I have never spoken publicly about open relating and polyamory before…..
Partially because I’ve been exploring my stance, and also because I was a little too overwhelmed by what I’ve experienced out in the world in people and communities and facilitators and workshops, to express it.
What I see is a mess.
There is something about the contrast of utopian visions of free love and the reality of trauma, disconnect, shame and disembodiment we live in that I find very worrying.
I see a lot of people with noble intentions who have beautiful visions of abundance and freedom and healing but without the volition and integrity to address their shadows, and a huge amount of bypassing of our most fragile parts, resulting in large amounts of retraumatisation. The utopian vision and the personal needs are often dogmatically stuck to, despite the destructive consequences of the reality in the here and now. Our childhood trauma and resulting shame and the struggle to feel ourselves deeply and respect our own needs means many neglect their boundaries and end up in masochist attachment-trauma spirals. On top of that, the spiritual dogma we’ve been indoctrinated with means we choose to stay there in the name of ‘growth’.
Making space for and integrating our most tender, fragile wounded parts, and enquiring into what we need in order to truly thrive is radical activism, in my mind…. in a world in which we’ve internalised so much oppression – creating fragmentation, numbness, disconnection and constant projection – and where our resulting systems are doing the opposite of enabling life to thrive.
There are ‘free love’ communities out there where jealousy is taboo and forbidden. I’ve coached ex-Sanyasins decades after their adventures (where overwhelmed, frightened inner children were not welcome – only sexual freedom and adventure), supporting the integration of abandonment trauma. There is a famous free love community where people when re-traumatised are told to go and read more books on the subject (heard this one the other day!). Where the ‘aim’ is to not experience any kind of attachment, which to me goes horrifyingly against life. I myself had the misfortune of living in one such community last year and it is heartbreaking to see what destruction takes place in the name of ‘free love’.
Ultimately, we’re all trying to figure it out, doing our best. What’s medicine for someone is poison for someone else. What my medicine is today might change in a month’s time. I’m not trying to say one way of relating is better than another. Telling someone what is empowering for them, doesn’t work! Everyone gets to make that choice for themselves.
○ I do believe in deep authentic connection to ourselves and within relationships and a focus on what is needed in order to thrive, before getting seduced by utopian visions and idealised scenarios.
○ I believe in questioning the idea that polyamory is more spiritually ‘evolved’ somehow, and honouring that for many, depth and healing and growth is to be found in the sacred bond and container of two.
○ I believe in questioning how our paradigm of scarcity and never-ending hunger for more is affecting how we love and relate.
○ I believe in healing through love and tenderness, rather than the intensity and confrontation I see everywhere.
○ I believe in radical self love and welcoming the most tender, frightened parts of ourselves, not bypassing them or putting them in situations in which they become terrorised.
○ And while I commend people and places who are brave pioneers in exploring different ways of relating beyond monogamy, I believe in being very discerning about the places that advertise ‘free love’ and ALWAYS trusting what feels intuitively right to you, before listening to any kind of teacher or leader.