in our bodies – on the streets
Healing and social justice are interdependent: we need both personal and systemic change to create the world we want.
Our movements have many strengths and are filled with deeply committed people. We also experience high levels of burnout, conflict, trauma, shame and blame, hopelessness and disconnection, as well as ongoing repression and state violence. Trauma and oppression impact our work, often leaving us reactive, isolated and overwhelmed.
In order to build powerful movements towards radical social change it is important for us to work on ourselves and our collectives so that we can bring the full capacity of our whole beings, our brains, hearts and guts to our political work.
Our trainings offer the opportunity to practice:
- staying deeply connected to ourselves, others and our purpose
- producing effective action under pressure
- cultivating resilience: our capacity to renew ourselves during and after difficult times
- staying present with deep emotion
- orienting towards healing what holds us back
- using power effectively and accountably
- staying close to our values inside of our political work
- collaborating effectively
- navigating contradictions
- setting effective boundaries
- deepening mutual connection
- setting courageous visions
- noticing the impact of privilege and oppression while shifting to liberatory practices
- building powerful movements together
Why include the body?
Changing our thinking alone is not enough to bring about the personal and political transformation that we seek. We live our entire lives from our bodies – our relationships, our activism, our physical activities, our creativity. Our bodies hold our deepest reactions and behaviors, both ones that align with our values and ones that do not. We need to address how the larger systems around us have shaped us personally, and build the collective power to shape those systems back – towards a world that is respectful to life.
We all have what we call “conditioned tendencies” that have been useful at some point in the past and now get in our way, both personally and in our political work. Fear that paralyzes us, triggers that make us angry or run away, situations where we space out or get stressed, pressures that make it hard to think or to stay relaxed and connected. Somatics offers practical ways to inhabit our lives and our power in our political work more fully over time, through practice.
What is generative somatics?
generative somatics is a body-based methodology that supports individual and social transformation. Based in Oakland, California, generative somatics trains activists, social justice organizations and healing practitioners throughout the U.S. The methodology has been introduced in Europe since 2015. By “generative” we mean finding new options in areas of our lives and work in which we feel stuck. “Somatics” is derived from the the Greek word “soma” which means “the living organism in its wholeness” – we look at the whole being versus seeing human beings just as mental brains steering a mechanical body. Through body-based awareness, skill-building practices, and healing processes, it is possible to create lasting change and new actions under the same old pressures, both individually and collectively. generative somatics combines social justice approaches with modern western psychology, findings in neuro-science, Eastern based mindfulness practices, the martial art of aikido and liberation politics.
Two side notes:
- We know it can be difficult trying to understand what somatics is from reading a description. generative somatics basically consists of a range of exercises that help people change and heal. Often the work seems to become more clear to people once they have experienced it. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or want to find out more.
- We are aware of and share the understandable and often justified mistrust and criticism of a lot of the “personal growth work” that is out there – it often ends up bypassing political realities, focuses solely on the individual and negates the need for collective movements towards social change. generative somatics aims to be a vehicle to further and support radical social change. It is based on radical political analysis and centers around a deep commitment to systemic change.