• A Spiritual Summer Road Trip

    Affirming Summer Happiness

    “Give thanks for the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July, and the song of crickets on summer humid nights, and the rivers that run, and the stars that rise, and the rain that falls, and all the good things that a good God gives.”

    — Ann Voskamp

    Affirmation: I am so grateful to breathe in this season. I am soothed by the sound of cicadas. I attract new and exciting adventures every time I feel the warmth of the sun.

    Road trips are one of the true hallmarks of summer. It’s a chance to pack up the car, pull out the atlas, and see what small town America has to offer. From the world’s largest ball of twine to a 1,700lb chocolate moose, the random road trip pit stops are silly fun, but are they renewing your spirit? Never fear, you don’t need to go on a retreat to discover an awareness of the world and energy around you. It’s easy to turn any car ride into a spiritual road trip with these three techniques that will help you calm your mind, find inner peace, and learn more about yourself.

    1. Bullet Journaling Stop

    Follow tiny hand-made signs along the side of the highway. Is the universe trying to tell you something? Or is the sign for “Fresh Corn” nothing more than that? You’ll never know until you get off the beaten path, and follow the arrow. Sometimes you have a revelation, and sometimes you end up with a cooler full of fresh veggies. Either way, it’s worth the detour, and bullet journaling keeps you in the moment without taking too much time.

    2. Guided Meditation Stop

    Most people spend a road trip driving during the day, but there is a soothing peacefulness to driving at night. Use the Star Chart app to identify the stars and planets you see in the sky, and have a talk with God while you’re at it. He’s a good listener. At the next driving break, take a few minutes for a guided meditation. The healing properties will calm any lingering anxiety or stress that is clouding your spiritual journey.

    3. Soul Stroll Stop

    Stop the car, and straddle a state line. Now walk that line, and listen to some music with empowering mantras. What thoughts come to you as the music ends? Are you pondering the differences on each side of that line? Or have the positive mantras helped you realize that there is no divide too large that can’t be bridged with love?

  • Happy in Community!

    Affirming Your Life

    “Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower.”

    — John Harrigan

    Affirmation: Today in meditation, I will focus with gratitude on how my spiritual community supports and inspires me, and brings me joy.

    When people say they’re happy to come to OHI, there’s solid science behind that statement.

    Back in 1998, Martin Seligman, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was elected president of the American Psychological Association. It was up to him to determine what the focus of study would be for the organization that year. Dr. Seligman knew that psychologists had spent decades researching exactly what made people fearful, angry and depressed. Wouldn’t It be enlightening, he thought, to study what made people happy?

    So that year, America’s psychologists collected thousands of pieces of data pinpointing exactly what made people feel good. Dr. Seligman’s team sifted through reams of research and were quite surprised at what the detailed study revealed.

    A person’s sense of contentment wasn’t inextricably tied in to their wealth, or their level of education. It wasn’t how attractive they were, or how young, or where they lived. Instead, the level of one’s happiness was revealed to be consistently determined by three key factors: their belief in some kind of benevolent higher power; being a valued part of a community, and having a sense of purpose in their life.

    Dr. Seligman’s pioneering research has given rise to a brand new social science, Positive Psychology, devoted to researching and teaching the tools to help people, communities and societies in their pursuit of happiness. He offers free assessments to help you learn about your values, strengths and general level of optimism at https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/.

    Further evidence of how being in community helps make us happy is in the work of UCLA Professor Matthew Lieberman. In his book, Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect , Dr. Lieberman asserts that our very physiology mandates we seek out our ‘tribe.’ We have evolved to the point, says Dr. Lieberman, where, “…becoming more socially connected is essential to our survival. In a sense, evolution has made bets at each step that the best way to make us more successful is to make us more social.”

    The late neuroimmunologist, author and holistic speaker Dr. Candace Pert, whose work is carried in the Optimum Health Store, also taught about the essential nature of being in like-minded community to be healthy and happy. Strong social networks not only make us feel good — they actually reduce the risk of depression, lower the risk of heart disease, and increase longevity.

    As growing scientific research suggests, the OHI community is a powerful tool for helping guests achieve and maintain not only optimum health, but optimum happiness. In alignment with Positive Psychology’s three essential requirements for being happy — Faith, friends and purpose — the God-centered focus at OHI empowers people with rituals and practices to nurture a belief in a loving, divine source.

