1 POLYAMORY: MORE LOVE FOR ALL (Sasha Lessin, Ph.D.)
[Reprinted from Loving More Magazine Summer, 1999]
What happens when you feel love for and sexual attraction to more than one
person at the same time? Must you abandon, hurt and betray one lover and
pledge sexual exclusivity to the other? Or can you include both rather
than reject one of them? The monogamous tradition--sexual loving
with only one mate your whole life--may, for some people, be constricting
and hurting you and those you cherish. And people hardly ever live up the
monogamy ideal; they have affairs and divorce. Global censuses show 70% of
men and 50% of women have extramarital affairs. As women age, the
percentage of them with lovers other than their husbands increases.
Divorce is rampant. In California, for example, the average marriage lasts
only 4½ years. Your loving feelings flow naturally to people who
each can uniquely contribute to your development and you to theirs.
So don't criticize yourself
when you experience attraction to more than one person. Instead, consider
the perspective of polyamory. Polyamory--loving more than one
person--offers an alternate perspective to monogamy. Polyamory provides
other valid ways of sharing intimacy, family and community. Polyamory
includes all forms of multi-partner relating, such as open relationships,
intimate networks and various forms of polyfidelity (commitment to more
than one)--triads, larger group marriages, intentional communities.
All these forms of polyamory can be ethical, supportive, honest and
trusting. Polyamorous relations provide opportunities for you to know and
heal yourself. You have a chance to replace shame and guilt with love and
self-acceptance, to master communication and to fully feel your sexual
energy. You learn to use jealous feelings that may arise to teach you what
self-limitations you need to reprogram to feel free and present.
Polyamory gives you a model of relationships that includes rather than
excludes people. It advocates, if you're so inclined, that you expand
rather than limit intimacy in your life.
The "poly" perspective extolls honest, profound, caring
relationships that encompass more love for all, where everyone gets the
attention, companionship and sexual sharing they need. The poly
perspective combines security, stability, disease safety and partnership
(which it shares with the monogamous
perspective) with excitement, variety, pleasure, growth and expansion. It
encourages mature, loving relations with more than one partner; it can
support you becoming more fully alive, vibrant, passionate and loving.
We think Polyamory, loving more than one person at the same time, is
always a good choice. No problem, love many.
But Polysexuality, more than one lover? Polyamory with polysexuality–one
of several relationship options–works well for some people some of the
time. But so, too, do any of the other relationship options--monogamy,
singlehood, even celibacy works for other people some of the time.
Choose. We advocate CHOICE. Be the chooser, decider, author of this
chapter of your life. We want you (and those you help) to make discerning
choices that serve you (and them). Make choices that facilitate your
personal growth and evolution and at the same time honor and respect the
people you commit to love.
You have relationship options–monogamy, celibacy, open marriage,
pair-bonded inclusive relating, triads (man-woman-man, woman-man-woman,
man-man-man, woman-woman-woman) polyfidelity, loving networks, group
marriage, multi-generational line marriage, and more. You have
heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual alternatives within each.
Though you consult others, ultimately, you make your own choices, choices
consonant with your stage of life, experience, needs at the time.
2 TANTRA SCHOOL
Chose from a wide variety of classes covering a multitude of subjects such
as yoga, tantra, psychology, human sexuality, existentialism and
relationship counseling. Tantra School is for both serious students and
couples to learn the skills they need to create loving relationships,
master tantra, become healers or learn how to be teachers and seminar
presenters. Come to Maui and experience all that we have to give. Chose
from a wide menu of
offerings during your stay such as: private instruction, classes,
counseling, therapy, certification programs and degree accreditation along
with sacred celebrations, pujas, relationship dating and support groups.
Modalities include Tantra, Yoga, Gestalt, Voice Dialogue, Holotropic
Breathwork, Spirit Releasement, Hypnotherapy, Imago Management,
Existential Life Review, Childhood and Pastlife Regression Therapy. $495
week. We hold Tantra School whenever two or more students enroll. To
register for private classes or Tantra School, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 PERILS AND PEARLS OF POLYAMORY [fom Loving More Magazine #23 (Janet)
Looking at the miracle of a pearl we see how a grain of dirt and the
irritation it causes stimulates a natural response whereby in the process
of protecting itself, the oyster creates a jewel of incredible beauty.
