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Robin & Jim DEVOlving at the Beachland Ballroom, August 15, 2015

Robin & Jim DEVOlving at the Beachland Ballroom, August 15, 2015

This summer’s treks to points west were good ones. Over the past couple years, the odd niche of concert performance, kirtan, SubGenius shenanigans, and Devo worship has been fun. It also reminds me that the width of Pennsylvania is substantial, and that a gig or two along the way to Ohio would make for reasonable stopping points. I have made such idle complaints from time to time. For the most part, I am happy to travel, often alone. I’ve taken a lot of life that way.

I still thrive with a fair amount of aloneness. Lately, there has been more time filled by getting emotionally in line with writing than actually writing, but I’ve recognized that as a necessary part of my process. I don’t love this fact, but it is what it is for now.

I am happy to say that the balance of aloneness to togetherness has changed in the direction I’d hoped. Back on 2011 I wrote about preparing a place in my heart, mind, and home for poly family. It has been a long road and for a while it was best to mostly forget about. I didn’t dwell in a state of constant longing or go on a relationship quest. That hasn’t been my way. I have, though, allowed myself to be conscious of the intention.

This summer was the first time I took the mini tour to the Cleveland area with a partner. It was an easy-going, great experience to have a friend and lover (not to mention driver, roadie, and general assistant!) along for the trip. Here’s hoping for many more travels to local and faraway places. I do like to stay in motion, but even more than that I love the prospect of an emotional and spiritual traveling companion – Someone who wants a support system to navigate the twists and turns of the mind and is up for the task of being so for me as well.

I’ve never been set on the configuration my poly family should take. I’ve been one to allow relationships to develop as they will without a lot of engineering from the outside. In this case, I find myself developing deep bonds and becoming part of a family already well in progress. I had the chance to talk about our connection this week at Poly Role Models. There are ecstasies and practicalities, even-tempered positives, and some challenges I do my best to look at clearly. I’m up for all of it.

It’s a good thing that calls for appearances have been making room for themselves in the midst of my quiet intention toward personal life and personal growth. I have a few gigs coming up – one at the Center for Relaxation and Healing in Plainsboro, NJ on November 6th and one pending for Collingswood in the same time frame. I’m also gearing up to kick off the 2016 Caldera Pagan Music Festival in LaFayette, GA this coming May. I’ll be putting together a string of East Coast gigs to make my way south and back. I may have companionship for a few of those gigs, and by circumstance, I’m likely to also take on some alone. Those logistics are still some distance away. Either way, I have a sense of mutual support in my life these days, and that makes all the travels feel grounded in the heart space. It’s been a very long time since I’ve felt quite that way.

Seen on Robin Renée mini-tour August 2015. A very homey display at a Dutch-style restaurant in Pennsylvania en route to Cleveland, OH.

Seen on Robin Renée mini-tour August 2015. A very homey display at a Dutch-style restaurant in Pennsylvania en route to Cleveland, OH.

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a happy day w/ my friends Ray & Preeti, Philly LGBT Pride 2013

a happy day w/ my friends Ray & Preeti, Philly LGBT Pride 2013

Happy Loving Day to all those who celebrate it.  I wrote a bit about it from a polyamory perspective, and it’s posted today @ Black & Poly.  I hope you’ll check it out, comment, & share it:

 Today is Loving Day! Here are 5 of the Many Reasons to Celebrate

 

A more personal essay on this blog from a Loving Day past is here: Embraced By Loving Day

Thanks for reading!

Robin

2014PhillyBannersmall

For me, 2013 was a year of things coming together.  I tried more than a few times to come up with a list of “Best Moments,”  “Biggest Breakthroughs,” or whatever, but none of that really showed up fully formed.  Besides, I imagine some people get as sick of that year-end stuff as I do.

What happened for me last year, honestly, was a subtler experience.  I found myself growing in ways I hadn’t in some time – mostly to do with how I was allowing my mind to re-embrace happiness and creativity.  I was determined not to chase after gigs to the detriment of balance and good business sense, and positive opportunities came my way.  I found refocusing on health to be an easy, joyful thing.  Community that I’d felt missing started to be in my life again.

I have sought connection with other polyamorous people since the mid-1990’s in one way or another.  It has always been a positive, balancing thing to have a touchstone of sorts- a way to meet others who find that love emerges in similar ways as it does for me.  I’ve been hosting or co-creating events with Philadelphia Mindful Polyamory Meetup for a while.  I can say that last year I started to notice that what once seemed like only separate events and happenings started to feel more like forums for real connection. I have been meeting friends with whom I really want to create and I look forward to seeing often.  I imagine this has much more to do with my readiness to reach out and to be out in the world than it does with others in the group.  Apparently I’m back up for noticing good people, many of whom have been there all along.

