Category Archives: Community

pool.long.crop

Safety and Consent at the Poly Pool Party (Pt. 1)

Hi folks:

This is part 1 of an open letter to folks who attend my Poly Pool Parties. With all the different places I announce the events these days, it’s hard to make sure that folks actually see something like this.  So I figured I’d park it here on my blog for easy access.  Enjoy!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Happy Bisexual Awareness Week! Are you doing anything fun to celebrate?

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SLPP.FB.Banner

Dear Weirdness/poly/open/non-mono friends:

Let’s talk about safety and consent. :)

As you may have noticed, I’ve been having more than our usual number of Poly Pool Parties this season (due in part to there being some question as to whether I’ll still OWN the house next summer…; the next one is THIS SATURDAY 9/27; RSVP here!). So maybe the extra parties are why I’m having extra “issues.”  Maybe.  Or maybe it’s just that a) the parties have been opened to a wider audience in recent years, and b) it’s been a while since I’ve really discussed both safety and consent, and how they apply to this event.

First and foremost, I’d like to encourage everyone to read — or re-read — the PPP Frequently Asked Questions (http://bit.ly/oVjQra). There’s a lot of important information in there that we’ve codified in the 17 years (!) that we’ve been running this event.  It would really help me if you’d all actually… you know… READ it. :)

Over the next couple of days, I’d like to address three related issues: I) Physical Safety, II) Consent, and III) Emotional Safety/comfort. Today I’m covering Physical Safety (at the PPPs in particular.)

Continue reading

balance

Balancing: Depression, Anxiety, Aliveness… and Polyamory?

What is Aliveness, and How Does It Relate to Depression, Anxiety… and Polyamory?

“Aliveness is composed of one part energy, one part emotion, one part meaning, one part engagement, and one part relatedness. For aliveness to be in balance, each of these five components of aliveness must be in balance as well.”
— Steve Bearman, founder of the Interchange Counseling Institute, in http://www.interchangecounseling.com/blog/depression-anxiety-and-the-mismanagement-of-aliveness/

The article is a bit long, but well worth a look, in my opinion. :)

As Steve Bearman points out — and is so often the case — balance is the key. In your life, how do YOU bring yourself into balance?

And because this is a blog about polyamory (and other forms of outside-the-box relationships), I’m curious to know:

Do your poly/open relationships tend to bring you INTO, or OUT OF balance and aliveness?

For me, polyamory is key to my meaning and relatedness, in particular, as well as — when things are going well — bringing me energy, positive emotion, and engagement.  When things are going poorly, however, poly-drama can rapidly suck my energy, and cause swirls of negative emotion. It has the possibility to either enhance, or detract from, my life overall, depending on my ability to stay in balance. Continue reading

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]

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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

Poly Gratitudes

120px-Cooking_cranberriesHappy Thanksgiving to all of you US folks (or anyone else) who celebrate it today!  Today I am grateful for the skills that I’ve learned through polyamory, which have helped to bring our tribe(s) into relative harmony and alignment that couldn’t have been imagined only two years ago.  I created my “usual” — fresh cranberry-orange sauce, an apple pie, and a pumpkin pie —  while my daughter made fresh bread with our breadmaker. My partner took the potatoes, the stuffing, and the turkey over to his ex’s house, and cooked them there.  I helped my daughter’s boyfriend’s family get costumed for the Dickens Fair this weekend, and then we headed over to my partner’s ex’s house, and consumed a marvelous feast and chatted while watching Rob Roy on DVD and enjoyed the attentions of a variety of domestic critters.  All in all, a good day.

I hope your day was as good, and I wish you a wonderful Holiday season.  I am thankful for you. :)

Because Love is always OK!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Have you checked out the “beta” version of my KISSable Agreements Workbook yet?  Only $10 via PayPal! :)

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

 

From Free Love to Polyamory (a Loving More teleseminar)

LOVE

Hey folks:

Ever wonder how we got from the Free Love movement in the 60’s/70’s, to the polyamory movement now? If so, you’re in luck! Loving More is doing another of their teleseminar series this coming week.  Check out the details below!

