We had the good fortune of connecting with Macala “Kala” Lacy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Macala “Kala”, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
The Well Healing (TWH) was founded with the exact purpose of serving the community. Did you know that you can still find water wells around the world? Wells are designed to hold water, and water itself provides the nourishment and cleansing necessary for a full life. Similar to these water wells, TWH is also a critical reservoir dedicated to the health of underserved communities, both locally and abroad. Under the guidance of her ancestors, in 2017 Macala “Kala” Lacy, AMFT & CYT founded The Well Healing, lovingly referred to as “The Well”. The Well is a culturally responsive resource dedicated to providing “Water,” trauma-informed holistic health services for communities and individuals experiencing marginalization and oppression.
Now more than ever in 2020, we are aware of the undeniable need to increase LGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous, and people of color’s access to healthcare and wellness resources. Thankfully, Kala has already been building a community watering hole. She integrates her expertise as a clinical mental health therapist, yoga teacher, and community activist to reimagine care for populations historically mistreated by health spaces. The Well directly supports, impacts, and improves the wellbeing of Black and women of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, low-income families, and other “Wellness Warriors” by providing free and low cost mental health counseling, trauma-informed yoga, holistic health education and resources, and consultations for other community-centered businesses. As a Black and queer identified woman herself, Kala has firsthand experience of the systemic and interpersonal discrimination that often occurs while seeking culturally competent services. The Well Healing is a grassroots effort committed to mitigating the unique physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social impact of intersectional oppression these Wellness Warriors face. All are invited to come drink and be well.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I began my journey in the mental health field as a client. I needed a therapist who could understand the impact of my identity as a Black and queer youth and that option was not available for me. In fact, I was often retraumatized by engaging with the health care system. It was an organic path in determining to create new options for the generations behind me. While I learned about wellness academically, it was my yoga practice that gave me the coping skills necessary to intentionally engage my mind, body, and spirit.
Yoga psychotherapy is not very well known, but I’ve always appreciated the magic of subculture communities. In “Healing the Whole Person: Applications of Yoga Psychotherapy,” Swami Ajaya defines yoga psychotherapy as “a form of “positive psychology,”… [that] employs the systemic practices of authentic yoga, as they relate to mental health. Yoga psychotherapy is “holistic” in that it considers and addresses all aspects of the individual and the patterns of relations between them.” My career as a yoga psychotherapist is better understood as a part of my life’s greater purpose, which is to return power to the people by returning the people to their healing. Yoga and psychotherapy are two incredible practices for improving our wellbeing, and especially in combination!
My journey continues to excite, astound, and humble me. It has not always been easy, but I challenge you to name another 5 Black and queer centered yoga psychotherapists. That is what sets me apart. I am excited to contribute to my community in ways that not only acknowledge, but include, validate, and honor all of who I am as a person. The ability to be authentic gives my clients and community permission to do the same. My approach as a mental health therapist, yoga teacher, and activist is rooted in self-love; especially for the parts of ourselves most deeply wounded. That is where the healing is.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If it is your first time in Long Beach, California, you have to walk down Belmont Shore’s 2nd street. There are restaurants, bars, boutiques, and ocean views all within a few blocks! If you’re into unique finds, then 7th street’s thrift stores are where you want to be. Some of my favorite one-of-a-king clothing and household items are from the incredible small businesses there. Finally, Downtown Long Beach is one of my favorite parts of the city. Whether it’s day or night, there is always some fun to get into. From the local farmer’s market to nightclubs, downtown will deliver. There is so much more to see and experience, but you’ll just have to see for yourself!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This Shoutout is dedicated to Black lives lost around the world; the names of Black queer folks, women, children, and men we do and will never know. #BlackLivesMatter. Thank you to the chosen family who continues to support The Well Healing in its fullness and its growth. I couldn’t carry on without you.
Mackenzie Lacy, Julius Franklin