Category Archives: Coaching/Counseling

1st Non-Monogamies Conference Lisbon-Portugal

Poly [etc!] in Portugal! 9/25-27/15 CfC deadline extended

NMCI Conference, Portugal, 9/25-27/15

Hey poly/open/non-mono researchers, activists, artists, and presenters! Are you in or near Europe — or would like to at least BE in Europe in September? This great conference is happening September 25-27 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Call for Contributions deadline has been EXTENDED to May 31!

Get your submissions in now to be part of the FIRST EVER Conference on Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies! https://nmciconference.wordpress.com/

 

Just want to attend the conference, without being a presenter? That’s possible too. Find out more about fees and registration here: https://nmciconference.wordpress.com/registration/

 

More Poly/Open/Non-Mono Conferences

Want to know about other upcoming conferences?  Check out Alan M’s great list of Poly Events, worldwide: http://polyevents.blogspot.com/

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

~♥ Dawn

DawnInCellPhone

Contact me and we’ll set up a time to do a FREE consultation! I’m excited to help you create your own best life and love/s!

PS: Get ready for the conference with fun T-shirts and other products from my LoveOTB Zazzle store!

 

 

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

©2015, Dawn M. Davidson

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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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)))

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International Interview on KISSable Agreements! Listen 11/22, 9a & 12p PST

VictoriaRosa

Victoria Rosa

I have really exciting news! The UK’s Victoria Rosa, of Umbrella Coaching, will be interviewing me this week! We’ll be sharing that interview with everyone twice on Saturday 11/22:

17.00 GMT, 9 am PST
and again at
20.00 GMT, 12 noon PST

Sign up here to find out how to tune in! (NOTE:  This will sign you up for Victoria’s email list. You can always unsub later if you don’t want to stay for some reason.  But she’s really cool, and I recommend her!)

Get the replay here: :
 
http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=62153184

Victoria will be interviewing me about KISSable Agreements and other subjects related to polyamory. Hear more about the 5 Reasons even good agreements can Fail, getting to Win-Win (-Win-Win…) and other great topics! Continue reading

Photo of Poly Living Attendees

Meeting Open-Hearted People at Conferences

5 Ways to Meet Open-Hearted People — Part 1: Conferences

As I mentioned in yesterday’s introduction, in this series, I’m going to discuss 5 different ways you can learn more about “outside the box” relationships, and/or meet other people who are interested in the same things … and might even want to date you! To recap, the 5 ways I’ll discuss are:

1) Conferences — one-time, occasional, or periodic gatherings

2) Ongoing Local Meetings — discussion groups, potlucks, dinners, game nights and more

3) Primarily on-line discussion groups — e.g., Facebook groups, Yahoo! Groups, Google Groups, Meetup, e-mail lists

4) Dating and Social Sites — e.g., Polymatchmaker, OK Cupid, Ko-Tango

5) Crossover Interests — e.g., tantra, swinging, naturists, kink/BDSM

Meeting Open-Hearted People at Conferences

Conferences are a popular place to meet polyamorous, open, or otherwise open-hearted people.  There are conferences in many parts of the world, and for many flavors and subgroups of the open-hearted culture.  From Open-Cons in the UK and Spain, to hotel conferences in Atlanta and Philadelphia, to clothing-optional retreats in California and New York, the wide variety of conferences available offer the opportunity to connect with like-minded people at all times of the year, and in many parts of the world.

Conferences offer a number of positive benefits for meeting others,  including:

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Afternoon Delights on 4/26/14 + Free Recording!

What’s relationship success? Is your relationship a success or not, and how do you tell? How can you use “creative relationship design” to create a successful relationship tailored to your needs, and those of your partner/s?

This was the topic of the free call that I did a couple of weeks back, with Francesca Gentille.  I’ve finally surmounted the technological hurdles to get this out in a form that anyone can listen to.  Hooray!  Below is the link to the YouTube page for the audio (the slideshow portion is fairly optional.)