While in the midst of learning the art of relationships, it seems almost
impossible to see how polyamory's dirt: jealousy, insecurity, fear, lack
of communication skill and a myriad of other perils can be the stimulus
for our personal evolution creating the pearls that await us. But it's
true. Perhaps my path may best illustrate this.
I was a "mistake" when I was created. While in the womb my
mother was deathly ill, tortured with her own guilt as she was unsure that
she really wanted me. When I was born, my poor confused, schizophrenic
mother alternately adored me then repeatedly tried to kill me. My Pleaser
was born as a protection method to insure my survival. Having to focus on
Mother and her needs and learning how to effectively pacify her violent
part, I perfected the art of accommodation, even at my own expense.
My models of relating were my parents; two people who said they loved one
another, yet rarely talked nor showed affection. My Father loved me, but
he was emotionally unavailable as he was suffering from post-traumatic
stress disorder as a result of being a veteran of WWII.
Neither Mother nor Father were ever diagnosed nor helped. We all
just lived with it, and the repercussions of such a life.
I took these early patterns into my intimate relationships. In my
teens and twenties, I tended to play victim. I externalized and blamed,
making the other partners the villain. Trying to escape my dysfunctional
family, I married very young; at age 16. It was like jumping from the
frying pan into the fire.
My first husband suffering from his own childhood of physical abuse, beat
me and cheated on me, had sex with other women (and denied it) and
abandoned me. Our interactions consisted of either he being in my face in
rage or abandoning me completely. When I look back on these days
what truly amazes me is not that the abuse was happening, but that the
little girl I was back then put up with it.
I repeated that pattern of recreating my dynamics with my parents in my
succeeding relationships in varying degrees for most of my life. Victim
was my life's theme. With each succeeding relationship and reinforcement,
my primary subpersonality became Pleaser and I identified with her and
thought she was me. I was always the sweet little innocent girl who didn't
make waves and was so soft-spoken and sweet, I bordered on the angelic.
My second husband, a true knight in shining armor, rescued me from
disaster. After our initial passion, Jim progressively abandoned me as he
was a workaholic. I was so lonely my emotional distress was severely
affecting my health and I became physically ill.
Meanwhile, in my search for some form of intimate connection I fell into
my computer and discovered a fascinating new invention called the
internet. That was 1991.
I met a married man who lived 5000 miles from me which eventually led to
an affair and the end of the monogamous chapter of my life. After two
"failed" marriages spanning 24 years of my life, I figured there
had to be a better way of relating than the painful marriages I had
endured that seemed to offer little happiness.
And thus began the collection of my pearls.
Pearl 1 I deeply love more than one in an intimate, passionate fashion.
When I fell in love with Evan, I did not stop loving my husband, Jim. What
an incredible personal revolution.
Pearl 2: It is every bit as wrong to be the victim as the victimizer. As
my life progressed I realized that the dynamics of dyads seem to foster my
dysfunctional relating, allowing for no external system of checks and
balances. With each succeeding relationship, my partner and I eventually
became blind to our system as we moved further into our drama; our
co-creation in a subconscious effort to reprogram and heal ourselves from
our childhood wounds and the hurts from relationships before our current
Pearl 3 By shifting my physical location I could change my entire
perspective and open my life to greater joy. When I moved from PA to HI, I
realized my cultural conditioning and restrictive society I was living in
was repressive and I was literally suffocating and dying. My distress had
manifested itself in the form of lung disease and I was dying. Moving was
perceived by my family as an extremely selfish thing for me to do, as my
parents were elderly and
needed me. I was in a no-win situation till I learned what I wanted and
let myself go for it. Then I began to distinguish who I really was from
Pleaser, who'd dominated my subconscious. I began to develop an aware
ego--center--and find me.
Pearl 4 There are no fairy godmothers or knights in shining armor. Evan
couldn't rescue me anymore than Jim could. I have to do it myself.
