Just for Bernie

January 25th, 2009 by hannah

Bernie has been poking me to write in my blog. So, Bernie, here you go. I’ve written in it. :P

I was tempted to post only that, but for those of you who are not Bernie, here’s a thought about yoga:

At one of the studios where I teach we have a couple of new instructors. I’ve taken a couple classes with each of them so that I can learn more about their styles and make recommendations to students who are looking for something specific. Now, when I actually practice yoga, rather than teach it, I generally do so alone. It’s a very solitary thing for me. Being in a class is a very different experience. And the experience varies a lot depending on how many other students there are and where you are in the room.

Most yoga students, particularly beginners, don’t want to be in the front row of mats. They feel more comfortable in the back, or at least in the middle, where they have many people to look at if they aren’t sure how to do something. But being in the front allows for a much more inward-focused yoga practice. You have fewer distractions. You aren’t trying to keep up with the people you see in front of you or feeling worried because you’re not as flexible as so-and-so. You just move through the poses as is appropriate for your body.

Thus, my advice to you today: get in front, whether it be in yoga, dance, martial arts, aerobics, or anything else you do. Let everyone else in the room fall away as you concentrate on yourself. You may be surprised at what you discover.

I promise I’ll be back to blogging regularly again soon. It’s been really crazy over here, and a lot of things I haven’t felt comfortable discussing in this space. Perhaps I will now that I’m not in the middle of some of them.

 

“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” –Jason Crandell

Words are powerful

December 15th, 2008 by hannah

Has it really been so long since my last post? I really need to set an alarm or something. Anyway, here’s a few more thoughts about Episode 12 of the podcast.

In the episode, Bernie referred to Danny as my master and Garrett as my slave. This is not the terminology we use. In particular, Garrett is not my slave. He is my sub. I majored in history in college. I’ve done a lot of reading and research about the slave trade and the Civil War. What happened to many slaves was so completely abhorrent and so different from how I treat my subs that I do not use that word to describe my relationship with Garrett or anyone who has been submissive to me. Many people in the scene do use it; that’s their choice. But it’s not mine.

In Episode 12 there was also some discussion of my sexual orientation. As Belle said, I am bisexual. I put myself as a two on the Kinsey scale. However, I haven’t dated a woman since I joined Kanawi, so I can see how people could think I’m actually straight. I’m not one of those women who ate pussy once and so call themselves bisexual forever, either. I just haven’t found a woman I want to date in a long time. When the right one comes along, I’m sure everyone will know, ‘cause she will be screaming good and loud.

Also, to clarify something from my last post—Belle and I have never been romantically involved. A lot of people joined Kanawi after they started dating someone who was already a resident. However, Belle was the TA for a women’s studies class I took in college. I was interested in intentional communities, she happened to mention Kanawi…the rest is history.

 

“There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” – Rumi  

Oh, the drama

December 9th, 2008 by hannah

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!

December 8th, 2008 by hannah

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

November 28th, 2008 by hannah

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  

Oops, but wow

November 24th, 2008 by hannah

I am bouncing off the walls. I probably float on air after every birth at which I serve as a doula. It’s just so empowering to see women bring new lives into the world. But this time I’m absolutely wired. I caught my first baby!

I hope to get a chance to write up the entire story and post it here soon. But the short version is that labor went super-duper fast and we didn’t make it to the hospital. Doulas are not midwives. Their job is to support mamas. But I’m also in training to become a midwife, so when I realized the baby was crowning I was able to spring into action. And let me tell you, there is nothing like squirmy, gooey, fresh baby in your hands. Now I want to be a midwife more than ever.

 

“Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one.” –Gloria Steinem  

Finding your edge

November 21st, 2008 by hannah

When many Americans think of yoga, they envision beautiful, lithe young women who are completely flexible and able to do all poses perfectly. But most people who do yoga are not like that. All bodies are different. Bodies change from day to day, week to week. People do not begin practicing yoga able to achieve perfection. Bodies grow stronger and more flexible with each opportunity to practice.

In my classes, I encourage people to fall down.

