Update on Kamela’s involvement in our mediations. We made a shift due to community response.
We made a shift in November 2022: Kamela is no longer involved in mediating cases between ISTA Participants and Faculty
We are deeply sorry that adding Kamela Love to the Safe Mediation team caused distress. It was our mistake to assume that all ISTA participants with grievances would feel safe enough with the idea of having Kamela as a mediator. We regret not taking action more quickly to correct course, and we are deeply sorry that we did not have enough resources to get up to speed with the feedbacks on social media.
In November 8th 2022 we had a community call and since then we have completely removed Kamela from all mediations between ISTA Faculty and ISTA participants. We are listening to the community’s response and we are creating as safe a space as possible for these mediations and assisted feedbacks to occur. Kamela has stepped out of the Safe Mediation team dedicated to ISTA Participants with grievances against ISTA in order to provide more safety around the integrity of our mediations. We are committed to co-create an environement where participants feel safe enough to redress their grievances. Therefore, Kamela has stepped out to assist in such cases to avoid any concerns related to conflict of interest.
As we progressed with integrating all the community feedback, we realized how many people in the group expressed that they feel unsafe with the idea of having Kamela involved as a mediator. Multiple members of the community have raised questions with respect to that Kamela’s involvement creating a potential or actual conflict of interest.
While we maintain that Kamela has not participated in any mediations where there is an actual conflict of interest, we acknowledge that the conclusions that members of the community came up with regarding Kamela’s potential conflict of interest are reasonable and understandable, given the several ISTA trainings she has taken, ISTA-related posts she has made on her social media, and the close friendships she has with some ISTA faculty and organizers. We recognize that full disclosure about Kamela’s involvement with ISTA is not sufficient to mitigate concerns the community has expressed around potential conflict of interest. Therefore, we have completely removed Kamela in order to provide ISTA participants with more safety around the integrity of our mediations.
Now looking back, we see that if we would’ve never added Kamela to the team in September 2022, a lot of distress would have been avoided. With that said, given that Kamela actually joined the team, we agree that it would have been better to publish a detailed public disclosure on Kamela’s relationship to ISTA right at the beginning of this project in September 2022 rather than publishing it now after a two-month gap during which time gave room for people to create stories about Kamela’s bias as a mediator without having all the background information.
In September 2022 we published a short disclosure regarding Kamela having connections with ISTA but not to the level of detail that several members of the community needed in order to build trust. To that end, Kamela did draft a detailed statement in September disclosing her participations in ISTA trainings and her friendships with specific ISTA facilitators/organizers. Then, she contacted each person she mentioned to get their approval prior to sharing publicly. It took some time to get those permissions and to review and edit Kamela’s detailed disclosure statement. We acknowledge that this process of disclosure was happening simultaneously while managing a high volume of mediation cases; we prioritized the mediations over publishing this disclosure and therefore it took longer than ideal for us to finalize and publish this detailed information in our FAQs.
We regret how long it has taken to publish these detailed FAQs and we acknowledge it would have been better to get this information out to the general public sooner. Safe Mediation has never had the intention to withhold or hide any of this information. Kamela has been a proponent of sharing this information publicly from the beginning and she actively advocated to share it as soon as possible. You can read more of her disclosure below.
Although Kamela is no longer a part of the Safe Mediation team dedicated to ISTA Participants with grievances against ISTA, we feel it is important that we clearly state the nature and extent of Kamela’s involvement with ISTA, whether past or present, personal or professional, in order to help build and maintain trust with the ISTA Participants who are considering using Safe Mediation as a neutral 3rd party to support regarding their grievances.
Kamela participated in her first ISTA Level 1 in May 2017. Since then, she has also participated in ISTA Level 2, Level 3, the Practitioner Training, Family Fusion, and one North America Tribal Gathering. Over the past five years, Kamela has assisted several ISTA Level 1s, including the first and second ISTA Family Fusion trainings and the ISTA for the Queer Community. For our readers that don’t know, assisting with ISTA is a volunteer position – each time Kamela assisted, she paid a discounted rate to take the training. Some people consider that assistants have working relationship with ISTA, because they are providing a service of “assisting” during a training. Others consider it is not work, because it is not a professional service that they could make a living out of it. In either way, we recognize that the position of assistant carries an implied authority over remaining participants during a given training, and we need to take that into account when looking into power dynamics.
