Embodied Voice: Connect, express, empower!

When you discover a program for women that weaves the Creative, Embodiment and Sacred Arts, you know there’s been a paradigm shift in how we live and breath wellbeing. Meeting Ee’da Brahim and Kattimôni Kat Beames from Embodied Voice was like Christmas for me. Not only do their souls sing sprightly with an angelic calling, fostering community programs that focus on connection, expression and empowerment, but even their doorbell delightfully sung to me when I arrived at Katt’s home for an interview. Yes, these two beauties certainly embody what they teach, and if preaching was the flavour of their class, I admit it, I could listen to their wisdom all day.

But they are not preachers, they are space carvers, inviting women from all walks of life into a magical zone of creativity and expression, transformation and the unlocking of individual potential. There are so many environments in mental health settings that I see the need for the Embodied Voice approach. This golden circle of golden vibrations is just what the doctor ordered. Read on to discover the ethos behind this creative and nurturing program.

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Ee’da and Kattimôni from Embodied Voice

BFA: How did the Embodied Voice program take shape?

K: The Embodied Voice program began through a series of workshops we ran with various youth organisations. There was an organic flow with both Ee’da and I. We are both similar in many ways yet different in others. We both have backgrounds in creative arts so it was effortless in the way the program evolved.

E: And not having known each other or worked together before but suddenly finding ourselves making decisions on the spot about things and realising that we were so in tune with what felt right, trusting that and seeing the outcomes, seeing how it’s so much more powerful than if you read form a manual, but that it’s quite rare to find someone exactly with you on a heart level for the benefit of the students, to nurture their creativity, to create an environment where they feel confident and can have lots of fun. It seems quite unique, the blend of tools that we have. It’s not just dancing or singing or just yoga or art therapy. We’ve got this great combination of all of these.

I think that also because of our life experiences, individually we’ve gone through this journey and moving through our own insecurities, our own fear and blockages. Like for me, I’d gone to India and discovered the art of dance and worked with yoga and understanding breath, and going through a series of relationships that disempowered me, and made me feel small about myself and not really trusting my talents. I could hear this voice in my head saying, ‘You’re not good enough,’ and another voice saying, ‘I want to perform’.

And really, that voice is so common, everybody hears it, but when you discover certain things to over-ride that voice, this means everything to your transformation. Sometimes when Katt and I have tea and she tells me about her life story and what she’s been through, she’s got those same stories, just Katt’s version of them. And how she’s come through her own evolution. We want to share this with women because we know that together the message is even clearer than if we did it alone.

K: Creativity has always been a tool for me to express my struggles; not just express it cathartically but to transform it. My whole life is about creation. I’m a painter. I’m a singer. I’m a musician. I’m a dancer. For me, these tools have been a way for me to see what’s going on inside and to be able to empower myself to have a voice and be able to speak about some of those things: a tool for self-creation.

E: I want to point out that many of the people who are doing amazing things that impact positively on the community and the environment, seem to be people who have gone through trauma in their own lives. I’ve noticed that people who have stories of abuse have emerged a lot more eloquent about expressing human pain and how instrumental it is in shining.

I grew up in a household that was very turbulent. I was around a lot of aggression that comes from depression throughout my childhood but I couldn’t name it. Later in life little things began to awaken something in me, like when I discovered yoga. I fell in love with the science and the philosophy of yoga; all the concepts made sense to me. It was through really peeling off the layers through holistic arts that I became more and more open in my body, and then I re-discovered dance. When you start peeling layers there’s this flashing light saying, ‘There’s more!’ You don’t actually stop, you just keep going.

 

BFA: So why women? Why have you decided to share the Embodied Voice journey with women only?

E: Because we’re women.

K: And we do plan on sharing it with men too.

E: I actually enjoy working with women more. I feel like I am able to get under a women’s psyche more. I feel that it’s easier to work with women and for them to open up and feel nurtured and safe.

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K: Yeah, me too! I feel like women are the building blocks in our community. When we empower women and we have strong women then we create strong families, and strong families create strong communities. I feel that women are the threads that hold the fabric of family and community together. In our work we intend to make a positive impact that moves beyond the circle of the program and into the women’s own circles to affect change at a greater level, starting from the families and the homes and the hearts of the women.

BFA: What happens in an Embodied Voice session?

K: An Embodied Voice session is kind of like a journey in itself. We generally start with grounding and mindfulness exercises, a space for authentic sharing and reflection. We explore dance, movement, breath work, singing, improvisations and we integrate a lot of transpersonal art therapy principles. There’s guided meditation also. We have fun – it’s playful.

E: And we really get the message across that it’s a safe environment so the women really feel they can do what they’ve never done before, you know like dance like no one’s watching? Like that, to embody that feeling in an Embodied Voice session and from there all the activities take place in a strong way because everyone feels safe. We look at different themes, for example: release, resistance, presence, grounding and balance.

They all link up over the 6 week journey and each week we tap into different aspects of creativity as well like african dance and drumming, hip hop, free association, jamming and stream of consciousness. We get participants away from thinking that singing has to be a certain thing or sound a certain way. We demystify it. It’s a conversation with a vibrational sound. We even have conversation in song.

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K: We look at unifying the whole self as an instrument, connecting body, voice, mind, emotion and looking holistically. We apply embodiment techniques and integrate creative, therapeutic practices. We have women from all different backgrounds and some of them are creatively highly skilled and others have never explored their creativity.

What I want to stress is that Embodied Voice isn’t about being a wonderful singer or dancer, it’s about empowering and expressing truth using our self as an instrument. It’s really important in our program that the participants connect with themselves; that the focus of control and truth is really within them.

For one woman that came to Embodied Voice, it was so important to her that it was about community, when in her life there was not a lot of connection.I watched this woman dancing across the room, full powered dancing and declaring at the top of her voice what her dream was and that she was going to forgive herself for the mistakes she has made in her life!  I feel honoured to be able to provide a space for women that they can count on, to have an authentic place to share.

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The next Embodied Voice program starts October 27th – December 1st
7:00 – 8:30pm @ Jibasso Creative Movement Space, 252 St Kilda Road, St Kilda

Book now! Follow the links:

www.facebook.com/embodiedvoiceaustralia  /  Email: [email protected]

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