Tag Archives: Connectedness

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]

 

Love’s Marathon [sharing a post by Patricia Pearce]

Patricia Pearce

Patricia Pearce

My friend Patricia Pearce often inspires me with her writings (or sometimes her friends do, as guest bloggers.)  This week she wrote another deep and thoughtful post on the tragedy of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, called Love’s Marathon. I highly recommend that you read it all. To get you started, here’s an excerpt:

In my understanding, the fundamental spiritual truth is that all things and all beings are interconnected, part of one body — Love — that animates the Universe. Atrocities such as Monday’s bombing in Boston do violence to that fundamental truth of interconnection by enacting a story of division. They are assaults on Love.

But because Love is the reality of complete oneness, even those who enact the story of division are not, cannot, be cast out of Love, because there is no “outside” of Love.

Once when I was walking a labyrinth on retreat, I received a teaching. “There are no enemies,” it said. “There are only those who do not know who they are.” There are only those who are not conscious that they are cells, as we all are, in the one body of Love.

[read the rest here]

I’ve been thinking a lot about Love this week, and about enemies, about division, and separation.  About what it means to love, to be an enemy (of), to support or betray.  Patricia points out that there is no “outside” of Love.  Love is intrinsically whole, intrinsically inclusive. There are people who try to say that, by loving “outside the box,” that I am outside of Love. That people whose love doesn’t fit societal expectations, such as those with same-sex partnerships, are somehow less deserving of being included in Love. I think this is nonsensical. Those who feel they must “protect the sanctity of marriage” by excluding one or another form of love are, as Patricia says, “enacting a story of division.” Love is bigger than marriage.  Love needs no “protection,” because it is bigger than the boxes we humans try to keep it locked up inside.

LoveOTB_DkPurp_72px_Clip

My logo, by the way, is a visual representation of this concept.  Love is literally outside of the box, the heart surrounding the smaller box at the center. It is impossible for the box — for me, or for others — to be outside of Love, because Love is bigger than the confining walls.  Love is unable to be contained … and also still open, with room to let more love, more people, inside.

When I get scared, and when others around me get scared, we tend to put up walls and barriers. Our intent is to create safety, but what we end up creating is separation.  We want love, but in our attempt to hold on to love, we create fear and pain, loneliness and suffering.  The hard thing, as Patricia says, is to continue to keep our hearts open, even in the face of pain and suffering. Even in the face of tragedy. Because without opening ourselves, and risking our own hearts, there is no way for us to remember that separateness is an illusion, that we all are one, and that there is room enough for everyone inside the welcoming heart of Love.

Fortunately for those of us who love outside the box, we’re used to running “Love’s Marathon”– we’re used to continuing to open ourselves to Love and to possibility, even when it brings us some pain in the shorter term, because we know (or trust) that the end of the journey is worthwhile. It’s not always easy — but then, worthwhile things rarely are. So when someone is casting ME out, or viewing me as an enemy, I get to remember that they’ve probably forgotten who they are.  And that makes it easier to love them in that moment, because I can remember that the separation is an illusion, and hope that soon, they will remember it themselves. I can hold that space of remembering that we are not separate, until they can remember it too, and then we can be together in Love again.

Wishing you Love and inclusion,

~♥ Dawn

PS: I first met Patricia in a course by my friend and mentor Samantha Bennett.  Sam has a course coming up this spring (her “Monster Get It Done telecourse), and since she’s rearranged the schedule so it starts next week instead of this one, you can still hop on the bandwagon. The way you learn how to sign up for the Monster Get It Done is to listen to the AWESOME teleseminar Get Unstuckified: Why You’re Procrastinating On the Important Stuff and What To Do About It.

I’m proud to be a Really Big Fan (aka Affiliate) of Sam’s, so if you choose to purchase the course through this link, I’ll get a referral fee. But I trust that you will do your own homework, and only purchase stuff that you know is right for YOU. I’ll be there in the course too, and on the calls, so you know I’m not just trying to get money here; I really believe in what Sam has to offer, and I think it’s worthwhile.

