Archive for the ‘intentional communities’ Category

Oh, the drama

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

The more than a week I went without posting was due, in part, to this post sitting, mostly finished, for days. I’ve been really busy, it’s true, but I also fear that I’m going to ruffle some feathers. Well, let the ruffling commence.

Episode 11 of the podcast and its discussion of the early, redacted episodes as well as Person A and Person B really got me thinking. I’ve been on the wrong end of Bernie, Belle and Will’s sharp tongues—or Danny has, at least. One of the episodes was in large part an extended rant about swingers, which seem to be people who don’t do poly the way Belle does. Now, despite our recent problems with her insane jealousy, I like Belle. She introduced me to the Kanawi community. But she is very…let us say rigorous…in her views on some subjects.

Danny and I have been dating for almost two years now, and are thinking about living together soon. He’s an incredibly important part of my life. He is also not a swinger, at least as I define it. Both Danny and I are open to short relationships. We do not practice polyfidelity the way Belle and her partners do. I might be open to polyfidelity should I find the right group of people. Being open to new experiences is very important to me, however, so I’m not sure I would feel truly comfortable never being able to form a partnership with a new person again. But I digress.

Danny is not a swinger. And so I got very angry when the episode characterized him as such. I was part of the group (with Person A and Person B, and a few others) that lobbied for the episode to be taken down. Now that I have some distance and have been able to talk more calmly with the Polytics crew about it, I understand better what was going on. Obviously, I’m blogging here on the Polytics site, so I don’t bear a grudge the way Person A and Person B do.

I do think it would be useful to have a discussion about what the purpose of the podcast really is. Who is the audience? Is it for the Kanawi community? Is it for a larger public? Is it for discussing issues or telling people’s secrets? Is inciting drama within its mission? Because let me tell you, when Person A and Person B find out that their drumstick story has been shared with the world, the drama is going to be crazy. (How they haven’t yet is beyond me.) Bernie and Will and Jakob all knew that, and yet they told the story and didn’t edit it out. Is that really responsible and good for the community?

I suppose the same question might be asked about airing Belle’s Jello drama. But that seems different to me because it was Belle talking about herself, and she didn’t share any secrets or embarrass anyone other than herself. Tina and I know that everything was completely innocent between us.


“Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.” –Richard Bach


Jello-sy indeed!

Monday, December 8th, 2008

I just got a chance to listen to the latest episode of the podcast. Wow, so much I want to say. For now, though, let me state, as clearly as I can:

I am not interested in dating Tina. I am not trying to steal her away from Belle. Tina is lovely and great and I value her friendship, but I don’t like her like that. (I feel like I’m in middle school.) I don’t know what crack Belle is smoking, but she’s wrong about Tina and me.

However, if Tina and I were interested in each other, then that would and should be okay. It is extremely unfair for one person in a polyamorous relationship to have multiple partners while prohibiting their partners from dating anyone else. If a person chooses to have a single relationship while their partner has multiple relationships, that’s one thing. I also believe in primaries having some amount of veto power. But polyamory is not maintaining a harem.


“If one does not wish bonds broken, one should make them elastic and thereby strengthen them.” –Ardant du Picq

Thanksgiving at Kanawi

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Yesterday we had our community Thanksgiving. Overall, it went really well. My parents decided to have dinner with my sister’s family, so they weren’t around this year. That’s cool. I was able to spend the day with people who are as much my family as those who are actually related to me. Both Danny and Garrett were around for dinner, and while it was still weird, it was a bit more comfortable than Halloween.

In the morning, before the kitchen became really crazy and guests began arriving, Tina and I made Jello together. I think that Jello at Thanksgiving is a little silly, but it’s a tradition here, and evidently lots of other places (Google “Thanksgiving Jello” without the quotes if you don’t believe me). Belle and Tina usually make it together, but Belle has been buried under mounds of grading. When I saw Tina starting to make it on her own, I volunteered my fabulous apple-chopping skills. And I really enjoyed having the opportunity to hang out with her.

Although we have communal meals every day and community meetings once a week (if not more), enough people live in Kanawi now that it’s hard to really know or spend a significant amount of time with everyone. I realized recently that my closest friends here are all male, and mostly lovers or former lovers. Thus, I’m trying to take opportunities to spend time one-on-one and in small groups with community members I don’t know as well, especially women. 


“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” –Richard Bach  

Probably worried about nothing

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

One of the problems with the Shake situation is that apparently the community never came to consensus about him coming to live at Kanawi. I’m the recorder for community meetings, and even I don’t know how that happened. It’s crazy. And a lot of people are still very angry.

I am, on the other hand, worried. Danny and I are thinking about moving in together, which means that he would join the Kanawi community. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. But with the atmosphere the way it is, I don’t think the community would allow anyone to join right now. We aren’t on a timeline; there’s no reason it has to happen soon. But I would rather that Danny be evaluated on his merits (which are many) rather than in reaction to a situation with someone else entirely.  


“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” –Chinese proverb

Spooks and goblins

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Last night Kanawi had its annual Halloween/Samhain party. I dressed up as an old-fashioned nurse, complete with cap. My primary, Danny, is a medical resident, so he thought this was particularly funny. The party went well overall, but it ended up being somewhat awkward for me because my two partners, Danny and Garrett, were both there.

The two guys get along with each other fine. That’s not the issue at all. Rather, I felt at times like I was being pulled in two different directions, wanting to keep both of them happy, but not able to be in multiple places at once. Garrett and I have only been dating for a month and a half or so, and it’s only in the last couple of weeks that things have really started to heat up and get well into NRE (new relationship energy) territory. Danny and I have been dating for more than two years, on the other hand, so we’re kind of like an old married couple. Besides duration, the two relationships are very different in other ways, which compounded the issue. The dissonance was mostly in my head—I don’t think that other people noticed anything weird.

If Danny ends up moving into Kanawi, as he and I have discussed, and Garrett (who already lives in Kanawi) and I keep dating, then this sort of situation will arise more frequently. I hope it becomes easier over time.


“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” –Carl Jung  

Yoga among the community meeting

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

As Bernie mentioned, we had an incredibly long community meeting about the situation with Shake. Long meetings are not uncommon here, and achieving consensus is really important to the community running as well as it does. However, it’s still difficult to listen to people argue for hours on end while we try to make sure that all voices are heard.

One way I cope with the meetings is by doing yoga while everyone is talking. I am responsible for taking notes during meetings—one of the ways I contribute to the community—which reduces the poses I can reasonably do. But even sitting in lotus or standing at the table in a lunge while I type on the laptop can be helpful. I challenge you to try it: the next time you’re involved in a difficult discussion, find a pose that feels good and allows you to keep talking, Or, if you can, take a five minute break to spend some time in child’s pose or downward dog. Just a little bit of getting in tune with your breath and body can make a world of difference.



“A photographer gets people to pose for him.  A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves.” –T. Guillemets  

Chill out, people

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Regarding the situation with Shake: I don’t know Shake. But I do know Logan. And while he loves playing practical jokes on people, I don’t think he would knowingly expose the entire community to a drug night after night. One pan of special brownies, sure—but he’d be laughing at us the next morning. I think that everything has been blown way out of proportion. The fact is, Shake is a darn good cook.


“A good cook is the peculiar gift of the gods. He must be a perfect creature from the brain to the palate, from the palate to the finger’s end.” –Walter Savage Landor