As you can see below, all the trainings in which Kamela assisted were under the Lead Facilitation of KamalaDevi. Kamela has categorically chosen *not* to participate in any mediations that would involve KamalaDevi to help mitigate any potential or actual conflicts of interest.
The most recent ISTA training she attended, and assisted, was the Family Fusion in August 2022 and that’s because Kamela is personally invested in supporting a culture for raising children in sex-positive homes. She has never been paid by ISTA as an organizer nor as an apprentice/facilitator and she is not an ISTA-recommended practitioner.
Because Kamela has taken several ISTA trainings, we acknowledge transparently that she has friends in the ISTA community. In an effort to disclose current connections Kamela has with ISTA facilitators or organizers in her “inner circle”, she considers KamalaDevi (facilitator), Blake Zealer (organizer), Briana Cribeyer (facilitator), and Stacy Ellis (*former* ISTA facilitator) close friends. She does not have any ongoing dating/lovership relationship with any ISTA organizers or facilitators. She has never had a serious romantic relationship with any ISTA organizers or facilitators. Blake and Briana are Kamela’s current housemates. Their housing lease is ending soon and she will not be living with Blake and Briana beyond February 2023.
Digging into the past, Kamela lived in a community home in Israel with Louise Claire (former ISTA facilitator) and Liz Morris (apprentice) for a few weeks in October/November 2019. During that time, Kamela co-facilitated two temple events in Israel with Louise Claire. While there are a handful of additional facilitators and organizers that Kamela considers friends, there are no others that she would currently consider “close friends” and “inner circle.”
As soon as Kamela joined Safe Mediation’s team in August 2022, she made a hard stop on participating in any ISTA trainings (to help mitigate the possibility of any conflicts of interest). She will not participate in any ISTA trainings while she is acting as a mediator for Safe Mediation involving ISTA-related cases.
Kamela never intended to become an ISTA Facilitator. She partook in ISTA Level 3 because she wanted the benefits from the rituals and personal and spiritual development involved in that training, not because she wanted to become an ISTA Facilitator. She partook in the ISTA practitioner training because she is a professional sacred sexuality practitioner in her own coaching and healing business (separate from her work as a mediator). Kamela has never been an ISTA-recommended Practitioner.
In an effort to disclose as many details as efficiently possible, here is a complete list of the ISTA trainings in which Kamela has participated:
– Level 1:
- Portland, OR in May 2017 with Lead Laurie Handlers (participant)
- Northern CA in September 2017 with Lead KamalaDevi (assistant)
– Level 1: ISTA for the Queer Community
- San Diego, CA in May 2022 with Lead KamalaDevi (assistant)
– Level 1: Family Fusion
- W. Virginia in July 2019 with Lead KamalaDevi (assistant)
- San Diego, CA in August 2022 with Lead KamalaDevi (assistant)
– Level 2:
- Portugal in October 2019 with Lead Rex (participant)
– Level 3:
- Oracle, AZ in May 2021 with “Leads” Ohad Pele & Triambika (participant)
– Practitioner Training
- Israel in November 2019 with Lead Triambika (participant)
– North America Tribal Gathering
- W. Virginia in August 2019 (participant)
It is important to also clarify how Kamela got involved with Safe Mediation. Anaisa and Kamela met virtually in June 2022, introduced by a common non-ISTA acquaintance, in the context of both of them being Tantra-positive mediators. In August 2022, only after ISTA had already decided to work with Safe Mediation as a 3rd party neutral, Anaisa invited Kamela to join Safe Mediation as an additional mediator.
Anaisa knew that Kamela’s 10-year experience as a lawyer and mediator for family disputes would be a great addition for several clients of Safe Mediation. Nobody from ISTA has ever requested nor suggested Safe Mediation hire Kamela. When Kamela joined Safe Mediation, it seemed like a good choice to add her to the mediation team for ISTA disputes because, as mentioned in a FAQ above, Safe Mediation thought it would be beneficial to have one person on the mediation team with actual experience in ISTA trainings to aid in understanding the culture and the nuances of how ISTA leadership and participants interact during trainings. Since neither Anaisa nor Denyse have every participated in ISTA trainings, we saw Kamela’s role as an important one to help Anaisa and Denyse understand the intricacies of ISTA’s Shamanic and Tantric mystery school culture. Anaisa did have a conversation with ISTA Governance about how the ISTA community could potentially perceive Kamela as having a conflict of interest and after analyzing the situation, it seemed best to have someone on the mediation team who has participated in ISTA trainings and to disclose that background transparently to fulfill mediator’s ethical duties to disclose potential conflicts of interest.
