A time for fierce fucking love

It has been challengjoseph_pulitzer_3c_1947_issue_u-s-_stamping for me to surrender into my pleasure lately, as I know it has been for many. It has been hard to find inspiration to write. How do I find peace in my heart, at the dawn of a new cycle of hatred in the world? One answer keeps coming to me: love. Humility like never before. In this moment of history, pleasure and love are acts of resistance. In every touch, in every sigh, in every orgasm. I am listening more carefully – what more can I learn in order to live in a good way? I am offering my gifts – trusting my gifts. I am committing – that I am an ally, a friend, a lover. Believing I am the change. I am calling on myself to step up, to find the leader and the lover within. I am enough.

Yesterday I read an impassioned and wise plea that we all take time, right now, to write. Remind ourselves of our core values and dreams. What are we willing to let happen? What are our boundaries? Because a systematic attempt is about to be made to change who we are and what we are willing to stand for. We won’t even feel it happening. So today, we write down who we are now, so that next year, or five years from now, we can read about that person and check in to see if we are still that person. And behave as if we are still that person. Do not let them strip away our courage, our values, our beliefs.

Love is the movement. Fierce. Fucking. Love.

 

 

Dear metamour: a white paper

Hello, new person. Thank you for taking a moment to visit me here, in what a I hope feels like a safe place for you to meet me.


Pen-and-Paper

First, I’d like for you to feel welcome here. I am so grateful that someone I love dearly has met someone that makes their heart beat a little lighter and faster. Or maybe someone who gives them butterflies. Perhaps it is more carnal than that, and that is wonderful also. Whether you are visiting for a few hours or a few years, I want you to know that I care about your happiness, your health, and your heart.

The other reason why I am writing to you is to help give you some insight into who I am and to give you some suggestions about how best to navigate me and my relationship with this person you have just met. I don’t know what your background is, or how much experience you have with non-monogamy. Please forgive me if it sounds like I am making assumptions that you do not have a lot of experience with poly, I am trying my best to be a clear communicator here, no matter what your history is.

I believe that love is abundant. I believe that we love more than one person because there is simply so much love that our cups overflow. I prefer approaching relationships from this perspective, as opposed to the older paradigm belief that we look elsewhere when our primary partner does not meet our needs. I believe that you are unique and special and wonderful, just like I am unique and special and wonderful. I hope you feel the same way, and that we can appreciate each other for the gifts and talents and attributes we each have.

I believe that it’s only weird if you make it weird. So please, say hello to me. Look me in the eyes and smile. Reach out to me to acknowledge me and to let me know that you care about me, that you’ve got my back. Be prepared to be vulnerable and authentic with me. Ask me something to show me you are curious and engaged. Ask me anything.

It takes time for me to warm up to some people. I am shy sometimes, and I am scared sometimes. You are probably smart, funny, beautiful, and talented. It sometimes takes me some courage to open up to you. Please don’t take it personally. Recognize there have been people in the past who haven’t really honored me and my relationship, and this has left me with some trust stuff when it comes to new people. Again, it honestly isn’t you, you’re lovely. I want you to be here, I really am grateful that you bring joy to someone I love so dearly.

If you aren’t sure how to navigate the situation, ask my partner, or ask me. It will go a long way even just to ask, because then I know you care about the pre-existing relationships and that your intention is to make things better for all of us.

If you aren’t sure whether you are non-monogomous, please be very clear and honest about your intentions. If you aren’t sure whether you can handle being kind to me or to my partner’s other partners, please be authentic and honest about your own fears, desires, and questions. I will do my best to hold space for you and to meet you where you are. We can learn together.

No matter how much experience we all have in relationships, we really are all just infants learning to walk together. I know we will all make mistakes. My request is that we all acknowledge each other, see each other, listen, and do our best to look after each others tender hearts.