If you are local to the SF Bay Area, you might be interested in the in-person class that Francesca and I are teaching THIS Saturday, April 26th:  Afternoon Delights on the Wilder Shores of Love. (HINT: there’s a DISCOUNT CODE for those who listen to the FREE CALL recording below!) We’ve still got some spaces left, so grab a friend — or two, for best prices! — and sign up for this fun, interactive workshop!

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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.”
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Green First Aid Kit

Is Jealousy Ever a GOOD Thing?

Hey polyamorous and open people, what do you think?  Is feeling jealousy ever a “good thing?” What do “feelings of jealousy” mean to you? or about you? Check out the letter below from one of my readers, and my response, for some more thoughts on this topic.

Dear Dawn:writing icon

I hope this is quick.   I don’t feel I have any place in a jealousy workshop, because I don’t see myself ever feeling jealous, because I think jealousy has to do with feeling upset because I’m not getting attention I feel is owed to me, and I don’t feel anyone owes me, or would ever owe me, attention.  Is that a sign of low self-esteem?  That is, is feeling jealous when one’s beloved gives attention to someone else ever a good thing?  Thanks!

signed, KW

Hi KW:

Jealousy is neither good nor bad.  It just IS.  It’s a collection of feelings, and those feelings are *information.*  What you do with the information is up to you, ultimately (though for some folks, it doesn’t feel like it.)  If you feel “jealous” when your lover gives attention to someone else, in my view that means it’s a signal that there’s something there for YOU to pay attention to.  Ask yourself questions like “what need do I have that feels like it’s not getting met (enough)?” “has my ‘love tank’ gotten filled enough recently, and if not, what could I possibly ask for (not demand!) that might have me feel more loved and more at ease with my partner?”  It’s not about your partner “owing” you attention — it’s about you and your partner/s having a “winning relationship” in which the *relationship* wins because everyone’s needs are getting met, and everyone in the relationship feels like they’re “winning” (i.e., getting what they need in a win-win-win… manner.)

I think you might find the teleseminars interesting and thought-provoking, so I’d encourage you to sign up, and get the handouts at least. And if you listen to the recordings, you will hear some nice “relaxation meditations” by Kathy, and also get other people’s definitions of jealousy (they’re not all the same as yours!)  I’d also encourage you to buy the “beta” version of my KISSable Agreements book (if you haven’t yet), wherein I discuss the win-win-win model I mentioned above. The ideas work well together, and in that book I walk you through a process of discovering your own (and maybe your partners’) needs.

Hope that was a helpful response!

Thanks for writing!


Dawn

Here’s wishing you few jealous moments, lots of compersion, and happy relationships!
Because no matter who or how many you love…Love is always OK!

~♥ Dawn

Green First Aid KitGreen First Aid KitGreen First Aid KitPS: Have you signed up for the 3rd and final teleseminar with Kathy Labriola and myself, on Monday October 21st at 5:45 – 7pm Pacific Time?  Called “More Options for More Jealousy,” this is ANOTHER all new call, feature a new relaxation meditation, more models and options for dealing with jealousy, and a step-by step process for examining your beliefs and fears around your jealousy triggers.  We’d love to have you join us! (or, if you can’t be on the call live, sign up anyway, and get the recording and the FREE “take home materials”!)

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

(Over-)Communicate, Communicate, Communicate?

Communication

The poly mantra, as they say, is “Communicate, communicate, communicate,” hereinafter represented as “C^3” for brevity in this article. 🙂  We all know (or we learn quickly), that polymory and open relationships take a LOT of communicating.  In fact, a therapist friend of mine, Cat Maness, said yesterday, that her top 5 skills for poly/open relationships are:

  1. Communicate
  2. Communicate
  3. Communicate
  4. Communicate
  5. Scheduling

And I’ll add that the most common thing to communicate about is… scheduling!  We do a lot of talking and writing around here. It’s just part of the process.

That said, there comes a time when some folks feel that C^3 is OVER-communicating.  Recently, for instance, in publicizing the second workshop I’m doing with Kathy Labriola, MORE Jealousy First Aid, I sent out a couple of invites, and Kathy send out an invite, and at least some people on both lists have started to feel like it’s OVER-communicating.  (Theoretically, having Infusionsoft is supposed to help with this, but I’m such  relative n00b at it that I’m still figuring out how to use all the fancy bells and whistles.) The fact, is though, that one person’s “communicating” is another person’s “OVER-communicating.”  People have different preferences, and different levels of comfort with communication.  And that’s natural, too.

