Cover image for The pathway : follow the road to health and happiness
The pathway : follow the road to health and happiness
Mellin, Laurel.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : ReganBooks, [2003]

Physical Description:
xviii, 412 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF637.S37 M35 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A revolutionary program that goes to the roots of not just one common excess, but all of them, turning off our emotional appetites and offering us a pathway to better health and greater happiness

If we have not mastered two simple skills -- self-nurturing and effective limit setting-we cannot soothe and comfort ourselves from within. So it is only natural that we soothe and comfort ourselves by overeating, drinking, spending, overworking, and smoking or by finding our way into the softer excesses-people pleasing, putting up walls, rescuing others, or thinking too much. When we master these two skills, we experience a Solution-that is, freedom from the whole range of common excesses and a life abundant in life's rewards: integration, balance, sanctuary, intimacy, vibrancy, and spirituality.

The Solution was developed over the last twenty years at one of the nation's most prestigious medical schools and may be one of the world's best-kept secrets -- until now. Health magazine recognized the research on The Solution as one of the top ten medical advances of 2000. Emerging understandings of neurobiology suggest that using the skills over the long term may retrain the elusive feeling brain to spontaneously favor a life of emotional balance, relationship intimacy, spiritual connection, and freedom from excessive appetites.

The Pathway shows you how to use the method and why it works, while sharing the stories of Tom, Emily, and Drew, who mastered the skills and reached their Solution. You can use this book to begin to reach your own Solution, and if you want more support, there are more than one hundred Solution Groups nationwide led by health professionals, as well as self-help Solution Circles and an active Internet community.

The Solution is very simple but so powerful that many psych psychotherapists who use it believe it will supersede all current healing methods for one reason: it works.

Author Notes

Laurel Mellin, M.A., R.D., is an associate clinical professor of family and community medicine and pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine



