• What are Spiritual Disciplines, and Why are They Important Today?, Part 1

    In this series we describe the practice of spiritual discipline, the important health and lifestyle benefits that result from having a spiritual practice, and a ‘how-to’ on kick-starting your practice. Here is part 1 of our 2-part series…

    Every religion incorporates spiritual disciplines into their system or custom of worship. Spiritual disciplines are actions designed to strengthen and deepen a person’s relationship with higher power. Often referred to as Spiritual Practices they can include a wide range of activities. Some Catholics pray the rosary, while many Jewish people eat Kosher. Some Buddhists practice yoga, while some faiths consider T’ai chi a spiritual practice.

    Adding a discipline to your routine means you are inviting change, but you are also adding stability to your life. During the current pandemic, the only constant is change. Change can feel disruptive until we have adjusted to it. While you are acclimating to these new arrangements, now is a good time to consider beginning a spiritual discipline.

    If we look at the definition of discipline (dĭs′ə-plĭn) noun; means: “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.”

    And, if we also look at the definition of spiritual (spĭr′ĭ-cho͞o-əl) adjective it means: 1. Relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not material; supernatural 2. Concerned with, or affecting the soul. 3. Not concerned with material or worldly things. 4. Belonging to a religion; sacred.

    A spiritual discipline is training that will help us acquire the nature of spirit, more concern for the soul, less concern about worldly things, and a greater sense of the sacred.

    We may think of spiritual disciplines as something only monks do in their cloistered monastery cells. However, they provide some important health and lifestyle benefits that anyone can gain regardless of their religious beliefs.

    Science Validates Spiritual Discipline

    Rupert Sheldrake, author of Science and Spiritual Practices, validates with scientific research that seven spiritual practices provide resounding physical and mental health benefits. The seven spiritual disciplines he identifies are: 1) Meditation, 2) Gratitude, 3) Connecting with Nature, 4) Relating to Plants, 5) Rituals, 6) Singing & Chanting, and 7) Pilgrimage & Holy Places.

    Many traditional Christian spiritual disciplines are similar to the ones Sheldrake validates in his research. Prayer is a form of ritualistic meditation; Celebration is often through song and recitations.

    The purpose of spiritual discipline is to help us develop inner strength and growth. Through discipline, we bolster our ability to receive insight, remain centered and unaffected by external events and be courageous in accepting the things we cannot change. When this happens, we create more space in the mind for joy and compassion.

    At OHI, we practice 24 ancient spiritual disciplines to help our guests purify their bodies, quiet their minds, and renew their spirits.

    These include: Daily Common Worship, Recollected Prayer, Spiritual Reading, Spiritual Direction, Meditation, Bodily Exercise, Fasting, Spiritual Journaling, Cleansing, Solitude, Confession, Celebration, Noticing God, Silence, Frugality, Service, Prayer, Community (Fellowship), Vocal Toning, Submission, Study, Simplicity, Alms Giving, and Guidance.

    Join us next week for the second part of this article where we expand on a few of our favorite spiritual practices

    Science and the Spiritual Disciplines: Silence by Anjeanette Roberts, reasons.org, January 19, 2017

    An Introduction to the Spiritual Disciplines by Brett and Kate McKay, artofmanliness.com, May 28, 2018

    The Spiritual Disciplines: Simplicity by Brett & Kate McKay, artofmanliness.com, May 28, 2018

    How to Practice the Spiritual Discipline of Journaling by Trina Dofflemyer, rzim.org, no date provided

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

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

  • Scholarship Recipient Recovers From Cancer Surgery

    Basima Rashoo was an experienced aesthetician, a sought-after yoga teacher, and a Kriya yoga practitioner. Raised in Australia, she had lived in Southern California for the past 20 years, and was the picture of good health. But all of that changed in early 2019, when she started experiencing body aches, headaches, lack of sleep, and gastrointestinal problems. After numerous tests, scans showed growths in her uterus. Basima immediately underwent a hysterectomy.