Pearl 5 Polyamory may not feel any better than monogamy. When I moved from
Pennsylvania to Hawaii, I began exploring various structures involving
multiple partners. I became enormously uncomfortable as I couldn't escape
my own dysfunctions by disappearing into many relations as I now had more
to bust me on my stuff.
Pearl 6 Always be honest: I played mistress in Hawaii with Evan for two
years. At times the wife knew we were seeing each other and other times
she didn't. It didn't feel good for any of us and I felt guilty and my
inner critic really beat me up.
Pearl 7 need to be included. I lived in what may be described as an
"open marriage" for 4 years with a boyfriend where he didn't
meet my partners and I didn't meet his, yet we knew about the
others. That hurt. I felt lonely and abandoned. I punished myself
with my new self-imposed rules of polyamory that I "shouldn't"
be jealous, and I felt horrible. I found that I like to discuss our
adventures and learned the hard way that some people don't care to know
what the other has done. I am far too curious for that to work for
me. When I don't know, my abandonment issues come up and I find
feeling quite jealous when I'm not there. As a result, I've learned to cut
myself a break and honor where I am in the moment. My personal growth does
not have to be huge steps which will only shut myself down. Baby steps are
Pearl 8 Despite how it looks, mirrors can be a blessing. We attract people
who enact our inchoate, underdeveloped, suppressed, despised or otherwise
disowned aspects, inner voices, shadow subselves and hated habits. We see
in those we attract what we like least about ourselves. These
"mirrors, reflect parts of us we need to accept, honor and enjoy n
order to feel whole. In a polyamorous lifestyle, we have many mirrors to
reflect back our many worts. We get a chance, with multiple lovers, to
burn our karma on a polyamorous pyre.
By this time, I was gathering enough pearls to make quite a necklace.
In 1997, I met and married Dr. Sasha Lessin, a poly practitioner of 30
years. For a while I thought all my dreams had come true; my prayers
answered. In reality, being involved with one of the most poly men on the
planet put me on the emotional fast track. Sasha--involved in several
tantric, polyamorous love nests across the country--had numerous lovers.
Since he had just spent a year on the road visiting them, most of them
arrived on our door within those first three months of our relationship.
Their non-verbalized expectations, either of me or of Sasha, required me
to not be jealous. Oh boy, big trouble. At that point, the dam broke lose
and I reacted adversely to just about everything. I felt jealous, hurt,
insecure, abandoned, afraid, terrified and once quiet little angelic Janet
began to cry, scream, yell and throw fits.
Pearl 9 Relax. Slow down. Breathe.
Pearl 10 I am absolutely, positively the worst candidate for community. I
need my privacy. I get cranky from too much confusion and interaction. I
need my own space.
Pearl 11 I like having a husband. I don't share very well. Nine months
into my marriage with Sasha all hell broke lose. We had opened up our
community to another couple. The man, Sam, thought he was a poly expert
since he had lived 15 years in a large poly community in New Zealand. I
felt he was a "poly nazi." His melodramatic wife was subject to
temper tantrums. I had vetoed them from the start yet Sasha wanted them.
Sasha and I had developed financial problems which destabilized us and we
had moved into an intense negative bonding pattern where we frequently
felt those poly "experts" could help. This brew was an unstable
mixture bound to explode.
The other couple convinced Sasha that I was his main problem and
threatened to leave if I didn't stop crying, quarreling and being upset. I
found myself on a plane; banished, alone and living on another island. I
had now found myself in my life's darkest hour. I survived my extremely
painful existence and earned my reward and found my greatest love, my
deepest soul connection and twin flame. Now Sasha and I were finished,
forever. We would never
touch again. I was truly alone. I had never felt so sad in my entire life.
Pearl 12 Love is: Somewhere in the midst of my greatest pain, I came to a
realization that despite the fact of all that was happening, I loved Sasha.
I may never see him again, yet that did not change what I felt. I love
Sasha. I knew in that moment that I loved him, forever, always and
completely, unconditionally, no matter what else happened. I knew that I
have love and I have this incredible ability to love and that love is with
me always and
forever and that no one can ever take that away from me.
