at the heart of sustainable movements
must be the heart of sustainable people

At the core of our work at Universal Partnership (UP) is the deep belief that at the heart of sustainable movements must be the beat of sustainable people. Our mission is to provide innovative self-healing tools, life & leadership skills to support movement workers in sustaining their humanity, & the humanity of the communities they serve, by organizing from a place of wholeness.

Our work uniquely introduces the practice of somatics into an agency’s organizational & organizing practices. Somatics is a sophisticated methodology combining the biological & social sciences to provide a framework for analysis & action. The term derives from the Greek word “soma”, which means the body in its living wholeness. The core ideology of somatics posits the undeniable interconnection & indispensable balance of mind, mood & body.

The use of somatics in organizing begins by examining unconscious practiced behaviors, established by our interactions with family, community, & society throughout our lives, that block us from taking empowered action both on our own behalf & on behalf of the communities we serve. It continues by establishing physical, emotional & mental practices that shake up & shed these binds.

Somatics allows us to see & adjust patterns that can directly inform our organizational & movement strategies. The structural impact on organizations that prioritize the full health & humanity of staff springs from a radically improved depth of trust & rapport among colleagues. Resulting is an expanded optimism in goal setting, heightened confidence driving individual & team performance, & high staff retention that allows sustainable leadership development within the agency.

The integration of somatics into a social justice organizing framework is also rooted in embracing the full humanity of our communities. It provides fresh tools for exploring in depth how & why individuals & collectives are primed to take some actions & unlikely to take others. By broadening analysis of our communities with a somatic lens, we become increasingly capable of moving our communities from a collective center, rather than relying primarily on identifying & rallying around time-limited self-interests.

Ultimately, we believe that changing ‘you’ is changing the world. By engaging in self-transformation towards embodied leadership, social change agents, organizations & communities can begin to align themselves, their beliefs & actions with their vision for the world.