Again, thank you for taking a moment to read this. It really means a lot to me to know that you are willing to take time to consider me. I feel better already. You’re neat. 🙂

 

 

Tracing bones

Muscles_and_bones_of_the_lower_limb._Pen_and_ink_drawing._Wellcome_L0025631
Wikimedia Commons

In the dungeon, tracing bones again.
With this pen.
This will end.
I just don’t know when.

Special lenses to help me sleep
Yet here I sit, and weep
What I’d give for these weary feet to be dancing in the street

Darkness invades my mind
Stillness in bones and in rhymes
There are no shadows in a room of this kind
And I have broken you from the inside

A traveller’s wife has no time
Just keep telling the world we’re fine
Getting better like aging wine
Softly falls a false lash from my eye

With a wish and a breath
Not ready for death
Where is my poet, picturesque
I promise, bones, soon we will rest

Sweet tears, sacred love

One 2812341774_c7095a7c6e_mmoment, our lips explore each other with delightful wonder. The three of us are playing, expanding, discovering new landscapes, greeting our edges gently and compassionately.

And then, sweet tears, sacred love. I see you. I hold you. I love you. Never before have I received such a precious gift, such vulnerable beauty. I am lying supine beneath you, and our faces are so close, the crystal water spills from your eyes and onto my face, into my own eyes. We are tear sisters, fluid bonded in a way I have never conceived of prior to this.

We gently lay you down, cradle you, receive you, hold space. There is nothing to fix, nothing to change, all is perfect.

Thank you, beautiful soul, for your divine gifts.

 

Compersion & jealousy: is that really all there is?

I often see compersion defined as  the ‘opposite’ of jealousy. I understand why it is tempting to do this. The experience of having a loved one sharing intimacy with another can bring up complex and overwhelming feelings. Intellectually, we strive to simplify this complicated emotional landscape in hopes of ‘overcoming’, or at least understanding, our jealousy.

The problem is, in my experience, it’s not so simple. Emotions are not binary.

First, there is the issue of ‘conflation’ (experiencing different emotions simultaneously). In one of my earliest experiences, a lover of mine had a particularly prolific period in which he connected sexually with seven different women in a month. Sure, it brought up some fears in me of loss and inadequacy. Yet when he and I entered intimate space together, to my surprise, my mind went to images of all these women finding ecstasy in the arms of my lover, and rather than shutting me down, I became incredibly aroused. So while feeling jealousy, I also experienced erotic compersion.  Opposites, by definition, would not co-exist.

Second, how I respond to a given situation depends in part on how my lover responds, or how I think they do, in that situation. What is the story I am telling myself, what am I making it mean?  I therefore decided to do what any good scientist would do. I created a 2×2 table:
compersion-2-by-2-table

You can see here that compersion and jealousy are not the only possible outcomes, since it also depends on what is happening, or what is being felt, by my lover. Let me walk you through it.

If my lover is having a positive experience with another lover, I have two quadrants in which I might respond, generally divided into ‘positive’ emotions (compersion) or ‘negative’ ones (jealousy). However, what if something happens that leaves my lover feeling not so happy? Maybe he gets in a quarrel with his other partner, or maybe they break up? Or maybe he has stuff come up because he loves you so much that he is worried about you so he holds back with his other partner(s)? In this case, you might fall into the other two quadrants. You might feel happy/elated/relieved: this could be considered a type of schadenfreude. Alternatively, you might feel compassion/sadness/guilt. The best word I have for this is empathy. Technically empathy can be positive or negative, however in my experience we often speak of empathy in regards to someone’s negative experiences.

Importantly, these quadrants relate to the x and y axes, meaning they fall along a spectrum of feelings. Also, with the axes themselves, it is possible to be in a place of neutrality. I remind you, it is possible to fall in more than one quadrant simultaneously (conflation).

I hope this table will help you identify feelings that arise in you in relation to your lover’s others, as a starting place to diving deeper into the work of uncovering core feelings and beliefs. I’d love your feedback.

3 dimensions of compersion

Based on my personal experience, I would like to propose a 3-faceted model in which we may experience compersion. I’d love your feedback.