As awful as this felt, if I had not dared to venture into this incredibly
difficult and frightening poly path, I would never have realized this most
precious pearl of all. By knowing love and experiencing love outside of
myself, I grew to realize that the love was really not "out
there" or "in them" but that the greatest love of all is
right here, always with me, inside me and it IS me.
Our love was too strong to allow us to part. Stubborn thing, love is.
Sometimes, despite all reasoning and logic, love seems to prevail. Sasha
and I couldn't leave each other and thus we gradual found the way back
home to one another. Somewhere during my struggles I evolved and realized
that could no longer blame the other and the world and had to take
responsibility for my life, my issues and my actions. Here I thought I was
"safe" having married one of the world's greatest shrinks as
surely he would be able to deal with my issues. Reality is, he's human
too. Despite all this clarity, I still have the tendency time and again to
revert to blame. Reality is, I am very difficult to live with and I have
only to blame my own inner triad: me, myself and I.
When I think about it, my poly life has perhaps been even more stressful
than my monogamous one. In monogamy I could at least remain in some
fictional world of denial and dysfunction. Polyamory somehow is more real,
alive and in my face.
Polyamory can end in divorce. One couple we know, married for 9 years are
now reconstructing their relationship by getting a divorce and remaining
business partners and friends. Another couple married for 10 years plus
had a huge public party celebrating their divorce. She's getting married
to someone else next month. They too have decided to remain friends. Yet
another long-time married couple are "married" once a week.
Every Wednesday they are totally committed to one another for that day,
with complete devotion for the duration of their interaction, then total
autonomy in the
interim with no questions asked till they meet again the following week.
It amazes me when people attempt this alone. I don't know how anyone out
there does any kind of relationships; monogamous or polyamorous without
counseling seminars, workshops, or emersing themselves in a
Sasha and I have arrived at our bliss. What works well for us is inclusive
loving, with each of us having a veto on one
another's sexual involvement. All sexualloving takes place in each others'
Relating to other couples has to be right for each and every one of us, no
small requirement, since we're bi, eccentric and intense and need
all-round approbation with our lovers. We have discovered that tantric
healing, regression therapy and reprogramming work. We're now dating
couples and singles committed to full-clearing as well as polyamory. It is
a life-process. We now enjoy the ride.
When loving others together, when we or someone we are dating becomes
upset, we honor the upset whenever they occur and stop whatever's going
on, even sexual celebration, and focus our attention on the upset person.
If we cannot resolved the upset in the present, we ask the destabilized
person to return experientially to earlier times or even pastlife images
of similar upsets that may be fueling her current upset.
With each revelation we continue to gather the pearls. Now they are not
only our own, but include our dear beloveds.
One recent revelation I had regarding the perceived dichotomy (monogamy
vs. polyamory) which creates the division, controversy, stress, seizing
children, adversity and even sometimes violent reactions to polyamory, is
how conflicted we feel when not coming to grips will the parts of
ourselves which create our personal hells. My own personal struggle,
"am I polyamorous, am I monogamous" has created a great deal of
distress for myself.
As I fell asleep the other day, I asked Sasha, "Is it ok I'm
monogamous? I mean, I really am. I'm mono (one) gamous (married).
Married to one and I have no desire to marry another. Yet, I truly am poly
(many) amorous (love) as I love many and want to make love to them."
He smiled and his eyes sparkled as he said "Of course!"
And I fell asleep and had the greatest peace I've known in the longest
All parts and voices are in us and valid . We truly can at last give
ourselves permission to have our cake and eat it too, then others may
relax and find peace as well.
