MSC Board Member Tomás Garduño on Getting to the “How,” and Other Insights From the Transitions Labs

Originally published on December 2, 2014.

A few weeks ago I got to spend two days in Oakland with a tremendous group of wonderful people brought together by the Movement Strategy Center.

We came together to explore one big question: how do we transition from a world of domination and extraction to a world of resilience and regeneration?

Over the course of the gathering we discovered that why we were coming together was less important than how.

At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, the answer to the big question is actually pretty straightforward: stop dominating and extracting and start cooperating and connecting.

The deep question within the question is how we do this.

In other words, we need embodied practice — the conscious, steady physical development of awareness that makes cooperation, connection, compassion, and effective movement strategy possible.

Embodied practice is how we get to the how.

Embodied practice — whether it’s somatics or Forward Stance or just breathing together — is how we proactively develop the strength, insight, and joy to transform a world that includes the injustices of Ferguson and Ayotzinapa and Bhopal.

More and more social justice movements, and even society at large, are beginning to understand the power of embodied practice — and I think we’re all going to be better for it.

In fact, that may be the only way to get to that world of resilience and regeneration.

Tomás works as a social justice strategist, most recently as the national field director for Mijente, an independent political home for Chicanx/Latinx organizing. He has over 20 years experience in political strategy and campaign development and worked as a community organizer, campaign manager, and strategic advisor for 22 grassroots social justice organizations, four candidate campaigns, and five institutes and universities. His most formative experiences were his time as co-director of the SouthWest Organizing Project and organizer of the People’s Climate March. Tomás is a Native New Mexican Chicano, born and raised in Albuquerque. He currently lives in Brooklyn.