Seattle Tantra Community
Updated Jan 11, 2019
These agreements are inspired from many global communities and from Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown. They follow the anacronym BRAVINGS: Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Nonjudgment, Generosity, and Spiritual Aspiration.
These agreements will be the benchmark for how we’d like to act. They are a work in progress. No one is perfect – there is so much space for mistakes. The Restorative Team will address challenges, conflicts and agreement violations as they arise with compassion, personal connection and an intent on restoration and inclusiveness. In other words, calling IN, not calling OUT.
- We practice being responsible for requesting our own boundaries and asking for help in doing so. This includes physical, energetic (psychic space), verbal, and emotional boundaries and unintended projections on those around us.
- We commit to being in the discomfort of learning our boundaries as we lean into new experiences.
- Respect others’ edges and boundaries. Be excited about receiving a no.
- We practice affirmative consent – a verbal yes means yes, silence is not necessarily a yes. We strive to cultivate more awareness of nonverbal cues and clarify those with verbal confirmations.
- We strive to become aware of our own unspoken desires. What might we want that’s subconsciously driving our actions?
- In our community, we sometimes choose to play in intimate space, connection and even sexuality. There is no assumption you participate in anything you don’t want. And we are in the constant discovery of our boundaries as we lean into our edges and shadows.
- We practice saying no, even after the fact.
- We notice what power dynamics might be at play that could be affecting our ability to say no or others’ ability to exercise their power of consent.
- If we feel safe and willing when our ‘no’ was not heard clearly, we communicate directly with the person we share conflict with. We remember that there are people in this community here to help and that we are not alone. (See accountability statement for more on this.)
- We talk with a member of the Restorative Team and/or the facilitator of the event about boundary and consent violations directly and as soon as possible.
- We strive to maintain balance so that we can be reliable.
- We practice self-care and honoring ourself first.
- We practice being honest and reliable in finishing processes we start and communicating when we need support or to hand things off.
- We cultivate awareness and communication skills in expressing our limitations and recognize when we’ve overcommitted.
- We remember that our service in this community does not define who we are. Our contribution is appreciated, and it is not a measure of our self-worth.
- We use “I-statements” and own our experience.
- We embrace imperfections and mistakes.
- We’re not here to fix each other. We allow everyone’s experience to be theirs. This includes not interrupting or cross-talking when others are sharing.
- Oops/Ouch – We voice when we feel harmed or imagine we have caused unintentional harm, even after the fact. We ask for support when needed. (See accountability statement)
- We acknowledge the impact of the global normative culture we’re surrounded with which perpetuates systems of oppression.
- We commit to our own re-education in advocating for and uplifting marginalized voices, including and not limited to people of color, female, non-heterosexual, non-cis gendered, differently abled, younger and older, and low-income voices and bodies. We acknowledge this new learning as a commitment to both fostering a fully welcoming community AND integral to our spiritual practice. We recognize resistance to this work as a growth edge and keep showing up as a work in progress.
- We do not share others’ stories by name, either in or outside the community unless we have their explicit permission.
- We don’t share what’s not ours – when sharing about people we know in the community, we ask permission to use their name or story before sharing.
- We honor a container of confidentiality for everything personal shared, including on our facebook page.
- We notice the level of teachings we share, as sometimes context is necessary for others to understand the nature and intent of spiritual practice. All teachings in a drop-in practice class or satsang are public and welcome to be shared.
- We choose courage over comfort and lean into our growth edge with kindness to ourselves and others.
- We practice the values we preach.
- We are willing to make mistakes and own them.
- We allow and encourage others to honor themselves first.
- We practice holding space for, navigating and directly addressing conflict rather than blaming or shaming. We seek learning and growth from our mistakes instead of retribution.
- We keep checking our assumptions and expectations – we all have them; we cultivate an openness to our blind spots being revealed and actively stay on the lookout for them. This is often uncomfortable and that’s okay.
- We practice empathetic listening, seeing and sharing.
- We don’t offer advice or try to fix the experiences of others.
- We welcome ALL people and all perspectives.
- We notice the ways our cultural biases silently uphold oppressive systems and commit to transforming our community with courageous words and actions.
- We extend positive regard and positive intent. We also recognize intent vs impact – that just because we didn’t mean to cause harm doesn’t mean harm won’t happen.
- We don’t assume someone else is coming with the same experience as us.
- We observe privilege, power dynamics and unconscious biases. We make conscious choices to identify and own socially conditioned behavior and cultivate the courage to interrupt these patterns.
- We receive feedback when it’s offered and offer feedback with compassion. We cultivate gratitude that someone found the courage to engage us in conversation about harm and change.
- We maintain a strong aspiration to go beyond our limited human experience and experience the limitless dimension of Source.
- We cultivate faith, hope and confidence in the new paradigm of living with an open heart – which is born of direct, lived experience through our own practice. Faith does not mean believing dogmatically or blindly. It means learning to follow the intuition of the heart. In conjunction, we offer a willingness to follow the signposts of the spiritual teachings and wisdom of the sages.
- We commit to a spiritual practice that helps us embrace the discomfort of the spiritual journey.
- We practice mindfulness and conscious actions.
- We ask for support from leaders, teachers and community members who inspire us. We remember that we are not alone on this path, and that we can take space any time.
Agreement Accountability – How do we do this??
- We lean into the discomfort of sharing our challenge with another person – their growth edge lies here, too!
- When we feel safe and willing, we invite the person or people we feel conflict with into direct conversation. We practice owning our experience and extending positive regard. We practice oops/ouch.
- We ask for support from a trusted community member or elected space holder when needed. When sharing our experience with others we trust, we try to avoid gossip or blame and remember our confidentiality agreements. We assume no one intends harm in our community and rise to the challenge of calling each other IN and appreciating when we are called IN to address someone else’s ouch.
- When we need further support, we contact a member of the Restorative Team or community leader. They can hold our experience and help us decide the next steps and level of action. The intent of the Restorative Team is to offer support in navigating conflict and work towards restoring connection when available.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
May all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life and our community be for the freedom and happiness of all beings.