    During surgery, doctors found that the growths had metastasized, and Basima’s condition was much more serious than first thought. “This news shocked me to my core,” she said. “I would never have imagined this could happen to me.”

    The surgeon recommended chemo and radiation. “I could not fathom living through the gruesome side effects,” said Basima, “and given my grim prognosis, it made no sense to me whatsoever to put myself through all of that.”

    Basima decided to take a different path. “I did a lot of soul-searching,” she said. “I just knew I had to go back to basics — a plant-based diet, meditation, and creative visualization. This is how I discovered OHI. After looking into what they offered, their philosophy of healing through body, mind, and spirit resonated strongly with my own core beliefs.”

    But Basima’s surgery had forced her to shut down her business, and her medical bills had taken the lion’s share of her savings. “Without an income, there was no way I could afford a stay at OHI,” said Basima. “But I was more determined than ever to get there, and immerse myself in the program. When I learned about their scholarship program, I submitted my application immediately. It was truly a blessing when I found out I had been awarded a scholarship.”

    Basima arrived at the OHI campus, and immediately felt at home. “This program gave me the inspiration and discipline to take back control of my health and my life,” she said. “I will forever be thankful for this wonderful opportunity. This scholarship was a God send.”

    Basima was so moved by the generosity of OHI’s board that she volunteered to return to OHI as a missionary. “I believe that service plays a large part in the healing process,” said Basima, “so it is my honor to work in service to others at OHI. I thank everyone here from the bottom of my heart for giving me the chance to experience the healing that can only be found at OHI.”

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

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

  • Staff Spotlight: Meet Teekhnata Metzler, Facilitator at OHI San Diego

    Q: Give us a little background on yourself, including your work experience prior to joining OHI.

    A: Before working at OHI, I had my own business as a personal chef. I worked with clients that wanted to enjoy a whole-foods, plant-based diet.

    Q: What made you decide to join the staff at OHI?

    A: I was introduced to OHI in 2001 by a friend who worked in the OHI store at the time. It was OHI’s 25th anniversary and she invited me to the party. I fell in love with OHI immediately, and applied for an opening in the store the next day.

    Q: Describe your current role at OHI.

    A: I am currently a part-time facilitator but I have done almost every job on campus. I started in the store, worked both in the kitchen and front desk, and was the missionary coordinator for a time.

    Q: What do you look forward to experiencing most each time a new cohort of guests arrives?

    A: I love the sense of community that arises with each new week of guests. OHI is a place where people can be themselves without fear of judgment. Guests open up to the reality of their own goodness and worthiness and let go of the habitual armoring and tensing they ordinarily experience due to chronic anxiety and false beliefs. We feel safe opening up to each other, and the love that is shared in just a short time is quite profound. I am honored to be a part of this community.

    Q: What is the biggest change you’ve noticed in yourself since you started working at OHI?

    A: The biggest change I’ve noticed in myself since my beginning days at OHI is a growing love and acceptance for self and for others. Having the opportunity to deeply connect with the guests has shown me how alike we all are. We are all damaged in some way and have suffered greatly and yet, we are incredibly resilient and hopeful. Seeing this so clearly in others has helped me to recognize and appreciate it in myself.

    Q: As a spiritual person, are there any personal spiritual experiences you’ve had since you started working at OHI that you would like to share with the OHI community?

    A: Several years ago, I was going through some heavy emotional turmoil. There was a nun in the program, and she had attended the Focus class that I taught. Afterwards, she came up to me and said very sincerely that I was filled with the light of the Lord. It was the exact thing that I needed to hear at that moment to lift me out of my own self-doubt. I have had many synchronistic moments when I felt that God was using a guest as an instrument to tell me what I needed to hear. And, I hope, that I also have been able to be that instrument for others, allowing them a glimpse of their own Divine goodness.

    Q: For those seeking spiritual evolution, do you have any advice that might help pivot their journey in a more productive direction?