4 PERILS & PEARLS of PAIR
DATING & GROUP MATING: THE WORKSHOP
Loving More West Coast Conference, Harbin Hot Springs, CA, June 15,
2002, 4 PM
Participants share their experiences poly dating singles, couples, triads
and moresomes. Janet and Sasha Lessin, perennial polys, provide an
intimate interview structure where participants practice vetting each
other in ways that can lead to friendship or more. 1-800-424-9561 or http://lovemore.com/lmcons.html
5 TANTRA RITUAL FOR LOVING THE ONES YOU'RE WITH, OTHERS TOO
Loving More East Coast Summer Conference at Ramblewood Retreat, MD
August 2 - 4, 2002
Learn to love in ways that make you feel secure, sensual, empowered,
open-hearted, heard, supported and spiritually encouraged. In this
beginning circle, sharing within the limits of choice, enjoy directed
supportive encounters, tantric energy exchanges, visualizations and
Compersion and linkage exercises. 1-800-424-9561 or http://lovemore.com/lmcons.html
6 POLYAMOROUS TANTRIC COMMUNITY IN PARADISE
Perhaps you long for family, for tribe, the families you were born into
dispersed--parents dead, siblings distant, kids moved. Are you ready for
something new? Maybe you share our vision--a tribe of soul synergists,
enjoying life and intimacy to the max in paradise. Together, we rescript
outgrown limits we imprinted. When I look at the love that Sasha and I
share, I think our love is "perfect" and I feel blessed. Part of
me wants to judge and deny and looks at "perfect" from the
perspective of others. Yet when I look from my highest self, at Sasha and
I as a pair, we still seem
perfect because we have an authentic relationship, open and honest.
We are twin flame souls who've rediscovered one another after centuries
apart as well as lifetimes shared. Our love is intense, our devotion
total, our dedication complete. As I look back on my life, I know our love
is our greatest accomplishment and highest gift to all beings. We feel
full with one another, whole, complete, peaceful within from our
inner-dependency, safe to experience all the emotions of the human
condition: mad, sad, glad or afraid. Our hearts swell and overflow and
we're ready to receive mutually chosen
members of a new family. We seek six to twelve adults for our Maui family
and other beloveds for our global community.
Contact us if you want to
join our experiment in conscious community and do better with us here in
Hawaii, better than parents and society. In our community, we shed fears,
inhibitions, judgments; we see beauty and divinity in each other. Here,
you can love more than one. You feel bigger than just the life within your
bag of skin. You experience oneness with others. Surrender to love and
find yourself. Co-create community as a model for the return of the
partnership society with true equality for all; men, women, adults,
children and other creatures who share our lives. Each member will be
honored and supported on all chakra levels, so that they might do what
they love and love what they do. Maui gifts a special few to bliss, as
good as it gets here on Earth. Our island cleanses you with verdure, heals
you in her waters. Dr. Sasha and I have a beautiful, breeze-swept
four-story home to share; it hugs the mountainside rainforest over the
ocean. Potential Community Members (mature non-smoking, tidy,
self-supporting adults): Email us at email@example.com
for an interview. We'd love to hear from you. Mahalo (that means
"thanks" in Hawaiian) Check our website
7 LESSINS SUMMER 2002 TOUR
Janet & Sasha will be in the San Francisco area mid-June to present
"The Pearls and Perils of Pair Dating & Group Mating" at the
West Coast Loving More Conference at Harbin Hot Springs June 14-16 - (www.lovemore.com)
In July you can join them in
Los Angeles at the International Hypnosis Federation Conference (www.hypnosisfederation.com)
on the Queen Mary (permanantly docked) for two days of events. July 18, 9
AM - 5PM the Lessins present "Holotropic Breathing Experience"
On Saturday, July 20 they
present a talk in the morning called "Voice Dialogue for You &
You & You" and an afternoon playshop called "Celebrate Your
August they head east to
Ramblewood, MD to the East Coast Loving More Conference (www.lovemore.com)
August 2-4, 2002 where they present a "Tantra Ritual" Come join
us at our workshops and presentations and/or call and schedule your
private, personalized session with us (808-244-4103).
8 LESSINS IN "INTIMACY"
July 2001 Janet and Sasha were filmed by Joshua Townshend-Zellner and the
good people at Alchemy Productions: http://www.AlchemyProductions.net.
We recently received an announcement that the film is scheduled to be
released this summer. Intimacy. A provocative documentary that
delves deep into what makes ordinary romantic relationships intimate. Does
a long relationship make for a good relationship? How do real couples make
their relationships thrive instead of just survive.
School of Tantra, 1371 Malaihi Road, Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793
Janet Kira & Sasha Lessin, Ph. D.
808-244-4103 (office), 877-244-4103 (voice mail) 808-280-5275 (cell)
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