Mercedes is a psychotherapist and a theatre artist. She worked in the performing arts for 25 years as a writer, director, producer, teacher, actor and performance poet. Mercedes develops and leads experiential groups that incorporate elements of theatre practice and the creative process with her clinical training where creative expression becomes a forum for self-expression, personal exploration, healing, and strengthening connection. Through the use of breath work, body awareness, movement, voice, writing and drama exercises, she encourages folks to deepen their understanding of their life experiences and use creativity to envision change and elicit insight.

Her areas of practice include: body image; trauma; grief and loss; living with a life altering/life threatening illness, disordered eating; depression; anxiety; low self-esteem; relationships; communication; identity; sexuality, and issues related to race and culture.

She believes that the embodied experience is central to deepening self-awareness, healing and insight. She views our minds/bodies/spirits as an interconnected whole and encourages fully embodied living. She has found that her training in the performing arts and her professional work as a writer, director, producer, teacher, actor and performance poet has strongly influenced her approach to psychotherapy and her understanding of the healing process.

Lucca and Rebecca explore with Mercedes how she first connected with her healing work, how theatre weaves through it all, and what she is at work creating right now!

 

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For the past 6 years Emily has been working as the Community Building Coordinator at Kinbrace Community Society. Kinbrace is a vibrant non-profit in East Vancouver that began offering housing and support to refugee claimants in 1998 and continues with this work today.

At Kinbrace, she organize events that provide safe and welcoming spaces for residents to build friendships with each other, staff, volunteers, and other community members. She is constantly reminded of the ways that relationships help sustain all of us through stressful and overwhelming situations (like the very fast-paced, complicated Canadian Refugee Claim process!)
She joined the Kinbrace team after completing a degree in International Relations, Latin American Studies and Spanish at Simon Fraser University.

She lives just a few blocks away from Kinbrace, with her husband Thomas (who we also interviewed on Essencetial Conversations – listen to that here). When she is not at Kinbrace you may find her working in her garden, playing with her chickens, brewing Kombucha and Ginger beer, playing music at her church, reading in her hammock or spending time with family.

Lucca and Rebecca speak with Emily about her origins in community building, and the vision of Kinbrace’s new development.

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Authentic Living, Authentic Dying, Authentic Conversations.

Cat is a priestess who walks between the lands of living and the dead. She is an advocate creating cultural change in dealing with death as well as radical healing transformations after extreme loss and life changing illness. She provides grief counseling and creative healing pathways to living a more peaceful and authentic life.

Join Lucca and Rebecca as they delve into what the ancient term “psychopomp” means, and how Cat seeks to change the way we engage with death and dying.

Thomas has called the Grandview Woodlands neighbourhood home for my entire life. Participating in the rhythms, seasons, programs, and pursuits of the Grandview Calvary Baptist Church has been a significant part of his life. The church’s engagement in the neighbourhood and pursuit of justice both here and throughout the world, has helped cultivate within him a commitment to these as well. Another shaping influence on his life has been the experience of growing up in community houses, living with more than 40 different people over the course of my life. Many really good initiatives have developed out of a non profit organization birthed out of Grandview Calvary, named Salsbury Community Society. After being closely connected to this organization for many years, In 2014 Thomas joined the Salsbury Board, spending the last year and a half as chair. Their focus is currently on providing affordable housing and encouraging, supporting and facilitating community in their neighbourhood.

Allison is a Fertility Awareness and Sexual Health Educator, teaching menstruators everywhere to balance hormones naturally for pregnancy planning, natural birth control, and improved hormonal health.

As a sex educator for over 13 years, with a Masters in Sex Education and a certified Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner, she strives for a world where women and girls have knowledge of body literacy and are able to make truly informed and empowered decisions about sex, contraception, and child-bearing.

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Kelly is currently writing a book about a phenomenon she calls “The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand” Spoiler Alert: She’s not a fan! Kelly feels this lifestyle brand is both a marketing narrative meant to move products and it’s bigger than that too. “It’s yet another oppressive ideology constraining women’s lives – and this time, it’s not being invented by the suits on Madison Avenue. Now it’s being deployed by the women entrepreneurs we most admire, trust and hire. And surely we deserve better and can do better than that.”

We love digging into a juicy topic, looking forward to today’s show!

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Barb is the founder and visionary behind Sprouting Chefs, a school garden program for youth. She has overseen the creation and build of the first edible school garden Forest Grove Elementary in Burnaby, BC in 2011. Being a groundbreaker in the community of North Burnaby, she has seen the transformation of how building an edible school garden can bring a community together in a healthy holistic way.

Her mission and vision is to create space and programs where children feel connected to the earth and each other, work in harmony with nature and eat the fruits of their labours. She offers the world a way to connect with community and children through her garden programs. Gardens become platforms for conversations about how to “Be” in the world: Patience, Compassion, Trust, Forgiveness and Love as just a few virtues she teaches.

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“It is my intention through the Conscious Service Approach to offer a source of inspiration, information, and tools to assist helping professionals to transform their practise into on that not only results in high quality service, but is also an expression of their soul.”  Elizabeth Bishop is the creator of the Conscious Service Approach designed to support helping professionals to reconnect with and fulfil their desire to make a difference in the lives of those they support.

Elizabeth’s passion and innate curiosity with people and connection is carried through all areas of her life, not just her work. She spends her spare time on personal and spiritual development and enjoys visioning and dreaming for the future alongside her grandson!

What a gift that is right, creating big visions and dreams for the future with your grandson! We can’t wait to learn more about this, how about you?

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Shayna Plaut is obsessed with how people respresent themselves – especially people who do not fit in well with the traditional “nation-state” model. She has the unshakable belief that realities can be challenged and power changed by the pen, the brush and the lens. Her academic work focuses on how Romani (Gypsy) and Saami (the Indigenous peoples in the Nordic Artic) journalists teach their own how to be journalists – and what we can learn as we try and develop better reporting on human rights.

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