And I think that if we can all get ourselves “Unstuckified,” it will be easier for us to remember that we’re really all connected, and really all a part of LOVE.  After all… Love is ALWAYS OK.

love_is_ok_rainbow_heart_tshirt

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Poly Media Successes!

LMonOurAmerica

Chuy, Robyn, and John on “Our America”

Reports are coming in from all over that the poly segment of Our America that aired last night is a smashing success.  Alan M. of Poly In The News calls it “incredible,” and in one email to the Poly Leadership Network, said it would be “great publicity material for explaining the poly movement like forever.” :^D  You can see available video segments, and get a link to the re-broadcast schedule on Alan’s blog:

For those who missed the Oprah Winfrey Network’s incredibly good, hour-long poly documentary on “Our America” last night, you can watch the available video segments from it here:
http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2013/03/our-america-poly-documentary-incredible.html

Yes it was that good.

The show will be rebroadcast next Tuesday night and maybe again later. Schedule:
http://www.oprah.com/own/tv-schedule/index.html?q=Our+America+with+Lisa+Ling+%28Season+2C%29&page=1#browse_top

 

There’s also a great segment on the Loving More organization itself:

 

(Deleted Scenes: National Organization for Polyamory Awareness)

And another about a poly family raising an 11-year-old child:

(Deleted Scenes: Polyamorous Family Raising 11 Year-Old Girl)

Wow!

Remember also that we in the East Bay Poly Potluck community will be hosting TWO viewing parties in the next week.  I think the Berkeley viewing is full up, but there is still room at the one in Antioch, which is this coming Sunday, March 10th.  Doors open at 2pm.

In the process of getting ready for the show, the Loving More folks (who were profiled on the Our America segment) have also been working extremely hard at an upgrade to the Loving More website. They rolled it out last night, and it looks awesome!

LMBanner

One of the things ON that new Loving More site is a link to a new article by yours truly. :)  It’s called Five Reasons Agreements Fail, and it’s a combo of the two entries I made here last month in my KISSable Agreements Workbook series.

If you’re interested in another preview from the book, you can also download the section on Getting to Win-Win-Win, which I gave out at the recent International Academic Polyamory conference in Berkeley. The pdf is free, though to get it you’ll need to give me a valid email address. By the way, that will also sign you up for my list, where you’ll get periodic tools and tips, and notification when my workbook actually appears in print (soon, now!) If you don’t want to stay on my list after you get the pdf, you can always unsubscribe, of course (though I hope you’ll stay.)

Hooray for fabulous progress in the understanding of polyamory in our culture!  Hooray for personal and business success for Loving More, and all the other poly families and groups who appeared on this show! And hooray for getting the word out about tips and tools for successful polyamorous relationships — both my own (via this blog and Loving More), those of others on the Loving More site and at other locations all over the ‘net, and the world.  Bit by bit, we really are creating that reality in which I want to live, where whoever you love, whatever forms that might take, or however many people you might love …

love_is_ok_rainbow_heart_tshirt

Love is always OK.

~♥ Dawn


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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Sharing the Love (More) Safely

Qpid.me drawing of two stick figures sharing a heart outline

I was recently introduced to a new resource for managing safer sex and testing results.  It’s called Qpid.me, and it claims to be “A free, simple way to share your verified STD results” by registering with them, and having your results sent directly from your doctor to their private database.

Here’s what they say on their website:

To make informed sexual health decisions, you must not only be informed about your own health, but also about your partner’s health as well. We enable you to privately share your STD [Sexually Transmitted Disease, aka Sexually Transmitted Infection or STI] status however you choose. We believe that sharing is a good thing and that it can lead to better sexual health decisions, more (safe) sex and fewer STDs.

The service is limited, and doesn’t include a couple of important STIs (e.g., HSV, aka Herpes), and so far doesn’t seem to include a way to make any statement (or have your doctor make a statement) about those STIs, either.  Here’s the list of what they DO cover (from their FAQ):

  • » HIV: PCR/RNA, antibody and viral load (for HIV positive users)
  • » Gonorrhea: genital/urine, rectal and oral
  • » Chlamydia: genital/urine, rectal and oral
  • » Syphilis
  • » Hepatitis C antibody
  • » HPV vaccine
  • » Hepatitis A vaccine

I myself have some concerns over this whole idea, around the idea of the results being useable to potentially stigmatize someone/s in the community who turns up “positive” for something.  On the other hand, stigmatizing is certainly being done NOW, without benefit of this service to speed up the process, so I’m not sure how much actual increased risk there is.