    Friendships form quickly in the non-judgmental, supportive environment, where compassion for each other lifts the entire community. And for the “doing something purposeful” element of achieving happiness — everything is geared towards supporting guests in achieving their goals, which usually include being of greater service to their family and friends.

    Come back to OHI for an extended 3-week stay — and feel your happiness level soar! Reconnect with your spiritual community for an extended stay 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.

  • Celebrating US

    Affirming Your Life

    “Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.”

    — Helen Keller

    Affirmation: As our nation marks Independence Day, today in meditation I joyfully celebrate my freedom from old, unhealthy behaviors, and the community of family and friends that supports and inspires me.

    Spirituality, the strength of community, and patriotism intertwine in a joyful, star-spangled celebration every 4 th of July.

    While the United States was created in large part to offer immigrants freedom of religion, our founders fervently believed in a divine source. They wove their spiritual convictions into the very document asserting our freedom and independence from British rule.

    John F. Kennedy, only 29 at the time, eloquently shared our spiritual history in a speech he made on the Fourth of July in 1946. “Our government was founded on the essential religious idea of integrity of the individual,” Kennedy said. “It was this religious sense which inspired the authors of the Declaration of Independence: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.’”

    As our nation was founded by a strong community with a shared belief in a benevolent God, 242 years later we continue to celebrate our freedom and independence in the welcoming embrace of community. The 4th of July is a traditional time for reunions of family and friends, and bringing like-minded people together to mark the holiday with fellowship, fun and festivities.

    For many who have experienced the 21-day healthy lifestyle program at Optimum Health Institute, the 4 th of July is a perfect time to rededicate ourselves to independence from old non-beneficial behaviors, and “dead” food. It’s a new opportunity to celebrate the transformative power of the OHI community’s power to support, reinforce and inspire our successes in achieving optimum health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

    The joyful act of celebration itself is a spiritual discipline. Psalm 100 instructs us to “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” and the word ‘joy’ appears in the Bible 214 times. As Richard J. Foster writes in his book, The Celebration of Discipline , “Celebration is central to all the spiritual disciplines. Without a joyful spirit of festivity, the disciplines become dull, death-breathing tools in the hands of modern Pharisees. Every discipline should be characterized by carefree gaiety and a sense of thanksgiving…Joy is the end result of the spiritual disciplines’ functioning in our lives.”

    This July 4 th , take a moment to honor your own progress on your spiritual path, and your freedom to make optimally healthy choices in every aspect of your life. Celebrate the fact that you have the strength of a passionate, God-centered and joyful community cheering you on, walking the talk and juicing the wheatgrass right along with you.

    Make this the Independence Day you celebrate your life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at OHI Austin or OHI San Diego. Reconnect with your spiritual community for an extended stay to link up with old friends, and make some wonderful new ones. Call us at (800) 224-2620 to book your reservation. Ask about our current promotional discounts.

  • Community Rituals Have Staying Power

    Affirming Your Life

    “There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.”
    Idowu Koyenikan

    Affirmation: Today in meditation, I will express gratitude for how my community’s rituals strengthen my resolve to shift into healthy new habits.

    Rituals are mindful behaviors that deepen both spiritual and emotional connections. When done in the loving embrace of a supportive, God-centered, like-minded community, those rituals can become the path to positive, lasting transformation.

    Community rituals have been an important part of every culture since recorded history. Ceremonies to welcome the change of seasons, a child’s entry into adulthood, the planting and harvesting of crops, and weddings, births and deaths are universal, and essential for binding people together.

    Science is showing that these rituals have a profound and lasting impact on a person’s behavior, says University of Texas cognitive scientist Art Markman, PhD. Particularly when the ritual is observed within a group of spiritually connected people, participants feel an enhanced sense of closeness. Other positive results of repetitive ritual include entering into a mindful, meditative state more easily, and also being able to exercise more self-control. People are more likely to choose a healthier option that has lasting benefits — like going for a walk, or drinking more water — than a short-term pleasure like eating a burger.

    Using the positive power of community to build a strong foundation for transformation has always been at the core of Optimum Health Institute’s vision. Interwoven with the 21-day healthy lifestyle program roster of classes are numerous rituals that draw the OHI community closer, while also supporting positive long-term behavior changes.

    Prayer circles before each meal reinforce the idea that nourishing the body likewise nurtures the mind and spirit.

    The ritual of the Release ceremony on Wednesdays shows how easy and beautiful it can be to let go of old hurts and limiting thoughts. The safe and sacred space created by the group facilitates authenticity in confronting one’s own pain, and beginning deep healing of body, mind, emotions and spirit.

