Category Archives: Art

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  Many others will tell her story more fully, and with more historical references.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

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

Out In the World… (a poem)

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

Out In The World, the Goddess Speaks

(A poem by Dawn Davidson, © 2014)

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

Poly Pi Flag

Pi Day! — Fly Your Poly Pride Flag High!

Friday 3/14 is a day beloved of geeks everywhere.  It’s “pi” Day!  The date when — at least in the United States — the calendar is an approximation of “pi”, a mathematical constant: 3/14, or 3.14:

π (pronounced pie, written as pi) is a constant. Its approximate value is 3.14159, or 22/7.
r is the radius of the circle. It is equal to half the diameter.
πr² means pi times the square of the radius of the circle, which equals the area of the circle.

Pi day has in recent years morphed into “Pie Day,” when geeks revel in eating many kinds of pie… sometimes while reciting pi to ridiculous numbers of decimal points.  (If that’s your style, you can find 10,000 digits of pi on this web page.)  It’s also the day when MIT college applicants receive their admission letters.

But what has all of this got to do with polyamory?  I’m glad you asked!  It’s because one of the polyamory symbols is the “Poly Pride Flag”:

The poly pride flag consists of three equal horizontal colored stripes with a symbol in the center of the flag. The colors of the stripes, from top to bottom, are as follows:

  • Blue – The openness and honesty among all partners.
  • Red – Love and passion.
  • Black – Solidarity with those who must hide their relationships due to social pressures.

The symbol in the center of the flag is a gold Greek lowercase letter “pi” (π), as the first letter of “polyamory”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory, retrieved 3/13/14

So in a manner of speaking, “pi” day is also a day for polyamorous people everywhere!  Wear your pi symbols with pride, and eat pie with gusto, sharing them liberally with your polyamorous family and communities.  Because we’re all about the sharing, dontcha know. 😉

Make pi(e), not war!

~♥ Dawn

PS: Don’t have anything with the polyamory pi flag on it (but want some)?  Head on over to my Zazzle store — http://www.zazzle.com/LoveOutsideTheBox* —  and you’ll find a wide variety of pi-flag themed items for sale, as well as a few other things with my own “Love Outside the Box” logo. (Tip: Get 17% off everything in honor of next Monday’s St. Patrick’s Day using code STPATDAY2014 at checkout.)

 

PPS;  And because I can’t resist, here’s a silly pi joke. One day in math class, the teacher asked “what is the formula for determining the area of a circle?”  One enterprising girl’s hand shot up, and she replied, “pi r squared!” From the back of the room, another voice said, with scorn, “that’s stupid!  Everyone knows pie aren’t square!  Pie are ROUND!”

[Guess which kid passed geometry?]

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

[© 2014 Dawn M. Davidson]

A Co-Dependent Love Song…

heart notes

from Lorc at game-icons.net

You’ve all heard the songs.  In fact, if you’ve been poly/open for a while, you’ve probably rolled your eyes at them.  Songs with themes of how “I can’t live with out you,” “you complete me,” or “you broke my heart” with the subtext “… AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”

Singer/Songwriter Scott Kalechstein Grace took a few of the most common from the 50’s – 70’s — and most egregious — and wrote a very funny parody mashup.  It’s worth the listen:

Of course, being polyamorous or open doesn’t guarantee that you aren’t also co-dependent… but I find that it at least tends to force one to confront some of these tendencies.  It becomes harder, for instance, to imagine that one person can possibly be the answer to all of life’s problems — and that you will DIE without that person — if you’ve discovered that it’s possible to love more than one person at a time … and to have more than one person love you. 🙂

With best wishes for INTER-dependent, not co-dependent, love!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Those workshops on Jealousy with Kathy Labriola were so great that we’re going to do a THIRD (and final) one on Monday October 28th, 21st! at 5:45pm Pacific Time!  Mark your calendars, because it’s gonna be epic!

