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Stories from the Well

Healing Happens in Relationships

Posted on 01/11/21 by Kara in Stories from The Well

Kara Michelle Pierson is the founder and owner of Lilac & Indigo and founding Wellspring Fellow. Click yellow arrows left and right to toggle images.

2014 was not my favorite year. I had just graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, but couldn’t find a job, so I worked 12-hour overnight shifts in a factory (absolutely no shade to anyone who works in a factory it’s just not work I’m built for) and was in an unhealthy long term relationship. I was stressed out, overworked, and always waiting for the next disruption to my world, which I later learned was a trauma response. I would consistently find myself constricting, tightening, holding in my breath, and I started feeling pain in my body. As a black, plus sized woman, pressure and performance were all I knew. I had student loans to repay and no health insurance, but I needed a way to cope with my stress. My usual method of alcohol, weed, and binge eating just wasn’t working anymore, so I started googling and stumbled upon meditation and mindfulness. I started by listening to YouTube videos here and there. I slowly started to listen weekly, then every day. The act of giving myself permission to slow down was new to me, but it allowed me to start to notice what was really going on inside my mind. At first it was terrifying to notice my own thoughts, but I learned to make space for them.

In 2016, I joined The Hive, a community that centers mindfulness, creativity, and social justice, and was able to deepen my practice alongside other people who were doing the same. This is where I became consistent with my practice and started learning new techniques. I slowly started noticing that I was becoming more patient with and less judgmental toward the people around me.

I was presented with the opportunity to attend the Meditation Teacher Certification training at the Yoga on High Ayurveda Institute in Columbus, OH. I had no plans to become a teacher, but I figured at the very least, I could deepen my practice. At the time, I noticed that there weren’t many people around me who looked like me that were doing this work so I created Lilac & Indigo. Underneath the layers of survival, the pressure to constantly perform, and the tendency to constantly be busy- when we take time to slow down and rest, we create room for our internal liberation. It is through this inner liberation that we can start to remember who we truly are and show up more authentically in our lives. I‘ve been fortunate to facilitate this work for teachers, students that have been displaced, social workers, mothers, athletic coaches, and healthcare workers.

However, with my degree in Psychology and experience in my teacher training program, my approach was centered on addressing the mind but not much in the way of addressing the body. . The Well’s True Body Leadership program reminded me there is a nonstop conversation between your mind and body, so neither can be ignored. It also reminded me of the healing power of safe relationships. Our time together was held in a container that we built together. We were invited to show up to that container each month with openness, vulnerability, and the opportunity to hold space for others. During a time when our country was experiencing a global pandemic, a rise in consciousness of racial injustice, and an emotional election cycle, this was such a balm.

I am so excited to be bringing my experience as a curious human and facilitator to The Well as it’s first Wellspring Fellow. I will be working alongside Stacy and Rowe to create content and programming to expand the Well’s mission. I’ll also have the opportunity to design spaces for the plateau work for black women.

You can follow my journey and connect with me here:
IG: @lilac_indigo, www.lilacandindigo.com