    A more informal but just as beneficial ritual is juicing wheatgrass. By sharing their own stories as they’re snipping and pressing the tender green blades of grass, long-time guests encourage new community members to embrace this unique adventure, and focus on the benefits they’re setting in motion with each sip of the bright green juice.

    One transformational ritual everyone shares before the start of each class is the guided minute of Alpha meditation. Together, each person enters into a highly aware and receptive state, empowering them to more quickly understand, process and integrate important classroom information. The relatively new tradition has quickly become a favorite shared community experience.

    Treasured OHI community rituals can withstand the test of time AND temperature, says OHI Austin Program Director Cheryl Green. Even during 100+ degree days at the Texas mission, guests continue to choose to dine as a group at the outdoor table. The feeling of connection, shared laughter and support during meals is just another beautiful way the community members consistently empower and inspire each other.

    Celebrate and strengthen your OHI community ties through our facebook pages, Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin , and OHI Austin Community. Reinforce that sense of belonging through our blogs on our website at optimumhealth.org. Or the best option — come back to your spiritual community for an extended stay to reconnect with old friends, and make some wonderful new ones. Call us at (800) 224-2620 to book your reservation. Mention code June Get Away to take advantage of our current promotional discounts.

  • The Positive Power of Community

    Affirming Your Life

    “The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.”

    — Dean Ornish

    Affirmation: Today in meditation, and throughout the day, I will stay in gratitude for the support, compassion and inspiration of my spiritual community.

    There is a wonderful story about an anthropologist who was studying the culture and social interactions of a remote African village. It appeared to him that there was a complete absence of competition, and he was curious to see what would happen if he introduced one. He placed a basket of delicious fruit under a tree, lined the children up, and told them whoever got to the basket first got all the fruit.

    To his amazement, the laughing youngsters joined hands and ran, together, to arrive at the tree at exactly the same time.

    “One of you could have had ALL the fruit,” the confused man said, as the children sat together enjoying the treat.

    “But how can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?” asked a little girl.

    This sense of a heartfelt community, where each member selflessly supports all the others, has a term — Ubuntu. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains it roughly translates to mean, “I am because we are.”

    “(It)…speaks of the very essence of being human,” said Tutu. “Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate…It is to say, ‘My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.’ We belong in a bundle of life. We say, ‘A person is a person through other persons.’”

    The idea that we can only truly discover ourselves through the healing power of community is at the heart of what makes Optimum Health Institute such a positive, transformational experience. Surrounded by like-minded, compassionate people, even apprehensive first-time guests soon begin to feel they ‘belong.’

    Together they take on the same challenges — booting burgers for seed cheese and kale salads; chugging shots of wheatgrass juice; learning that at OHI, “Es and Is” are NOT new classes of luxury sedans.

    Throughout the 21-day holistic healing program, the community itself becomes a motivating and driving force. When someone is having a tough day, others immediately move in to lend a helping hand, or a strong shoulder to lean on. The first week You Validation class is a profoundly moving session, as each person shares their appreciation of all the others. And during the Friday morning testimonials, everyone celebrates each other’s successes. One person’s progress in choosing a healthier, happier new way to live their life becomes everyone’s victory.

    It is through this love in action that miracles become commonplace, and body-mind-spirit transformation blooms into being. Our deep connection to the growing OHI community becomes a mantle of divine grace and strength that continues to uplift us long after we return home.

    It is to experience on all levels the truth of the concept that, “I am because we are.”

    Celebrate and strengthen your OHI community ties through our Facebook pages, Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin , and OHI Austin Community. Reinforce that sense of belonging through our blogs on our website at optimumhealth.org. Or the best option — come back to your spiritual community for an extended stay to reconnect with old friends, and make some wonderful new ones. Call us at (800) 224-2620 to book your reservation. Mention code June Get Away to take advantage of our current promotional discounts.

  • Springtime at OHI Austin-Don’t Miss It!

    Dare to be dazzled

    Springtime in Austin declares the spirit of renewal with wild exuberance. As you travel through the Texas countryside to your Optimum Health Institute healing retreat, the bright but delicate blooms of up to 5,000 species of wildflowers will dazzle you with a rainbow of colors.

    Feast your eyes

    The Texas Transportation Department sprinkles more than 30,000 pounds of seeds annually to ensure that the countryside is filled with a flowery feast for your eyes. In anticipation, enjoy photos of Firewheel, Crimson Clover, Winecup, Bluebonnet – the Texas State flower – and more.

