About Us: How We Work

 

gs Methodology: Who We Are & How We Work

generative somatics is committed to strengthen the transformative leadership, organizing capacity, and practices of social and environmental justice leaders, organizations and alliances throughout the country. We offer groups, from staff to members, a process of transformation, or sustainable change, individually and collectively. We support your identities, relationships, emotions, and actions to become more integrated, resourceful, and aligned with your mission, vision, and values.  gs’s process of transformation enables social justice leaders and members to respond to life and work based on vision, rather than reaction.   Our hope is that by enabling transformation, we prepare ourselves, our partners, and the next generation of movement for skillful action, social change, and more fulfilling lives. 

While somatics as a discipline has primarily been used to increase resilience and capacity for individuals and groups- we believe this framework can also be used, in principle and practice, to inform a deeper understanding of social change and collective transformation.  We see that it has the potential to be a transformative praxis for individuals and groups working to change relations of power in the world.  We believe that a collective use of somatics can increase the holistic effectiveness and impact of community organizing and movement building. Through partnerships with organizations like yours, we continue to deepen our learning here.

Our actions, our emotions, and what is embodied in us does not inherently align with our values or principles.  This also does not mean that trying to think about it harder or control ourselves more will have us change.  What we have embodied lives deep in our neurology, muscles and sinews, identities, emotional landscape and collective practices.  To transform, we need a holistic, embodied approach.

Somatics views the individual as well as the collective from the vantage point of “embodied practices,” or “we are what we practice, and we are always practicing something.”  What does this mean? 

  • It is the view that what we have been repeatedly exposed to, had to react to and have practiced is what we embody. 
  • What we embody defines our automatic actions, our worldview, our emotional landscape/capacity, our relational skills and our sense of self and others, both individually and collectively. 
  • Thinking alone, cannot change what we have embodied.

This is easy to see as a parent when you find yourself doing or saying something to your child that is exactly what your parent said or did to you, even though you promised yourself you never would.   This is true at a collective level as well…we have embodied the social context and conditions in which we live. 

  • We have embodied a deep interpretation of power and control, we have embodied capitalism, we have embodied an objectifying relationship to the earth and “resources”, racism, sexism, etc.
  • We are in collective practices, spurred by institutions and cultural norms, which we have become, even while we simultaneously try to dismantle them. 
  • This is aligned with an understanding of the systemic perpetuation and institutional support of these collective “practices.”  This happens both through the infrastructure in which we are caught and the more proactive use of community and state violence to keep us controlled/participating in systems of oppression.

To transform these deeply-held narratives of family, conditions, and legacies that live inside us, we make powerful declarations about who or what we are trying to become. We look deeply at our embodied reactions, or habits, under pressure, and we build new skills and practices toward what we care about and long for. We will continually look at how we show up and what we contribute individually to the group, and how our collective body moves (or doesn’t) toward our larger aims. We believe whole-heartedly in pragmatic healing, cultivating resilience, and building capacity to transform ourselves and our organizations toward who we long to become for the sake of our movements and our liberation.