• Celebrating the Divine in Everything

    Affirming Your Life

    “Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love.”

    — Mother Teresa

    Affirmation: Today I will mindfully put love in everything I think, say and do.


    A four-year-old girl’s parents returned home from the hospital, proudly carrying her baby brother.  She stared at her new sibling for a very, very long time, then told her mom and dad she wanted to speak to her brother — alone.

    Her parents were a bit hesitant, but knew the baby monitor was right by his crib, and they would be waiting just outside the door.

    As soon as she and the infant were alone, the girl approached the crib with purpose.  She rested her hands on the railings, leaned in close to her brother, and said wistfully, “Tell me what God looks like.  I’m starting to forget.”

    The late author, speaker and spiritual philosopher Dr. Wayne Dyer shared that true story to illustrate what too many of us experience daily.  When we seek it out, we can see God’s grace and love in everyone, and everything.  When we start to forget, a little piece of our heart goes into a kind of suspended animation.

    Dr. Dyer wrote prolifically on the concept that things will have the emotional meaning we give to them.  If we’re passed over for a promotion, it can mean we’re in a dead-end job; or it can mean we have more time to develop our skills, and fine-tune our aspirations for our future.  When our last child leaves the nest, it can mean our life no longer has any purpose; or it can mean we are now free to focus on those spiritual and creative pursuits we put on hold for years.

    If each day becomes something to endure rather than celebrate, it’s time to shift gears.

    Always searching for the deeper meaning in things, and choosing our response from a place of love and compassion, will enrich every aspect of our lives.

    When we put God on “speed dial,” constantly checking in for a more enlightened way of understanding and being, we start to come into a place of balance and contentment.  We can quickly access an Alpha state, which means releasing stress, bolstering our immune system, and experiencing more mental clarity and emotional stability.

    From that mindful place of deeper spiritual connection, it’s easy to stay in a heart-centered space.  We automatically begin to say and do the things that matter, and are steeped in love.

    When we expect to see the divine in everything, we will find it.  That’s when we truly begin to live our lives in constant celebration, doing all things with great love.

    Show yourself great love with an extended stay at Optimum Health Institute missions in San Diego and Austin.  Celebrate with your spiritual community to link up with old friends, and make some wonderful new ones.  Call us at (800) 224-2620 to book your reservation.  Be sure to ask about our current promotional discounts.

  • Ordinary Guests Doing Extraordinary Things

    Introducing OHI guest, Kristi Overgaard. She is Chief Brand, Culture, and Awesomeness Officer at Switch Ltd. Switch designs, builds, and operates the most technologically advanced and highest-rated colocation data centers in the world. Kristi champions the initiative to ensure that the world’s extraordinary, beneficial technology advances will always serve a beautifully, humancentric and planet-friendly world.

    Kristi enjoys her roles in making a difference for her immediate community as well as the community beyond Las Vegas. She is on the steering committee and serves as the marketing chair for the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance, an organization that is integral in the redevelopment of the downtown area. She is a Board Trustee and vice chair for Nevada State College. She revels in her role on the Board of Trustees for the Nevada Museum of Art located in Reno, Nevada. Finally, she is a Champion Advisor for Dazzle Africa, a nonprofit focused on wildlife conservation and education in Zambia.

    Q. How did you hear about OHI?

    I have an amazing life coach that recommended OHI based on some of her other clients’ experiences. I let her know that nothing was more important than my health, and it was time for a complete reset. Her response was, “OHI.”

    Q. How did you feel both before and after your first visit?

    Before: I felt overweight, stressed, lethargic, and exhausted. I had joint pains, and I started avoiding stairs and standing for long periods of time. I felt double my age. After: I felt light, rested, cleansed, grateful, energized, alive, and healthy. People said I looked like I was glowing. That’s because I was!