    Try Austin – and extend your healing

    If you have stayed with us at OHI San Diego , you developed life-changing habits and achieved peace. Now you can deepen this experience in a smaller community, in daily contact with a caring staff and with more options for quiet time or contemplation while still interacting with other guests.

    Reawaken the connections of body, mind and spirit

    When you arrive at OHI Austin, the clean spring air will invigorate you, naturally elevating your mood with the fragrance and feel of nature’s renewal season. You’ll unwind from the cares of the world as you reflect and free your mind in our outdoor meditation areas. Closing your eyes as you rest on one of many outdoor benches, you’ll invite God to develop new patterns of body, mind, and spirit connections that will refresh and strengthen you from the inside out.

    our OHI Austin experience will provide a safe and sacred place where you can escape your busy world and embrace peace and serenity. Leisurely strolls along our 1.5-mile, beautifully landscaped pathways invite you to meditate and center yourself. Concerns and stress will float away in our tranquil outdoor pool. The massaging flow of our hot tub will relax you while the warm water calms and helps restore your body, mind, and spirit.

    Feel yourself winding down as the sun sets
    As the daylight grows dim, you can spend alone-time or community in our inviting and inspiring Great Hall. You’ll dine on delicious fresh certified-organic raw food meals poolside or in our cozy dining room. At day’s end, you can retreat to your comfortable room to journal, read, meditate or sleep. OHI Austin is restorative, restful and life changing.

    A Special Invitation to our

    OHI San Diego Community

    Visit OHI Austin and SAVE $200 on your room plus get 2 free colonics – a value of $400!

    Experience OHI Austin with some Texas-sized savings! For stays the week beginning April 15 , through week beginning June 6, 2018 , OHI is inviting our San Diego community members to experience our OHI Austin mission, with an easy way to save and gain optimum health:

    Availability is Limited
    CALL Now for Details

    (800) 993-4325

    Our OHI Austin staff is looking forward to meeting you and sharing with you the OHI holistic healing program with Texas hospitality. For more information visit our website then call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Science Agrees – Community Has Healing Power

    It’s a beautiful transformational scenario that plays out at Optimum Health Institute (OHI) holistic healing retreats in San Diego and Austin on a daily basis. Guests, many facing significant health opportunities, arrive for the first time feeling anxious and rather isolated. They are immediately greeted warmly, and assigned an “OHI Buddy” to help orient them and answer questions. Before their first plant-based raw organic meal, they gather in a circle with other guests to share a few moments of spiritual fellowship and inspiration. In the dining room, they are immediately drawn into supportive and validating conversations with others.

    Strong Bonds

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

    “Humans are wired for connection with others,” says Matthew Lieberman, UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehaviorial science. “Life does not usually go well when we try to live it on our own. Oftentimes, when we face a problem or crisis, we feel as if we can and should handle it by ourselves, but it’s the opposite. We need to handle it with the help of others, even if only with one person.” 1 Dr. Lieberman is one of the founders of social cognitive neuroscience, a discipline analyzing how brain function underlies social thinking and social behavior.

    Dr. Dean Ornish Says…

    This healing power of community has such a profound and measurable influence that cardiologist Dean Ornish writes in his book Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy , “I am not aware of any other factor in medicine – not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery – that has a greater impact on our quality of life or incidence of illness. Anything that promotes a sense of isolation often leads to illness and suffering, while that which promotes a sense of love and intimacy, connection and community, is healing.” 2

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

    Hard Wired to Help

    The cooperative dynamic that compassion for others helps the person providing assistance is also supported in clinical research. Dr. Sara Konrath, a faculty member of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan, writes, “Social connections can be good for us. We are hard-wired for face-to-face contact that includes lots of touch, eye contact, and smiles. Such interactions release a hormone called oxytocin, which helps us to bond and care for others, and also helps us to handle stress better.” 3

    Experience the healing power of community during an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Save throughout the month of February when you mention promotional code SELFLOVE when booking your 2 or 3-week stay. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

    1. Matthew Lieberman, PhD, Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect, Crown Publishers, 2013.

    2. Dean Ornish, MD, Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy, William Morrow Paperbacks, 1999.

    3. Sara Konrath, PhD, EverydayHealth.com, Copyright 2013. See: http://www. everydayhealth.com/depression/how-volunteering-can-lessen-depression-and-extend-your-life/

  • OHI Guests Prospective: Lynne Haaland

    Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things

    Optimum Health Institute developed a healing community over its 40+ year history. One that has relied on word of mouth to spread the message of our healing mission. This Spring we are featuring the story of Lynne Haaland an OHI guest for 20 years and founder of Vity.co, a website that connects brands with social media influencers. It is no coincidence that Lynne had a tremendous influence on sharing OHI’s message to others. She is a true connector in the sense that she brings people together in a way that very few people can.

