The MindWell Origin Story
words by Anthony Williams
My service to you is to assist you in your journey toward healing and transformation in order to be fully expressed as a human being. My gifts to you are my integrity and the fruits of my own journey, the details of which I now share with you.
If one word could sum up my life story, it would be perseverance.
From adverse beginnings that included years in the foster care system due to family difficulties to my lifelong quest to know and express myself authentically and powerfully, I have had to persevere through challenging conditions, difficult circumstances, and internal conflicts. (And it is because of them that I can be of service to you.)
Growing up in the foster care system, with all of its challenges and difficulties, proved to be the very means by which I would start on my path toward self-realization. My primary influences in my early years were my foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harris. Mrs. Harris demanded academic excellence and instilled in me the beginnings of the disciplined way that I continue today. My discipline and academic success, acquired in spite of adverse beginnings, fueled my personal drive toward excellence and were instrumental in my graduating with honors from King Preparatory School, a New England day college preparatory school, with the added distinction of winning the “Scholar Athlete Award’’.
I earned my Bachelor’s in English Literature at Tufts University. The four years I spent at Tufts were the most challenging years of my young adult life. I encountered overt racist attitudes from other students and also began to discern the covert ways that racism is institutionalized in places of higher learning. My discontent and disillusionment were so wrenching that I was advised by my mentor, Professor Pearl T. Robinson, who taught African Studies and Political Science, to visit Africa.
Following Professor Robinsons’ advice, I applied to and was accepted into Operation Cross Roads Africa, Inc. I was commissioned to build a school in the rural village of Murafa, Kenya, in East Africa. This trip to Kenya proved to be a seminal moment in my life’s journey, a clear line of demarcation by which the racially constrained world of the West, could take no root in the ground of my newly acquired worldview. It was there, in Murafa, Kenya, that I got ‘a glimpse of potential’ as it became clear to me that my anger and indignation over the dehumanizing effects of racist policies and practices, were ultimately self-defeating.
Then, on my 22nd birthday, I sat down in Murafa to chart the coordinates that would direct the course of the rest of my life as it relates to my service to Humanity. Most notable among the revelations I gained and the personal commitments I made were the following:
Be a renaissance man, i.e., be a student and servant on a world scale, speaking many languages. Pursue the things that bring joy and happiness while allowing others to think what they will.
Find a natural way to heal the mental and physical pangs of trauma and release the rage.
I returned to Tufts to complete my senior year with only one goal in mind – to return to Africa as soon as possible.
After graduating from Tufts I moved to Washington D.C., where I landed a ‘dream job’ with Africare,
a non-profit organization specializing in long-term sustainable grassroots projects in over 40 African countries. As a Desk Officer with Africare, I successfully managed projects in four African countries over the span of eighteen months. However, due to my limited language skills, I could not procure a long-term contract with Africare. Recalling my commitment to become a renaissance man, I took a leave of absence to live in France and attended the French Institute in Ville Franche Sur Mer to learn the French language. I attained the desired, long-term contract working with Africare, and was stationed in Niger where knowing Hausa, not French, was the linguistic key to navigating successfully in business and work. Becoming conversant in Hausa awakened in me a love for languages for they are the keys to accessing global consciousness.
While on assignment in Niger for 2 1⁄2 years as a Logistician on a 5 million dollar Natural Resource Management Project, I met my first long term spiritual teacher, Abdoukarime, a 105-year old sufi monk and esteemed elder in the village of Goure. I sat with him in meditation and contemplation for over 2 years.
To say that this was tremendously healing somehow understates the significance and impact of this experience. I recall how, only 3 months into the process, I felt the pangs of trauma from my years at Tufts literally lift from my mind, body, and soul. Healing was no longer theoretical, no longer a concept – healing was my experience. Wendell Holmes once said, “A mind stretched to a new idea (experience), never returns to its original dimensions.”
Continuing my journey towards self-realization, I went on to live and teach English in Nara, Japan, immersing myself in Japanese language and culture, particularly do-in (self healing), martial arts, and mindfulness activities, such as sado (tea ceremony). This experience provided me with a way to travel to China, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand, also studying their best practices and techniques in the arts of healing and being.
Equipped with a more sophisticated perspective, I returned to the United States and was accepted into UCLA’s African Studies/Anthropology program where I would go on to complete my Master’s degree with the goal of becoming a professor of Anthropology. As always, life had its own agenda, for during my studies at UCLA I was drawn to the world of alternative healing by serving as a healing resource
for fellow grad students. Their suggestion and encouragement that I pursue natural healing, and not academia, prompted me to a new career and lifestyle. I returned to Thailand to study at a traditional hospital in Chiang Mai where my studies in Eastern healing modalities deepened.
My studies were abruptly interrupted by the discovery that a business partner had stolen my life savings and my new automobile while assuming my identity. I returned to the U.S. with only $112 in my pocket and a renewed vision to launch my health and wellness practice. More importantly, this painful experience personalized for me in a profound way the practices of forgiveness, dynamic meditation, breath work, and non-attachment. In spite of the setback, and the bouts of homelessness resulting from it, I was able to build my healing practice into its present form, merging natural healing, yogic practices, and therapeutic bodywork. Even while homeless, I was able to acquire some A-list clients in Los Angeles,
However pleasant and exciting it was to serve the rich and famous, I was more keenly interested in transforming lives and conditions in communities that are underserved. With that intention I moved
to the Bay Area and established myself in the community. Mr. Careem Conley, a native of San Francisco,
a community activist and change agent and my current manager, linked me up with individuals and organizations that were on the front lines of service in those communities in dire need of empowerment, education, and healing.
Even as I serve underserved communities I still work on a global level, working with medical doctors, CEOs, professional athletes, and industry tycoons in order to balance and broaden my spheres of influence. I am garnering support from the affluent so that I might fulfill my vision born in Marafa, Kenya in 1988 – to help expose the youth, particularly young Black males, to international experiences, thereby gaining a wider, global perspective and a new discovery of themselves in the process...just like I had.
My immersion in the cultures that have honed their healing modalities over millennia, whose practices and philosophies are rooted in the indigenous soul of Africa, Asia, and Europe, has served to inform my healing approach and lay the foundation for my company, Mindwell - promoting and facilitating health, wellness, and optimal performance for all.
Mindwell. Ancient wisdom for modern challenges.