Trust Fall Exercise -- Man falling backward into waiting arms of many people

Gratitude, Control, and Acceptance in Poly Community

Polyamory and Control

In polyamory (and open relationships), we’re often admonished for being “out of control,” or told that we should feel ashamed of who and what we are.  “Control” often shows up in polyamorous relationships in various other ways, too. For instance, people sometimes try to control their partner/s — or even more commonly, their partner’s partner/s) through inflexible rules. [Note: these are in contrast to Agreements, which require cooperation; read more here].  Poly people also often try to control their own feelings of jealousy or insecurity by suppressing or repressing them.  As Rocky the Squirrel says, “that trick never works!”

Fortunately, there are actually ways to moderate, work through, and get through such difficult situations and feelings. Thanks go to Veronica Monet for this clear, step by step guide to Getting What You Want by Giving Up Control:

How to Get What You Want by Giving Up Control of Self and Other

1) Breathe and Connect to Your Feelings
2) Feel Empathy and Compassion for Yourself
3) Replace Negative Thoughts with Hopeful Scenarios
4) Extend Empathy to Others
5) Let Go of Control and Practice Acceptance

Simple, powerful steps, with powerful results. (The rest of the article is great, too, and I recommend it.)

Letting Go of Shame to Find AcceptanceBy gnuckx [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I myself am receiving powerful messages right now to “let go” in my life. It’s not been something I’ve been traditionally good at. This is part of why I’m reaching out more for help of all sorts.  I need some “hopeful scenarios” to replace the negative thoughts, you know?

In that article, Veronica also quotes Brené Brown, well known expert on shame and vulnerability:

“You cannot shame or belittle people into changing. This means we can’t use self-hate to lose weight, we can’t shame ourselves into becoming better parents and we can’t belittle ourselves or our families into becoming who we need them to be. . . Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” [Brene Brown's I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough", page 197]

This speaks directly to what I was talking about a couple of weeks back (in Facebook) when I said I disagreed with the notion that we can hate ourselves into health. It’s also relevant to other situations in my life which are requiring letting go. It is HARD to ask for and accept help, especially when one has always been accustomed to being the one to offer it.  It’s especially hard for men in our culture. But it can be hard for women (or people of any gender) as well, in part because it requires letting go of the popular USAian idea that we can be “rugged individuals” and should be able to do everything on our own. It also requires letting go of the shame, and the internal messages that to ask for help is to have failed, or that we’re unworthy, or will never be good enough. It also requires us to give up control over what other people think of us, and the fear that they’ll judge us negatively for who we are, or what we need.

Polyamory and CommunityPoly Living Puppy Pile

One of the greatest gifts in polyamory (and sometimes in open relationships), in my view, is that of community. As we honestly open ourselves to others, and create bonds and ties and networks, we naturally create a community of not only lovers, but of loving people of all sorts; people who can be there for us in times of loss and hardship, as well as times of joy and celebration. It’s hard (for me, at least)to trust in this net, because of the strong messages of nuclear family, and individual responsibility. But as I allow myself to be more open and more vulnerable, I am finding more and more support — mentally, emotionally, and physically — is available to me.

Of course, this requires that I be open to receive that support, and that can be a challenge for a perfectionist like me. But by following those steps Veronica outlines above, I can breathe through the confusing feelings, and eventually learn to accept what IS. Not always easy, but usually possible.

I find that for me, part of the process is to continually remind myself to stay in a state of gratitude, which allows me to be open to receiving the gifts that may come my way, as well as allowing me to remain relaxed and able to respond appropriately.  “Fear is the mindkiller,” after all, and when I’m in a state of contraction, resistance and fear, I often cannot move, quite literally.

So it is now that I end this post where I began my day, in gratitude for my community.  I am grateful for so many of you, both those whom I know, and those whom I’ve never met, and may never meet. I am grateful for those who can help me with my physical and financial needs, and for those who can help me with my emotional, mental or spiritual needs. It is an article of faith for me, that in giving to each other, we always give back to ourselves. And I am especially grateful to my friend Adam, at the moment, who is providing an example that yes, it IS possible — through gratitude, acceptance, and letting go — to change for the better.

I hope by sharing these thoughts I can inspire you, as I have been inspired today by my friends and community. And may you always, always remember, that

Love is always OK.

~♥ Dawn

FREEPS: Are you interested in talking with me about polyamory, or about any of the topics in this blog?  I’m happy to give back via a Free 30-minute session, or a 1/2 price 60-minute one. Past clients have reported increased happiness, decreased feelings of shame and jealousy, and have gained clarity and useful tools through working with me in a co-creative process. I’d love to help you understand and manifest your own best life and loves! Contact me and we’ll set up a time that works for you. :)

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2014 Dawn M. Davidson]

Kenyan flag from Wikimedia Commons

Poly Fashions — a Kenyan Poly Awareness Project

Hi folks!