    Lynne’s first visit to OHI was in the late 70’s at the age of 18. OHI has been a key fixture in her life ever since. We sat down with Lynne to learn more of her history with OHI, the importance of a ‘reset’ from the perspective of a successful entrepreneur, and her kinship with the next generation of OHI devotees.

    Your first visit to OHI was 20 years ago, what keeps you coming back?

    I’ll start by saying that it’s an honor to be participating in this feature. Moreover, I have incredible gratitude to my mother for exposing me to OHI at the young age of 12. She was years ahead of her time, advocating clean and healthy living way back in the 70’s.

    OHI has been an ongoing staple throughout my entire life; it has provided me with a ‘toolkit’ for success. I keep returning because it’s such a special program – and it works! There’s no place like it on earth, and it’s why people travel from all over the globe to come here.

    Many professional women such as yourself visit OHI to ‘reset’, what does ‘reset’ mean to you and how has it evolved over the years?

    I define “reset” as having my rhythms back on pace. I feel revitalized and reinvigorated with an abundance of life – on a cellular level. My skin is glowing, energy levels are up, and my mind is calm. I realize how toxic I had become since the last visit.

    My goal on every visit is to is to follow the program as close to 100% as possible. I encourage others to do the same. By embracing all aspects of the program, you will achieve life-altering results.

    Old habits, thought patterns and practices take time to unlearn. By surrounding myself with positive things, people, and places like OHI — my thoughts and my energy balance are also reset.

    What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

    On the importance of health, wellness and ‘the reset’? The first thing I would say is: ‘Great job getting to OHI so young at 18, Lynne …and next time, attend all the classes!’ Back then I thought, ‘Ah well.. I’m young, the mere fact I’m here, eating this weird food is enough.’ Years later, I realized you get out of the program what you put into it. You must live and breathe it every day!

    Finally – I’d say to me, or any others at 18…“You get ONE body, and how you treat it hourly, daily, weekly, monthly — will make all the difference down the road – trust me.”

    Do you feel a sense of sisterhood for millennial women who seek to heal?

    Humbly said, I think I’ve become a walking testimony and a sort of leader of this movement. Despite being guided early with wheatgrass shots at 12 years old, it was nearly impossible to find organic, healthy food anywhere.

    When I explain OHI and the methodologies, which to most may seem odd, I walk them through the “logic” of why they need to detox their bodies, colons, etc. and then I witness them having that “Ah ha” moment. These people then become very excited and want to come to OHI, and or begin changing their lifestyles, immediately.

    This is attracting the community or sisterhood towards those, like myself, who have the knowledge, and likewise, I gain a sense of helping others to improve their life, which in turn, gives me profound joy.

    Any closing thoughts?

    I find it encouraging, providing a wonderful sense of support, when I return to see familiar faces, such as Peg , Dan, and others — some that were here in 1988! Thank you to all the courageous and giving people I’ve met at OHI over the years. To the founders and leaders for their teachings, and for always staying true to OHI’s principles. Finally, to the Creator of all…I am immensely grateful.

  • Stacy Potter – A Remarkable Woman Doing Remarkable Things

    Frequent OHI San Diego guest Stacy Potter has known ‘how to serve’ from her youth. She won the National Collegiate Singles Tennis Title her freshman year at USC, then captured the National Collegiate Team championship the next year. She went pro for a decade, competing in 25 Grand Slam Championships, including eight at Wimbledon, 11 at the U.S. Open, and six at the French Open.

    Stacy played mixed doubles with John McEnroe in 1978, and competed in a Battle of the Sexes with Kate Latham against Bobby Riggs and Pancho Segura in 1983. Besides reaching a singles tennis ranking of 18 th in the world, Stacy collected numerous honors including the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the Beverly Hills High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

    As stellar as her professional career has been, it is a single facet of her fascinating journey before discovering OHI in 2000. Stacy earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology, and is a certified health coach helping people across the country make smart nutritional and exercise choices while they manage stress. She and her husband also operate Trails by Potter, a hiking, biking and rock climbing service throughout the Ojai Valley and Ventura, California.

