After the year we’ve all had, we all could use a little peace, love and understanding. And as she’s done for years, Rita Melissano, Ph.D., has a new way of delivering those priceless commodities.

Rita Melissano Returns to Rock Island to Offer Healing, Love-Filled Services

Rita Melissano recently moved back to Rock Island, starting a new “Way of Love” series of programs.

A passionate Italian, Melissano is the former director of the holistic Satva Center in Rock Island, Trinity Enrichment Center in Davenport, and among her many roles, is a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, holistic psychotherapist, mindfulness teacher and trainer, meditation teacher, Reiki master teacher and ordained minister.

After four years based in southern California, she recently moved back to her home in Rock Island (which had been for sale but never sold), and Melissano has launched a new website – www.thewayof.love – and array of services, by donation only. They include private and group meditation, mindfulness practices, healing conversations, Reiki training and spiritual guidance.

“The Way of Love is not only a new website, but also a new Way of conceiving life and human interactions, a new Way of ‘being,’ both personally and collectively, and healing wounds and traumas,” her site says.

“It is revolutionary because it offers hope as a gift to anyone, it expresses the desire to be of service to anyone, to alleviate the suffering of the world, and to help healing fear, isolation and distress. The time is now to embrace in love one another, show reverence, maintain a pure heart, radiate vibrations of peace in our troubled world.”

Rita Melissano Returns to Rock Island to Offer Healing, Love-Filled Services

Melissano pictured in the labyrinth of the former Satva Center in Rock Island, which first opened in 2008.

During her long clinical career, Melissano has worked with individuals, couples, families and groups of every socio-economic and ethnic group, spiritual belief, gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, civil and military background. She has always felt at home in a diverse, inclusive and international setting, connecting in oneness, her bio says.

Melissano has provided therapy in Italian, Spanish, and English, but she also speaks French, and has studied Mandarin Chinese, modern and ancient Greek, Latin, Sanskrit and ancient Egyptian. She has traveled all over the world and presented at national conferences, international academic settings and world congresses (e.g. China, India, Hungary, Norway, Ecuador, and Canada).

Her former Satva Center was at 709 19th St., Rock Island, opening in October 2008. It provided services including meditation, Reiki, yoga, T’ai Chi, Thai massage, acupuncture, ayurveda, and homeopathy. “Satva” is a Sanskrit word that means “truth” or the “highest, the purest, the most spiritual.”

The center also previously hosted the Buddhist Education Center and Temple of the Quad Cities.

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Melissano moved in 2017 to Long Beach, Calif., after her husband John got a job teaching there. She also taught the ancient discipline of mindfulness there, including “Mindfulness by the Water” classes, on the Pacific Ocean.

“Long Beach is a very beautiful, vibrant, artsy, progressive city – very elegant and the water is there,” Melissano said Thursday, appropriately on Earth Day. She brought mindfulness to the ocean – meditating, walking, and sitting quietly – calling mindfulness the “science of

Rita Melissano Returns to Rock Island to Offer Healing, Love-Filled Services

Melissano offered “Mindfulness on the Water” classes in Long Beach, Calif., including a Tibetan singing bowl and small Buddhist altar.

happiness, the art of suffering less, the compassion science.”

“This year in particular, research has shown that outdoor therapy, in nature, is absolutely superior to any traditional therapy,” she said.

“When we are in nature, we are in the so-called alpha waves, the state of relaxation and awareness,” Melissano said. “So our mind goes away. We are more in our heart, in the here and now. We are very present. We look around; it’s our perception, our awareness, our attention is in the here and now.”

“The body calms down, the mind calms down,” she said. “So the stress level goes down. We are beings of light, so the sun just nourishes our energy centers in all our body. It brings the energy that fires up our being, and on a physical level and emotional, mental level.”

It’s vital to be connected with Mother Earth, everything that is around us. “We all feel better when we are in nature,” Melissano said, noting she hopes to meet with people outdoors at various locations in the Q-C area.

“I will always have that option of being outside,” she said. “This is already something new and different, that makes it valuable to anyone. Continuing to use nature and open spaces can be part of my offering in the future.”

“With the pandemic especially, this was an opportunity to stop, to pause, to reconsider our lives, to prioritize in a different way,” she said. “To think of what meaning we want to give to our lives, our relationships, what is really important.”

Melissano felt called to return to the Quad-Cities, and literally come up with a new way of love. “I came back home, because this has been my home for many, many years.”

“I’m in a new place and there’s a new energy coming back,” she said. “The new website represents the results of the past few years, which for

Rita Melissano Returns to Rock Island to Offer Healing, Love-Filled Services

The home page for “The Way of Love” website.

me has been a personal quest – that brought me back home, with a shift of consciousness really.”