I’m still working on the next installment in the 5 ways to meet poly/open people series.  I’ve got some things happening in the “real world” that are interfering with my writing time. Sorry!  In the meantime, I wanted to let you know of this very interesting project happening in Kenya.

Fellow Poly Leadership Network member Alfred Anangwe sent the message below earlier today:

Recently, Kenya’s president signed into law a marriage bill which among other things encourages men to marry many wives without seeking consent from their spouses. There has been little opposition to this. What is disturbing, though, is that when a Kenyan woman tried to get married to two men through consent last year, there was public outrage that led to the split of their ‘marriage’. There are a number of internet sites (some listed below) where you can read about this story.

1.       Should two men be allowed to ‘marry’ the same woman?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/two-kenyan-men-reach-deal-to-marry-the-same-woman/article13979164/

2.       Kenyan love rivals agree to ‘marry’ the same woman after she refused to choose between them after having affairs with both:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2402299/Kenyan-love-rivals-agree-marry-woman-refused-choose-them.html

Public outrage was so harsh that most women and men who were in similar arrangements went underground. Poly fashions is a Kenyan project which is encouraging such unions to come out openly since there is no law in Kenya which proscribes polyandry. We call on PLN members elsewhere to support our first planned national awareness project that among other things seeks to print awareness t-shirts, engage the media, develop a Kenyan website and stage workshop to train regional leaders on issues of advocacy and awareness…. Further queries can be directed to Alfred Anangwe (aanangwe@yahoo.com) who is also a PLN member or Everlyne Makana (wemakana@gmail.com). Cheers.

I have asked Alfred about possibly carrying some of their designs in my LoveOTB Zazzle store. (I’ll let you know when/if they become available!) If you’re interested in getting involved, I’m sure Alfred and Everlyne would welcome your inquiries.

Because no matter who or how many you love…. Love is ALWAYS ok!

~♥ Dawn

PS: Check out the fun options already in my LoveOTB Zazzle store!

 

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2014 Dawn M. Davidson]

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Meeting Open-Hearted People via Local Groups

5 Ways to Meet Open-Hearted People — Part 2: Local Groups

This is part 2 of the series “5 Ways to Meet Poly/Open People.” In this series, I’m going to discuss 5 different ways you can learn more about “outside the box” relationships (e.g., polyamory, open-relationships, or other forms of ethical non-monogamy), and/or meet other people who are interested in the same things.  With some luck, you might even meet someone/s who want to date you! To recap, the 5 ways I’ll discuss are:

1) Conferences — one-time, occasional, or periodic gatherings
2) Ongoing Local Meetings — discussion groups, potlucks, dinners, game nights and more
3) Primarily on-line discussion groups — e.g., Facebook groups, Yahoo! Groups, Google Groups, Meetup, e-mail lists
4) Dating and Social Sites — e.g., Polymatchmaker, OK Cupid, Ko-Tango
5) Crossover Interests — e.g., tantra, swinging, naturists, kink/BDSM

Meeting Open-Hearted People at Ongoing Local Groups

Since the invention of the Internet and before, ongoing local meetings have been a staple way to meet polyamorous, open, or otherwise open-hearted people.  Whether it’s a potluck dinner, a discussion group, a hike, a board-game night, or a gathering at a local watering hole, these ongoing meetings provide a variety of locations, price-points, shared interests, and emotional support levels. These days, there’s something for everyone!

Local Meetings offer a number of positive benefits for meeting others,  including:

Continue reading

Morning Glory Zell

Remembering Morning Glory Zell, 1948 – 2014

I’d intended to continue my series of 5 Ways to Meet Poly/Open People today.  But life, as they say, is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.  Instead, today I’m taking the time to commemorate Tuesday’s passing of Morning Glory Zell, Pagan Priestess, author, and (co-)originator of the word “polyamorous.”  Many others will tell her story more fully, and with more historical references. I’ll be telling the ways in which she affected me personally, and how she intersected with my experiences of both Paganism and Polyamory.

Meeting Morning Glory

Morning Glory had an impact on my life long before I knew it. I first met her in the late 80′s or early 90′s, up at Annwfn, the Church of All Worlds retreat center outside of Ukiah, CA. Continue reading

Photo of Poly Living Attendees

Meeting Open-Hearted People at Conferences

5 Ways to Meet Open-Hearted People — Part 1: Conferences

As I mentioned in yesterday’s introduction, in this series, I’m going to discuss 5 different ways you can learn more about “outside the box” relationships, and/or meet other people who are interested in the same things … and might even want to date you! To recap, the 5 ways I’ll discuss are:

1) Conferences — one-time, occasional, or periodic gatherings

2) Ongoing Local Meetings — discussion groups, potlucks, dinners, game nights and more

3) Primarily on-line discussion groups — e.g., Facebook groups, Yahoo! Groups, Google Groups, Meetup, e-mail lists

4) Dating and Social Sites — e.g., Polymatchmaker, OK Cupid, Ko-Tango

5) Crossover Interests — e.g., tantra, swinging, naturists, kink/BDSM

Meeting Open-Hearted People at Conferences

Conferences are a popular place to meet polyamorous, open, or otherwise open-hearted people.  There are conferences in many parts of the world, and for many flavors and subgroups of the open-hearted culture.  From Open-Cons in the UK and Spain, to hotel conferences in Atlanta and Philadelphia, to clothing-optional retreats in California and New York, the wide variety of conferences available offer the opportunity to connect with like-minded people at all times of the year, and in many parts of the world.