    Q. What is the biggest change you’ve noticed in yourself since OHI?

    I think I’ve changed in four ways: 1. I pay even closer attention to the purity of food, products, and people in my life. 2. I remember now to actually take downtime for me. 3. I dropped 18 pounds, and intend to keep it off. 4. I learned the benefit of taking a completely technology break. It is beautiful!

    Q. What OHI class has had the most impact on you?

    Vocal Toning was the greatest gift. The classes in Focus 1 and 2 were life changing as well. I also incorporated the daily workouts into my life outside of OHI.

    Q. Did you find it difficult to open up and be vulnerable the first time you came to OHI?

    No. I found it to be very freeing and engaging.

    Q. How has your diet changed since you first came to OHI?

    I became a vegan again, and focused on a 70% raw diet. I really love the water and raw apple cider vinegar that replaced my coffee routine. I enjoy live, fresher food, and I am mindful of combinations.

    Q. What keeps you balanced and centered in a demanding job where you’re required to always be “on?”

    I start every day with meditation, and connect with my purpose regularly to keep on track. I also really believe in the mission.

    Q. What are your thoughts on “belonging to community,” and what positive aspects do they add to your life?

    How does your sense of “belonging” change with the different communities that you belong to? I think being a part of a community is central to being a healthy human. My communities vary greatly, and provide unique values to my life. My occupational community gives me mission, acknowledgment, results, and resources. Dazzle Africa feeds my spirit, and allows me to make a difference on the planet. That means more to me than anything else. The arts and education are the two items that I want to see walk hand-inhand to change the way we view work force development and life
    long learning. Our communities are where we design ourselves and feed ourselves. Belonging and tribal centers are cures in themselves.

    Q. Did your OHI re-set take your work-related creativity to a new level?

    My reset was about work-life balance, and ensuring that no matter how much I make a difference in my role at work, I still need downtime for me.

    Q. Once you’ve put in the hard work to re-set at OHI, does that provide you with a clarity and a confidence back in the working world?

    There was a clarity and a calm that centered me for any and all external interactions that I experienced even in the airport on the way home. The real world was not the same as our cozy OHI bubble, but I was able to navigate confidently in my new Zen swagger!

    Q. What was the thing that most surprised you about OHI?

    The most surprising thing was the people. I fell in love with the people, made life-long relationships, experienced deep and immediate connections, recognized soul relations. What surprised me most about myself was how ready and committed I was to be there. I was never scared or uncomfortable. I was small and silent, but open and attentive. I didn’t look at emails or texts the entire time, and I absolutely loved that part!

  • The Emotional Freedom of Saying ‘No’


    All the passengers have boarded the plane, and the flight attendant takes her place at the head of the aisle. She instructs everyone to adjust and fasten seatbelts, move their trays and chairs to the upright position, and turn off all electronic devices. Then, she holds up a bright yellow oxygen mask. In the event of an emergency, she says, put your own mask on first. After all, you won’t be of any real help to anyone else if you can’t breathe yourself.

    That’s important advice for airline travel, but even more important for daily life.

    Only when we are functioning in a healthy, balanced way that’s in alignment with our values and beliefs can we truly be present, and be of service to others.

    Too frequently we can find ourselves sacrificing things that are important to us just to attempt to please someone else. We’ve been diligent about adhering to a primarily live, raw, plant-based diet, but cave when mom insists we eat her famous homemade cinnamon rolls with extra icing.

    We’ve been looking forward to a spiritual retreat weekend, but feel obligated to abandon our plans when a close friend decides to throw a huge party. We might even ethically disagree with a new policy at work, but stay silent to keep from ‘rocking the boat.’

    Any time we fail to maintain good emotional boundaries, even thought we might think we’re keeping the peace, our actions will actually have the opposite effect. Over time, repeatedly suppressing our true feelings will inevitably lead to deep resentment.