BerkeleyFreeClinic.logo

I’m also concerned about things like financial accessibility, and that requiring a certain kind of testing might become a way to effectively marginalize some less-privileged parts of the community. Of course, there are some free or low-cost resources available, at least in most urban areas in the US (e.g., Berkeley Free Clinic), but in the current economic and social climate, this certainly is not a guarantee for everyone in all areas… and even if you live somewhere that’s covered by such services, accessing them can be more than a little bit of a hassle. (Not to mention the issues inherent with contributing to the unsustainable medical-industrial-complex in the US. (Thanks to Charlie Glickman in Twitter for that link))

One of the other things I’m concerned about is the common misconception that clear test results mean there is no risk of getting an STI. It doesn’t.  It’s incredibly important to remember that testing gives you a snapshot at a particular point in time, and that any sexual contact with others means that the snapshot may no longer be 100% accurate (see more about the “window period”).  Depending on how active you and/or your partner/s are, the accuracy could range anywhere from “still good” to “completely false.” Clear tests are never a substitute for good safer sex practices (e.g., consistent and correct condom use, and being mindful about cross-contamination), honest conversations with your prospective partner/s, and possibly having a Safer Sex Agreement (whether that’s something that’s “only” an Agreement with yourself, or whether that includes 1 or more partners as well.)  Remember also that any Agreements you make are best made in advance of clothes coming off, and when everyone’s awake and sober!

Picture of condoms in a rainbow of colors

In any case, I thought this might be of interest to some folks here, as one part of a comprehensive Safer Sex Agreement or plan.

(And now my brain is suddenly full of  images of eggs and juice and the phrase “[brand name cereal] is part of a complete breakfast”! *chuckle*)

May you always love boldly, safely, and well!

~♥ Dawn

Want some help negotiating safer sex (or any other kind of) Agreements? I’m always happy to schedule a free 30 minute session (or 60 minutes for half price). And if you act before the end of February, you can still get my Valentine’s Day coaching discounts.

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

The Time for Love is NOW

This has been a hard week. I am surrounded by loss, impending and tangible. The impending loss is of a personal nature, and involves me facing my own mortality in the mirror of my parents.  The already-tangible loss involves several deaths I’ve heard of so far in the last few days.  In particular, the loss of community members Brian Baker and Adam Griffiths has hit many of us very hard. Adam was not someone I knew well, but Brian was a friend and colleague. He will be sorely missed, and many of us are grieving this week, for both of them.

These losses and changes bring up fears. Fears of my own mental and emotional stabilities, for instance.  Will I, like my grandmother and my mother, also face the gradual eroding of my self and my memories? Will it change my personality, or render me incapable of self-care? Even if that’s not my fate, I might have something happen to me (as with my father) that takes some portion of who I am, and leaves me permanently altered. How would I handle that?  Would I still be ME? And even if THAT doesn’t happen… we never know how many days are left to us, as is so clear in the passing of these incredibly vital friends, taken “at their peak,” as many shared at a memorial gathering the other night.

We never know what will happen. For me, this stirs up thoughts about risk and safety. Far from driving me to take fewer risks, it tends to make me feel guilty for NOT having taken MORE, for not having been bolder and stronger, for not having gotten my work out sooner. I try to be gentle with myself (it’s a lot of grief, and a lot to process, after all), at the same time I’m feeling driven ahead by this sense of urgency.

I wrote this to someone privately today:

“Safety” is an illusion, ultimately. It’s a FEELING within ourselves. We
have control over our decisions to proceed, in spite of or considering
risks. Choosing a lower risk activity or course doesn’t not, however,
generally mean NO risk… and therefore may still result in “unsafety.”
There are no guarantees in life, no matter how “safe” one tries to be.