From the very beginning after hiring Kamela, Safe Mediation has been transparently disclosing Kamela’s prior involvement with ISTA trainings and has been proactively disclosing any “inner circle” friendships Kamela has with ISTA faculty and organizers when those specific people became involved in mediations under Safe Mediation’s contract with ISTA. Because all content of mediations is confidential, Safe Mediation did not think to make a public disclosure regarding this topic until now after integrating feedback from people in the community who expressed concerns related to Kamela mediating between ‘overcomers’ and ISTA faculty due to a potential conflict of interest. Consistent with mediator’s ethical guidelines, Safe Mediation has disclosed Kamela’s connections to mediation participants and has given the participants the choice to remove Kamela from the case and to use Anaisa as a mediator instead if any participant feels there is an actual conflict of interest. Anaisa takes full responsibility for making the judgment call of hiring Kamela thinking it would be a benefit to the team from the perspective of having a greater understanding of ISTA culture.
At first glance, it is very logical to assume that Kamela brought ISTA and Safe Mediation togher. However, ISTA started working with Safe Mediation prior to Kamela got involved in the process.
In July 2022, ISTA Governance contacted us via Safe Mediation’s contact form, asking for a neutral 3rd party. That was their first interaction with Safe Mediation. ISTA Governance then choose to work with both Anaisa and Denyse. Kamela was not part of Safe Mediation at that time, nor had received any invitation to join. We know for a fact that ISTA Governance reached out to Safe Mediation because we were recommended by a former mediation client of ours (not by Kamela). We already had a presence offering mediation and accountability services in the sacred sexuality field and this is how Safe Mediation got on ISTA’s radar as a potential neutral 3rd party mediator.
ISTA Governance choose to work with Safe Mediation because we provide a heart centred approach to mediation and have had multiple successful outcomes in supporting overcomers the sacred sexuality field. ISTA has never suggested Safe Mediation to hire Kamela.
The fundamental ethical rule inside a Mediator’s practice is that any pre-existing relationships, personal or professional, are always disclosed to those who participate in mediation. Then, the mediation participants have a chance to give informed consent to that specific Mediator being in the Mediator role after any pre-existing relationships have been disclosed.
Since the beginning of this project, we have consistently disclosed any pre-existing relationships between Kamela and selected ISTA facilitators to those who contacted us requesting assistance offering feedback to ISTA. People coming to us for Assisted Feedback and/or Mediation have always had the option to say, “no, I don’t want Kamela involved in my process” and then Kamela would step out of that particular case – which happened one time and it was consistent with our values to honor that request… it’s important that every Mediation Participant feels as safe as possible with and confident in the person(s) mediating between them.
Consisent with a mediator’s duty of confidentiality, Kamela has never talked with anyone, her housemates Blake and Briana included, about ANY confidential mediation content. Ever. Our mediation work is strictly confidential and we honor that fully. This is an extremely important part of what being a professional mediator entails. In addition, to mitigate any perceived conflicts of interest, as a blanket rule Kamela would not participate in any ISTA mediations involving her current housemates, Blake and Briana.
We maintain that there have not been actual conflicts of interest and that we have followed all mediator protocols regarding ethical requirements for Kamela to disclose any pre-existing relationships she has with any mediation participants and then to receive mediation participants’ informed consent to move forward with Kamela as a mediator. Such disclosure has been consistently happening within our confidential mediation spaces since the beginning. This is the first time we are publishing a public statement with all of this detailed information.
Within Safe Mediation, each mediation case is a separate entity and specific team members manage each case, with full consent from the respective mediation participants. The members of our team do not share any information about specific cases with any mediator who is not on that specific case. Confidentiality always rules.