    A: My advice is to carve out time for daily meditation. Initially, it can feel difficult to sit and “do nothing”. But as we strive to be silent, we start to see the tendencies and habits of our mind, and it enables us to know ourselves as separate from our obsessive, worrying thoughts and tendencies. Connecting to this Divine Self is a journey inward where real and lasting peace resides.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

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

  • OHI Program Tip – Lymphatic Exercise

    At OHI, we pay A LOT of attention to the lymphatic system. A peak functioning lymphatic system is the very foundation of good health, but this critically important part of the body is one that most people don’t know much about.

    The lymphatic system is the largest circulatory system in the body, and is your built-in sanitation center that carries away and filters out poisonous waste products from every cell, tissue, and organ. It is a complex network of vessels that branch through all parts of the body, able to collect extra lymph fluid from body tissues and return it to the blood. It is also an essential part of the immune system that maintains fluid levels, fights infection, and produces disease-fighting white blood cells. It is the first line of defense against disease, where the network of vessels and nodes transports and filters lymph fluid containing antibodies and lymphocytes (good) and bacteria (bad).

    With lymphatic congestion the lymph is not flowing well, cells are poisoned from their own waste, and the lymph fluid becomes a toxic cesspool, resulting in fatigue, swelling, infection, inflammation, disease, and more.

    The lymphatic system needs your help to move the fluid through the body because it doesn’t have an automatic pump like the heart. The lymphatic system is stimulated by gravity and muscle contraction (exercise). Moving your body is the key to moving fluid through the lymphatic system.

    How to move the lymphatic system:

    • Move around whenever you can. The lymphatic system depends largely on large muscle activity in the body for its circulation. Stagnation from sitting all day is a major problem. The good news is, any exercise helps – move around for a minute or two every 15-20 minutes, do knee bends, stretch throughout the day, etc. Gentle exercise like stretching and swimming are great for moving the lymph.
    • Go for a walk. One of the best ways to activate lymphatic flow is to take a brisk walk. Walking is a weight-bearing activity that creates gravitational pulls on the lymphatic system each time you take a step. Try to take a 15-30 minute brisk walk each day. Swing your arms and power walk for the best results.
    • Stretch or practice yoga daily. Stretching and yoga poses are especially effective for moving lymph. Holding stretches combined with conscious deep breathing can help direct lymph through the deep channels of the chest.
    • Deep breathing. Although the lymphatic system has no pump like the heart in the circulatory system, the movement from the act of breathing is a lymphatic pump in itself, and can help direct lymph through the chest. Deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing for even just 5-10 repetitions (up to 10 minutes a day) will circulate the lymph especially around the liver: Breathe in slowly through your nose, deeply pushing the stomach out. Slowly let your breath go out through your mouth.
    • Hydrate daily with water. Dehydration is a common cause of lymph congestion. Lymph becomes thicker and less mobile when you are dehydrated, but flows well when hydrated. DRINK! DRINK! DRINK!

    OHI puts all of these ideas into practice to help move your lymphatic system. Our Gentle Lymphatic Exercise Class and Stretch Class stimulate the lymphatic system to eliminate toxins, boost the immune system, and contribute to the healing process. We don’t do aerobic exercises at OHI because they are too hard on the body when you’re on a reduced-calorie diet. Our guided meditation classes incorporate vocal toning and breath work, which also increases circulation in the lymphatic system, as does our emphasis on drinking fluids and colon cleansing.

    Stay safe, and be well. And above all, keep your lymphatic system MOVING!

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

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

  • Meet Crystal Egger, a Frequent Guest of OHI!

    “When I was just 22 years old, my mother-in-law gifted me a week’s stay at OHI,” said Crystal. “She came here a few times, and believed in the program so much that she wanted to share the experience with her family. Talk about the gift of health!”

    Crystal Egger is 41 years old, working as a meteorologist doing weather and climate consulting for national and global business, as well as on-air broadcasting at NBC San Diego. “I’m pretty sure I had a Taco Bell burrito and large coke before arriving for my first visit,” she laughed. “I was straight out of college, and my diet consisted of too much fast food, caffeine and weekend party binges. I had no idea what to expect at OHI, but I went in with an open mind and a willingness to try everything, even the dreaded colonics and enemas. After 4 rough days of detox, I began to fall in love with the way I felt. It was as if all my energy was fully surfacing for the first time in years! My eyes were a brighter white, my skin was glowing, my anxiety was gone, and I had an indescribable enthusiasm for life. I remember calling my mom on the drive home from OHI, and talking her head off! She was like, ‘okay slow down honey…’ I wanted to spread the news with everyone I loved!”