PPS:  Have you checked out my KISSable Agreements Workbook (beta edition)?  Only $10!

http://www.blog.loveoutsidethebox.com/kissable-agreements.html

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

The Edge of the World

The Edge of the World

a poem by Dawn Davidsonwarning sign above Furzy Cliff

when do you know you’ve come to the edge of the world?
is there a sign
carved into stone
into wood
into hearts?

does it hurt when you fall
off the edge?
wind whistling by from the speed of descent
into shadow and depths?

how do you know
you’ve left the path
ventured too far
to turn back
without leaving marks
from your passing?

where is that invisible line?
the chain
the rope
the whisper
beyond which lies
all things changed and changing?

–Dawn Davidson
© 5/23/09

A recent post in Facebook by Veronica Monet spurred me to post this poem I wrote a few years ago, about boundaries, in particular that “liminal space” where things are changing from one thing to the next.  Veronica referenced the article “Monogamous, Except Online” and asked the question “What about you? Do you consider online sex to be “cheating” or is it harmless fun?”  My answer there:

“Cheating” is breaking one’s agreements, whatever those are. So if you and your partner/s have an agreement not to have sex of any kind, even virtually, with someone else, then yes, it would be cheating. For me personally, I don’t have that sort of agreement, and it’s more about whether I feel like I’m hiding something from my partner, or vice versa. If I am able to be open with my partner, and not feel that “oh, I’m doing something wrong” feeling, and if they are able to hear about what I’m doing (online or elsewhere), and be ok with it (possibly even enthusiastic!), then it’s not “cheating,” and I know everything is ok. If they have a negative reaction, or if I feel “weird” or “furtive” about what I’m doing, then it’s a call to be in better communication with my partner.

So what about you?  How do you know that you’ve come to “the edge of the world”?  What kinds of Agreements do you have … or not?  Do you prefer fences? a sign? guards? a guided tour? or complete freedom? As always, I’d love to hear your experiences, either here, in Facebook, or in email (LoveOTB@gmail.com).  And if you’d like to talk about Agreements as a path to safety, or any other topic related to polyamory, love, and relationships, feel free to drop me a line. I’m happy to share my experiences and tools with you.

May you always love boldly, safely, and well!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  I’m running a summer coaching special, so now’s a great time to contact me by email, or call me (510-686-3386), and save 30% on a package. Find out how to make your relationships happier, safer, and more fulfilling! 🙂

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Heart equals OK

Forgetting To Be Scared (a poem)

Heart equals OK
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know that, in addition to believing that loving whomever and however many you want is a basic human right, I also follow love as a spiritual path. It’s not always easy to remember to turn toward love in all circumstances.  If, for instance, people are attacking you because of your relationship choices, (or if you are afraid that they might, or if you are afraid that those choices might affect your family) it can be awfully hard to remember that part of why you made those choices would be to allow more love in the world, and in your life. Recently, things have been a bit stressful for me personally, and I’ve found it necessary to remind myself of how to get back in touch with love, and with myself.  Since I’m pretty sure that this experience is not unique to me (*wry smile*), I thought I’d share with you the poem that I wrote as I followed my own path back to center.  It’s called “Forgetting To Be Scared,” and you can find it below the cut. I hope you enjoy it.

May you always remember that you are Love,

~♥ Dawn

PS: If you like the poem, you might want to join my LoveOTB list, where I shared this poem with my subscribers (along with a couple of other rockin’ offers like this awesome weekend June 20-23, by my friend and mentor Samantha Bennett) a couple of days ago.

PPS: In honor of Pride Month, you might also want to check out my Love Is OK T-shirt with the rainbow heart.  Because no matter who or how many you love, Love is ALWAYS OK! (Tip: Use code 15PROMOONALL for a 15% discount when you order by end of day on 6/11/13.)

Continue reading

In the Attic of Enmity

In the spirit of yesterday’s post about forgiveness, I offer you a poem about letting go of past hurts. I wrote this one most of a decade ago, and it remains one of my favorites. Sadly, the Poetry Generator that spurred the unusual images is long gone, but the poem it inspired remains. 🙂

Enjoy!

~♥ Dawn

peacock

In the Attic of Enmity

In the attic of enmity, the peacock’s milk
spills variegated across the detritus of past quarrels.
Memories of wrongs long discarded
of slights unused, and disregarded
lie quiescent in shards of dusty, pallid daylight
which peep through narrow cracks in the confining walls of our history.

