Mareesa Stertz
Latest posts by Mareesa Stertz (see all)

The psychedelic space is going through one of the most impressive and daunting growth spurts to date. New businesses, conferences, legislation, research, and therapy modalities are popping up at a dizzying rate and, along with them, a complex maze of social, ethical, and health issues that require serious consideration and care.

Newcomers entering the space often arrive full of unbridled enthusiasm for what is possible and, without proper training, quickly take on the role of medicine facilitator, conference organizer, or educator, which frequently does more harm than help.

There’s an overwhelming number of things psychedelic being birthed into the world, seemingly impossible to keep up with; and yet, it feels as though that’s exactly what is needed in order to help these powerful tools integrate into default reality in a balanced and grounded way. Newcomers entering the space often arrive full of unbridled enthusiasm for what is possible and, without proper training, quickly take on the role of medicine facilitator, conference organizer, or educator, which frequently does more harm than help.

Members of psychedelic communities have, with increasing frequency and quite organically, been joining forces to help guide this wild growth; creating guidelines for facilitators, standards, ethics, trade organizations, alliances, etc. Work is being done to create a sense of accountability in the space. One might say we are weaving the threads of a container to help hold humanity as it embarks on this very important psychedelic journey. Yet, because the field is growing so rapidly, I believe we need more threads, more weavers, and more connectivity to welcome and hold all the new people entering the space.

There’s a saying often repeated in this arena: that relationships move at the speed of trust. And, in order to do this work well, I believe we need to know and trust each other.

Before diving into the deep end of the pool together, we needed to get to know each other and nurture the relationships essential to navigating such difficult terrain first.

Psychedelic Community Builds and Leadership Summits began in the summer of July, 2018 to help meet this need. Typically meeting the day before large international psychedelic conferences, the Leadership Summits convened, gathering in a rather ambitious effort to unpack the many shared issues faced in the psychedelic space. It was quickly realized, however, that, in order to successfully make progress on theses serious issues, a solid foundation was needed. Before diving into the deep end of the pool together, we needed to get to know each other and nurture the relationships essential to navigating such difficult terrain first. With this in mind, over the last six months, the Psychedelic Leadership Summits have broadened their scope to also encompass Community Builds.

Community Builds and Leadership Summits typically run anywhere from 1.5 hours to a full day, consisting of community-building exercises that connect people one-on-one and in groups in a way that engages play, creativity, and opportunity to connect both personally and professionally. Presenting at the Chacruna Liberty Summit was ideal and made for a joyful online debut, where Troy Dayton of Arcview (with an impressive background in activism and team building) and I guided attendees through a discussion and meditation designed to build connection, understanding, and offer techniques for healthy conflict navigation.

To me, it feels absolutely essential to know each other and to play while we are at it.

Moving forward, these Psychedelic Community Builds and Leadership Summits will continue online during quarantine, utilizing zoom and breakout sessions, focusing on exercises that engage each attendee and nurture the relatedness needed to fortify our community as we move about in the world. To me, it feels absolutely essential to know each other and to play while we are at it. It is through this camaraderie and connection that we begin to build a shared sense of accountability and ownership for this amazing field that holds such great potential for this world.

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Art by Marialba Quesada.



A Conversation with Ismail Ali, Adele Getty, Mariavittoria Mangini and Tessa Vita Wednesday, September 30th from 12-1:30pm  REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT HERE The modern psychedelic community...

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