    Crystal had such a life-changing experience the first time, she has since returned six times. “The quest for optimum health keeps me coming back,” said Crystal. “Each visit I learn something new from the program, from the teachers, and from the people I meet. I look at my time at OHI as an opportunity to tap into my higher self.”

    Crystal LOVES the OHI classes. “The Body-Mind Connection class was invaluable. It really helped me connect with myself emotionally and spiritually in a deep way. I also was profoundly changed by the Emotional Detoxification class, where we were asked to focus on someone we need to forgive in order to experience complete spiritual healing.

    Since I lost my father to alcoholism when I was just 17, he was the first person that came to mind. All these years I didn’t realize how much anger and sadness I held onto. I didn’t understand how my dad couldn’t change his drinking habits for the sake of his family, especially his three children who he loved dearly. During that evening class while I listened to the teacher guide us through a forgiveness meditation, tears streamed down my cheeks and I felt a tremendous release through my chest. By removing stored trauma and negative emotions, I was able to create room to add joy, love, trust and kindness.”

    Crystal made an effort to “let go” of something else in order to make another personal breakthrough. “I would have to say that removing negative thought patterns has made a tremendous impact on my life,” she said. “While you can’t eliminate negative thoughts, you can learn to recognize them through practices like meditation and yoga. By monitoring, confronting, and rethinking those thoughts, you can change them to more nurturing, positive, and empowering ways to view your life. It’s something I wish I knew in my 20s!”

    Crystal tells everyone she knows about OHI. “If I hadn’t been gifted that first week at OHI by my mother-in-law, I don’t think my overall well-being would be the way it is today. I look forward to the day I can give this gift of health to my own daughters.”

    We are happy to have you back any time, Crystal!

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

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

  • Get to Know OHI Missionary, Sonnora Johnson

    Sonnora Johnson loved being an OHI missionary so much, she applied for the position TWICE! But her two missionary experiences couldn’t have been more different, each fulfilling in unexpected ways.

    Sonnora first visited OHI San Diego in 2003. She was looking for a holistic spa experience, found OHI in her online search, and booked a 3-week stay sight unseen. She absolutely loved it, and made it a priority to come back every year, and sometimes even twice a year, for the next 15 years. In 2018, the last of her three children headed off to college. She had been homeschooling her three children for the last 24 years, and while it was a job that she loved, she felt like she was completely depleted mentally, physically, and emotionally.

    “And then it just hit me,” said Sonnora. “I needed to go to OHI as a missionary. I love teaching and connecting with others, and I love OHI, so it was a perfect fit.”

    Sonnora’s 3-month missionary stay turned into a 6-month stay, and she served at OHI Austin October 2018 through March 2019.

    “Living and serving at OHI for 6 months was truly a gift,” said Sonnora. “I met so many people, and I learned something from each of them.”

    Sonnora particularly loved the Focus class and the Mental Detox class. “The Focus class helped me understand what I wanted to prioritize and accomplish in my life, and identify and eliminate the time wasters,” she said. “And the Mental Detox class really challenged me to see how my negative thinking was not supporting my goals and aspirations. I have to take responsibility for my thinking, and banish the negativity if I want to achieve more for myself. I also felt the depth of the cleanse is greater when you stay at OHI for months instead of weeks. A cleansed body leads to a clearer brain, and I just felt like my thinking was so much sharper when I had cleansed for 6 months. I felt amazing!”

    So was there anything Sonnora found difficult serving as a missionary? “The hardest part for me was saying goodbye to guests that were leaving,” she said. “Being a missionary is a way for me to pay it forward, and it’s a blessing to serve others. So I would really bond with people, then cry when they had to go home. Clearly, it was a lesson that I needed to learn. I didn’t want to withhold my love, so I prayed on it, and God said I needed to keep bonding. It’s good for my soul.”