What use, this milk of human pain?
What purpose does it serve?
Cataloging our misery,
each agony protected against the softening effects of time?
Should we not allow instead the rough edges to be worn away,
the sharp corners blunted,
till they become some unrecognizable mass
unremarkable, unremembered, and of use no more?

Come, let us descend the creaking stairs
our arms full of unknown and anonymous hurts,
their meaning long since rendered indecipherable by time.
Throw them all, unlamented
in the dustbin of our lives,
no longer to burden our attic of memory
with the bitter milk of human unkindness.

Free at last we emerge,
blinking, into the sunlight of love
so long obscured by our hoarded pains.
Light of step, light of heart
we fly now to the forest of surrender
where the fruits of human kindness lurk
succulent and tempting
trembling in anticipation of our touch.

© Dawn M. Davidson, May 8th 2003

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

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]

OPEN-SF heart avatar

OPEN-SF Conference June 8-10 — Join me!

OPEN-SF heart avatar

OPEN-SF

Yes, I will be presenting at the upcoming OPEN-SF Conference! Join me for what promises to be an AWESOME conference with some very unusual presentations and offerings. Not limited to “polyamory,” this conference invites and embraces all sorts of “open” and ethically non-monogamous relationships: Open marriages; open relationships; polyamory; swinging; sex-positive/sluts; friends-with-benefits; non-exclusive D/s relationships, and more! If you’re not exclusively monogamous (in some way or another), and you are open about that (with your partner/s, and possibly with others in your life), then this conference will have something to offer you.

If you register now, it’s only $60 for the whole weekend. And confidentially (and partly to help move you to register ASAP), the conference organizers are finding this all enough work that this conference may never happen again, or possibly only every few years.  So if you like what you see, vote with your feet and your wallets!  Make it a success, in numbers, in connections, and financially… and let them know that you love them for doing it!

I’ve included a slightly edited version of what I just got in email, so you can see all the awesome perks that registering now will get you. You know you want to!

Hope to see you in June!

~♥ Dawn

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We have just announced our session lineup!  With this conference, we really wanted to do something different from previous poly/nonmonogamy conferences, and we have accomplished that.  In addition to the usual nonmonogamy skills workshops, and some new and advanced skill sessions, we have included a number of workshops, lectures, and panels that focus on the intersections between nonmonogamy and other groups or movements.  In addition, there are a number of sessions on sexuality (threesomes!  D/S in the bedroom!  fisting!) and various sessions that incorporate movement or the creative arts.

Check out the sessions and presenters here:
http://www.open-sf.org/sessions.html

There’s no time like the present to register!  Not only should YOU register if you haven’t yet, but now is the time to get that recalcitrant friend on board!   Let them know that registering (currently $60) gets them the following things:

*  Access to over 35 excellent conference sessions on a variety of topics!
*  Two amazing keynote presentations!
*  Free entry to a Poly Speed Dating event and the Love Triangle dance club during the weekend.
*  Reduced entry to a special edition of the Friday Pink play party, and possibly another play party.
*  Reduced entry to a Cuddle Party on Sunday.
*  Access to various other social events at the hotel, yet to be announced!

Also, if you want a room at the hotel, now’s the time to book.  The Holiday Inn is close to full and we’ve lined up a backup hotel for the overflow.  Check out hotel information here:
http://www.open-sf.org/location.html

Love,
The OpenSF Staff

 

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©2012, Dawn M. Davidson

I

To Have Without Holding [a poem]

In my email today I found  a poem (authored by Marge Piercy), thanks to one of my fellow HAI L2 co-journeyers. It seems to me to express well one aspect of learning to love outside the box, in particular the box of “possessiveness.”

May you always “love consciously, conscientiously, concretely, constructively.”

~♥ Dawn

 

 

To Have Without Holding

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can’t do it, you say it’s killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
you float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.

~ Marge Piercy
From The Moon Is Always Female (Knopf, 1980)

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

©2012, Dawn M. Davidson