Welcome to Middle Way Health’s Online Magazine ‘LA DOLCE VITA’, where we focus on health and wellness, inspiration and spirit, joy and vitality, and all the things that make up The Sweet Life!
"Our full-spectrum healing model is influenced by eastern and western philosophies that emphasize awareness, balance and wholeness."
December 2020
Time for Healing: Mind, Body, Spirit, Soul, Community, Planet

In This Issue: 
Middle Way Health is An Essential Business,
     By Stephen Bryant Walker, MFT
Healing of Spirit
     By Judy Lynn Taylor
Noticing Cycles of Change
     By Conor McCann
May Your Memories Bring You Wisdom and Compassion
     This Holiday Season

     By Patty Marcotte
How I Began Healing During a Pandemic
     By Melanie Noel Light
Chronic Illness and Pain Support Group
     By Dana M. Ferry

Middle Way Health is An Essential Business

By Stephen Bryant Walker, MFT
Stephen Walker As an Essential Business, Middle Way Health is committed to supporting the healing journey of every patient who needs access to mental health counseling. While the Covid crisis has been a cause of great pain, it served to underline a long term truth: the need for accessible Mental Health Care for all people. With this in mind, the dedicated therapists and support staff of Middle Way Health have put great energy and determination into strengthening Mental Health accessibility for all people including the most vulnerable amongst us.

We have done this in a multitude of ways. From the very first days of the Covid crisis Middle Way Health took steps to offer virtual only sessions - and then later as protocols were put in place - offer a hybrid model that includes both virtual and in person psychotherapy session options. For clients who have fragile health or who live with someone with fragile health, Middle Way Health continues to offer virtual therapy sessions. For those following safe protocols in their personal lives and who are physically healthy, MWH offers in person sessions.

Support personnel have taken the practical steps of wiping down all doors, waiting room chairs and restroom facilities. Middle Way Health staff and clients are also following the protocols recommended by the CDC including masking up and creating proper personal distance. The great care Middle Way Health has taken to follow these guidelines communicates to everyone concerned that they are safe here.

Every two weeks Therapists continue to meet to collaborate on how we may best serve our diverse client pool. Meeting with one another ensures we fulfill our mandate to safely and ethically serve our patients. These meetings also provide an opportunity for collaboration. Attention and care is given to proper patient preparation and follow up. Whether people are struggling with depression, anxiety or serious emotional trauma, they are treated humanely and holistically.

Middle Way Health continues to be a beautiful, healing environment. The need for our services is great and we have not slowed down. We continue to have a receptionist and a spacious, library waiting room. This coming year when people are vaccinated and we can once again safely meet in groups, there are plans in the works to hold group therapy sessions in the Middle Way Health Forum. Comfortable chairs purchased a few months ago were bought in, anticipating a brighter tomorrow!

Some of the groups we plan to offer include Mindfulness Based Wellness, Anger Management, The Creative Couple, and finally, a group that is currently online, Living with Chronic Illness and Pain will transition to in person.

Middle Way Health is a gathering place for wisdom and healing. We see ourselves as part of a vast network of healers and practitioners. In the new year we are especially excited to announce our expansion into education. Once conditions allow we will begin offering CEU training, including classes on Mindfulness Based Approaches for Therapy, Use of Humor in Therapy, Art Therapy and.. More shall be revealed soon!

And lastly, Middle Way Health supports its sister organization, The Middle Way Health Foundation. Associate Therapist Dana Ferry is actively meeting with clients who would not otherwise have someone to talk to. Dana’s optimism and kindness in the face of such challenging situations make her an invaluable resource and advocate for the most vulnerable amongst us. If you wish to join Middle Way Health Foundation and support the work Dana Ferry and other Therapists are doing, please contact me. Let's do something positive. Together all things are possible!

I see a positive future for Middle Way Health, Middle Way Health Foundation, and for our Country. And I look forward to seeing people!


Stephen Walker

[Photo credit: Janine Maparunga]

Healing of Spirit

By Judy Lynn Taylor
Judy Lynn TaylorBringing the Spirit Body into balance and harmony is the goal of shamanic healing modalities.

Those who practice the “Old Ways” often see people as three Spirits:
  • The Body Spirit
  • The Mental Spirit
  • The Oversoul or Higher Spirit
When any one aspect is in disharmony, it can affect the other two. The Healer will shift into the Shamanic State of Consciousness and perceive the condition of the three Spirits.