    The stress of denying what we feel is the better, more authentic choice can actually have physical repercussions. Stomach churning, sweaty palms, rapid breathing and elevated blood pressure are frequent results of swallowing our emotions. Negative emotions create an acidic body chemistry that robs minerals from our bones, organs, tissues and cells.

    When we’ve fallen into a habit of people-pleasing, it can be challenging to start saying ‘No’ and take back our power. We can begin with first getting in touch with what we truly feel.

    1. Imagine yourself taking the time to do something you know is good for you, like meditating, exercising or journaling. Do you feel any hesitancy or guilt? If so, say an empowering statement, like, “I release all guilt to the light.”
    2. Affirmations are an excellent way to embrace your emotions and start to set good boundaries. “I give myself the gift of time to nourish my spirit” is a powerful start.
    3. After years of saying ‘Yes’ when you didn’t want to, it might be hard to distinguish between what you think others expect from you, and what you truly desire. Tap directly into your higher self by thinking of a specific question, like, “Do I want to go to that event?” Then immediately, imagine that you’re seeing a traffic light in your mind’s eye. What color light is lit? If it’s red, your answer is ‘No.’ Green means go for it! Yellow suggests that you proceed, but cautiously.

    With a little practice, we can change old patterns of going along with something into the emotionally freeing option of just saying, unapologetically, “No!” It’s definitely a positive new behavior that will have us breathing easier.

    Experience the emotional freedom of nurturing yourself first with an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Join us as we celebrate 40 years of holistic healing. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Understanding the Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

    Fruits and vegetables lose a considerable amount of their nutrients when they are heated above 105 Fahrenheit. Eating foods that are raw allows you to take advantage of all the vital nutrients within food, many of which are necessary for your health and wellbeing. At Optimum Health Institute, we prepare raw meals using dehydrated, fermented, and fresh foods that are combined to provide optimum nutrition.

    Improved Digestion

    Your body utilizes enzymes to help digest food. Raw fruits and vegetables naturally contain enzymes that are destroyed when the food is cooked. By consuming a raw diet, you can provide your body with additional enzymes, allowing for better digestion and absorption of foods and nutrients.

    Benefits of Juice Fasting

    One benefit of a juice fast are that the food is easily digested with minimal energy by the body.  With a juice fast you can take advantage of the vital nutrients in food without the taxing digestion.  Also, another benefit is that a juice fast is alkalizing to the body pH.  Eating an alkalizing diet, as opposed to an acidic diet, can help with a myriad of physical complaints and illnesses.

    Reduced Risk of Diseases

    There are a number of chemicals and nutrients found naturally in raw foods that can help prevent diseases. For example, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale contain high amounts of isothiocyanates, a group of chemicals that have been shown to help fight cancer. Cooking these vegetables eliminates the isothiocyanates within them. A raw diet has also been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower overall cholesterol levels.

    Healthier Weight

    A raw food diet promotes a healthy body weight. The consumption of high amounts of raw food and vegetables eliminates excess fat and sugars from the diet. In addition, better digestion may result in higher energy levels which can make regular exercise easier to accomplish.

    At  Optimum Health Institute , we serve a variety of raw-live foods, juice fasting, and wheatgrass to promote restoring your body to its natural balance. Our meals do not contain nuts or oils, which can hinder the detoxification process. To learn more about the raw food diet from Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin, call us today at (800) 993-4325.

  • The Power of Your Written Unconsciousness

    Week 1 Journal Entry

    One goal here at OHI is to trust that my years of parenting have not been fruitless, and have the faith to just listen to my daughter instead of trying to steer the ship all the time.

    Week 2 Journal Entry

    Ginny lives in DC, and I miss our every day conversations, so I drop everything whenever she calls to catch up. The phone rang very late last night, so I knew it must be something urgent. I could tell from the first “Hello” that she was upset. We made idle chit chat about the weather for a minute or two, and then she finally stopped beating around the bush. “Dad,” she said, “I have a grown-up question to ask you.”


