One method to address the effects of structural oppression – whether we are those who experience oppression or those from oppressive groups – is to incorporate body-based healing practices.
An example is generative somatics, a healing modality that seeks to “grow a transformative social and environmental justice movement – one that integrates personal and social transformation, creates compelling alternatives to the status quo, and embodies the creativity and life affirming actions we need to forward systemic change.”
Somatics is an embodied practice and those who practice believe that internal work begins in the body.
Through a series of exercises, somatics allows us to recognize our “old shape” formed of feelings and actions as a protective response to pain and trauma which may once have served a purpose, but they are no longer serving us. Our “old shapes” can include responses to triggers and trauma, the way we handle conflict, and how our defense mechanisms show up. This can be true of specific interpersonal relationships as well as on a larger level – how do our triggers come up when we read the news or when we are engaged in political action?
By identifying and understanding how our bodies are responding to the world around us, we are better able to make choices about how we want to respond. Somatics allows us to open up onto a “new shape,” finding new techniques and responses in our body.
Somatics practitioners and students can be found all across the United States and can offer support in the use of the healing technique. They also offer books and resources on how to get started for yourself. You can find more information at their website: http://www.generativesomatics.org/
We know that the layers of true justice - where all are moving toward wholeness and well-being - begin with the internal and move out to interpersonal, community, and societal systems.
At the individual level, we must ask ourselves: where do we need to heal and where do we need to be challenged?