We had the good fortune of connecting with Barbara Gibson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Barbara, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
There is a book on my shelf called, “I Been in Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked out all the Pots.” The title speaks to me because (like most everyone) I have known sorrow well. As an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and trauma, I’ve also supported others in their deep sorrow. I started Peacestill because pain is not the whole story. I didn’t always know that. I know now that there is also healing and everything between and around it. I’ve learned to hold all of it with tenderness. Finally, I feel good and safe in my own mind and body. Every journey to healing is unique. Peacestill is my way of sharing and supporting others to get on and/or stay on their path. There is so much suffering both individually and collectively in the world. Inner work is, perhaps, the single best thing we can do to prepare ourselves to transform our suffering. We need not be driven by our pain and fear. Peacestill supports inner work with gentle yoga, meditation, supportive listening, witnessing, and self-care with a focus on deepening resilience.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Meditation has long been part of my self-nurturing practice. When I was a beginner, guided meditations were such a comfort. I used to listen to Louise Hay every night before sleep. Eventually, I was able to sit and follow my breath. Because meditation was so helpful for me, I wanted to share it with survivors. I began offering short, guided meditation sessions to start or end our meeting times. Often, they would say I should record them so they could listen on their own. So, I did. I recorded very brief sessions, one to three minutes, and shared them. Later, I studied meditation and mindfulness, and started uploading guided meditations to the app Insight Timer. I came to yoga much later, completing yoga teacher training in 2019. I started Peacestill the same year. It is an extension of my work as an advocate. Bringing the work to a larger community is especially urgent now. Creating and sharing spaces to be curiously and supportively with your inner self is the work I am called to do. My virtual offerings include wellness/supportive listening sessions, restorative yoga and gentle movement as well as guided meditation.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many wonderful places to eat and things to do in Atlanta. Before the pandemic, I loved practicing yoga at Decatur Yoga and Pilates or Kashi Ashram and then heading over to Muchacho’s for avocado toast on the patio. Carapace at Manuel’s Tavern is always a treat. One of these days I’m going to put my name in the hat and share a story. The staff at Charis Books is so kind and their programs always make me glad they are part of my community. Whole World Improv is a lot of fun. The venue is a good size and watching the skits unfold is a nice way to witness creativity and cooperation. I like the usual spots, too. The High Museum, The Fox Theatre, seeing Alvin Ailey there is a cherished tradition I will miss, The Beltline and the Home Depot. We love gardening and plants. We have eight garden beds and at least 100 houseplants.
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?
I’m so grateful to be part of the work of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC). Since 1986, WRC has walked side by side with domestic violence survivors. Our goal is always to create the conditions that support survivors to rebuild safe and stable lives. Some of my biggest lessons there have been around resilience, mutuality, community, strength, sacrifice, creativity, resolve and love. I came to this work in my 20’s, drawn to it because of my own history. Now in middle age, it is clear how much of who I am and how I am in the world is because of the work we all do together there. No matter where we stand in the circle of support we are always challenging and changing each other. I am very proud of WRC and all the people we are connected with.
Other: http://insig.ht/zbarbarag https://www.wrcdv.org