At one of the coffeehouse poly meetups I co-facilitate in South Jersey, I met a student named Jessica who was studying polyamory and came to chat and ask questions.  She also mentioned wanting to get back into playing music and I took down her info.  I probably dragged my feet a bit about getting in touch, but I am so glad I finally did.  Turns out she is a great singer and viola player, not to mention a smart and fun/funny person. We have the most ridiculous conversations sometimes!  I was really pleased with the show we played last fall at World Café Live at the Queen in Wilmington, DE.   This week we’ve been getting ready to perform next Friday at the Poly Living conference in Philadelphia.  (A word about Skype rehearsal: It doesn’t really work.  But Google+ Hangout is great for planning the set list.)

If you want to come check out Poly Living 2014, I’ll be singing on Friday, February 7th before keynote speaker Anita Wagner Illig, and again later that evening at the conference reception.  I am really happy to have been invited to be part of it.

For more info & Poly Living registration: http://www.lovemore.com/conferences/polyliving

RobinRenee.com

All I Am cover art by Jenn Phillips/Images Everything

 

 

I am happy to announce the release of “All I Am.”  It is a shout out to all those who color outside the proverbial lines.  I hope it encourages everyone who listens to embrace their own beautiful differences.

Find out more and download “All I Am” here.  20% of proceeds from the CD Baby sales of “All I Am” will go to support the You Will Rise Project. The mission of the You Will Rise Project is to provide a multimedia showcase for people who have been bullied to share their stories through the arts.

Thanks for your support!

www.robinrenee.com

 

So many of us talk about love as an infinite force.  I believe it.  More than that – I feel it –when I am passionate, when I am quiet, when I am a channel for creativity in motion.

I feel the force of love in so many ways – one is in a sense of loyalty and constancy of friendship.  Essentially, if I loved you decades ago, I love you now.  A friend with whom I feel this exact kind of bond called me earlier this week, distressed. In no way do I mean to diminish the impact he was feeling when I say he related a common trajectory along the polyamory emotional highway: He and his girlfriend, some time ago, confirmed with each other that their relationship was open. She has been fine with his connection with me.  She met a guy she fancied, and he was fine with that. Now, the feelings between she and the new guy are deepening and my friend called me, feeling he was completely. losing. his. mind.

We talked for some time, and I hope I gave some comforting words to a friend who was freaking out.  I hope the real, honest, and continuous communication I suggested will manifest for them. I hope he believes me when I said that his feelings are valid and can help him understand his needs, which may well not be a need to close the relationship, but to get to the essence of how he can be loved and know he’s loved in a way that feels so clear and present that the unmanageable fear will dissipate.  I can’t say which logistics work best for anyone else but me. I can say more about my observations on the nature of love.

Love is.  It does what it does.  If left to its own devices, infinite ways of manifesting between and among people are possible.  Why don’t we all spend more time letting love be rather than engineering it?

Case in point: He and I have a forever bond of true friendship, a significant aspect of which is a deeply erotic connection.  We could embrace it, ignore it, avoid it, or act badly on it.  Over the years, we’ve done all of those. Yet it remains.  This is what our love is.

The arbitrary rules we place on love can hurt so badly.  Why should I leave behind a friend I love so much when I fall “in love” with someone new?  There was a time I did ignore one love for another, and that experience is one of my biggest regrets.  I care little about breaking the social norm or someone else’s rules, but I deflected a sincere being and broke a cardinal rule of my own heart.  These days, I am very intentional about opening to the committed, poly loves that feel right for my life.  I want any rules to come from within, not without, to be about allowing love, nurturing its growth, fine-tuning its expression.

During the phone call with my friend, I recalled times of being quite angry with him. Years ago I thought: Why was I never considered a possible “girlfriend?” Always, there was someone taking up the majority of the time and energy, and that someone wasn’t me. Was I so much less than?  Over the incarnations of our connection, it finally resolved itself in my mind: That is simply not who we are to each other. Leave love alone. It didn’t need to be made into what I thought it ought to be, either.

Does he place significantly more importance on romantic love than forever-friend love?  He probably does, I surmise. That is not equivalent to how I feel.  This morning, I noticed I felt some pain around that as I listened to his story.  At the same time I felt glad to be the one to field his honest outpouring of fear and doubt, and yes, love. I am still not sure how much love relationships should be about equivalent sensibilities, rather than sensibilities that through it all, emerge compatible.

I don’t know how my friend and his girlfriend will fare as they venture into the gut-wrenching, insight-sparking, fiery refinement of the ‘working through it’ they have ahead. Intuitively, I have high hopes.  They may create safety zones and discover boundaries which help them feel stable as they explore. My friendship with him might move back to denial or avoidance.  I hope not, but I’ll remain prepared for change.  She may discover she has a boyfriend and a friend, a partner and an occasional someone, “the new guy” could be gone next week, or what seems to terrify my friend the most at the moment – she may have found two profound loves. Love left alone, I know, is capable of such wonders.

I’m rooting for them, and for the best in all of us to come forth. Messy growing pains are ok.  They happen.  No matter what else happens, I believe listening to love first, then doing the emotional work set in motion are the keys to bringing all through strong and whole.