    Sonnora felt the pull to return to OHI as a missionary, and started her second term on March 15, 2020…and then the pandemic hit.

    “What are the odds that I would be here during a pandemic?” laughed Sonnora. “I really feel like it’s a blessing in disguise. I am staying in a paradise, and this sanctuary is keeping me safe and protected. I am so grateful. OHI is categorized as an essential business, so we’ve been permitted to stay open the entire time. The other missionary and I keep the campus well-stocked and sanitized, so we are ready to welcome guests at any time. She and I are the Princesses of OHI right now. We eat well. We exercise. We meditate. We are happy to focus on better health for our bodies, and set aside anxiety about the future as we put our trust in God. I have never felt so connected to the universe. This missionary term has been so different from the first, but equally as rewarding. Thank you, OHI!”

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

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

  • Develop Personal Empowerment through Positive Thinking, Persistence, and Patience

    ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.’

    -Philippians 4:8

    A sunny summer greeting to our OHI community. As we enter this new season, many of us will continue to be challenged by the business shutdowns, sheltering in place, and physical distancing required to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I share this Biblical verse because it reminds us to maintain a Positive Mental Attitude – one of OHI’s 5 “Ps” to optimum health, a framework for developing personal empowerment.

    You may recall that in our Spring newsletter, I mentioned that seasonal change is very powerful. I pointed out how Spring is the time of our spiritual calling. How it can be understood to be a time of transformation, and a wonderful time to rediscover your purpose in life.

    Now as we enter the months of summer, the season of growth, with its warmer, longer days, we shed our coats and create ourselves anew. In the garden, as the fruit begins to ripen, the farmer will use the additional time to do some weeding – and like the farmer we can use this time to remove things from our lives which are not serving us. The season of growth brings an opportunity for spiritual ripening that involves maturity, fortitude and strength. As we grow from within, we’re better capable of weathering changes and uncertainty. We make room for the important things in life such as following our purpose; and put first things first by eliminating things that waste our energy and do not serve us.

    In this article, I’m going to expand on three of our 5 “Ps” to optimum health: Positive Mental Attitude, Persistence, and Patience because these principles may help us focus and act on what we can control, and let go of what we cannot change.

    What’s Holding You Back from Positive Thinking?

    Have you ever wondered why you have so many negative thoughts? Shouldn’t you be having positive thoughts instead? Not necessarily. We have a propensity for anxiety as it’s a natural instinct – fight, flight, or freeze, which often serves us well, but can be self-destructive when given too much power. It is in our nature to have negative thoughts. We tend to spend more time thinking about insults, criticism, failure, and loss, than we do our successes. It dates back to our days as cave dwellers, because those who paid attention to threats, risks, and other dangers were those who survived and passed on their genes. Bad news can be a warning that a change might need to be made, which motivates us to pay attention.

    With Coronavirus so heavily in the news these days, it is especially challenging to maintain a positive mental attitude. The good news is that, with persistence and patience, we may train our minds to resist negative thinking and reframe our outlook on the past, present and future. Lisa R. Yanek MPH, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, found that people with a family history of heart disease, who had a positive outlook, were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event than those who had a negative outlook. And, according to the Mayo Clinic, the health benefits of positive thinking include: increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to the common cold, better psychological and physical well-being, better cardiovascular health, and better coping skills during times of stress.

    You Can Train Your Brain to Think Positive Thoughts

    Here at OHI, we provide a safe and sacred place where you can develop a positive mental attitude. You can train your brain to accept and hold onto positive thoughts. For example, when something good happens to you, try replaying that event in your mind over and over again. Meditating on a positive thought for as little as 12 seconds helps move it from short term memory to long term memory

    Another method to counteract negative thinking is to plan a variety of simple pleasures to enjoy throughout the day: listen to a favorite song; eat a special treat; find a good joke or something to laugh about; read something from a beloved author; go outside and inhale some fresh air; or phone a friend. When you prioritize things that make you happy, you make more room in your life for positivity. What simple pleasures make you happy?