All Shamanic healing is done in relationship with the healer’s Helping Spirits. Alone, the healer does nothing. Helping Spirits are Transpersonal Beings who have chosen to be of service to humanity and will work through a trained Shamanic healer. They could be the Spirits of animals, plants, ancestors, or divine beings.

Disharmony can be perceived as a darkness, a disturbed area, or something ugly in the person’s Energy Field. Simply stated, to achieve balance in a person’s Spirit, anything perceived as “Other” is moved out, Self is brought in to fill the Field with that person’s own Divine Energy and a Spirit Helper is brought in to enhance the person’s Power, to Support them and to Protect them.

In Shamanist lingo the Healing Modalities are:
  • Divination to see what is going on in the Energy Field
  • Power Restoration to bring in a Helping Spirit
  • Extraction Healing to remove “Other” energies such as negative thought forms
  • Soul Retrieval to bring back lost parts of the soul that left during trauma and never returned
Each of the above points can be expanded in future articles.

An example of a Shamanic Healing: While camping with friends in the Sierras, I was asked to look at what was going on with a person’s painful shoulder. The energy there showed that he was holding a burden of family responsibility that others had energetically stuck on him. Carrying others’ energy in his Body Spirit was causing physical pain. The Helping Spirits moved this intrusion away, and over the next few hours, his pain became much less until it disappeared.
This person’s body was very responsive to the improvement in his Field. Commonly, a person will receive three or four healing sessions to work on each area that wants balance. Healing begins with the person deciding to be better and asking for help. That decision sets in motion a vibration that will bring the right practitioner to you.

For more information, please give me a call: 916-492-9007.

[Photo credit: Hope Harris]

Noticing Cycles of Change

By Conor McCann
Autumn TreesCertain things in this world let us know they are changing. Children grow, the sun rises and sets, leaves turn colors and fall off, food rots. The changes in other things are harder to notice. Books piled on a shelf, the smile of a friend, the age of our parents, the good things about 2020.

Our minds are capable of noticing each of these things and appreciating all of them at the same time. The rising sun brings warmth and light, but we also know that it will set again, turning day to night, light to dark, and warmth to cold. Knowing the setting sun will rise again allows us to appreciate a beautiful sunset.

Watching children grow and learn is a wonderful thing. They change every minute! Children stop being ‘children’ each moment they live. At some point we decide they are ‘adults,’ and too often we think the changing ends there. An apple was once a seed, which was once dirt, which may have been a rotten apple!

Change is continuous. Our minds change, our emotions change, our health changes. In a year like 2020, the changes we focus on are the difficult changes. The bad changes. The rotten apples and dark cold nights. But there have been sunrises and fresh, crisp fruit as well.

We can hold all the changes together, knowing change is a constant and necessary process. The opportunities to notice changes, then to appreciate them are valuable. Slowing down, taking a walk, and reflecting on change can give space for holding these changes together.

~Conor McCann

[Photo credit: Conor McCann]

May Your Memories Bring You Wisdom and Compassion This Holiday Season

By Patty Marcotte

walkway and trees

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The cooler weather and bundling up make me nostalgic for family and friends. Watching the leaves change from green to golden yellow, red and orange brings me back to a time long ago, a time before lines and shadows mapped out their story upon my face. Memories that have faded or felt lost are closer to the surface and visit more often, sometimes without warning during this holiday season.

On a recent afternoon as I sat with dear friends to take a break from work and eat a simple lunch, a seemingly casual question came up. But for me, there was nothing casual about it and I tried to hide the pain that I felt when they asked, “What were the holidays like for you as a child?” My stomach tightened and a wave came over me that could not be denied. I answered lightly and a little too quickly, “They were a little sad but we had enough… but not quite.” And then I added, “I didn’t need too much.” Then I excused myself to wash a couple of dishes.

As a Buddhist practitioner, times like this are welcomed and experienced as an opportunity. Deeply felt emotions are seen as jewels that glitter in the sunlight inviting me to see the luminous, empty quality of all feelings including the dark and the light. Simultaneously, deeply held emotions remind me that an eternal child lives in this impermanent, composite body that I call Me and I cannot deny what happened, no matter how “empty.”

