It’s hard for me to forget where i was when i had that panic attack. i was driving home turning the corner around the Hollywood Bowl. My stress and anxiety finally came to a head. Spending several unsuccessful years of trying to rehabilitate my voice due to a tragic accident, the stress of a job in the music industry, and the feeling of being lost all led to an eventual trip to the ER. My file at the doctors office looked more like a cheesecake factory menu. Always the same ailments. I couldn’t keep doing this. Something needed to change. Diagnosed with Epstein-Barr (which is mono that keeps coming back), I needed help. Enter the two Jens. My dear friend of many years introduced me to a hypnotherapist. I was intrigued with actually getting to the core of me no matter how difficult that could be. Things that i couldn’t or didn’t know how to access. That was the beginning of this next journey. The moment i walked into Hypno Jens office. Ill never forget, once she broke me down and finally was able to get to my other eric, she asked, “what do you really want to do? all the way inside of you, what is it that you feel you need to be doing?” The only answer i had was, “I just want to help people. I don’t know how or what it even looks like. I just feel like that’s what i need to be doing…”
Cut to a few years later. I had been working with Hypno Jen all during this time. Keeping my stress down and my eyes ahead. I was finally guided to make a move enrolling into a nutritional therapy program. This course of action led to business partners, collaborations, best friends, random trips, and so on and so on. The group of Em, Britt, Syd, Mr. Wheat and I would meet at NTA school and form a bond that became better known as The Supplement Pushers. The title seemed fitting. From there Mr Wheat and I started a Health and Wellness company where the two of us embarked on a journey of energy & sound. Using those tools to heal seemed like a pretty forward thinking ambition. Both of us being musicians, we really liked the sound of it. Studying energy by completing a Reiki Master program (from Lori Torok) and learning about frequency & vibration with Biofield Tuning (by Eileen McKusick), we were willing to dip our toes in all of the aspects.
During that time I had what would later be known to me as an epiphany. i had been told of this place out in Joshua called the Integratron. Hypno Jen first brought it up to me. I had so many questions. “They do sound baths there”, she said. I was all “whaaaat?!?!” Never had i ever heard of such a thing. So much stigma surrounding this place all i could think about was being immersed in sound. I’ve been around music my whole life but not like this. In a place like this. Made of all wood, perfectly curved roof, and round shaped like a silo. The acoustics were like something i’ve never been in before. Afterward I researched and saw the late Anthony Bourdain took Queens of the Stoneage there. Jason Mraz even took a trip and posted that experience. The vibration travels around in ways that didn’t make sense to me. So to be there for a crystal bowl meditation (Sound Bath) was surely to be out of this world. It did not disappoint. As i lay and the bowls began to sing, I felt that i was not really on the floor anymore. As if there was an air bubble beneath me. I couldn’t feel my physical body touching the floor. Then it got intense. The sounds were swirling and i opened my eyes. The roof looked like an art piece of crossed wood coming up to a perfect circle. But to me it was moving, like i was at sea with the ceiling shifting back and forth. I was so confused yet not really. This was the experience so i had to ride with it. All of a sudden i noticed a sharp pain in my right arm. It felt like an 8 inch needle was being stuck all the way through it. It lasted for about the last 20 minutes to a point where i needed to turn on my side. It was painful. Yet i also knew that once the bowls stopped that the pain would go away. I remember saying to myself…”just watch. The music will end and this will just disappear.” Lo and behold, five minutes after the closing it went away. I just shook my head and laughed. As i walked out the light bulb popped on. This is it. This is what i need to be doing. How come no-one knows about this? How did i not know about this? What the fuck just happened?! At that moment I knew this was going to be a part of my path. It felt like the exact right thing to pursue. Like a shotgun honeymoon I chased that feeling.
Disclaimer: If you do go to the Integration and someone is snoring, it might not be the person next to you. Also do yourself a favor and at the end, go to the middle of the structure and sing something. Say something. It an incredible way to experience your own voice. So sing something meaningful. Sing something that will move you. You won’t regret it.
As Mr Wheat and I decided to part ways with Vigilant Healing Solutions, it was one of the easiest “i’m going this way and he’s going that way” kind of conversations. We both learned so much together and was good to have a pal around. Plus, he got to meet his wife along the way. Wins all around. I had just gotten back into LA after being gone for 3 months on a concierge job doing some life coaching and adventure therapy. It was an experience to remember thats for sure. But at this point i had really made strides in bringing a holistic approach to health and wellness. I had successfully departed from the music industry that lasted for 13 years. Done a complete 180. Successfully made strides in getting myself in places like equinox, google, thrive market, parsley health, ect. teaching and bringing in sound mediation experiences. Now was time to come up with my own brand. Something that’s me and everything i stand for.
I was sitting with my drummer whalerobber one day visiting. Catching up, talking life. Him and his wife G Love have a little boy Gus now. Whalerobber was studying to be an MFT and G Love is just basically a badass boss with the most angelic voice i have ever heard. Was lucky enough to have her singing side my side with me on some SH records. I brought my dilemma of needing to come up with another moniker. Something that embodies who i am. Hoping for a brainstorm session of our creative minds. He didn’t hesitate. Picked up his phone and I saw him scrolling. He says, “how do you spell your last name again?” Well…”it’s Mellgren with two L’s.” He begins to read me what my last name means in Scandinavian, since that’s the background of my surname. “Mell means middle and Gren is branch.” he says. Middle Branch. It’s funny because i didn’t take to it right away. I almost sort of passed it off. But thankfully, I came around in the end. With the help of my branding team, Sattler Creative, we finally had a winner after being stuck on a very unoriginal name. I knew that was it. The Middle Branch was fully conceived. Then born in 2019.
What does the Middle Branch do? I bring all of my skillsets to help people, whether it’s through sound therapy, music therapy, adventure therapy, MNDFL life coaching, or even consulting. I work specifically with stress, anxiety, sleep, and trauma. I do my work in meditation studios, corporate environments, privates, yoga studios, for kids, for people in recovery, for anyone that needs some release from life in any type of setting. It’s truly allowed me to take the things i love and put them to good use. It was a 6 year process that has changed so much in me, about me, and for me.
Even as i write this I’m thinking about the previous paragraph where i said…”I just want to help people.” It makes me chuckle, shed a grin, and even tear up sometimes thinking about how i’ve gotten to where i have. All those who have helped me along the way. I didn’t even know some of these healing modalities existed back then. Now i have established a purpose. A name. A way of living birthed out of something i had only dreamed of in a vague 6 word statement.
The Middle Branch