The Pathway Follow the Road to Health and Happiness Chapter One What Do You Most Want? I must have been about six years old when, during a summer heat wave, I stood at the base of our family's towering apricot tree and looked straight up. At the top of the tree, there was one huge, blush-red, honey-sweet apricot. I didn't just want that apricot. I yearned for it and, in a flash I scrambled up the tree, risking life and limb, undaunted by a twig's scratching or my fear of falling. Finally, the branches parted, and I was at the very top of the tree. Now, more than four decades later, my memory is still vivid of picking that sweetest of fruits, biting into its sun-warmed flesh, and letting its honey slip down my throat. There at the top of the tree, I remember glancing around to discover not just one plump apricot on the branches, but a whole bushel of them -- and they were all mine. Sure, it was good to have apricots, and certainly I felt the immense pride and deep delight of knowing what I most wanted, and then getting it. But what so electrified the moment was the sheer unexpected abundance of what I was receiving, something I never could have even imagined when I started the climb. The purpose of this book is to introduce a new method that offers us a simple, effective way to experience knowing what we most want in life and getting it. And when we do, finding that life is far different and much better than we have ever known before. This method is called The Solution. It's really about fruit. What you most want in life, we call oursweetest fruit. It may be to end an excess that has troubled us or simply to have more of life's richest rewards. Either way, our sweetest fruit is something that has stubbornly eluded us over the years. No matter what we have done and no matter how hard we have tried, we haven't been able to get it. Other things we can do with ease, but not this! That yearning is perfect for it motivates us to pop the hood of our inner lives and go inside often enough and well enough, making the small but important adjustments within, to reap what we most want in this world. When we do, more often than not, we experience a true Solution, that is, a life in which we are free from common excesses and have an abundance of life's sweetest rewards: integration, balance, sanctuary, intimacy, vibrancy, and spirituality. Life is still difficult, but having a Solution is about as good as it gets. In nature, the sweetest fruit is invariably at the top of the tree. So, too, in human nature what we most yearn for, the one thing that has so maddeningly eluded us, is invariably furthest from our reach. For what we most want turns out to be the touchstone of our development so if we make the subtle shifts within that enable us to reach it, we will have the full abundance of health and happiness that our particular life can bring. Which is perfect! Our yearning for that goal motivates us to take ourselves by the hand and guide, nudge, and cajole ourselves until we have mastered the powerful inner skills often missed in childhood that complete our development. What seemed to be a curse -- that we couldn't turn off our deepest cravings or get the rewards all the other people seemed to obtain so effortlessly -- turns out to be a blessing. The design of human development is that elegant, for getting what we most want brings us precisely what we most need. It is almost like a fairy tale, except this story is true. The Solution is to master the two simple skills -- self-nurturing and effective limits -- that, other than genetics, form the bedrock for human health and happiness. These skills are not genetic. They are learned, and you can learn them. Yes, even you. Self-nurturing is the skill of checking our feelings and needs throughout the day, so we know and honor ourselves and meet our needs more often. Effective limits is the skill of having reasonable expectations and following through with them, so we can take action and have more power and greater safety in our lives. When the two skills are woven together, it is much like implanting within ourselves a good parent who never leaves us. As a result, those who have mastered these two skills, more often than not, have a life of health and happiness. Unfortunately, those who have not mastered them, more often than not, do not. The basics of these skills can be learned rather rapidly. In fact, most people can learn them just by reading this book, and by doing so, they will catch a glimpse of the effects they can have on their lives. However, it is only when these two skills are used over and over again and integrated into the belly of our brains that a myriad of seemingly magical changes begin to occur. At that point, many people notice that the whole range of common excesses starts to fade and the full spectrum of life's sweetest rewards appears. The most basic ideas of this method, that people should do a better job of nurturing themselves and setting limits with themselves and others, has been in the scientific literature since at least 1940. These ideas are consistent with current understandings of developmental psychology, family systems theory, medical science, and brain research. The trouble is that current methods to help us accomplish these goals aren't very effective. Try as we might, we simply can't seem to nurture ourselves better or set more effective limits in our lives. The reason is no mystery, for our patterns of nurturing and limits were implanted in us early in life and are so deep that various healing methods, particularly those that focus on insight, knowledge, or analysis, do little to change them. The Solution molds nurturing and limits into skills that can be learned much as one would learn to type or speak a new language -- by practice. Using the skills in the moment makes people feel better, but using them repeatedly over time adds up so that self-nurturing and effective limits begin to penetrate the very core of their being and become automatic and spontaneous. When they are, what often follows is nothing less than a personal transformation. This method began with support from a federal grant on adolescent health in 1979. Still, until recently most people were not aware of the method, and those few who used it would often say, "This really works! Why doesn't everyone know about this?" In a sense, the relative obscurity of the method has been a blessing. It has given us time to learn. Hundreds of people from diverse walks of life have been trained in the method at the university, and health professionals from around the country who are certified in the method have trained far more. Some research has been conducted, which has given us additional insights as well. We know more -- and will continue to learn more -- about how to make mastering the skill to nurture and set limits from within easier, quicker, and safer. I will do my best to share these understandings with you, and to make your journey with this method as easy, quick, and safe as possible, even though it is not always easy, rarely quick, and not completely without risk. What I ask of you is to be as persistent as you are able to be and to draw upon your courage -- particularly the courage to begin, to stand at the base of the tree and look straight up until you spot your sweetest of fruits, then to put one foot in front of the other, sometimes climbing by taking baby steps and sometimes long strides, using the skills over and over again. At some point, you will find yourself at the top of the tree where, to the extent that genetics, circumstance, and grace allow, you can pluck from the branch what you most want in this lifetime. It is as simple as that. There are two worlds . . . As people use this method, they typically become acutely aware that there are two worlds: the world above the line and the world below the line. The point of this training is to pump up our nurturing and limits skills so that we spend more moments of the day above the line. That is the state in which we feel emotionally balanced, spiritually connected, and intimate with others. What's more, those pesky drives to go to excess -- what we call "external solutions" to distress -- have faded. They are either abjectly gone and we have no interest in that extra glass of wine, that bedtime snack, or another pair of shoes, or their power has been so deflated that with a little bit of care, we can achieve moderation. Life above the line is still difficult, but we glide through life's necessary pain and graciously sidestep the possibility of creating a life that manufactures misery. Without enough of these skills, we spend more moments below the line, and that life is not a pretty picture. We may find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster -- way high and way low -- or we steer clear of emotions altogether and opt for personal numbness, which means we miss out on passion and the accuracy of the personal radar that balanced feelings can bring. Moreover, when we are below the line, our relationships are fraught with difficulty. We lose ourselves in others or try to rescue people or distance from those we love and inadvertently persecute them. We may even stir up the hot cauldron of power struggles and have nightly fireworks of a very sad sort. There is also the isolation of the world below the line, of feeling lost or abandoned. The grace and mystery of life seem far removed, and the drives to go to excess have little mercy. They bully us and preoccupy us, which only disrupts our balance more and draws us further away from the true solution that, of course, comes from within. The Pathway Follow the Road to Health and Happiness . Copyright © by Laurel Mellin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Pathway: Follow the Road to Health and Happiness by Laurel Mellin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. xv
Part I. A Solution to Lifep. 1
1. What Do You Most Want?p. 3
2. The 2 Skillsp. 26
3. A Simple Pathwayp. 39
4. The Threshold of Needp. 56
5. Life's Sweetest Rewardsp. 71
6. The 8 Common Excessesp. 96
7. The Biology of Transformationp. 112
Part II. Your Personal Pathwayp. 135
8. Your Sweetest Fruitp. 137
9. The Solution Inventoryp. 141
Part III. Going to the Rootsp. 151
10. Step 1: The Nurturing Cyclep. 153
11. Step 2: The Limits Cyclep. 166
Part IV. Climbing to the Topp. 181
12. A Nurturing Inner Voicep. 183
13. Staying Balanced Nowp. 190
14. Taking Out Emotional Trashp. 196
15. Lifestyle Surgeryp. 205
Part V. Watching Common Excesses Fadep. 215
16. Eating Too Muchp. 217
17. Chemical Pleasuresp. 230
18. Working Past 6p. 242
19. Spendingp. 250
20. Rescuing Othersp. 261
21. Putting Up Wallsp. 272
22. Too Much Thinkingp. 281
23. People-Pleasingp. 290
Part VI. Reaping Life's Sweetest Rewardsp. 299
24. Integrationp. 301
25. Balancep. 315
26. Sanctuaryp. 329
27. Intimacyp. 336
28. Vibrancyp. 348
29. Spiritualityp. 354
Appendix A Getting Startedp. 367
Appendix B The Solution Pocket Reminderp. 369
Appendix C Solution Support Optionsp. 371
Appendix D Solution Circlesp. 375
Appendix E The 3-Day Balancing Planp. 385
Appendix F Method Researchp. 394
Recommended Readingp. 407
About the Authorp. 411