  1. compersion venn diagramIntellectual. I know in my mind that I want you to be happy. In that sense I am indeed happy for you in your other relationship/experience. In order to arrive at this, I need to reason/talk myself through what comes up for me. I might be feeling some jealousy, but I know in my heart of hearts that I want you to feel joy, even if it does not involve me.
  2. Somatic. The moment I see that smile on your face, or hear you speak to or about a joyful experience, I feel happiness in my body, such as my heart or stomach. I smile instantly.
  3. Erotic. When I see or think of you with your other lover, particularly in intimate scenarios, I feel aroused. Sometimes I feel closer to you through this feeling in me.

Today’s inkblot: gang bang or sacred play?

olivier-valsecchi ink blot
Photo by Olivier Valsecchi

I have just had a black leather blindfold gently placed over my eyes. I am told to stand up and bend forward. Strong muscles under warm soft skin wrap around my torso and I am lifted into a fireman’s carry over the shoulder of a man who has never before experienced my touch. I am carried with ease up a flight of stairs. Foot steps follow us.

My feet brush across a doorway frame, we are in a room. More hands reach for me, as I am carefully lowered into a pair of straps mounted to a ceiling. Whispers help guide me into a swing. It’s my first time in a sex swing.

All of my lovers go silent. Hands gently cradle my head so I can completely sink into my surroundings. I inhale, find that place in my heart of trust, relax my body as I exhale, and prepare to offer the ultimate gift of total surrender of my body over to the care of my lovers. The gift, is to myself.

For the next two hours, I experience a flow unlike anything I have ever known. Several lovers (including one friend I have never been intimate with) are here to worship me, take me, over and over, without ever making a sound. I let go of any curiosity as to who is inside of me, who has just thrust themselves into my eager mouth, who is at my neck, my breasts. I am the only one making noise, and my moans erupt freely, pulsing in parallel to the pleasure I am swimming in.

With salience, I remember this feeling inside me. As if crossing through a portal, I have completely returned to erotic innocence. I hope that you, the reader, have a youthful memory that involves the compassionate curiosity of our earliest experiences of sexuality. If you are so blessed, you will remember it when you find it again as I did. A moment where you know you are so safe, so loved, so held, that you can say ‘no’ or make a request with no fear of trauma or judgement. And your lovers can receive that ‘no’ without ever taking it personally or projecting any meaning. All our memories of woundedness melt away, and we are simply present, curious, and playful.

This was my birthday wish. To shed a layer of shame, the internalized oppression of self judgement – slut, dirty, cheap – that comes with growing up in a world where my sex and my sexuality is feared, judged, and objectified. I created a scenario to challenge those beliefs to the core. Like ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), I chose graded exposure to face my fears. And lovers, you obliged.

Mating_ball_of_garter_snakes
Garter snakes mating

I feel so much bliss right now, so much love, so blessed. I am awake and aroused. Pleasure is safe, pleasure is beautiful, pleasure is a divine gift. Thank you for this ultimate birthday present: sexual healing.

 

ZEGG Forum: a glimpse of the future

Charles Eisenstein refers to it as ‘the story of separation’. heart-208223_960_720It’s an old story we all know and have lived. It began with a patriarchy that emerged several millennia ago, and beliefs around ownership and control that lead to a scarcity mentality that persists today in everything we do. This belief in limited resources fuels the mentality of jealousy, of toxic shame, disconnection, competition. If there is more for you, it means there is less for me.

But if you are lucky, there will come a moment in your life where you will see a flicker of hope and light. A sparkle in the eyes of a stranger perhaps, the words of Rumi, the bliss of silent meditation, or some other chance exposure to the infinite realms of love and intimacy. And suddenly you feel it: possibility. Eisenstein says that ‘once you have that experience, it lives inside of you, and it makes the old normal no longer even tolerable’.