When you fall, it means that you have found your edge, your limits for the day—what your body is capable of. If you’re not falling at least once in a while, you’re not challenging yourself enough. You’re not growing. You’re holding yourself back. You’re only doing what you know you can do. And while doing something is better than doing nothing, growing while doing is even better.

The yoga I practice is not about looking good for some imaginary observer. It’s about learning about oneself, about becoming more in tune with your body. In your next yoga class, push your edge. Fall down. If you don’t practice yoga, find another way to test your limits. You may be surprised at what you are capable of if you are willing to fail.

Namaste.

 

“The highest form of maturity is self inquiry.” –Martin Luther King Jr.  

While he waits…

November 17th, 2008 by hannah

Polyadventurous. What a lovely word that is. Jakob used it in the latest podcast to describe himself. It’s perfect for him, and I think it fits me pretty well too—though he is more adventurous than I am. In number of partners, certainly, but also some of his experiences are ones that I’m not willing to try.

I don’t keep a spreadsheet, but I do write in a journal several times a week, and in that way I’m able to keep a record of my sexual and loving experiences (sometimes those overlap and sometimes not). I’m really glad to have the record, especially when things get rough with a partner, or a relationship ends altogether, to remind me of the good experiences we had. People tend to talk and write about things that are difficult, about problems and hurdles. Indeed, these are often more interesting to outsiders than the happy moments because they have tension, drama, excitement. On the other hand, most people like to talk about sex.

I want to write more in response to Jakob’s appearance on the podcast, but I have a naked man tied to my bed waiting for me. Another time.

 

“It wasn’t, he swore, that he picked up so many women…. It was just that he never put any down.” — Lois McMaster Bujold, Mirror Dance  

Sleep deprived and loving it

November 14th, 2008 by hannah

I have spent the last 47 hours supporting a woman through labor and birth. I am exhausted. I am elated.

Midwives and OBs generally don’t want to see a woman until she is in active labor. As a doula, I show up for the early stages if a woman wants me there. Especially with a first birth, when a woman isn’t as sure of herself and how her labor is progressing, I can be very useful.

The babe was posterior—the baby’s back was against mama’s back. It’s easier if the babe is anterior (baby’s back against mama’s front). That was one reason the labor took so long—her body knew that the positioning wasn’t right, and it tried to correct it as best it could. She had intense back labor. I spent hours applying counter-pressure to her back with my fists and spraying her with warm water in the shower. I made sure she didn’t go to the hospital too early, because having to lie on her back with a fetal monitor strapped to her belly was only going to make the contractions more painful. I encouraged her to try to sleep between contractions, and made it possible for her husband to get six hours of sleep so that he could be fresher for when she really needed him during pushing.

She was amazing. Oh, she was determined. Forty-seven hours is a long time to labor. And yet, when we were on our way to the hospital (after forty-one hours, when the babe shifted and her water broke and we were obviously off to the races), she told me not to let them give her any drugs, not to let them even mention c-section, she wasn’t tired, she knew she could do it without interventions. And she did.

 

“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” –Laura Stavoe Harm  

Very candid

November 9th, 2008 by hannah

Okay, my mother doesn’t know about this blog, my full name is not on here, and this is unlikely to have professional repercussions. So here goes.

I’m kinky. I like being tied up. I like being spanked. But I also like to tie up and dominate other people. This makes me a switch—I can be either the top or the bottom.

An excellent teacher introduced me to BDSM a few years ago. He was (and is) fine top, and I learned a lot from him about where my limits are. Then I met a guy who leaned submissive and wanted me to dominate him.

They say that the best tops start out on the bottom. That was certainly true for me. Knowing what it was like to be submissive and what heightened or detracted from that experience for me made it easier for me to push boundaries and achieve the right intensity. I now believe that all tops and bottoms should experience the other side, and that, at least for me, being able to switch is important to my internal balance.

Now, Danny is my dom, and Garrett is my sub. And perhaps this makes it easier to understand why I was having such trouble being around the two of them at Halloween.

 

“Thou art to me a delicious torment.”Ralph Waldo Emerson