Monday, April 25, 2011

Staying Out of our Heads

This is this week's "Living Compassion" tip from Nonviolent Communication author Marshall Rosenberg, something I signed up to get via email. It very much resonates for me and says:


For most of us, learning to communicate has meant staying as Rosenberg puts it, "up in our head" rather than in our heart. "Feelings are simply not important. We are trained to be 'other-directed' rather than be in contact with ourselves," says Dr. Rosenberg

We have more words for calling people names in our everyday vocabulary then we have for clearly expressing our emotional state. It's easier to call someone a name than to stop and connect with our own feelings and needs.

We are taught to approach a problem in an analytical way. Finding the "right way to think" will serve us better every time, we're told.

But what we really need for guiding our way and finding a solution that best serves all involved is to keep our head out of our heart. This means checking in with how we feel in the situation first and then using our head to develop strategies for dealing with the present challenge.

It's important to use both our ability to think AND to feel.

This is most excellent advice, even for me, and I'm very much a feelings kind of person. It's especially good for people contemplating polyamory. It's all too easy to plunge in based on a thoroughly rational assessment of the concept and in so doing being completely unprepared for the emotional aspects of taking this big step. So if you are working on some challenge related to an alternative relationship, please be sure to give your heart equal time and consider how you feel about it as much as what you think about it. Notice what words you use when discussing it. Do you begin sentences with "I feel ....." or with "I think ...."? It's a big tipoff as to whether you are presently speaking from your head or heart. By doing both, you are much more likely to find happiness.

Beltane is Almost Here!

So spring has finally arrived, and come Thursday I'll be heading to NE Maryland for that exceedingly adult rite of spring, Free Spirit Beltane. Registration has closed and it is sold out, and no wonder considering what a great job Turtlehill Events does at organizing this event. Every year there are new opportunities to explore sacred sexuality, along with learning practices and skills to utlize to heighten and enhance these experiences.

I suppose my workshops fall into the latter category. In other workshops attendees might learn how to experience physical pain as an ordeal and rite of passage, but my work is more about learning to manage, resolve or avoid pain of the relationship-related emotional kind. I'll be presenting three workshops:
This year's Beltane theme is Feast for the Senses, and one thing I'm really looking forward to is the first ever Sensual Feast described as, "Continuing this Beltane’s “Feast for the Senses,” we come to the celebration of Taste. You are invited to experience a sensuous garden of decadent delights as a divine banquet of sweet, savory, and spicy selections are laid before you, offering up seductive scents and heavenly flavors. Lights sparkle like stars and music murmurs erotic promises; all around you are smoky eyes and sly smiles. In this lush paradise, the only rule is that you must feed others and allow yourself to be fed. Whose fingers will your lips caress tonight? What aphrodisiacs will fan the flames of your desire? In the garden of sensual delights, the Divine Beloved nourishes us with Love and intoxicates us with Beauty."

Dinner will lead directly into the Fires of Venus ritual, described as "Tonight we begin a Sacred Love Spell.  A spell that will touch our lives, open our hearts, and change the way we move through the world."  And, of course, somewhere along the way we'll dance the maypole (phallic design complete with Prince Albert piercing) and add a fourth or so layer of interwoven ribbon that takes on layer and layer of energy and meaning with every passing Beltane celebration. 

I'll be staying with all my friends from Sandbox Explorations, and as usual, we have a community kitchen planned.  My job is to set up the coffee station and make sure we all have hot, immediately available, good quality coffee each morning. 

Now, if only the Gods and Goddesses will smile upon us and gift our senses with warmth and sunshine!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sustaining the Momentum

Friends, I am still feeling the Momentum. By that I mean I still feel the incredible energy, passion and intelligence that everyone concerned with last weekend's Momentum conference held in the DC suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland contributed to it. Of course, there is never enough time to meet everyone, see everything, and catch up with friends while spending several hours videotaping programs for and, as well as sitting on two panels and giving a workshop, but I did my best.  Our task was to talk and collaborate about how to advance the cause of feminist sex-positivity and support alternative relationships, all via the use of new media. This served to inspire a wide range of amazing and thought provoking programs.

Probably the best and most impressive aspect of this event for me was the keynote panel on Friday night. It was such a thrill to see so many of my favorite sex geeks on one panel and speaking brilliantly as to the challenges we still face in achieving a more sex positive world. The panel was moderated by Las Vegas professor and media comentator Dr. Lynn Comella (on the right), and participants continuing right to left were sexologist and author Dr. Carol Queen, sex educator Reid Mihalko, sex educator and author Tristan Taormino, and author Jenny Block. Though I had never met Lynn before, I am friends with the others, and considering how infrequently I get to actually see them, with us being spread out all over the country, it was quite a thrill to see and hear them put their collective heads together - very powerful! These really are a substantial portion of the U.S. sex positive brain trust, if you will. 

I absolutely must give a shout out to Tess Danesi and Diva, a/k/a producers of the New York Sex Bloggers Calendar, for putting on an inspiring, intriguing and affordable conference. This was the first MomentumCon, but we are assured that it will not be the last. 

About 30 of us spent Saturday night in Baltimore at Baltimore adult toy shop Sugar's Red and Black Ball, an excursion arranged by ball emcee Reid Mihalko, who got us all there on the sex geek bus.  (Here I am in a picture with fabulous sex educator and Babeland sex toy reviewer Dr. Ruthie as we gathered to board the bus.)   And I would be remiss not to include the picture to the right of the ever fabulous Cunning Minx of the Poly Weekly Podcast, looking absolutely regal in her red and black costume.  And I mustn't forget to give a shout out to Sugar owner Jacq Jones, who has a lot to be proud of and who put on a fabulous celebration of what I believe is Sugar's fourth anniversary supplying quality adult toys to the people.  That's me with that gorgeous goddess of a woman below to the left. 

Considering the focus on new media, it was great fun to read all the live blogging and tweeting that went on from the conference.  Those who couldn't be in attendance can still see all the tweets, many of which were instantaneous quotes from presenters, panelists and audience members, via the hashtag #mcon.  Such brilliance! 

And this barely scratches the surface of all that is and was Momentum.  Though this was it's inaugural event, it sold out, as I suspect it will every year considering all the positive buzz it's getting so don't get left out - buy your ticket early in 2012.