And now you find yourself on a new path. One lined with compassion, abundance, connection, celebration. But that’s not all. You soon begin to find courage in your vulnerability, you start showing up in ever deeper layers of authenticity. And then you start to see them. Your shadows. The darkness is beginning to emerge, and it’s tumultuous, ugly, scary, and shameful, and what if the others find out? Will I still have a place to call home in this family, this community, in society at large?

I just spent three days with over thirty people, most of whom I had never met before. We came together with the intention to learn a technology called ZEGG forum. This method was developed in the 1970s with a goal of building community, creating cohesion and trust, and freeing ourselves from violence.

Over the course of just three days, our circle dove deep into the realms of our darkest fears, our deepest prayers, our most insurmountable blocks. We grieved together, cried together, laughed together, sang together. We comforted each other, we saw each other. Facilitator Kelly Bryson told us we weren’t there to heal, we were there to bring our shadows into the light. We gathered and shared in order to collectively tap into the universal, archetypal emotions and experiences of our lives. Our hearts collectively opened.

The retreat may have ended, but our story continues. Our story of separation is only a narrative. We will continue to join together, here and around the world, gathering momentum, with a common goal of re-writing our story. Reconnecting with each other, with nature, with love. The Forum is happening in our neighbourhoods, in our communities, and in healing biotopes like Tamera, around the world. A force field of love and abundance that is going to change everything.

We leave our retreat feeling stronger, reassured, and reconnected. This brief glimpse into the future renews both our faith and our resolve to keep doing the work.

 

72 words for love

The English language has a single word for it: love. My ancestors have a single model for it: monogamy. And despite the poetic notion that we marry for love, marriage has historically been inextricably woven into a cloth designed to be worn by owners – of money, land, and women.faith-christian-bible-verse-love

In elementary school, I was once told that a boy in my home town was the illegitimate child of a famous music celebrity. Thus, I was taught that a child conceived beyond the strict confines of a state-sanctioned monogamous marriage was not legal. Not valid. Not wanted. Shameful. We’d whisper the story of this dark truth amongst ourselves in school hallways, despite not understanding why we used hushed tones. We whispered because our parents whispered.

Fortunately, humanity has not always lived with such narrow values. As many of us are seeking “new” possibilities, others are coming forth to share world views of love that give great hope.

The Awansa Ta’pish nation, for example, has 72 words for love. They have 14 love relationships, the a’ukota pash’ele. The ‘illegitimate’ child I mentioned , if born into such a nation, might have been raised in an extended loving family. The parents would have been fully honoured for their loving companionship. Mom would have never been called a ‘single mother’ since many cared together for children, according to scholar Kim Tallbear.

I believe that polyamory isn’t a ‘new paradigm’ per se, but rather a ‘remembering’. And this path of remembrance is hard work. Each lesson dismantled, each shaming unlearned, slowly, at times very painfully. The damage has been caused by centuries of harmful practices and thus is epigenetically imprinted in us – in essence, we are born broken. The healing of love and the return to erotic innocence thus goes beyond individuals: we are healing ourselves, and also our ancestors. Tallbear adds that ethical non-monogamy is not just about self-actualization and healing oppression, but that it has implications in the “broader context of community, of extended relations and of our obligations to the Earth”.

This is no small task. The Awansa elders spend considerable time and energy teaching the 14 love relationships, because reportedly only by experiencing them can one become a “complete human being”. Courageous communities around the globe are committing to this deep healing work in the realms of love, eros and spirituality. Film-maker and Tamera love school apprentice, John Wolfstone, explains we need deep study “because we’ve been wrongly trained and traumatically ripped from community for six millennia”. There is a deeply misguided world view, he argues, “that we are separate from everything else”, a belief that has led us to compete for resources and live in fear.

As this ‘remembrance’ takes place, we are slowly discovering how to connect in deeply with our extended communities. We are embracing the many ways we can share love, and developing a language to fully honour the diverse ways in which love is experienced.

In English, there is only one word for ‘love’. Perhaps one day we will see, the only thing there is really one of, is us. We. Are. One.