    Her firm had been blindsided with a series of harassment charges. There were allegations going around about a VP and an intern spending time together at the company picnic…and after the picnic. Long story short, in this era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, repercussions within the firm were swift and severe. What they didn’t see coming was the repercussions from outside of the firm. They lost their top two clients in the same day.

    “Dad, what should I do?” asked Ginny. “Do I stick with a firm that’s in chaos? Or do I quit without another job, and throw my life into even more chaos?”

    My first response was a complete Dad move. “Have you been a victim of harassment at this firm?”



    “Are you still learning?”


    “Is the firm’s environment different from when you first joined?”

    “Yes, far more gossipy and distrustful.”

    “Do you like your clients?”

    “Yes, they’re the best part of my job.”

    “Then you need to maintain your professional demeanor, always be positive, and rise above the gossip and backstabbing. And most of all, get pro-active about your career! Network! Network! Network! At church. On the metro. At the DC Zoo happy hour.”

    “Thanks, Dad,” said Ginny. “That reminds me, I need to make sure I get to the next Zoo happy hour. Even if I just go to visit the giraffes for some peace and quiet.” We both laughed as we yawned. It really was late, and we both had to get up early the next morning. “Uh, Dad? There’s this other grown-up question I’ve been thinking about for a while.”

    Uh oh…

    “How much work do you think a puppy would be?”

    “Ginny, a puppy is as much work as a baby.”

    “Yeah. I know,” she sighed. “I’ve just been thinking how nice it would be to come home to a happy little Corgi after a long day at work. Something to snuggle up to on the couch while I’m eating my Chinese.”

    I groaned inwardly. It’s not just a big responsibility, I thought to myself. It’s a long-term commitment. She needs to know she’ll be walking that dog three times a day in the rain for the next 15 years. Honest-to-Pete, she’s going to screw up her first real job AND a puppy at the same time. And then I’m going to end up with a neurotic Corgi sleeping on my bed for the next decade.

    This was it. I needed to be heard-hearted about this. This was the moment where I needed to shift into parenting overdrive, and steer her down the road of common sense and pragmatic decision-making.

    And so I bit my tongue.

    Why? Because all I could think about was how much Ginny had always wanted a Corgi. All her life. And she was right. It really would be nice for her to come home to a happy little Corgi. After all the darkness she had been through since she had graduated college, a small ray of happiness wasn’t too much to ask. She had been working hard for three long years. Kept her nose to the grindstone. Saved her money. Put in the overtime.

    But the barking. And the training. And the vet bills. And the dog walks at night by herself.

    “Dad? Did you fall asleep?”

    “No,” I said. “I was just pulling up Amazon on my laptop. Let’s see how fast Prime can get ‘Puppies for Dummies’ and ‘Dog Training 101’ to your door.”

    “You really think I can do it, Dad?”

    “Like I said, honey. Always be positive.”

    Week 3 Journal Entry #1

    I realize that I don’t want to feel like I’ve failed as a parent, so I don’t let my child fail at anything. I thought steering her toward the “wise” choice every time would model objective decision-making skills for her. In reality, taking the decision-making out of her control just made her doubt her own abilities in general. She didn’t end up learning any skills. She only learned that I didn’t have faith in her.

    Week 3 Journal Entry #2 — Discover patterns from your own journaling

    I didn’t have faith in my own parenting skills, so my self-doubt manifested itself in over-compensation. I micromanaged small decisions for my daughter to prove to myself what a great parent I was. But when my daughter was faced with a life-changing decision — to quit her job, to adopt a puppy — she couldn’t get off the fence and choose without making sure her choice had my seal of approval. I had paralyzed her because I was completely paralyzed with fear that I wasn’t doing a good enough job raising her. Did I teach her everything she needed to know before going out into the big, bad world? And would I miss her too much if I really do let her go out on her own?