Conferences offer a number of positive benefits for meeting others,  including:

Continue reading

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5 Ways to Meet Open-Hearted People

Ever wonder how to meet other polyamorous, open, or ethically non-monogamous people?  Feel like you must be the only “weirdo” in the country?  Wish there were a way to connect with people in person… or conversely do you wish there were a way to find out more about this “new” lifestyle without leaving your living room?  Well, congratulations, you’re in luck!

As a person with access to the Internet (which you must be if you’re reading these words), you have access to some of the most powerful tools there are to connect with other people, and learn about this collection of lifestyles that can loosely be grouped under the heading of “ethical non-monogamy,” “open-relationships,” and/or “polyamory.” (Not sure what these words mean? Check out this past article on my blog, where I discuss some of the differences, and what it means — in MY opinion, anyway! — to be “polyamorous.“) The Internet has had a truly profound effect on our culture, as it has allowed a way for people to fairly easily locate other people of like-mind.

5 Ways to Meet Polyamorous/Open People

In this series, I’m going to discuss 5 different ways you can learn more about these sorts of relationships, and/or meet other people who are interested in the same things … and might even want to date you!

1) Conferences — one-time, occasional, or periodic gatherings
[BONUS! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for info on the upcoming Atlanta Poly Weekend Conference] Continue reading

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Afternoon Delights on 4/26/14 + Free Recording!

What’s relationship success? Is your relationship a success or not, and how do you tell? How can you use “creative relationship design” to create a successful relationship tailored to your needs, and those of your partner/s?

This was the topic of the free call that I did a couple of weeks back, with Francesca Gentille.  I’ve finally surmounted the technological hurdles to get this out in a form that anyone can listen to.  Hooray!  Below is the link to the YouTube page for the audio (the slideshow portion is fairly optional.)

If you are local to the SF Bay Area, you might be interested in the in-person class that Francesca and I are teaching THIS Saturday, April 26th:  Afternoon Delights on the Wilder Shores of Love. (HINT: there’s a DISCOUNT CODE for those who listen to the FREE CALL recording below!) We’ve still got some spaces left, so grab a friend — or two, for best prices! — and sign up for this fun, interactive workshop!

Continue reading

Millenial Gaia, a statue depicting Gaia/Mother Earth as a seated, pregnant woman, with the earth as her belly.

Out In the World… (a poem)

Most of the time, in this blog, I focus on polyamory and other forms of “ethical non-monogamy.”  Today, I’m offering something involving another facet of my own “outside the box” nature: Paganism. In a somewhat uncharacteristic way for me, I’m going to offer the poetry first, and the explanations after.  So scroll down if you’re interested in more background on how this poem came to be, and why I’m posting it here.  Enjoy!  ~♥ Dawn

Out In The World, the Goddess Speaks

(A poem by Dawn Davidson, © 2014)

Out in the wind
the Goddess speaks:
Branches whispering to one another, swaying in the wind.
“Bend;” she says, “flexibility is the key,
lest in bearing your natural pressures, you would otherwise break.”
Continue reading

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Wilder Shores of Love — FREE call 4/10, 5:15p Pacific

What’s relationship success? Is your relationship a success or not, and how do you tell? How can you use “creative relationship design” to create a successful relationship tailored to your needs, and those of your partner/s?

Please join Francesca Gentille and me (Dawn Davidson of Love Outside the Box) this Thursday, 4/10 at 5:15pmPacific for the FREE INFORMATIONAL CALL about the Wilder Shores of Love!

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the recording!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zoIaBrfBMQ

On the Web join online here:http://apps.calliflower.com/conf/show?guid=75e9680b5da6fdf796f36cd276d54d25a73a6951

Dial in number: 415 376 1329
Your Conference Code: 1282710

While this is a call where people can ask questions about our upcoming in-person class (see below), it’s not just a sales call — we are committed to providing value to everyone who joins us on the call! We plan to discuss some issues important to relationship success… starting with the question of what IS relationship “success”, and how do YOU measure it?

So join us on this FREE call, find out more about the Wilder Shore of Love, and share your ideas about creative relationship design!

Hope you can join us… because Love is always ok!

~♥ Dawn

PS: For more information about the in-person event that’s happening on April 26th:
http://www.wildershores.com/events.html

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2014 Dawn M. Davidson]