“I have been a professional mediator for many years and I know well what it takes to be neutral to support the resolution of a conflict between people. If I didn’t feel like I could be neutral in this context, I would not have accepted a Mediator position on Safe Mediation’s team to facilitate healing and accountability between ISTA faculty and ISTA participants who have had grievances during ISTA trainings. I am not categorically pro-ISTA at all costs. I am not categorically pro-any particular ISTA facilitator. Far from it, I am pro-peace, pro-resolution, pro-healing, pro-accountability, pro-harm reduction. I am pro-supporting both sides to feel heard, understood, and to co-create mutually agreeable pathways toward healing, resolution and accountability. This is what we do as Mediators. This is how I am wired.
I have been fully transparent with the fact that I have taken several ISTA trainings and I have assisted at a handful of ISTA trainings. That makes me someone who is informed about what happens at ISTA trainings, not someone who will protect ISTA against people who have grievances with ISTA. I have never been in a role of apprentice, faculty, nor organizer with ISTA, meaning I have never been a paid “staff” person at ISTA. I was hired as a Mediator for this project because I’m an incredibly skilled mediator who is sex-positive & tantra-positive (experienced with the sex-positive community and the field of sacred sexuality). Consistent with my massive personal commitment to support marginalized voices to be heard and to bring accountability to those who have compromised their integrity, I have worked and volunteered in mediation and restorative justice roles for more than 15 years. It is incredibly important to me that survivors have safe and effective avenues for receiving support and healing and I’m sorry that my participation in ISTA trainings and my friendships with ISTA faculty have left some people feeling less safe. That was never my intention. I pray that, by making these adjustments to our Safe Mediation team, we can restore the trust and continue to offer supportive, healing conflict resolution and facilitation services to those who need and want it.”
Kamela Love (her legal name)
As an experienced Transformational and Integrative Mediator, Restorative Justice Facilitator, Transformational Relationship Coach, EFT/Tapping Practitioner, Sacred Sexual Healer, martial arts practitioner, dancer and spiritual counselor, Kamela integrates these skills with her legal training to provide a holistic approach to conflict resolution. Kamela is known for helping her mediation clients identify the emotions that are underlying the dispute and then using emotional release techniques and shamanic healing to clear the space and make way for resolutions to unfold. Kamela supports her clients to communicate from a conscious balance of love, clarity, and empowerment as they take responsibility for their parts and find loving pathways forward toward harmonious resolution.
In addition to being a highly skilled Mediator, Kamela’s involvement in the Tantra community as a sacred sexuality practitioner, an Awaken as Love facilitator, an Energy Sex Facilitator, and a Conscious Play Party Facilitator make Kamela a Tantra-positive Mediator.
Kamela offers a powerful support role as a neutral facilitator to help resolve disputes and grievances that have occurred inside tantric environments, whether in private sessions, workshops, trainings, or festivals.
Apart from serving Safe Mediation clients, Kamela runs a private mediation practice where she offers dispute resolution services for families who want to repair and preserve their relationships rather than to sue each other in court.
Safe Mediation has a contractual obligation with private clients who choose Kamela as their lead mediator, specially in cases involving court and family disputes (Kamela’s specialization). We have a professional and ethical duty to honor these contracts. Therefore, Kamela is working on Safe Mediation current cases that do not involve ISTA Participants with grievances. Those cases include private clients, family disputes, and ISTA cases involving faculty members only, not related to ISTA Participants with grievances against ISTA Faculty.
As mentioned, Kamela has been completely removed from the Safe Mediation team supporting ISTA participants with grievances since November 8. We confirm that no information about cases related to grievances against ISTA is shared with Kamela. To be more specific, Kamela does not have access to Safe Mediation’s calendar appointments, emails, meetings, case files or any other files that contain information from cases involving ISTA participants. Denyse and Anaisa are extremely rigorous with confidentiality on a case-by-case basis. For us, confidentiality is much more than an ethical duty or legal agreement. Confidentiality is a fundamental piece to provide safety and increase the chances of successful outcomes in any mediation.
We admit that we made wrong assumptions and had error in judgment about how the community would receive Kamela. We took the time to understand the community concerns and acknowledge their needs, and we have taken measures to increase safety for participants. We also understand that this might not be enough for everyone. Nonetheless, we are willing to put in the effort to make this work for those who choose the mediation path, because we believe in Restorative Justice and in our competence to assist community members in repairing harm through our neutral and caring support.
You can check more FAQs on the Assisted Feedback updated page.