A common motivational poster says:

RISK Motivational Poster

“A ship in a harbor is safe… but that’s not what ships are for.”

Being wholly and fully alive, living your purpose in every moment …
that is, in my opinion, far better than attempting to play it safe, and
ending your life unfulfilled. I honor and cherish your goal to use good
accomplishments to fuel your desire for a positive world.

So mote it be. :)

Love is also a risk.

It’s a risk to dare to connect with others, when we don’t know the outcome. It’s a risk to love in the face of rejection.  It’s a risk to love in our own way, despite the real potential for stigma or censure.  But thing is…

We never know if there will be a tomorrow.

So I’m urging you now, my friends, my family, my colleagues, and all you relationship explorers out there (whether I’ve met you yet or not):  Take your relationSHIP out of the harbor. Even if it scares you, even if you don’t know how it could possibly succeed, even if you are afraid of failing, or that someone might hate you for who or how many you love.  Take the risk.  Love boldly.

Tell everyone you love how much they mean to you. Pick up the phone, write an email, go into the next room and give them a hug. Send an old-fashioned letter!  Even if your relationship is strained, if you can, try to imagine how you might feel if suddenly, tomorrow, they were gone, and your words of love were left unsaid. Would you regret it? Then speak love to them, now. Loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean approving of everything they do, by the way. Sometimes loving someone is an act of will! or an exercise in choosing your words carefully. :^) But if that feeling is there (even a tiny bit), then in my opinion it’s worth sharing, now, in this moment… because now is the only time we have.

The time for love is NOW.

Dawn

PS: I love you. :^)

Keep Emotional and Physical Safety Agreements Distinct [Tip #6]

Two stylized hands clasping, forming a heart. Copyright-free symbol designed by Ravi Poovaiah, Professor, IDC, IIT Bombay.After a delay due to illness (the nasty cold had turned to an ear infection), here at last is the next installment in my in-progress Agreements Workbook.  This is Tip #6: Keep Emotional and Physical Safety Agreements Distinct.

Questions or comments about any of these Agreements Workbook entries?  Feel free to contact me here, or on my FB Page, Love Outside The Box!

Wishing you and yours lots of love and gratitude on this (US-celebrated-) day of Thanks.

~♥ Dawn

PS: I’m working on a new program that I’ll be unveiling soon, called Jealousy Judo.  Are you interested in test-driving the first part in a 1/2 hour free session? Just drop me a line and we’ll find a time!

PPS: I got my test ornaments from Zazzle today!  I particularly like this one, with my logo on one side, and “Polyamory: Love Outside The Box” on the other. :)

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

illustration of bleeding heart pierced and surrounded by thorns

“No falling in love” — Not a good safer sex Agreement!

6) Keep emotional and physical safety agreements distinct

Have you ever heard of someone putting this into their “Safer Sex” Agreements: “No falling in love”? In my experience, it’s pretty common, especially for those whose relationship structures tend more toward swinging or open than polyamory. However, although it’s tempting to attempt to mandate emotional safety via safer sex Agreements, it turns out to be extremely difficult if not impossible to do. Safer sex is primarily about logic and science, cold hard facts, and things that can be measured. You either used condoms, or you didn’t.  The test is positive, or it’s negative (usually). The heart, on the other hand, is notoriously capricious. Heart-decisions are most often emotionally based, and don’t respond well to logic. You can’t be a little bit pregnant, but you can be a little bit in love. And it’s really difficult to “back up” in a relationship, once two (or more) people have fallen in love. At the very least, it’s a recipe for drama and lengthy nights of processing.

Conversely, bacteria and viruses aren’t much impressed with how much in love you are, or whether you think you’re “fluid-bonded” or not when you kiss another lover right after going down on someone new. While there’s some evidence to support the idea that positive intentions do positively affect the immune system [refs], the evidence isn’t really strong enough to substitute “wishing really hard” for using condoms and knowing the testing status and risk tolerance of yourself and your partners.