    When you find yourself drifting into negative thoughts, have a ready list of positive things to think about instead. It could be a good memory, an inspiring quote, or a moment of gratitude.

    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

    The next two “Ps” I wish to cover are Persistence and Patience which go hand-in-hand; they complement and reinforce each other.

    The Opposite of Persistence is Not Laziness

    The opposite of persistence is more likely fear or its companion emotion: doubt. Both of which can cause hesitation, or worse, procrastination. When you delay or quit trying, it affects your sense of self-confidence and can cause feelings of worthlessness. Oftentimes it is merely ignorance or inexperience that causes us to give up. Additional learning and training may be all you need to succeed. That is why persistence is so important; it makes you aware of your weaknesses, and your stick-to-it-iveness pushes you to seek first to understand, then learn from your mistakes, and try again.

    Acquiring a new skill takes time, and the specialized knowledge will seem foreign until you’ve immersed yourself in it long enough. That’s where persistence pays off, and you will eventually become an expert.

    Persistence is about sticking to your goal. It is not about staying in an abusive or dangerous situation. It’s about adaptability. When adversity strikes, it may mean you have to change your plans, seek a different path, or choose another method for achieving your goal, but you never give up. Martin Luther King, Jr. may have said it best, when he said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

    With persistence, you build confidence and become a role model to those you wish to influence. Here at OHI, we have many mentors who will help you persist in achieving your goals; whether they are to become a role model for others, find holistic healing, increase natural health, or all of the above. Our staff, our missionaries, and our return guests are all available to encourage and teach you.

    Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29

    Patience Rewards You With Greater Health and Social Skills

    Patience empowers persistence. When we can take a long view, we are more likely to achieve our goals and dreams. The benefits of patience are enormous; it improves your health, and makes you a more likeable person. Unlock your total strength, passion and capabilities as a person with patience to understand each aspect deeply.

    According to a 2007 study by Fuller Theological Seminary professor Sarah A. Schnitker and University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, patient people tend to experience less depression and negative emotions. They also find that the more patience a person has, the less likely they are to suffer health problems such as headaches, ulcers, acne, diarrhea, and pneumonia. And, according to management professors, Debra R. Comer, Ph.D., and Leslie E. Sekerka, Ph.D., from their 2014 study, patient people tend to be more cooperative, more empathic, more equitable, and more forgiving. Just like the people you’ll find here at OHI.

    Learning patience means you can say good-bye to frustration, exasperation, anger, and anxiety. Dr. Judith Orloff, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, offers a fun method for developing the skill of patience. She suggests practicing patience by intentionally choosing to stand in the longest, slowest moving line, next time you go to check out in a store. Instead of getting irritated, take a deep breath and enjoy the pause. While waiting, say a few nice words to those in line with you, and use the time to daydream and take a mental vacation from your obligations.

    What’s New at OHI

    You don’t have to wait for the pandemic to be over to visit us here at OHI and start developing your self-empowerment skills of positive thinking, persistence, and patience. If you’ve been receiving our emails, then you know we are open and that we’ve been working hard to enhance our guests’ experience, while also providing a safer environment. Last March, we established new community health guidelines for everyone on our campus, which allowed us to remain open.

    We’ve also taken this opportunity to create a more-intimate guest experience by reducing the number of guests in our program. This means more private rooms are available. The flipside is that program space fills quickly. Therefore, we recommend booking 3 weeks in advance in order to get your preferred room.

    We are also very excited to share with you:

    • OHI San Diego’s colonic and chiropractic services are now available.
    • OHI Austin’s colonic, chiropractic, and massage services are also available.
    • Call us to book your appointments: (800) 588-0809
    • Since everyone on our campus is currently required to wear a face mask, we are providing masks for each community member in our program.
    • We have organic bed linens in all of our guest rooms, which provide a new look and great feel.
    • We’ve outfitted each guest room with a Molekule air purifier. The Molekule air purifier destroys a wide-range of pollutants, including allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), bacteria, mold, and viruses.

    Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed summer season.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.,

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

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

  • Working with Grief

    Let it hurt. Let it heal. Let it go.


    Without exception, each and every one of us is going to experience deep sorrow at some point.   The death of a loved one, a job loss, divorce, financial or medical hardships – whatever the circumstances, we will grieve for what was, and what might have been.

    No matter what triggered the pain, one thing is certain – keeping it bottled up is going to eventually take a toll physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

    Repressed grief not only compromises our immune system – it can literally lead to death.  The late neuroimmunologist Dr. Candace Pert scientifically proved the human body has seven major centers of consciousness, or chakras, each corresponding to an endocrine gland.  The heart chakra is the center of our emotions, and it corresponds to the thymus, which is the master controller of our immune system.  Any emotional trauma weakens our immune system, and our ability to fight off illness.

    Besides the physical consequences of holding in sorrow, the death of a loved one might cause the grieving spouse or family member to retreat into self-imposed isolation.  The combination of seclusion, depression and failure to acknowledge their loss results in a shockingly high rate of suicide.

    Thankfully there are many positive, effective ways to navigate painful life passages, and truly experience “good grief.”

    The first actually comes from the phrase, “good grief.”  It’s a version of “Good God” or “Good Lord,” which is the beginning of the litany, “Good Lord, deliver us” from hardship.  Asking for God’s help in getting through your sorrow is a powerful, effective way to start to heal.

    A psychiatrist described another grieving process as “paradoxical.”  He suggested encouraging the bereaved to go through photos and belongings of the loved one, sharing rich memories along with the tears.

    “It’s both letting go and holding on, “ he explained.  “It’s a way of integrating all those happy memories into yourself, permanently making the departed loved one a part of you.”  He also cautioned against expecting a mourning period to last a specific amount of time, or be expressed in a precise way.

    “People have been criticized for either remarrying too quickly, or holding on to their grief for too long,” he said.  “Each of us handles grief differently.  There is no single standard.”

    “If you stay stuck in the trauma that might have surrounded a person’s death,” counseled a certified funeral celebrant, “you can more easily stay stuck in your grief.  Grab hold of that grief – feel it, go through it, know it’s OK to be sad.  Then recognize the gift that they were here.

    “It’s important to remember how your loved one lived, not just how they died.  Remember the happy things — all the people they touched, all the things they did, and how they left a beautiful legacy.”

    If you feel you or someone you care about is getting stuck and isolated in their grieving process, here are some positive steps to take:

    1. 1. Give your grief to God, and ask for His help in healing your broken heart.  If you have a minister, rabbi or counselor, share your sorrow with them.  They’re trained in how to help you navigate the hurt.
    2. 2. Take a daily walk outside.  The combination of gentle exercise with being in nature is quite healing.
    3. 3. Do something nice for someone else in your loved one’s name.  Donate some of their possessions to Goodwill.  See if a local school might be interested in their books or musical instruments.
    4. 4. Bring beauty back into your life.  Visit an art gallery. Stroll through a botanical garden. Have fresh cut flowers on your dining room table.  Listen to classical music.
    5. 5. Open your heart and your mind to new experiences.  Take a class.  Join a community choir or theater group.  Volunteer with an organization that’s close to your heart.
    6. 6. Journal your feelings.  Remember to make lists of all the things you are grateful for during the time you shared together.

    The important thing to remember is your grief is a passage, not a new way of life.  Be gentle with yourself, honor your feelings of sorrow, but gradually bring your attention back to being actively engaged in the present.  You are blessed that you experienced deep love.

    Look to OHI as a safe haven. As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how to move through the spiritual, emotional, and mental aspects of the grieving process.

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

  • Stories about Father

    From a minister: “My father was a very positive person and moved mountains to create his dreams. He used to tell me, ‘You can do anything you put your mind to!’

    When I was about to graduate from college, I still had no idea what kind of work I wanted to do but knew I wanted to work with ‘helping people’ in some way. Just a month away from my graduation I frantically told my father – ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up,’ knowing that Dad would have just the right sage advice. Dad responded, ‘I don’t either!’