Later that same day, the soft voice of a sweet elderly woman ringing me up at the local pet store almost brings me to tears as memories of my gentle mother long since gone fill my heart. Gratitude fills my whole being these days. The good and the bad memories mix together in a collage called my life, each translucent memory slowly turning forward with courage and compassion.

May your memories bring you wisdom and compassion this Holiday season

In Friendship,


[Photo credit: Melanie Noel Light]

How I Began Healing During a Pandemic

By Melanie Noel Light

Trees and stormy skyIt was 3 years ago. I was bouncing around town delivering marketing materials with one of my clients. Then it seemed that literally the next day - although probably not absolutely accurate – I got sick. My Paramedic husband said I had all the signs of that current year's flu (2017), so I waited it out. For two months.

When I didn’t improve, I finally made a doctor's appointment. But they had no idea what was wrong with me. They just wanted my blood. All the time. Anytime anything was wrong with me. More blood, more blood, more blood. I had too many symptoms for them – or their computer software – to comprehend. Basically, I think I was just overwhelming them. Each one started out eager… and then they kind of gave up on me.

Two and a half years later...

I suddenly began hemorrhaging so badly that the doctors wanted me to get a blood transfusion. They prescribed iron for the acute anemia, hormone pills to stop the bleeding, and electrolyte water for replenishment. We agreed to wait 24 hours to see how my body responded to these remedies rather than going straight to the ER.

Luckily and to my relief, this combination worked. But then a strange thing happened: My appetite came back after those two and a half years. AND I went from being a decades-long vegetarian (and barely eating anything during this period of time due to having no appetite) to craving hamburgers and very crispy bacon (animal lover guilt sets in).

Yet while I seemed to be feeling more like myself again, I suddenly developed sleeping disturbances where I either could not fall asleep or could not stay asleep; not falling asleep until 3am or waking at 1am. And that’s the short story.

So I started taking an herbal supplement to help me sleep, which was recommended by a friend. Lo and behold, it seemed to work. It wasn’t perfect sleep, but it helped. As well, I continued to notice myself feeling better overall. Was it the herbs? Was it the iron? Was it the hormone pills? Was it my increased appetite? They’re all so connected, it seems impossible to figure out exactly what caused what. Yet while I love mysteries, I was especially loving feeling better.

Anyway, one night during all of this, I had the worst night's sleep of my life - cold sweats, moaning, groaning, and needing to rock myself to sleep. About halfway through the night, I started to feel my entire body tingling. It would last a few seconds, stop, and then return again. I thought: Either I'm dying… Or could it be…? That I'm actually finally healing?!

After eventually falling asleep for a few hours and upon waking the next morning, I wasn’t immediately miraculously healed. Yet I felt this combination of “events” might possibly just be the beginning of the end of my mysterious chronic illness. [I have kept this to myself until now because I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up – mine included].

Now, a few months later: I still feel better. It bears repeating: More like “myself”. There is huge relief in that.

Am I still stressed? Worried? Somewhat traumatized from nearly 3 years of experiencing a debilitating physical illness? YES. But I’m doing the emotional/mental work that has resulted from all of this, and I’m working on being patient with myself and this random-seeming journey.

Relief. And Gratitude.

If you or anyone you know suffers from a chronic illness, undiagnosed illness, or chronic pain, we have a new support group at Middle Way Health (via ZOOM for now). See below for more…

[Photo credit: Melanie Noel Light]


Chronic Illness and Pain Support Group

By Dana M. Ferry

colorful group hugFeeling Isolated and Alone? Join us every Thursday at 4pm for our FREE weekly 1 hour online Chronic Illness and Pain Support Group.

Oftentimes people who experience chronic pain have a difficult time finding people who understand what they are experiencing, such as feelings of shame, anxiety and depression, which can lead to isolation and loneliness. The goal for this group is to share experiences and learn self-compassion by connecting with and supporting others.

If you are interested in knowing more please email Dana at
Find Out More
LA DOLCE VITA' Online Magazine'
PublisherStephen Bryant Walker         EditorMelanie Noel Light
Mailing address: Middle Way Health | 720 Alhambra Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95816

Copyright © 2021 Middle Way Health, All rights reserved.

Submissions: We are interested in original articles on topics relating to ‘La Dolce Vita’ (health and wellness, inspiration and spirit, discovery and expression, etc). Please note that chosen submissions are unpaid and subject to editing and/or being held for future issues. Please email the editor at regarding article submissions.

Please contact Melanie Light at: to be added to the list.
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