I spent my first week at the San Diego campus.  While I was grateful to get away and eat healthy, I didn’t have any idea about the true changes I would experience that week.”

    Amber’s first stay at OHI was more than she could have hoped for.  “Before I came, I was tired, had brain fog, insomnia, stress, and anxiety, like many of us do,” said Amber.  “Halfway through the juice fast, I started to feel so much better, and I was able to sleep at night.  By the end of the week, I had lost weight, had a clear head, and more energy than I’d had in a long time.  While I really enjoyed the juice fast and the food, I especially benefitted from the classes.  The facilitators are so knowledgeable and passionate about what they teach.  I learned how intertwined our diet and mindset are with our physical, mental, and spiritual health.  Best of all, I learned different tools to let go of past trauma and grief.  I actually felt free and happy again.  The culmination of the week for me was the Release Ceremony.  It was honestly life-changing, and was just what I needed.”

    Amber’s first stay with OHI multiplied into three separate stays, which then led her into the OHI missionary program.  “I know how I felt after one week here.  I couldn’t imagine how great I’d feel after three months of detoxing and healing my body, mind, and spirit, and being able to support others to do the same,” said Amber.  “I was a full-time caregiver to my grandparents for the last 2-1/2 years, and when they passed away at the incredible age of 99, I decided to spend my transitionary time after their deaths at OHI, and start the next chapter of my life in the healthiest way possible.”

    Amber completely immersed herself in her new role.  “I love so many things about this program,” said Amber, “but I’d have to say the best thing about being a missionary is the fellowship.  I’ve become very close with my fellow missionaries.  We all support each other, and have formed lifelong friendships.  Being a missionary has really changed my thinking, and has given me a better sense of the type of life I want to live and the kind of people I want in it.”

    While Amber has benefitted from all of the classes at OHI, she does have a favorite.  “The Mental and Emotional Detox classes have had the most impact on me,” said Amber.  “We can actually rewire our brains and better our lives just by changing our thoughts and actions.  I find the science behind it fascinating!”

    Amber has noticed a change in herself after going through the OHI missionary program.  “I’ve always been a pretty positive person,” said Amber, “but being here has taken it to a new level.  I really do feel genuinely happy, at peace, and grateful every day.  I meditate regularly, and continue to learn and grow.  My life going forward is full of exciting opportunities and possibilities!”

    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.


  • Nurturing Yourself With Nature

    At OHI, our entire focus is helping support your on your healing journey through life.  We extol the virtues of an organic, raw, plant-based diet because we know that is the best way to nourish your body and mind.  We teach you all about meditation, and journaling, and vocal toning so that you can nourish your spirit.  But there is one key way to nourish your body/mind/spirit that we don’t teach a formal class on at OHI.  We simply let our beautiful campus set the example — everyone should spend time nurturing yourself with NATURE.  And now that summer is coming, consider the beautiful weather and longer hours of daylight your personal invitation to GET OUTDOORS!

    Why?  Being outside and communing with nature has some serious health perks:

    1. 1. Soak up the Vitamin D: When you’re outside in the sun, your vitamin D levels increase.  According to Harvard Medical School, vitamin D helps fight off conditions including osteoporosis, cancer, heart attacks, and depression.  As many as three-quarters of the population is vitamin D deficient from spending too much time indoors.
    2. 2. Improve Mood: Being exposed to light has been shown to improve happiness levels and mood.  So take advantage of those extended summer hours of daylight, and drink in the natural outdoor light.  It’ll lift your spirits!
    3. 3. Exercise in the Sunshine: Working out in your home during the pandemic is a great choice, but with the warm summer weather upon us now is the perfect time to exercise outside.  Put on your walking shoes, and go for a jog or take a lap around an easy walking path.  Get your heart rate up while you soak in the sunshine to get those mood-enhancing endorphins to kick in.
    4. 4. De-Stress in Nature: Spending time in the great outdoors has been shown to reduce stress levels, anger, and aggression.  If those stresses aren’t mitigated, they can elevate your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension, and negatively impact how your nervous, endocrine, and immune systems are working.  Reverse all that negativity with a quick walk around the block!

    At each of our OHI campuses, we put in many hours to keep our grounds and landscaping in full seasonal beauty.  Why?  When people go through our program, they slow down and literally stop to smell the roses.  They notice God in nature, and this is one of the spiritual disciplines embedded within our program, as important as prayer and meditation.  To nurture oneself with nature is to see God in the beauty of the world — in the plants and flowers, in the birds and animals, and in the fruits and vegetables that nourish our bodies every day.

    Studies show that time in nature increases our ability to pay attention.  Because humans find nature inherently interesting, we naturally focus on what we are experiencing outside.  This provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks.  Spend some time in nature, and pay attention to how each of your senses is responding:

    • What are you seeing?
    • What sounds are you hearing?
    • What scents are you inhaling?
    • What can you feel on your skin?
    • What tastes are you aware of?

    As CDC guidelines evolve in this pandemic and some state/counties are loosening travel restrictions, we encourage you to enjoy time outdoors in a way that is both smart and safe — please continue to wear a mask in public, wash your hands, and physically distance.  It’s a small effort to make to protect yourself and everyone around you.

    So, hug a tree, and enjoy the healing power of nature for yourself!

    Our caring staff is 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.

    “How does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?”, takingcharge.csh.umn.edu

    “Why you should nurture yourself with nature”, myseniorhealthplan.com

    “Nurture Yourself in Nature,” by Judy Klipin, judyklipin.com