Category Archives: Community

Rocky Mountain Poly Living

Join me in Colorado! RM Poly Living May 8-10, 2015

I’m so excited to invite you to join me next weekend, May 8 – 10, in Colorado at Rocky Mountain Poly Living. We’ll convene at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in North Denver for a fabulous weekend of fun, networking, education, and socializing!

CunningMinxPolyamory Weekly Podcast legend Cunning Minx will be giving the keynote speech on Friday, followed by a fun Bohemian Nights Dance (both are included with your full weekend registration.) Continue reading

A selection of Venetian carnival masks

Abuse in (poly) relationships: A link roundup

[Photo above is of Venetian masks — what sort of masks might we be wearing in relationship? Is it possible to safely unmask abusers in our communities?]

Sometimes in polyamory (and other forms of “ethical non-monogamy”), there are things we need to talk about that aren’t much fun. Over the past few months, there’s been a conversation going on about one such topic, that of abuse and predators within the poly community. It’s a challenging conversation in part because people have a desire to separate themselves from it (e.g., “oh that’s not [polyamory/ethical non-monogamy/whatever]; that’s just [cheating/abuse/creepy behavior]”.) All sorts of relationships can be done healthily, or unhealthily. There are abusive monogamous relationships, as well as healthy ones, and there are abusive polyamorous relationships, as well as healthy ones. No relationship style has a lock on either “healthy” or “unhealthy.”

However, in trying to distinguish that not all polyamorous relationships are abusive — which is a normal and natural desire! — we can sometimes, unwittingly, create a situation in which people who are doing these “bad behaviors” can hide out, flourish, and have a perfect place in which to prey on their victims.  There are things about polyamory that make it sometimes more likely that abuse can happen, and there are other ways in which polyamory can complicate an already existing situation.  So how do we talk about this sort of thing, and what sort of response should the community have, when such situations arise?

This is the topic of an upcoming discussion in our local East Bay Poly Potluck community, As background for this discussion, I’m providing some links to discussions that have been ongoing all around the US on this topic in the past few months. There’s a lot I could say about a lot of them, but I’m mostly just presenting them as a list of links.  In a couple of cases there’s a tiny bit of commentary, drawn from the Poly Leadership Network list, where several lively discussions have been ongoing.  Mostly, though, I’m just presenting the links for you to read, digest, and make up your own mind about.

Please be gentle with yourself as you read these. Some accounts can be triggery. Please be mindful of the trigger warnings on some pages, if that applies to you. Take time, take breaks, go for walks; whatever you need to do to keep yourself grounded and safe.  It’s important reading, but equally important that you remain internally safe, as well as externally.

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LOVE

Who’s in YOUR family?

Who gets to decide who is in your family?  In the US at least, the answer to that in many cases is… NOT you!  The definition of family is determined at a legal level for a variety of purposes, such as healthcare benefits and hospital visitation. Many of these issues, of course, have been at the heart of the fight over same sex marriage rights.

Now, a family in Connecticut find themselves on the forefront of another aspect of this fight over the definition of “family,” that of zoning laws and housing rights.

heart_Toolkit

Got Jealousy? Join Me at Conferences & Workshops!

Happy Valentine’s Day (almost)!  I’ll be presenting 4 times in the SF Bay Area this coming week. Perhaps you can join me at one or more events? It’s not too late!  List up front; longer descriptions below:

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Does your calendar feel like this??

The Toilets Burst! and other New Year Thoughts

Dear Friends:

Recently we who observe the Gregorian calendar celebrated the turning of the calendar year, that artificial time when we divide one block of time from another, to enable our finite human brains to cope with being part of a slice of the infinite.  In other words, Happy New Year!

Today I’m sharing an excellent essay below, by my dear friend Francesca Gentille, on keeping things in perspective, and learning to choose interpretations around certain events. I can sure relate to her plight, having been through something similar just a couple months ago, with drains blocked and hot water shut down so we’d at least have toilets during a private event. (And as one of the priestesses for her ceremony on New Year’s Eve, I was also glad of the heads-up, so I could make sure to pee in advance! LOL)

I also share her perspective in that essay, that life can be made a bit easier by actively choosing interpretations that lead toward happiness. Believing that the world isn’t “out to get me” is generally a stronger, more empowered position to take, in many cases leading to my being able to see more options and possibilities than I could from the “poor me” position.

I also feel it’s important, though, to honor that for some folks — e.g., clinically depressed, or recently bereaved — the ability to make the most empowered interpretation just isn’t there. Continue reading

What About the Children? Cover of Loving More Magazine #37

Poly and Child Custody Nightmares: Links and Advice

A month or two ago, I was contacted by some folks who are actually going through a common poly nightmare, at least for parents: A contentious custody battle in which one parent is accused of being a bad parent “because they are polyamorous.” It’s a nightmare in part because there have been some notorious cases in which a family has lost custody of their kids due at least in part to their being polyamorous. This sort of thing varies a LOT by location, and at least as much by the particular judge/s hearing the case. Even when polyamory is brought up as an issue, it does not always (or even often) lead to a loss of custody. But when it’s you and your family undergoing the scrutiny, the situation can be frankly terrifying.

I know this from personal experience, because about a decade ago my own daughter was taken by Child Protective Services (aka CPS) — for a situation that was ultimately unrelated to polyamory, but we didn’t know that at the time. She was eventually returned to us after a harrowing week, once they’d determined that their abuse fears were groundless. It was, however, an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and it has had lasting impacts on our daughter and our family. :(

Thus, I was very motivated to provide as much help as possible. I started by sending a couple of links, and then went on to write a detailed letter of some possible issues that might come up, and some possible responses to each one.  I asked for and received permission to post the letter (devoid of identifying information of course.)

