Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thoughts on Polyamory

Tonight my business partner asked me if I have really considered that polyamory may not be part of who I am right now. I have considered it, very deeply. What I am experiencing is excruciating at times. I have asked myself many, many times if it's worth it. And I absolutely believe that it is, not only because I believe polyamory is an authentic expression of who I am and what I know about love, but because I also know what I know about fear.

My emotional reactions to Knight's new relationship are all based in fear. The topsy-turvy feeling in my belly is fear. I will not live a life based on fear, especially in my relationships. I have already lived fear, contraction and making myself smaller than I really am. I have watched the people I love choose fear. My mother died at the hands of her fear. My ex-husband lives his life through a computer because of his fear. When any of us hurt ourselves or each other, it is always in fear.

I choose love and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I will sit through the fear, the heartache, the bellyaches, the memories, the insights, the breakthroughs and everything else in order to have love. I will work, like I have worked all my life, to create a life of joy, intimacy and creativity with Knight, my tribe and all the loves who come into our lives in the time we are together.

I know that once I work through the fear, I am capable of compersion. I know what it is to be desired and loved by Knight. It's a gift and one that should be shared. I cannot possess it. I cannot ask him to hold it back from others, to diminish his light when he feels drawn to shine it in sexual and/or emotional ways. If the relationship turns out to be long-term, rather than fear Knight's new lover, I would like to get to know her and to understand the opportunity in her for his capacity to love to deepen.

I believe in love. I know with all of my being that love can overcome my fear. Not just the love between Knight and I, but the love for myself that I am slowly growing, and the love from my friends as they bear witness and support me where they can, and the love of the Divine that flows through me when I am not afraid to let it. I believe that God, my community and I can love me into healing. I believe that the light that Knight shines in his love for me inspires me to burn brighter in my capacity to love (and vice versa). I will not walk away from it in fear.


As I consider the work of my heart, I keep coming back to something a spiritual teacher told me a few years ago. I was in a state of self-pity about how much trauma I've had to endure in my life. He told me that he felt that my purpose was to learn how to live through these traumas and heal them so that I could help others navigate their way through. Instead of going to university to become a psychologist, I am living the life of healing so that I can share my story and the tools that I am learning to use along the way.

I have overcome so many things: emotional abuse and a neglect as a child, a mentally ill mother, an alcoholic/drug addict stepfather, sexual molestation at 11, teen pregnancy/motherhood, single mothering, a gun to my head, rape resulting in another child, more single mothering, Borderline Personality Disorder (and all the consequences of acting out), and an extremely unhealthy and violent marriage.

What I am experiencing now is nothing in comparison to those traumas. This isn't trauma, this is fear of trauma. I can overcome this incredible fear that came from all of those things I have experienced. What I am afraid of is what happened before, not what is happening now. What is happening now is that I am in the most loving and healthy relationship of my life (even with its issues). What is happening now is that I have found someone willing to give me everything I have ever wanted -- to be known and loved for everything that I am, light and darkness, and to grow consciously together towards less fear and deeper love.

Sitting with my fear and feelings while my lover has a joyful, loving experience with another person is not the most horrible thing in the world. Facing my fear so that I can have compersion for his other relationships is something worth working towards. I believe that all relationships have spiritual purpose--that we are drawn to people who can help us wake up to greater love, if we do the work in relationship to them. If this is true, then every woman that Knight is authentically drawn to has the potential of waking him up to more love, which then allows him to share more love with me. The same goes for me and my other relationships when they happen.

I have been looking for love, and actively desiring to overcome the fear in my heart and home, since I was 14 years old and started reading every book that Leo Buscaglia wrote. I have known about and believed I am poly since I was 21. If you look at my bookshelf you will find many titles with the word Love, or which have ideas about how to experience more love in life. My life is about love, experiencing it in every possible way, as deep as it can possibly go. I can't and I won't choose anything else.

I believe that everything about who Knight is, including his authentic desire for polyamory, is here to wake me up to greater love. I believe that what I am going through right now is absolutely necessary if I am to have the vibrant life of love and creativity that I desire. I also believe it's absolutely necessary so that I can help my community move into lives of vibrant love, too.

I had the thought today that maybe there are other people who struggle with emotional and mental health issues that desire to be poly, but maybe having a more difficult time like I am because of brain chemistry or really fucked up childhoods or whatever. When I read resources about polyamory, what I don't see is someone addressing the deeper issues that result in intense jealousy and fear-based reactions to our partner's other relationships. Some of us have psychological (and spiritual) work to do in order for poly to be workable. I wonder how many people might be giving up too soon because they don't know what they need to make it work?

Just questions for now, but possibly another piece of the puzzle. There are a lot of serendipities pointing the direction towards me doing work with people around emotional-mental-spiritual health.

1 comment:

Dave Berman said...

I strongly suggest that you join the Poly Leadership Network. Even though you are struggling to be OK with poly relationships in your own life, your openness about it, familiarity with it, and overall leadership in the Imps community make you a good fit for the group, which both stands to gain from your membership and offer you at least some of what you seem to be seeking as well. Thank you for continuing to share of yourself on this blog...