    I think I took the first step in trusting the work I put in parenting for the last 25 years by trusting that if my daughter chooses to quit her job or adopt a puppy she’ll put in the effort needed to succeed. I will relinquish control, trust her judgment, and give her support from a distance so she gains the confidence in herself that she deserves. My own self-doubt is my own problem. Not hers. I need to be more positive.

  • Belonging to OHI’s Community Helps You Persist and Succeed

    Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States, once said, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Persistence is one of our “5 P’s” (Prayer, Purpose, Persistence, Patience, and Positive Mental Attitude), and having the support of belonging to community makes it easier to stay the course and persist until you reach your goal.

    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus .’ Galatians 3:28

    We have found that there are five paths to belonging, and at OHI these help our guests mesh into our vibrant community. The first is Participation , the more one gets involved in the program and activities, the more likely they are to interact with the other guests, and in turn the greater their sense of belonging. Second is the Recognition of Gifts , those you need to acknowledge in yourself and recognizing them in others. You will do this during daily affirmations, and our classes such as You Validation and Your Life is a Gift . Third is via our Safe and Sacred Environment where you are encouraged to open up to your fellow guests as well as our counselors. Fourth is through the Physical Design of Our Campus where opportunities to bump into each other and exchange hugs and conversation, whether by chance or intention, will occur during our Daily Circles, at the garden, or at the pool. The fifth is Personal Ownership , where you create your own stake in the community by helping others, listening to others, challenging others, supporting others, and even donating your time and money.

    Each week when people attend our program there is a great balance in the community as some people return for a second, third, or fourth week. These experienced-hands, help the newer up-and-comers by sharing helpful tips and how-to’s that enable them to quickly assimilate into the OHI culture and community. Veteran guests understand – physically and emotionally – what the first weekers are experiencing and by giving them a hand up help them to achieve a sense of belonging faster.

  • Continuing our Connections — Online

    Affirming Your Life

    “What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and its grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible, possible.“ — John Lewis

    Affirmation: Today I will reconnect with my OHI community friends by sharing my most recent successes with the healthy lifestyle program on the OHI facebook page.

    So at this point, your last OHI stay is a happy memory, and you’re doing your best to continue following the healthy holistic lifestyle program at home. The great news is, that positive, powerful and healing support you felt from the OHI community is always as close as your keypad.

    Nearly 5,000 members actively participate in OHI’s social media opportunities to stay connected, share information, ask and answer questions, and enjoy each other’s successes. Through blogs, tweets and facebook groups, the growing OHI community continues to be a positive force in daily life.

    For instance, members regularly request, and receive, prayers and healing thoughts for themselves, family members and friends. It’s gratifying and empowering to know so many like-minded, compassionate people are seeing a request for support, and immediately responding.

    Posting fascinating articles showing how the rest of the world is catching up with the core principles OHI has taught for 40+ years is another popular social media activity. Facilitators and other community members alike share stories they’re found, like why diet soda is addictive, or how the first vegan soccer team is tearing up the field, and debunking old ideas that animal proteins were mandatory for physical strength and endurance.

    Many first learned about relevant documentaries, like HEAL on Amazon, and What The Health on Netflix, though OHI’s social media community.

    One touching post last year paid tribute to the late Louise Hay, a holistic author and founder of Hay House. The Optimum Health Store carries many of her motivational books.

    OHI facebook pages are a great source of shared laughs, too. One particularly funny post is an original song performed during a Talent Night in 2016 at OHI Austin. The singer cleverly delivered lyrics on ALL aspects of the OHI experience entitled, “No One Knows What It’s Like at OHI:” https://vimeo.com/191217233

    Maybe the most popular topic in the social media conversations concerns healthy eating tips. Members frequently share photos of their OHI-inspired creations, like golden beet rejuvelac, a first batch of seed cheese, a jar of sauerkraut, buckwheat groats with berries, rainbow-colored salads and apple ginger crackers.

