somatics and social justice

I just completed a year-long training called Somatics and Social Justice. Somatics is the study of mind and body. Primarily this entails observing survival strategies in your body and mind and moving towards wholeness, power, intentionality. There’s an arc of opening, awareness and practice that leads you from an old body/mind shape to a new one, a deep transformation.

Pairing this with social justice, we explored how bodies of people tend to shape themselves, in organizations and alliances and networks; how is transformation possible and at what scale? It was amazing stuff.

There was a concept called 1-2-3 state, where 1 state is your head space – approaching the world only from your thinking and inner voices; 2 state is approaching the world with all the perception and processes of your mind and body; and then 3 state is the greater cosmic level at which we are all connected. This inspired some thoughts for me…one was the idea of functioning in 6 state, 1 + 2 + 3 states, all thoroughly aligned, with your thoughts always aligned with that deeper sense of interdependence.

I also thought about how strategy would work with 1-2-3 state. To strategize actions and campaigns from 3 state, you can see whatever you do as part of the meta arc of history, not just thru the small lens of immediate outcomes. To strategize from 2 state is also powerful – what wisdom comes from the collective body of a community and how do you listen to that the way you might listen to a headache or chronic pain in the body? Apathy or rage or gossip in community might be weakening the effectiveness of your organizing strategies, so what’s really needed to make it powerful. And after those two levels of strategy, come to 1 state, head strategy…targets and power maps and messages.

Also thinking about how deep it could be to have folks center themselves before direct actions. Aligned breathing, aligned purpose, knowing their ancestors are at their backs. To shift the experience of action from unplanned reaction to deeply strategic response – truly moral obedience instead of civil disobedience…{term stolen from Max Rameau}

the power of practice was brought home to me last night when i found myself suddenly with no luggage, no wallet – no money, no id, no panties, no toothbrush. and i still made it thru airport security and to ny. and the wallet was discovered, and the suitcase is on the way and it’s all going to be fine. i surrendered to being calm, being ok with it, practicing deep breath and centering and letting everyone i spoke to in the airport know i was joyful, and i needed them.

another day of practice.

3 Responses to “somatics and social justice”


  1. 1 nm

    Nice piece on 1-2-3 state and strategy.

    I tend to think of those different states as aligned with particular levels of classical strategy. The 1 state (more heady) being associated with the Operational and Technical levels of strategy where logistics are dominant. The 2 state (encompassing of mind, emotions, sensations) being associated with the Tactical level of strategy where intuitive decision-making and speedy reactions in the moment can mean the difference between a well-executed tactic and failure. And the 3 state being associated with the Grand Strategy, that level which ideally takes into account the interdependence of all of the various forces at play, and aligns with the natural flow of change (or arc of history as you say).

    Identify long-term outcomes, impacts, and strategic flow from the 3 state; plan the operations and logistics from the 1 state; and live the implementation of the plan (via the execution of tactics) from the 2 state.

  2. 2 sam

    where could I get this training?

  3. 3 Adrienne

    check out social justice leadership or generation 5!

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