Picture of condoms in a rainbow of colors

Because of how ineffective emotional Agreements are in Safer Sex, and vice versa, and because of the difficulty of actually enforcing Agreements that mix emotions and epidemiology, my suggestion is usually to avoid making such Agreements in the first place. Instead, create separate line items for emotional issues and epidemiological ones, and if necessary, create separate documents for safer sex vs. emotional safety.

Now might be a good time to review Tips #2a, b & c on having Clear Standards and Consequences [p. ___]. In particular, make a note of whether something uses objective or subjective standards for success.  If the standards are all subjective ones, chances are this Agreement belongs in your Relationship Agreements, rather than your Safer Sex ones. If you’d discuss it with your physician or a clinic worker, that’s probably a Safer Sex Agreement. If it’s an Agreement you’d make with your kids, or a platonic housemate, then it probably belongs in your Relationship Agreements instead. If it involves latex or plastic on human or toy appendages, it’s probably a Safer Sex Agreement.

Note that there are some areas that overlap, particularly in the matter of pacing new relationships. Human bodies are chemically and hormonally based, and having sex often triggers chemical cascades that nature intends to cement relationships [refs, e.g. Alchemy of Love and Lust] … at least long enough to get kids conceived, born, and to about their 2nd birthday. [refs, e.g., Sex At Dawn.] However, biology is not destiny, and while the heart is difficult to regulate, behavior can be tracked and modified. So especially in these “grey areas,” try to make your agreements about behaviors, not about feelings, and you’ll find them easier to track and measure.

You can see some examples of various sorts of Agreements in Appendix B, including some that (mostly) separate out Emotional Safety from Safer Sex, and some that don’t. Be sure to check out a bunch of different Agreements, to see which ones resonate for you, and which don’t.

 

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

[© 2012 Dawn M. Davidson]

Note that these entries are all rough drafts, and thus are probably missing things like references. If you know the perfect reference to add, feel free to suggest it! I always like to add to my resource collection.

[Next Entry: KISSable Agreements (Tip #7) ]

[Previous Entry: Create Clear Ownership of Agreements (Tip #5)]

[Return to the Table of Contents for the Agreements Workbook Series]

[Return to the first text entry in the Agreements Workbook series]

A little bird told me: Be yourself

Bird Sculpture by Robriel Wolf, archangel.robriel@gmail.com

“A Little Bird Told Me”: Sculpture in wood, metal and glorious paint, by artist Robriel Wolf

In response to a conversation yesterday, I’ve been struggling with being authentically myself, doing so with joy, and without fear or shame. In short, I’ve been asked to “tone down” who I am, in order to stay in an online course — I can say “alternative relationships” but not “polyamory” for instance, in order not to cause others in the course to “feel squirmy,” and to ensure that everyone there finds what I talk about “G-rated” at all times. This has engendered a lot of soul-searching, as you might imagine, and has left me feeling both triggered and unsure of my path.

Then this morning the following subject line appeared in my inbox: “Listen to the birds and they will tell you.” Penned by guest blogger Gwendolyn Morgan in Patrica Pearce’s wonderful blog, she goes on to say

Often I take time to listen deeply, and encourage others I am working with to do so as well throughout the day – to listen deeply to our bodies, our breathing, our hearts, our intuition, as well as to the clouds, animals and birds, the plants and trees, all sentient beings.

I took a moment to listen to the birds outside of my office window. What are they saying to me today?

Yes, I realized: the birds sing. They do so as a matter of being, as an expression of who they are. No one asks a songbird to sing a different song, nor do they shame them or tell them that they’re wrong for being a bluebird instead of a robin. Their message is their message. People will either listen to it and enjoy it… or not. Those that are meant to hear the song, will hear it. Those who find it shrill or discordant (or can’t hear it at all) will pass on by. Either way, the bird is still the bird, singing their song, in joy and truth.

Whoever you are, and whatever you’re doing — whether you’re a bluebird, or a robin… or a parrot! *laugh* — I hope you’re singing your authentic song today.