    OHI team members are always standing by to answer questions, like is white growth on fermented salsa normal (It’s not!), and should seed cheese rise like bread (Again, NO!)

    One community member shared a poignant post last year. She was feeling particularly homesick for OHI, and happened to run into an OHI Austin alum half a world away.

    If you’re not already a member of OHI’s online community, visit our website at optimumhealth.org to see how to connect. And if you’re feeling it’s time for the real thing again, book your 1, 2 or 3-week stay today. Call us at (800) 224-2620 to make your reservation, and be sure to ask about our current promotions.

  • OHI’s 5Ps in Community

    Affirming Your Life

    “The more people share their own experiences feeling God’s grace, the more everyone starts to feel more secure in themselves, and truly embrace the opportunity for holistic healing.” –Pam Nees

    Affirmation: Today in meditation, I will express the deepest gratitude for how my spiritual community strengthens my will, and provides unwavering support.

    OHI’s 5Ps in Community

    Being in a like-minded, God-centered spiritual community like that at OHI is scientifically proven to help reduce stress and boost self-confidence. On a daily basis, we also see how the community supports members in following OHI’s 5 Ps for Optimum Health.

    1. Purpose: to achieve a natural balance and reconnection to the Divine.

    It’s not just the facilitators, missionaries and staff at OHI who are eager to assist. Guests consistently jump in at every opportunity to be of service to others. Whether it’s helping a first-timer master cutting and juicing wheatgrass, including strangers in a lunch conversation or suggesting inspirational books in the Optimum Health Store, members of the OHI community are happy to be of service. That generosity of spirit creates a compassionate atmosphere of purposeful intent.

    2. Positive mental attitude that supports the healing process.

    While detailed stories about enemas and implants are not usually popular topics of conversation, within the OHI community guests have even written and performed hysterically funny songs about them for the OHI Talent Show! Sharing a laugh is a frequent — and very healing — occurrence that helps people stay connected, and positive.

    3. Persistence in following the holistic disciplines of the OHI holistic healing program.

    Particularly for guests transitioning from a ‘burgers, beer and Netflix’ lifestyle, sticking with the 21-day program can be a challenge. Knowing that everyone else is being asked to make the same dramatic changes makes it easier to stay on track. The encouragement and support of others also helps.

    4. Patience with your body and yourself as you allow your body, mind, and spirit to heal.

    The Friday Morning Testimonials are rich with shared stories of sometimes miraculous changes in body, mind, emotions and spirit. Everyone present knows the transformations didn’t just happen — they took real patience and perseverance, and the non-judgmental, unconditional support of the entire community.

    5. Prayer to a higher source who will share the load with you.

    The power of “two or more” gathered in prayer is lauded in the Bible. Sharing joyful time in sacred gratitude before meals, in group meditations and throughout one’s stay at OHI adds another dimension of grace and love to every prayer.

    Draw on the strength of the vibrant OHI community to assist you in applying the 5Ps to your daily life. Come back for an extended stay this summer, and feel the love. Call us at (800) 224-2620 to book your reservation. Ask about our current summer promotional discounts.

  • OHI Austin: “A far more luxe & stylish setting than you’d ever expect!”

    You owe it to yourself to try OHI Austin

    Welcome, or welcome back, to Optimum Health Institute (OHI) Austin, a place of beauty and healing nestled in the spectacular Texas countryside . Whether you’ve never visited, or it’s been a while, come experience the difference of newly renovated rooms that are environmentally friendly, private, and extremely comfortable. Find yourself lost in thoughtful contemplation on our wooded trail, in peaceful repose in our meditation gardens, or floating in the luxurious pool and spa that overlook a kaleidoscope of flower gardens. Savor the new menu of live, raw, organic vegan dishes that rival the best vegetarian restaurants – now a palate-pleasing different recipe for every lunch and dinner of OHI’s entire three-week program.