    Despite a lifetime of achieving and maintaining top physical form, it was a health opportunity that brought her to OHI. She had read an article about the retreat years earlier, and thought at the time she’d like to try it. When Stacy started training for a tennis tournament in 2000, years after her retirement from the professional tennis circuit and against her better judgment, she ended up with a debilitating case of tendonitis in her foot. Through the pain, she suddenly remembered OHI, and immediately booked a one-week stay.

    “I remember limping into OHI that Sunday,” Stacy said. “I was in agony! But by the end of that week, I experienced a miracle. I had absolutely no pain, and I was able to play an hour of tennis the day after I got back home.”

    Stacy said she arrived with an open mind – she didn’t know exactly what to expect, but she was eager to try all of it. ALMOST all of it.

    “When my roommate and I were in the first week class learning about Es & Is, we whispered to each other that was the ONE thing we wouldn’t do,” Stacy said. “But our teacher was very strict, and everyone knew it wasn’t a question – we WERE going to do this!”

    Since that first visit, Stacy has booked several stays at OHI every year, and has experienced all three weeks of the 21-day holistic healing program many times over.

    “Some big breakthrough always happens each time,” Stacy said, “and I’m always fascinated to see what’s going to be revealed. I’ll get an idea for my coaching business. Or I’ll rearrange furniture at home for better Feng Shui. Something always is healed. Maybe not the thing you THINK you’re there for – but it’s always the thing you most need. It’s like you’re falling back onto a soft bed of pillows. Everyone is vulnerable, and we look out for each other. We’ll come back the same weeks for mini-reunions.”

    Stacy said the biggest change she’s noticed through the years is how being an active part of the OHI community has opened her up physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

    “I have the courage to go outside the box at OHI, particularly in the talent shows,” Stacy said. During her most recent visit, she was particularly interested in developing healthier sleep habits. “For the talent show Friday night,” Stacy said, “I read a very personal letter I wrote to sleep, as if I was in a challenging relationship with it. SO many people came up to me afterwards thanking me, including an OHI staff member who was only able to sleep about four hours a night. People appreciated my vulnerability, and said the letter helped them create a healthier relationship with their own sleep habits.” Stacy, by the way, is now sleeping soundly.

    Experience your own transformational breakthroughs, and meet other remarkable women and men during an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Save throughout the month of February when you mention promotional code Valentine$175. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

  • Journaling Your Way to Optimum Health

    Sometimes a hurt is so deep, so traumatic, that you can’t even talk about it. It can fester inside of you for decades as an open wound, causing you pain on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.

    Thankfully, research is proving that the pen can be a mighty weapon in healing that debilitating ache. Journaling about the reason for your hurt for 15-20 minutes a day, over four consecutive days, can help relieve stress and lessen the emotional charge of the incident, making way for serenity and peace. Multiple studies have shown that the practice, labeled “expressive writing,” has measurable results in providing benefits for the body, too.

    By mindfully writing about specific traumas, or any deep emotional issues you have experienced, physical transformations can start to manifest. Your immune system receives a boost as your body increases production of T cells, which destroy infected or malignant cells; stress levels and blood pressure go down; asthma and arthritis symptoms are reduced, and liver function, mood and memory are improved.

    Clinical studies show numerous longer-term physical benefits for the body, mind, emotions and spirit as well. Participants reported fewer doctor’s visits for illness, reduced depression, a greater feeling of well-being and shorter hospital stays. Journaling even seems to strengthen ties to one’s community by improving the way people interact with others.

    Expressive writing is a key component of the Mental Detoxification class at the Optimum Health Institute retreats in San Diego and Austin, Texas. During the 21-day holistic healing program, guests are encouraged to resolve painful issues using an effective combination of meditation and journaling. After asking for Divine support and guidance, guests enter into a relaxed alpha state. From that space of mental clarity, they first journal about the negative experience from their own perspective. They write about the incident again from the opposite point of view. Finally, they record the experience a third time, now taking a neutral perspective. By examining past hurts in such a focused and mindful practice over the course of several days, true healing can begin.

    During OHI’s 3-week holistic healing program, expect dramatic transformations in body, mind and spirit while detoxifying with a plant-based raw organic diet, taking classes like pain control, emotional detoxification and organic gardening, and sharing in spiritual fellowship with other God-centered people. Book your stay today, and ask about special promotions when you call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org .