Singing my song of joy and love,

~♥ Dawn

 

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

©2012, Dawn M. Davidson

Poly for Introverts

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
Emily Dickenson

One of only two poems I managed to memorize during Middle School, this paean to anonymity has lent me strength over the years, in those moments when I was feeling particularly unwanted or overlooked… or occasionally when I wanted to feel overlooked. *wry smile*

I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed in the last month or more, after a particularly active and social period involving hosting multiple parties and attending the groundbreaking Open-SF conference. Another friend (in a locked personal journal post) recently gave me a new term to describe what I think has happened to me, and that’s “Introvert Shock” — The state of doing too many extraverted/social activities in a short time, and then wanting to hole up for days or weeks at a time, to recover one’s energy, with the result that activities on the calendar get dropped or rescheduled by the droves, no matter how attractive they originally seemed… or indeed still are.

Of course, some of this is “just” the definition of Introversion, aka being the sort of person who recharges best alone, and for whom social activities are draining. But Introvert Shock is more than this, I think. More like a panicky, overwhelmed feeling (at least for me), in which the idea of any kind of exposure to other people is abhorrent and tends to bring up a desire to order in for pizza and watch Netflix movies (or better yet, read a nice quiet book) A.L.O.N.E. in one’s room … FOREVER.

My friend’s post contained this wonderful graphic on How to Care for Introverts that I’m sharing here, because I think it’s got a lot of good stuff to say on this topic in general:

12 Tips on How to Care for Introverts

In another thread of conversation about this, I hypothesized that this list of behaviors is not necessarily limited to introverts, but represents a pretty good set of suggestions for respecting other human beings in general (especially children, as mentioned by yet another Friend of mine.) It’s not 100% applicable to everyone all the time, of course (few things are), but I think it’s a reasonable place to start for many if not most people.

I also noticed — and I think that this is important for geeks especially (… of which we have many in the poly community, in my experience…) — that I’ll go into Introvert Shock over “excessive” activity ONLINE. If I’ve been writing and posting and putting up invites for events and engaging in lots of dialog on lists, that will register for me emotionally as the same as being out in the world surrounded by dozens or hundreds of people, even if my body has indeed been holed up in my room alone. The result is a sudden cessation of output, even though, and possibly because that’s exactly what I need to be doing to generate (online) income. The very process of exposing my thoughts and feelings to a crowd of faceless strangers (Dickenson’s “admiring bog”) causes me to be (at least temporarily) unable to continue to expose those thoughts and feelings, no matter how nice each individual out there undoubtedly is, nor how much what I have to say might be helpful on their path (or how helpful it would be in continuing to support my dependence on pesky things like food, or the Internet.) I long to return to the state of being “nobody,” even while attempting to keep some sort of contact going, because I know that a silent blog is a dead blog. It’s an exhausting and painful cycle.

Another of the things that strikes me as I go through this process (and am obviously starting to come out of it, as witnessed by me making this post!) is to observe once again that polyamorous introverts have a particular challenge here. As it happens, “Poly for Introverts” was the very first discussion group that my almost-ex and I convened, in the early 2000′s. The process of the discussion group, and then writing a workshop with that information and presenting it at the next Loving More conference, was a watershed moment in my life, and I gained a lot of insights in how to work with introverted polys. In particular in this situation, I’m struck by how there is a way in which polyamorous introverts — especially but not limited to ones in group households — are almost never alone. Lovers (especially extraverted ones) can start to get upset when their lover indicates that they want to stay home rather than spend time with them, or doesn’t want to go out with them tonight when they did just go out with another partner last night.

“Are you losing interest?”

“Do you love them/value them more than you do me?”

“When am I going to get my needs met?”

are all anxious questions that can start to crop up when a polyamorous person needs to step back and spend a bunch of time alone. It’s like we somehow give up our right to alone time when we get involved with a 2nd (or 3rd, or…) person. There simply isn’t enough time to go around already, so what often gets sacrificed is that “blank” spot on the calendar where I’m “not doing anything anyway.” It’s hard enough for introverts to guard their alone time as it is, but add being poly to the mix and sometimes it feels like one almost has to set up steel walls and guard dogs to keep a “free” night on the calendar!

