Thursday, July 19, 2012

2012: Full of Newness....

Here we go again - re-defining our look, our web presence, and our services. Without necessarily intending it, one thing just always seems to lead to another. So deciding to have our website redesigned then led to a new logo design, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, and a re-clarifying of our goals and services at Middle Way Health.

What we learned (or re-learned) along the way is that doing a new website is also a process of self-discovery. What comes to the surface is often surprising, but always beneficial if you know what to do with it. We learned – among other things - how well we compromise and share ideas, how well we actually collaborate, and what we really want to achieve.

Individually and as a team, we want to help others make sense of the world, gain a healthier perspective about their role in it, and create more positive, healthful interactions from day to day. We want to help people heal and give them the tools to continue doing so. But in order to do this, we each have to sweep away what is clouding our vision and no longer serving us. Sometimes this is a fresh start, other times just a good, deep spring cleaning. So we took a collective look at what people need most right now (us included), such as cleaning out cobwebs, relishing the sacred space, and creating positive momentum for our lives.

We’ve been at our new location across from McKinley Park a year now and we’re taking it to a new level. Our new website and social media tools are ways to connect with the community near and far, but they’re also symbols of our new collaboration and expanded vision. We all have to work together to make anything happen – whether it’s a website, business or relationship, and this requires communication, patience, effort and understanding.

Expanding our online presence is also about presenting ourselves more to the world and letting people know what we’re doing at Middle Way Health. We are happy to say that we have some pretty unique features and offer a combination of wellness services that is truly a collaborative, coordinated, one-of-a-kind effort. Newly-expanded programs include:

Embodied Mind Therapies

Embodied Mind Therapies involve the mind-body connection and the empowerment that comes from it. Embodiment means "awakening the body" and much of this is done by arousing the senses, for our sensory experiences create our connection with the world. Thus, it is through them that we can feel truly alive, balancing both mind and body. Examples of Embodied Mind Therapies include Biofeedback, Mindfulness Meditation, Hypnotherapy, and Health & Self-Care.

Biofeedback is the safe and gentle process of learning self-regulation of physical and mental processes, from which we can become much more in charge of our everyday wellbeing. Mindfulness Meditation is defined as moment by moment nonjudgmental attention to what is happening. Through sitting still and being alert we settle our mind and body and develop clarity, balance and focus. It is taught one on one through private interview or an eight-week group-setting course “Mindfulness and Movement.” Hypnotherapy is an ancient technique that uses deep relaxation coupled with positive suggestions to reinforce positive habits and extinguish negative habits. And Health & Self-Care is about the healthy balance of outlook, lifestyle, diet and exercise with psychological and spiritual growth.

Spiritual Guidance & Mentoring

Also offered by Middle Way Health practitioners is Spiritual Guidance & Mentoring, which we feel is becoming increasingly necessarily during these challenging, uncertain times. Under this multi-faceted umbrella fall Buddhist Psychotherapy, Shamanic Healing and Soul Retrieval, and Dream Life Designing. Buddhist Psychotherapy explores the human condition from both a personal and transpersonal side, using the meditative traditions of mindfulness and yoga. The goal of Shamanic Healing is to bring the human spirit into harmony. And Dream Life Designing is geared for anyone ready to take a more deliberate role in the design of their life. It includes Expressive Writing Coaching, which guides you along a simple but profound pathway of self-discovery, where you learn to analyze thoughts, obtain ‘Ah-ha’s and clarify desires.

What We Aim to Provide at Middle Way Health:

A Sense of Place = To help you connect with where you are and feel a sacredness about it.
Nonjudgmental Awareness = A safe space to reveal fears and frustrations, and identify their source.
Expanded Outlook = The fostering of healthy perspectives and expectations that are not limited by the broken record of the mind.
Options & Opportunities = The right to find the freedom you possess and exercise it beneficially.
Support & Guidance = Knowledgeable and intuitive assessments that are aligned with your current pace and progress.

Please stop by and visit our website at Your feedback is appreciated and we hope to connect with you in person soon!