One way you can mitigate the mismatches in communication styles is, of course, to make some Agreements about them. 🙂 Here’s where you might want to check into my newly-available “beta” version of my KISSable Agreements Workbook, or to check out Cat Maness’ online Agreement generator.

Another thing to remember, is that sometimes someone may be “over-communicating,” because they aren’t getting a “handshake” from you. There may be a simple fix in making a specific, verbal acknowledgement of the message received. Then they can rest assured that you’ve received the message, and can stop delivering it “just in case you haven’t.”

What’s your comfort level with communication?  Do you believe in C^3? Or do you have other ideas about communication? No matter what, I hope your communications are helpful in whatever sort of relationship/s you have. Because no matter who or how many you love…

Love is always OK!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Watch for more from both me and Cat Maness, by the way. We’ve got some collaboration in the works for world domination, er… helping everyone we can through consciously co-created Agreements. 😀

PPS: I’m out of town this weekend, teaching at the Church of All Worlds Conclave in Cotati. If you decide to purchase my KISSable Agreements Workbook beta version, it might take me an extra day or two to get it to you. I will do so, never fear!

PPPS: If you can’t be on the live call for the MORE Jealousy First Aid Workshop, don’t worry.  Sign up anyway! You’ll get information on how to access the recording later. 🙂

 

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Green First Aid Kit

Got Jealousy? Get First Aid!

Green First Aid KitHello, all you poly/open folks!

Have you or someone you love ever experienced painful episodes of jealousy in an open relationship?  You know the ones… maybe you feel alternately cold, and hot, and like you want to do damage to the furniture, or your partner, or maybe even yourself.  You want to scream, and feel like this poly/open stuff is just too hard, and you just want to throw in the towel and give up. Ever felt like that?

Yeah, me too! And honestly, who hasn’t? (Well, ok, maybe you haven’t, but if so, I’ll bet your partners have! And that’s not fun either.) Jealousy is all too common, and it’s never fun. Would you be willing to invest about an hour of your time in order to learn effective, practical in-the-moment techniques to reduce these jealous feelings — even as they are happening?

If so, then you”ll want to register for our free teleseminar:                                           

“JEALOUSY FIRST AID”       

Wednesday Sept 4, 2013, at 5:45 to 7pm

This free teleseminar will be facilitated by Dawn Davidson and Kathy Labriola, two well-known polyamory educators and counselors in the San Francisco Bay Area. Understand your jealousy, and learn and practice two very effective exercises to manage your jealousy in this short and powerful class!

During this class, Kathy will help you to create and understand “Your Personal Jealousy Pie Chart” to reduce the fear, anger, and sadness of jealousy. Dawn will lead you through her “Juggling for Idiots” jealousy exercise using a simple modified-EMDR technique that anyone can use to get immediate relief from an acute jealousy episode. This teleseminar will be participatory and will include a Question and Answer period as well as valuable take-home materials for continued learning!
RSVP today for Jealousy First Aid, and get some great information and tips from not just one but TWO experts on de-fanging the green-eyed monster!

Kathy and I can’t wait for you to join our call!

…because no matter who or how many you love… Love is ALWAYS OK!

~ Dawn

Dawn icon portraitDawn Davidson
http://www.loveoutsidethebox.com
loveotb@gmail.com
510-686-3386

kathyLabriolaKathy Labriola, Counselor/Nurse
anarchofeminist@yahoo.com
(510)841-5307
http://www.kathylabriola.com
Pre-order the NEW “The Jealousy Workbook”!

PS:  Having trouble with the signup form, or just want to talk to a human being first?  You can also contact Dawn at LoveOTB@gmail.com, 510-686-3386; or Kathy at anarchofeminist@yahoo.com, or (510)841-5307.

PPS:  Don’t suffer longer than you need to!  RSVP today for Jealousy First Aid!
https://di986.infusionsoft.com/app/form/jfa-event-sign-up

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

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]