So how do we, as people who are often driven toward and sustained by multiple connections, manage these connections in a time of overwhelm, or when we need to DISconnect? How do we do this without insulting our partner/s, or sacrificing future connections? What are some strategies to use … or NOT to use? What are some strategies that might have worked for YOU in the past? I’d love to hear from YOU about this. Feel free to comment here, or in Facebook. You can contact me directly, or use the handy web form. It’s all good!

In the meantime… I’ll be in my office… alone. ;^)

~♥ Dawn

Communication Tools Roundup for OPEN-SF Conference

Hey folks!  I’m off to the OPEN-SF Conference tomorrow, so this week has seen me busy with information formatting and technology wrestling (new Olympic events for presenters ;^).  As supporting information for the discussion I’m leading on Sunday at 1:15pm, I decided to create a new version of my handout that covers three of my favorite communication tools:  Non-Violent Communication (NVC); Appreciations; and Chapman’s Five Love Languages. Limitations of WordPress mean that the formatting on the NVC section isn’t as good here as it is in the actual handout… which I suppose means y’all should come to the conference to get a hardcopy! ;)

If you’re a Bay Area (or possibly Northern CA) local, it’s not too late to join us at the conference.  At only $100 for the whole weekend, it’s one of the best conference deals I’ve seen.

I hope that you find the Communication Tools valuable, and I look forward to seeing some of you in SF starting tomorrow!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  As always, feel free to comment here, or in my Facebook, LoveOTB. :)

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From Triads to Triadic Relationships (a response)

I had this whole post ready to go, and then my computer ate it.  Murphy and Mercury are laughing at my expense this week!  So rather than wait for perfection (I’m “getting a C!” as one of my mentors, Samantha Bennett would say!), I’m posting something shorter now. Please understand it’s not because I think this doesn’t deserve a longer post.  It does!

The other day, I had my mind blown. Here’s a quote to start with, although I’m not certain that it’s fully understandable without the full article that goes with it:

“Intimacy is, itself, the relationship between influence and risk.”

The article was first presented as the Opening Keynote at the recent Atlanta Poly Weekend, and is by a friend and* colleague of mine, maymay.  His thought is nuanced, complex, uncomfortable, and highly provoking.  I also think it’s brilliant and possibly one of the most important things I’ve read in quite a while.  It’s long, so take your time. But I think it will be worth it.

I think this bears directly on some of the stuff I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, e.g., my last post on Primary Privilege, and an earlier one, Appendix A: A model of polyamorous relationships. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on any of this.

http://maybemaimed.com/2012/03/10/from-triads-to-triadic-relationships-polyamorys-superpower-is-not-what-you-think-atlanta-poly-weekend-2012-opening-keynote

As always, I welcome your input.  I think this deserves a lot of thought, and equal discussion.  Feel free to comment here or on my Facebook Page, LoveOTB.

Enjoy… or not…  ;^)

~♥ Dawn

 

*4/26/12, Edited to Add:

Wow. Maymay seems to think it’s perfectly ok to savage those who don’t agree with him 100%, call them names, and accuse them of derailing. That’s not really a communication style that I’m in favor of, and it leaves me feeling pretty uncomfortable to link to his speech.  I still think that his main thesis around triadic relationships is bold, interesting, and perhaps brilliant. I remain unconvinced of his assertions about “the BDSM community” being “unrepentantly evil.”  At this point, I’m not sure I’d advise attempting to engage him in conversation, in any online medium. The person I was previously pleased to call my friend seems to have left the building, to be replaced by maymay’s personal Mr. Hyde. Your mileage may certainly vary, so feel free to put on your asbestos undies, as they say, and read and/or comment as you see fit.  I certainly wouldn’t want to Dominate you without your permission, after all. (*wry smile*)

On the other hand, in the process of looking to see if a copy of his speech (sans comments) happened to be curated somewhere else, I did find this extremely interesting entry by thirdxlucky, On Dyad Fetishism: A Parallel Between Metamour Relationships and Body-Policing.  If you still have room for more thinking after reading maymay’s speech (or not reading it, as you decide…), I highly recommend reading this one, too.

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

©2012, Dawn M. Davidson