About - Good Company Practice Community

I, Gary Norfolk, started the process of envisioning Good Company in early 2000, asking questions, asking others what they think, developing initial ideas, listening for clues, reading whatever I found on health and social well-being, taking notes, writing, dreaming, looking for missing links, following clues, insights and reasons. 

The process well and truly started when I read a book by Dr Dean Ornish: Love & Survival, the Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy. I knew Dr Ornish as the vegetarian doctor who worked with people who had heart problems using lacto-vegetarian diet, yoga, meditation and to his surprise social engagement where people opened their hearts to each other. I was struck by what he calls the four big diseases as major health problems that were going under the radar: isolation, alienation, loneliness and depression. 

My principle somatics teacher & trainer since 1979 Dr Julie Henderson's often pointed to three big "unspoken" diseases: tiredness, hyper-vigilance and touch deprivation. My somatic teaching attends to these issues.The  

I was also touched by the work of Joanna Macy and her three big diseases: the sense of denial, the unspoken; the industrial growth trance --- money, power, possessions, work, status, position; and numbness. Good Company Practice Community is a way to counteract these maladies. 

I also came across the brilliant work of Bren'e Brown author of Daring Greatly & her popular video on YouTube, The power of vulnerability. I found her work on the study of shame, perfectionism, authenticity and vulnerability to be profoundly important and well worth integrating into GCo. 

Also, The Heart Circle Process by Tej Steiner, Awakening into Community, "We’re being called out of isolation to become part of fully functioning families, businesses and communities. We’re being invited to become tide pools of peace able to serve those caught in tidal waves of change. It’s our time to relax and know absolutely that everything is fine. We are all here now and it is time to gather together in circle and awaken with everyone around us." www.heartcirclenetwork.com

These are some of the ideas that have inspired me to want to create GCo to counteract these problems and the suffering they bring with them. I began to investigate further into what other underlying issues there could be that lead to ill-health, disease and suffering. What showed up again and again in the literature was the overarching problem of disconnection: disconnection from nature, from satisfying work, from others and the flight from oneself, disconnection needed attention. 

I had also become increasingly dissatisfied with the way I was marketing and promoting my somatic teaching work, which I call Zenergetics Somatics. I wanted to do things differently and avoid the "fly-by-night" syndrome of coming in and teaching a workshop and disappearing and never to be seen again and leaving people unsupported and disconnected with each other and as a consequence the work gets lost and people say "I did a workshop in that once ..." I became uneasy and dissatisfied with seeing people attend my workshops and trainings, learn new skills and then the group would disband & part company. There was no continuity, no ongoing support, no integration, no further practice and learning. I wanted to create an organisational structure to support the work, so people would continue with the practices and integrate them into their lives. I want us all to prosper into our future together. I knew I wanted to create something that would support further self-discovery and emotional holding and ongoing inquiry. 

I began to notice that when teaching Zenergetics Somatics I taught individual, partner and group exercises. This is how I came up with the idea of Personal ~ P1, Partner ~ P2 and People Practices P3 ~ PPP123.

Julie Henderson often says, if you want to continue this somatic work you will need “good company” as the present culture does not and will not support you to change, to slow down, to rest, to do less. We need "good company" to ground this type of exploration, body learning, we need people we can grow with, to trust, be vulnerable with and allow our authentic selves to emerge in relationship ... we need a “community of practice” or a “practice community”.

In September 2008 at Warburton just outside Melbourne, I participated in an inaugural Australian Training called the “Art of Hosting” AoH. At this time I was reading Otto Scharma's Presencing and Theory U and Peter Block's Community: The Structure of Belonging. AoH is an integral tool, a unique process for facilitating “conversations that matter”, a way of building community connections. I'm convinced GCo ideas can create a better society, culture, community along with somatics and embodied learning.

Somatics is embodying experience by slowing down, switching off from the dominant culture, tuning into ourselves, slowing down, stopping, moving with awareness, connecting more compassionately with each other, learning to talk & listen and relate in new and innovative ways. Somatics is also daring to touch each other deeply, open to our feelings and emotions as we face each other in the challenges that confront us to simply be our vulnerable selves as we take a stand for what we want and need and value as a way of life, we deserve to live a better life and this doesn't mean buying more stuff to make us feel more comfortable or improve our status and position in society but to "live simply, so other can simply live". 

Good Company is a way I can and want to present and teach somatics with integrity. I want GCo to be possible, affordable, available and inclusive to as many people as possible. 

I have lived for 30 years on an alternative, rural community, Bundagen, near Bellingen and Coffs Harbour on the north coast of NSW, Australia. 

I want to give GCo a try in this area as a pilot program and eventually implant GCo in other regions.

Good Company is a regional development plan. The idea is to draw people of like minds together to learn and grow together using Somatics and various Healing Arts. I will outline what I have developed thus far. I’ve divided this local geographical region into North, South, East and West with three main towns in each area, so this is 3 towns x 4 directions = 12 locations. GCo mind-maps

Initially I want to introduce the "Basics of Somatics" as a two day training workshop. My initial goal is to find three interested people from the four main areas = 12 people in the first training workshop. The intention of this training is to learn about Somatics and also to understand and embrace the vision of GCo and building community. 

After the training the three people from each direction start supporting each other in their learning by practicing together. They are encouraged to genuinely share with others in their local area and invite 3 new people to do the next Basics of Somatics training. The three people who did the first training are welcome to come to the second training for free, this would be 6 people from each area = 24 people. Then a third training with 3 more new people from each area would equal 36 people all together. This would be the "beginning of a practice community" in this region. 

From this point, local small groups could be formed with 9 people in each local area. People Practice, P3, and a buddy system also, Partner Practice, P2, and Personal Practice for each person. Practicing with each other is free and can be ongoing for a lifetime. Good Company Practices

Ongoing training workshops can nominate representatives to attend further advanced trainings and they can return to share with their local practice group or the whole group can attend. 

This can happen for Somatics as a basis for learning to practice together. Other possibilities could be more focused ~ Dance, Singing, Massage, Bodywork, Yoga, Meditation, etc attracting specific people who would be interested in these particular healing arts in each local area. Other things like Clubs - Book Club, Laughter Club, Qi Club etc. 

I see Good Company Practice as: Personal Practice, P1; Partner Practice, P2; People Practice, P3. Different ways of learning and practicing alone and with others.    

Good Company is a work in progress that is continuing . . .