“The Way of Love” came out of this personal quest.

“I see the beauty around, the peacefulness, the connectedness, with the holiness of nature, but also the suffering, the pain, the violence,” Melissano said. She wants to transform that and help to connect “in order to create what I believe is a spiritual alchemy – transforming the suffering of the world into the opportunity for peace in every moment.”

“My heart goes to everyone right now, because the world is in a very, very difficult place,” she said. “There is so much, almost despair, hopelessness, isolation and fear, a lot of fear. The more we are in fear, the less love we have for ourselves and for others. So I thought, going back to the Way of Love, to reconnect.

“My message with the Way of Love is that fear can be transformed; pain can be transformed; traumas can be transformed into that space of love, of compassion, of kindness for one another,” Melissano said. “The embrace of one another instead of considering the other, over there, as different and scary.”

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“Right now, on top of the pandemic, we had really so many additional traumas for this nation,” she said of the unprecedented past year of colliding crises. “It has broken the hearts of this nation, really – the racism, the division, the violation of human rights, the insurrection Jan. 6. It has broken the nation’s heart, but also the world, the planet’s heart. Because everybody was watching us and crying with us.”

That need for connection is all the more important n this time of physical isolation and social distancing.

“Right now, when we don’t have the physical closeness, we have to embrace this opportunity for a connection, a closeness on a deeper level,” Melissano said. “It’s a closeness of the hearts, a connectedness of the soul. That sense of compassion, that it’s really on a level that is not visible but is tangible.”

“The new moon is not visible; everything is dark, yet we know the moon is still there,” she said. “We can’t see it, but it’s there and step by step, it becomes visible, manifested in the full moon.”

“Full of gratitude”

Her website describes a “heart full of gratitude for the privilege to be of service to others, make a difference in the world and make her gifts available to anyone, without setting a fee, but accepting your donation.”

Rita Melissano Returns to Rock Island to Offer Healing, Love-Filled Services

Melissano spoke on April 22, Earth Day, about the clear benefits of being out in nature.

One of Melissano’s services she proposes is “the healing conversations,” which is separate from “therapy.”

“There is no stigma, there is no diagnosis,” she said. “There’s no certain number of sessions set up, and certainly it’s not profit-driven. I consider them an encounter of the soul.”

She couldn’t set up fees for services, since she considers them “priceless.”

“It is completely donation-based,” Melissano said. “I meet you wherever you are, and we will start from wherever you are, to heal wounds and traumas and fear and isolation. I offer this in love and you – whoever you are – will offer me, in love and gratitude, your donation, whatever it is. This is for all services.”

In the past year, she also spent several months at her home in Italy.

“This gives me the freedom to offer all this – nationally, internationally, from anywhere,” Melissano said. “During the pandemic, especially at the beginning, I offered free mindfulness consultation in Italy and also Long Beach, because I could see that people were in such deep pain and fear. We were doing this over

Rita Melissano Returns to Rock Island to Offer Healing, Love-Filled Services

Melissano is a psychologist, marriage and family therapist and was former director of the Satva Center and Trinity Enrichment Center.

video and over the phone, because we couldn’t connect in person.”

Even her website address is different (with no “.com” or “.org), ending in “dot love.”

“That period or dot before ‘love,’ it forces you to pause,” Melissano said. “Pausing is a powerful mindfulness technique/practice that slows the mind down, helps focus and redirect our attention and awareness into the here and now, and to the breath.”

Thewayof.love is “made to engage the senses and your entire being: pleasing the eyes with grace and beauty through images, the ears through special sounds and chanting that you can listen to, while browsing in an atmosphere that warms your heart and embraces you with the vibration of love, kindness and peace,” she said.

The site says: “If you as an individual, are looking for alternatives to traditional therapy and/or medication, for hope and a sense of purpose in life to break free from even chronic depression, anxiety, insomnia, traumas, auto-immune diseases, addictive behaviors & patterns, or a formal diagnosis of bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD, OCD, etc., Healing Conversations will provide for you a unique way to nourish and heal your Soul, heart, mind and physical being.

“If you as a couple, long for harmony in your love relationship, freedom from conflict & emotional distance or loneliness, Healing Conversations can show you the way back to a love that is vibrant & fulfilling, the return to a soulful and heart-centered union,” the site says. “In a safe and intimate space where you can share and address your life challenges with no judgment.”

For more information, you can contact Melissano at 309-793-7881 or at rita@thewayof.love.

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Rita Melissano Returns to Rock Island to Offer Healing, Love-Filled Services
Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.