    At the time it was not reassuring that even Dad, so grown-up and a respected businessman, did not know what he wanted to be. However, he laughed and told me that most people don’t know at the tender age of 21. He reassured me that if I could just trust that LIFE would show me through experience – and following my heart – the opportunities that were right for me would appear. He also said it was OK to change my mind along the way! I felt so relieved as this seemed to make so much sense to me. And 37 years later…I would still agree. Thanks Dad!!!”

    From an executive with a national nursing association: “My Dad has always been an amazing example across the board. He taught me to respect all people and set an example that integrity extends from the CEO to the roughnecks working on the rigs. As we leaned this, we also saw how to give of ourselves, knowing it would come back even bigger, and when we most needed it.

    He also instilled in us that there is always more than one way to do just about anything. This gave me my knack for outside the box thinking and problem solving. Even what seem like YES/NO questions often have more than the two obvious answers/solutions.

    But what has always stood out is that through example and practice, my Dad raised my brother and me to be self-sufficient. Once we made it on our own, he stood back and let us fly. Even times when we might be headed for disaster, he allowed us to live our own lives, knowing we had the skills to thrive. He never said ‘I TOLD YOU SO!’ Each time we fall he is there to help us learn the lesson, regroup and keep going. He believes in us!”

    From a yoga teacher: “My father passed away when I was little, but I remember he always did things he didn’t want to do to make me happy. There are pictures of this rough ‘manly man’ carrying these naked dolls for me at the lake….”

    From a financial manager: “So many wonderful things my dad did for me! Giving me an allowance and making me abide by it so I could learn to manage money. Encouraging me to go to college and making it possible. But one piece of advice he gave me will always stick with me. When I’m stressing about something, he told me to pick a date on the calendar a week or two ahead. Until that date I picked comes, I’m not allowed to think about the problem. Ninety-nine percent of the time the problem won’t nearly seem as big when you’ve taken a break away from it, the answer will become obvious, or the problem will have resolved itself. And he was right!”

    From a college professor: “I took a math test in first grade and should have gotten a 100. Instead, the nun gave me a 94%. I tried to tell her, but she wouldn’t listen. I cried the whole six-block walk home. I told my mother. She told me I still had an A. That made me cry even more.

    I took my wet crumpled paper to the porch to wait for my dad. I knew he would understand. He drove up right at 5pm as always. I was crying and pointing at the paper because I couldn’t speak the words to explain. He understood…and drove me straight to the convent. He explained what happened to the nun. She apologized directly to me and changed the grade on the spot! I will always remember that!”

    To all the dads, and the parents or guardians fulfilling that role, we at Optimum Health Institute (OHI) salute you.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

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

  • The Healing Power of Nature

    In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, people are spending more time indoors, losing a valuable connection with nature. This shift to an indoor routine can have negative effects for your health and your mental wellness, because people are meant to be in touch with the world around them through direct interaction with it. Below is a closer look at the reasons to spend more time in nature in your daily life and the ways to achieve this goal.

    Healing powers of nature

    Studies dating back to 1984 have shown that there is health benefits connected to nature. Psychologist Roger Ulrich found that patients in hospitals who gazed out into a garden tended to heal faster and with fewer complications than those patients with no view outdoors.

    Empowering stress relief

    More recent studies have suggested that immersion in nature can significantly reduce stress and promote relaxation. This change is marked by the reduction in stress hormones that cause the fight or flight reaction in the body. Because of the physiological change that occurs when people are interacting with nature, nature therapy is a promising tool in holistic medicine that may benefit a wide range of patients.

    Where to explore nature

    You do not have to travel far to be part of nature. Even if you live in a big city, you can create your own nature retreat with a rooftop garden or local park. If you are in a more secluded area, you might simply take a walk outside each day to breathe in fresh air and enjoy the majestic views that Mother Earth has to offer. Longer weekend hikes through nature trails can allow you to tap even deeper into the meditative qualities of natural surroundings.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

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