    While the lush environment and the delicious meals are exceptional, it’s the caring team at OHI Austin that creates the heart of the experience.

    In this supportive ‘safe space’ of encouragement and respect, our compassionate facilitators and missionaries are there every step of the way on your journey to optimum health. Each class they teach includes a minute of Alpha meditation to help you relax and tune in. They’ll guide you as you work to detoxify the body, quiet and mind and rejuvenate the spirit. They’ll also share the most effective ways to take OHI’s healthy lifestyle program back home with you.

    Need to talk about some emotions that bubbled to the surface during a vocal toning session or meditation? Our spiritual counselors are there for you. Want to get some of those amazing recipes to make for your family and friends? We’ll take care of it. Need someone to walk with, or a reassuring hug? We’ve got that covered for you, too.

    Our service providers are available all week, and now Saturday, too, to melt away any stress with massage, reflexology and chiropractic care. Speed up your body’s detoxification process with gentle colon hydrotherapy.

    Cowboy boots aren’t required for a visit to OHI Austin – just a sincere desire to nourish and balance your body, mind and spirit. Find out what real southern hospitality is as our caring team helps you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Affirming Summer Happiness

    “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

    — John Lubbock

    Affirmation: Today, I will let my summer happiness brighten the days of people around me

    How To Do Nothing on Vacation

    Ahhh, summer. When you were a kid, summer fun seemed to turn up in the most unexpected ways. Lying in a hammock, giggling as a ladybug tickled your arm. Practicing cartwheels until you were dizzy. Catching fireflies in a jar. Listening to cicadas sing you to sleep.

    Now you’re all grown up, and a single empty day rarely stretches before you, let alone a week with no work and no plans. So what would be the value to taking a Do Nothing Vacation? It’s a chance to be thoroughly present in the moment. To reflect on what gives meaning and purpose to your life. An opportunity to find joy in the little things.

    A Do Nothing Vacation starts with 3 easy steps:
    1. Banish the To Do list.
    2. Turn off your cell, and power down your computer.
    3. Let your mind wander. What would you like to do today?

    Gather seashells — open your eyes to what’s right in front of you.

    Take a walk, and stop to pet each dog that passes you. Dance to the very first song that plays on the radio. Stroll through a farmer’s market, and smell everything from flowers to melons. God is in the details.

    Go fly a kite — do something that you haven’t done since you were a kid.

    Skip stones on a pond. Walk to a playground, and see how high you can swing. Bounce a ball against the wall. There is joy in simplicity.

    See a penny, pick it up — embrace good fortune when it finds you.

    Strike up a conversation with someone on a park bench. Stop and listen to the school marching band practicing. Enjoy the beauty of a rainbow after a summer storm. Serendipity is a blessing.

    A Do Nothing vacation may seem like a luxury, but it is a luxury we need to afford ourselves every now and then. It’s a chance to stop, breathe, and appreciate the journey we are on, how far we have come, and all the positives we have to look forward to.

    For many who have experienced the 21-day healthy lifestyle program at Optimum Health Institute, summer is the perfect time to share your happiness with others just as you share the milestones on your journey to optimum physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

    The joyful act of sharing happiness gets the spiritual green light from God. Proverbs 17:22 tells us “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” So open your cheerful heart, and share that “good medicine” with others. Let your summer happiness brighten the days of people around you all year long. There are blessings in every seasons of the year, of course. But it’s interesting to remember that even the progression of seasons is a gift from God. That’s something God wanted Moses to remember after the devastation of the flood in Genesis 8:22, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” As you enjoy the bounty of fruits and grains this season, remember this key promise from God.

    This summer, take a moment to honor your own progress on your spiritual path. Life is a journey, not a destination. Be grateful that you have been given the gift of carefree summer days to reflect upon your life, your choices, and your future. Know that no matter what fork in the road you choose to take, you have the support and love of a God-centered community lining that road, and cheering you on to find the lesson in every choice.