It is with great sincerity that I hope that no one reading these words ever has need of the advice and links I’ve included below. And it is for those few of you who might ever need these links that I share this information now. If you are going through something like this, please remember:

No matter who or how many you love, Love is ALWAYS ok.

~♥ Dawn

telephone_bluePS: Would you like to talk to me privately about issues around polyamory and/or child custody? I’m happy to schedule a time to talk to you. I do 30 minutes for free, or 60 minutes for 1/2 price. Contact me, and we’ll find a good time to chat by phone or Skype!

 

Letter to Polyamorous Parents Facing a Child Custody Battle

Dear [poly parents]:

Let me start by saying that I am so sorry that you all are facing this sort of prejudice.  It’s terrible, and I know how very challenging it can be.  (((hugs)))

Continue reading

pool.long.crop

Safety and Consent at the Poly Pool Party (Pt. 2)

Boundaries and Consent

My apologies, friends, for not getting back to this much sooner. “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,” of course. (wry smile) But it has recently been impressed upon me again that I need to finish this discussion. Given that we just had our last Poly Pool Party of the season, this may feel a little like closing the barn door after the horse is out. Nevertheless, I’m going to proceed under the sincere intention that this just-past party was NOT the last such party ever, and to address these issues for any future events at my home – or any similar events elsewhere.

So… the last time I wrote about this topic, I talked about the aspects of physical safety, around pools in general, and at the San Leandro Poly Pool Party in particular. (It would be great if you could go read that.) This time, I’d like to talk about boundaries and consent.

poolrulesThe PPP FAQ Contains Important Party Rules

As you know if you’ve ever signed up to attend one of our Poly Pool Parties, we have a FAQ, and we ask you to read it before attending. Mostly, this has worked, and people who’ve attended our parties have felt welcome, comfortable, and have chosen to return. Occasionally, however, there have been issues. It appears to me that many of these issues stem from either not reading or not understanding the FAQ and the guidelines set out therein. I’d like to invite you to read the FAQ again, and I’ll explain a few things in greater detail, and then to cover some other information not directly covered in our FAQ.

SLPP.FB.BannerSocial Intent of the PPP

First, I’d like to clarify the intent of this particular party. The Poly Pool Party is a SOCIAL EVENT which happens to be clothing optional. It is NOT a “sexy party.” Sex doesn’t happen at this party. It is not the expectation that people will “hook up” at the party, or after it (though what you do on your own time is your own business.)

Trust me when I say that this is not because we are anti-sex in any way. :)  We love sex. We even love sex at parties. We just don’t allow sex at THIS party. Continue reading

LMBanner

Myths of Monog. & Nuclear Family: Thurs 10/16/14, 7pm Mtn

Exploring the Myths of Monogamy & the Nuclear Family
(a Teleseminar 10/14/16)

Loving More Non-profit, the longest-running organization supporting polyamory and relationship choice, is running a series of teleseminars. Their next one is this Thursday 10/16/14, at 7pm Mountain time /6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern. Robyn Trask — host and head of Loving More — is thoughtful and experienced.  I recommend her highly!

Read the whole announcement on the Loving More Website

October 16, 2014. 7:00PM (Mountain Time)
Exploring the Myths of Monogamy & the Nuclear Family
Cost is $5, Free for Loving More Members
(see below for details)

 Register Now


Are monogamy and the nuclear family really based on inherent human nature? Is the common narrative of male paternity certainty and female security real? This presentation draws strongly from the works of Merlin Stone (When God Was A Woman), Riane Eisler (Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body) and the NY Times Bestselling book by Ryan and Jethá, Sex at Dawn. We will look at the flaws inherent in the study of ancient cultures and sexuality, as well as the possibility of mistakes in the common narrative of sexuality derived from mid-nineteenth century scientists and anthropologists. Sex, power, culture; how are these things linked? Patriarchal culture, religion and morality have greatly influenced the common narrative of sexuality and human relations, but are these narratives accurate? We will explore how these narratives have contributed to a disconnect for many with human sexual nature and contributed to many of the challenges inherent in modern relationships and “battle of the sexes,” as well as ways to see our species in a different light.

Presented by: Robyn Trask

Cost:  Live or recorded webinar is $5, Free for Loving More Donor/Members*

It is best to register ahead of time for the webinar. A recording will be available after the webinar (usually by the next day). We recommend people use the call-in by phone option, instead of using your computer, when joining the live meeting as you will get considerably better sound quality.  Space is limited – Click here to register now.

* All webinars are free to Loving More Donor/Members, contact Loving More directly for access code for the webinar.

Email Robyn@LoveMore.com, please include type of membership, annual or monthly, and specific webinar you wish to participate in or view. 

Miss the webinar? Listen later!

Webinars can be attended live and are also recorded to be viewed at your convenience. Live attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the webinar.

Check out past webinars available on the Loving More website!

Past Titles include:

Polyamorous Families and Children
Loving More Survey Highlights
Jealousy: A Journey of Personal Growth
Polyamory Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of Polyamory Dating and Relating
Negotiating Boundaries and Polyamorous Relationship Agreements
Beyond Monogamy? Introduction to Polyamory and other Open Relationship Choices
8 Keys to Successful Polyamorous Relating

Loving More Members contact Robyn@lovemore.com for access codes to past webinars with a fee. Please include webinar title and type of membership (monthly or annual).

Hope you can listen in, because…

No matter who or how many you love, Love is ALWAYS ok!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Like Teleseminars?  Check out the Jealousy First Aid series that I did last fall with Kathy Labriola!  TIP: Don’t forget to sign up to get the Free Handouts. :)

Green First Aid KitJealousy First Aid (JFA #1)
MORE Jealousy First Aid (JFA #2)
More Options for More Jealousy (JFA #3)

 

 

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?

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

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.)

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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