Interview with Chante Brown - Skillful Zen Shiatsu Practitioner at BIG BERRY
BIG BERRY is all about relaxation, becoming one with nature and integrating into local environment. That's why, as a part of the concept, there is a wide range of services and activities in order to have full experience of deep relaxation with therapeutic massages and reaching your inner peace through yoga.
This summer BIG BERRY was fortune to have Chante Brown, an american girl with the endless energy, as a part of the team. Chante is a person of many talents. She dances, hula hoops, does yoga, capoeira and sings. But primary, she came to BIG BERRY in order to do what she does best - give Zen Shiatzu massages. When it comes to her practice, she nurtures a holistic approach and believes in body and mind connection. Judging by the feedback of our guests, she has golden hands and soothing energy.
She shared with us her passions, some details of Zen Shiatsu practice and finally, her experience of being and working at BIG BERRY.
Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself, what do you do professionally and what are your personal interests and hobbies?
Well, if I were answer that to the fullest it would take several hours to type out! Put simply I have a lifestyle that is intentionally as meaningful, holistic in approach and helps me to feel connected. I consider my life an expression of my ideology, my activism. My prime profession is Shiatsu practitioner, I also am a personal elder-caregiver. I also am a barista and have done professional artist modeling for many years. My personal interests and other things I enjoy sharing involve flow arts and performance. I have trained capoeira for a few years with the same group and have played with hula hoops even longer. I love to dance many different styles but I’ve had the pleasure of having a personal tribal fusion bellydance instructor which is another performance body conditioning tool in my chest that I am grateful to have. When times allows I dabble with making and sometimes performing music, costumery, contortion. I have a project where I am a very tall interactive tree character that educates, children on the importance and magic of trees with regards to ecology. I’m considering creating a role as a “fun coach” as I am realizing the need for this for adults that forget how to play.
It seems like you have many interests and that you manage to combine them together. Do you believe that doing what you love gives you all this positive energy and ability to share it with others?
Yes, sometimes I wish i had less interests as it feels like there isn’t enough time to everything I would like to explore and experience with enough attention. I absolutely believe doing what I love gives me energy that is effervescent.. love gets more contagious as it is spread. It would feel selfish to keep so much goodness to oneself only, the fact that it comes from my heart and or my imagination is what makes a huge difference. It’s easier to share things that you feel you won’t run out of. I am a believer in the “Love Language” theory and my love languages include Service and Touch.
What are the benefits of Zen Shiatsu massage?
The benefits of Zen Shiatsu massage are many and vary on the individual receiving. Asian bodywork has such a different perspective that it’s important for context when answering a question like this. For instance, if a client completely surrenders and opens themselves up emotionally and physically during a session I can go deeper into the work. They will leave the session with a greater understanding of their body and its triggers, better circulation and therefore greater range in motion and a feeling of lightness. But it’s often the second or third session that will have bigger leaps in improvement since they are more prepared to open up and breath or simply the body needed a longer time to understand how to really surrender. I’ve had a wide range of responses to my work from seeing vivid colors to feeling a bit psychedelic to relieving chronic pain issues. Some people simply feel like their younger selves or truly nurtured which can be life changing. Personally, shiatsu introduced a new way of being in my body and allowed me to share touch with a child’s trust, physical innocence which is very valuable when you’ve suffered violence in your body. Zen shiatsu in particular is a great tool for overcoming anxiety as it reprograms the body and its responses to have a muscle memory set in the mood of relaxation as opposed to stress. Having someone hold you in a sacred nurturing space is very healing for humans, powerful even. The most common remark after a session is that they feel like a new person.
Did you enjoy the connection with your clients and their feedback while giving them massage in BIG BERRY?
I did enjoy the connection with clients at BIG BERRY as well the wide range of feedback, it was very motivating for me to seek out new people to share this experience especially in a region of the world that does not have access to this particular modality. My favorite aspect was when it was really warm and beautiful weather being able to work outside so much. That was a new experience for me. Working outside so much gave me a new way to work around factors like bright sun and mud, just having less of a boundary to the elements in general and having to adapt to different spaces. Also, I love how I am able to communicate with a person that does not share the same language which did happen when working on the older generation. Touch, like music seems to be a universal language. The fact that people are able to open themselves up to a new experience with a foreigner is very fulfilling for me and I think the human world needs more of these kinds of connections in order to heal.
It was impossible not to notice your hula hoop and capoeira skills. Did you enjoy having workshops and sharing your skills and knowledge with others?
I did enjoy sharing my many passions with the team and guests at BIG BERRY, it is one of my favorite things to do. If people are interested I’m happy to share anything that has benefited me. I love teaching kids because they are likely to have less inhibitions with trying something new which makes them great students. We talk about the concept of child mind a lot in Asian bodywork philosophy because that excitement for being thirsty for knowledge and lightheartedness is a wonderful approach to staying limber in spirit as children often are. Fearlessness makes one comfortable in any new circumstance.
How would you describe your BIG BERRY experience? Did you like the environment people and energy?
My BIG BERRY experience was so many things but I would say it was very dreamy. I learned quite a lot about the culture of the immediate region and met a lot of different kinds of people. It’s a fantasy place especially during the summer, definitely a special place. I would say I feel that I personally wanted to share even more shiatsu and workshops in my time there if the schedule and weather would have allowed. The environment on the grounds is beautiful and safe. I love the Bela Krajina vibe! BIG BERRY really goes out of its way to give its guests a unique experience.
What was your favorite part of the BIG BERRY concept? Do you believe it gives people the opportunity to connect with nature and local environment?
My favorite part of the BIG BERRY concept is the mixing of cultures and worlds and a close second would be waking up to mooing. I do think it might encourage someone that just simply never knew there was a more nature based way to enjoy traveling. Or, for the nature lover it is unique in that you can have the comfort of modern technology while being awakened by natures music in the morning. You can’t avoid the natural beauty that surrounds the site.