…because Love is ALWAYS ok!

~♥ Dawn

From Free Love to Polyamory
Thursday, November 14, 2013
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM America/Denver (Add to Calendar)You can choose to hear the audio for this meeting either through your computer speakers or by dialing the following conference call information with your phone:Conference Call : Toll Number: 213-416-1560 | Attendee Access Code: 201 9893
Please click here to register and receive your login instructions
Link not working? Copy the following URL into your browser
http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EA50DB83804B3B
Personal message from Loving More Nonprofit
From Free Love to Polyamory

A history of non-monogamy, open relationships and the future of the Polyamory Movement. This webinar goes through the rich history of the polyamory movement taking a look at the origins of marriage, monogamy, free love and the roots of the modern polyamory movement. Where do we go from here and what is the role of polyamory play in the future of family, love and relationships.

This webinar is $8 or free for current Loving More Donating Members. Members need to contact Robyn@LoveMore.com to receive member code.
Please include membership type; annual or monthly.

TODAY! Highlights of Loving More 2012 Survey, 6pm Pacific

Hey folks!  Check out this interesting Webinar from the folks who conducted the Loving More/NCSF Internet survey of self-identified polyamorous people!

October 17, 2013. 6:00PM Pacific*
Highlights of Loving More Polyamory Survey with
Jim Fleckenstein and Derrell W. Cox II, MA

From February 10th to April 2nd 2012, Loving More, with the endorsement of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) conducted an internet-based survey of over 4000 participants who self-identify as polyamorous. This is the largest survey of self-identified polyamorous individuals to date. Individuals were recruited through local and regional listserves, Loving More email list, the PolyResearchers list, the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality’s (IASHS) student and alumni lists, and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists’ (AASECT) AltSex list. With the exception of five questions, all the questions were drawn from among those asked in the NORC’s[1] biennial General Social Survey (GSS) in order to compare a sample of the polyamory community with the general US adult population.

This free Webinar is a chance to learn about the survey results firsthand and includes 30 minute Q&A at the end.

Space is limited – Click here to register now.

This is a free webinar and space is limited  Click here to register now.
*Time listed is Mountain Time which is 9pm East Coast, 8pm Central and 6pm Pacific.

Presenters of the Loving More Survey Highlights:

Jim Fleckenstein

  • JimFOwner, The Earth Moved, LLC
  • Co-Editor, What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory (2009, 2012)
  • Presenter at six AASECT/SSSS conferences

Derrell W. Cox II, MA

  • DerrellDoctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma
  • Presenter at several international scientific conferences in sexuality and in childhood development

This is a free webinar and space is limited  Click here to register now.

*7pm Mountain Time, which is 9pm East Coast, 8pm Central and 6pm Pacific.

Also, don’t miss the 3rd and FINAL free teleseminar on Jealousy that I’m doing with Kathy Labriola, next Monday, October 21st at 5:45pm Pacific.

Green First Aid KitGreen First Aid KitGreen First Aid Kit

“More Options for More Jealousy” is ANOTHER all new call, featuring a new relaxation meditation, more models and options for dealing with jealousy, and a step-by step process for examining your beliefs and fears around your jealousy triggers.  We’d love to have you join us! (or, if you can’t be on the call live, sign up anyway, and get the recording and the FREE “take home materials”!)

Hope you can make it to both of these interesting calls!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Can’t make the calls live?  That’s OK!  Sign up anyway, because both of these WILL BE RECORDED.

Click here to register for “More Options for More Jealousy,” Monday Oct 21st at 5:45pm Pacific

Click here to register for TODAY’s “Highlights of the Loving More/NCSF 2012 Survey” at 6pm Pacific

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]