Stephen, Judy & Melanie

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jhado Rinpoche Visits Sacramento for the 2nd Time~

Jhado Rinpoche Lunch Meeting
58 Degrees Banquet Room, Midtown Sacramento
Geshe Tubten Tashi, Jhado Tulku Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe Jinpa, Michael Halfhill, Ray Kerridge, Melanie Noel Light, Gonpo, Baasandorj Altangerel, Norovbadam, Jambaa

The wine cellar of 58 Degrees is a long brick room with a black sleek table in the middle and modern-style candelabra chandelier overhead. A variety of paintings hang on the walls, including an abstract city scene, a bold Impressionist vineyard landscape, an ethereal undersea-scape and a humorous Olde English golf course scene. The lighting is just low enough to be romantic but high enough to be practical. The room is cold.

Immediately upon sitting I begin to experience an otherworldly feeling, as if I’m floating and could fall into a deep trance any minute. The combination of company seems odd to me, and there's a strange rift between the ambiance of the place and the particular feelings I’m experiencing.

Guests include a Buddhist teacher/Psychotherapist, a founder of the Dalai Lama Foundation, a writer/photographer, the City Manager, a disciple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and several of his students. English is not the majority’s primary language at the table, but it is what is spoken most. There is an interpreter aiding conversation between the English and Tibetan-speaking people.

Conversations include the difference between Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism, Unsung Heroes, Dharamsala, Shugdens and the Dalai Lama’s view of them, intelligent vs. dull disciples, Buddhism and quantum physics, Dick Grace’s involvement with the Dalai Lama, and a question that remained unanswered: “What is reality?”

Jhado Rinpoche Lunch Meeting
Rio City Café, Old Sacramento
Geshe Tubten Tashi, Jhado Tulku Rinpoche, Gonpo, Lama Yeshe Jinpa, Baasandorj Altangerel, Norovbadam, Jambaa, Simone Biasiol, Janine Mapurunga, Marie Gillies, Melanie Noel Light

The weather is nearly perfect – sunny and bright, a little warmer than body temperature, and with a breeze that makes its presence known without causing any trouble. I park at the far end of Old Sacramento, near the new Riverfront Promenade, and begin strolling toward my destination. The Promenade is inviting, running someplace in the distance from the south, and connecting with the Old Sacramento merchant dock. There are plaques along the way telling of Sacramento’s early history – transportation, bridges, the railroad, and such. The Tower Bridge, which connects Sacramento to West Sacramento, glistens in the sun like gold (as it should but doesn’t always do), and there’s a long sailboat tied to the dock beneath it. People are walking and jogging the Promenade, and a young businessman is perched on a bench talking on his cell phone.

I take some photos along the way and ingest the unhurried scene as I come across my lunch destination, Rio City Café, which overlooks the Sacramento River. Our waiter Peter seats me at a long table at the far end of the large patio space and I await the group’s arrival. I turn to see the red and gold robes some distance behind me taking photographs on a veranda off the same wooden-plank promenade. They soon disappear, a few minutes later appearing before me.

I’ve met them all before – three years ago and some change – but one never quite knows how to greet holy people, and I fumble in my own ways as usual. Still, they are cordial, casual and good at coaxing smiles. There is a language barrier and no interpreter this time, which could account for the more informal conversations. A large pelican is spotted on a pylon in the river, and then a couple on a jet ski that appears to be having engine trouble. We all peruse our menus and find very few vegetarian options, but luckily the monks love Italian food.

Jhado Tulku Rinpoche travels the world giving dharma talks and dispensing peace-inducing wisdom, called “loving kindness”. His smile emanates warmth and accessibility like a grandfather who effortlessly teaches you what no one else can. He says that it’s very nice in Sacramento, and talking about his travels mentions that Cape Town is a lot like Santa Barbara. We snap pictures with my tiny pocket camera - Geshe Tashi and I taking turns, while Janine and one of Rinpoche’s students take turns with her mega-sized one as well. Jhado Rinpoche flashes a smile and raises his hand, giving the peace sign to the 5-inch lens.

As former abbot of the Dalai Lama’s private Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, India, Rinpoche is a highly esteemed Lama in the Geluk tradition. He is known for his gentle demeanor, dynamic teaching style, and ability to engage western students. His weeklong visit to Sacramento last week included public talks and dharma teachings, all free and open to the public. The underlying theme of his visit was to impress upon people the need for sacred space in Sacramento, which is one of Lion’s Roar Dharma Center’s loftiest and meatiest missions.

What exactly is the vision? We'll discuss the lay of that (holy?) land next time...