Update from ISTA Core Gathering…

I’m honored to be a part of the evolution of this growing soul culture!

Many people ask why I’ve not been facilitating for ISTA and why I paused my private coaching practice, so I’m excited to finally share that I’ve been pouring my attention, care, and creativity into ISTA’s new Accountability process. We are in the beta phase and here is our official announcement:

Dear Community, 

Over the last year, ISTA has been undergoing a radical re-structure and upgrade in many areas such as governance, sexual protocols, and accountability. We have received many valuable reflections from our new feedback portals as well as from mediation, and we have been working tirelessly to create a new system of accountability that is congruent with ISTA’s evolving culture.

Because ISTA is both a modern mystery school, as well as an organization offering public seminars, we are exploring emergent models of transformative justice while honoring the subtle nuances of working within shamanic and transformational spaces. 

We recognize that the nature of Spiritual Sexual Shamanism is especially sensitive because we are working with erotic energy, sexual wounding, and deep emotions. Further, we interface with diverse international communities with varying views on such controversial topics. In such a context, it is paramount that we approach conflicts, misunderstandings, and harms that arise with the utmost sensitivity, curiosity, and a deep willingness to learn and evolve.

We acknowledge that we have not always lived up to these ideals. Going forward, ISTA is committed to reinforcing its culture of consent through its new accountability process. The new system is designed to listen to feedback, educate our faculty, take responsibility, make amends, and explore new models of healing, resolution, and transformation. While we may not be able to resolve every conflict, we can still approach any incident as an opportunity to look holistically at the context in which the conflict was created so that we can continue to learn and grow.

With the support of expert consultants and ongoing research of best practices, we have invited three facilitators into an accountability process. Soon, we will be launching a new page on our website with more details about the process itself (you will find the Accountability Process page under “ISTA Projects.”’ We have a long-term vision to continue evolving the process as we learn and our culture evolves.  

Here is how the accountability process works: When an incident is reported, the first step is to invite direct communication between the people involved. If healing and resolution cannot be achieved through a clearing conversation, then a mediation process is recommended. If it is not resolved in mediation or if there are multiple incidents that indicate a deeper pattern of behavior, the conflict may be brought to the accountability team to be considered for ISTA’s new 5-step accountability process.  This process may run from anywhere between 3 months to 2 years. 

The accountability team is responsible for investigating the feedback or incident report so that the process is based on actual incidents, not hearsay or rumors. External feedback is taken into consideration along with internal evaluation. If the accountability candidate has a pattern of being out of alignment with ISTA’s protocols and guidelines, or if shadow dynamics are revealed that cannot be fully addressed, a pause in their role at ISTA may be required. A candidate’s participation in the program does not guarantee they will resume their role with ISTA at the end of the process.

In order to resume their role in ISTA, the candidate must be willing and able to invest time, energy, and money into the accountability process. The process requires that the candidate be open to peer reflections, invest in new skills, deepen their understanding of power, become more sensitive to the impact and influence they have on others, and work to restore trust in the community so that they can serve the field even better than before.

ISTA believes in transformation. We intend to move beyond punitive justice systems and towards a more holistic, restorative, and transformative approach. We are not interested in perpetuating the drama triangle of victim, prosecutor and rescuer, nor in ex-communication, public shaming, punishment, call-out, or cancel culture.  We recognize this is not an easy undertaking, but rather a work in progress. As culture evolves, we intend to learn new paradigms to craft an accountability process that is truly rooted in love and transformation for all parties involved.

Thank you,

The Accountability Team
KamalaDevi McClurePenny Goldsmith & Laurie Handlers

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