It has been unbelievably quiet here.  I am not complaining.  Mornings begin around dawn and I land my butt on the meditation cushion before the monkey mind gets too busy.  Exercise has been mostly swimming and yoga, though I hope my body will like the weight training once again before too long.  My body has reflected the break from health and happiness I took this summer.  It feels good to be back, present, and ready to rock, as it were. 

 My personal ashram is coming along nicely.  Oppressing myself with ultra strict time constraints has not felt useful.  The intention is what’s important, and that is sticking.  I am awake hours earlier.  I find center.  I work with diligence and new shows for 2011 are beginning to get booked, which promotes a sense of accomplishment that keeps an entrepreneur going. 

I open up time to clean and organize.  It is hard to explain how a freshly polished dresser in the bathroom (“The Amber Lounge,” as I like to call it) that was once my Grandmother’s translates to a mind at ease, but it does just that.  Seeing that the basement will soon be ready to receive much-needed repainting is exciting. 

 I have been eating moderately and well, loving cooking once again.  I tend not to cook when I am living in a space that is somehow energetically off.  Rediscovering the process and simple enjoyment of making fresh, vegetarian meals is one joy of no-housemates that I had forgotten would re-emerge.  In the evenings, I’ve been making sure there is leisure time.  I mostly catch up with my friend Brian, and I’ve been reading the brilliant book by Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.”  Heidi Durrow along with Fanchen Cox are the hosts of Mixed Chicks Chat, a podcast where I have found an emotional home and sense of cultural identity in so many ways.  Lights out has been purposeful and a bit earlier on its own accord.  No more falling asleep trying to make one more connection or watch one more thing on You Tube.  There is a tomorrow for that. 

 All this personal ashraming is absolutely positive.  I am also aware of it as a state of preparation.  The mind is rediscovering focus for the pursuit of spiritual awareness and wisdom.  The stability of quiet joy that is emerging will be the bedrock that allows the new songs to come through – the ones that hold all the anger and feelings of loss that I’ve been avoiding.  I am preparing for the inevitable birth of those, and the light that comes after. 

 I am preparing for family.  What I said about the wighead knowing more about her family than I do is true.  She is certain that she wants the man and the woman who she loves to form a poly triad.  I would love such a scenario, though the partners are not evident.  For me, three doesn’t have to be the magic number.  All need not be lovers.  All need not live together.  I do believe that my friend Brian is one of us. 

The polyamorous family of my dreams has an unequivocal heart connection.  We are friends and partners who know in our deepest selves that love and freedom are not incongruent.  Queerness and gender fluidity weave a wide swath of our tapestry.  We explore the divine, creativity, and intellect.  We give each other space.  We have each others’ backs.          

Last Samhain, a woman who came to my ritual asked me if I wanted a family.  I didn’t have a short answer for her, sensing her likely cavalcade of assumptions.  Yes, I really do want a family.  And today, I am enjoying incredible near silence. 

 How will I find enough singlehood and enough togetherness?  It is one of my lifelong quests to find and stay in this balance.  The living room will soon ring with my current favorite sound of OM.  Today, I am happy and serene.  There is no need to chase after answers.

I am not sure why wigheads are my usual canvas.  Maybe it stems from the new wave aesthetic that is so imprinted on me.  I find them strangely beautiful, sometimes eerie, and when I work with them it feels like sculpting.

 I wrote a novella in 1993.  That was the first time I discovered a phenomenon that I’ve heard fiction writers talk about frequently since— Characters take on lives of their own.  This new wighead has definitely done that. “She Dreams the Triad” portrays one woman’s jumbled musings of love and desire and her ultimate clarity about pursuing partnership with a man and a woman.  Creating her was peaceful in moments, and also an emotional challenge.  I, too, am seeking poly family.  I believe she is more certain than I of the people who will be together and the structure of the tribe.  Here is a look into her mind.

 

The images click along like an old school slide show.   They make trails as they shift through brainwaves.   She follows. 

She thinks of him, and for a moment he is red-splattered.   She is shocked to envision him bloody—Could her anger be so great inside this many-layered romance?   Then her cheek flushes red with wanting him and thick desire outruns all turbulence.   Another image flashes.   It is her closest friend— punky, blonde, intellectual, more social than she.   Yes, she loves her, but she is startled that snapshots of her have erupted so suddenly into her raw passion fantasy.  

The slide show click click clicks.  She sees herself.  Who am I now?  She sees her; she sees him.  What would he say? Sure, he could have a romp with them, but could he love them both?  She sees them all wildly distorted as if they’ve fallen into a kaleidoscopic abyss of color and dreamscape and alchemy.  Then they return in a picture clearer than any before. 

They are stylized and static, yet their emotions seep through in spite of themselves.  Her third eye shines with the knowing of what they could be, and her throat is jeweled just where she will form the words to speak her truth.  She knows that soon there will be the messiness and sublime potential of words and flesh.

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