Archive for the 'Polyamory' Category

True Definition of Compersion – A Rant

In 2005 I was invited to speak at a polyamory conference.  I was new to the whole concept of ethical non-monogamy, and at that conference I learned and experienced this definition for this word:

Compersion – the joy one feels from witnessing another’s joy.

This moved me so deeply.  We see compersion on children when one kid smiles radiantly while witnessing another kid’s joyful play and fun.  I enjoyed compersion routinely as a coach, when I saw clients go from a place of struggle to a place of freedom – I felt profound joy when I saw them experiencing the joy of their newly discovered freedom.

I thought, “Ohhhhhh…Thank Goodness…the world is learning to tap into a more abundant source of our shared joy and delight…”  I had hope that this word would influence the mainstream and help awaken all of humanity to more of our Divine Hearts, our Christ Consciousness, our Spiritual Essences having a Human Awakening.

But somehow, in the last 10 years, the definition of Compersion on the Internet has become sexualized, twisted, and impacted by flagrant reductionism.

Now when I search for “define compersion” – I get these kinds of definitions:

– The joy a lover feels when his lover is having sex with another.

– A feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship.

– The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy.

Wikipedia, For Cripe Sake, in its most brilliant coup of massive irresponsibility that I’ve seen yet, redirects “compersion” to “polyamory”, as if one was synonymous with the other!  JEEZ.

Compersion, people, has Nothing To Do with Sex.  It also has Nothing to do with Polyamory, Jealousy or Relationships.  The term “compersion” came alive in common use in poly circles because people who Love Joy – Feel Compersion – Often.  But that doesn’t make Compersion any more about polyamory than using the word “computer”, which poly folk also use often.

Compersion is about face of Appreciation – anyone who has the capacity to open their heart to appreciate the joy of another human being is capable of experiencing compersion.

One might be standing on a corner, see a total stranger across the street dancing in great joy (see also, Ellen Dance Dares) – and feel compersion – the joy of witnessing the other person’s joy.

One might be babysitting a toddler, see the toddler squeal in happiness over a toy, and feel compersion – the joy of witnessing the toddler’s joy.

One might be with a sibling, talking about his or her passion for photography, and feel compersion – experiencing joy for the sibling’s joy.

“I’m so moved and happy that you’re so happy.”  When this statement is true, it’s a reflection of Compersion.

Yes, it’s true that folks who are living responsible committed plural relationships experience compersion about their Beloveds’ joys – but any monogamous person with emotional maturity will also Experience Joy when their Loved Ones Have Joy.

Compersion can happen in sexual and plural-relationship environments, but Not Only in sexual and plural relationship environments.

So please, folks, let’s stop reducing life and joy to The Sexing and let’s remember the full breadth of our Divine Nature to Appreciate and Love, please?

Compersion – The feeling of profound Joy one experiences while experiencing another human being in Joy.

I hope for all of us to experience more Compersion, Every Day.


The Indignant Face of Love



I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing…

This is an extract from an email conversation I’m having…


In wonder at the Witnessing of It All…

Thank you for sharing this with me! I feel deep reverence and deep tenderness hearing it – cherishing that you’d share your truth with me (no matter how painful, no matter how you fear i might respond).

Thank you.

> When I think of me and you and polyamory I feel sad, to be honest.


I know You know this already —

((( I hope that by re-naming it it might either support you, or give us something fun to play with together in conversation later — )))

The yearning in you – the universal need
that gives rise in you to this sadness
is a key to your Fullness – to your spiritual opening and Being.
a key to Who You Most Deeply Are.

Find that universal need, that yearning,
and grieve / release the ache of it.
When you can crystallize out the power of the yearning
from the emotion of the sadness,
Whatever universal need / yearning you’re left with,
You’ll be able to use powerfully toward your own
exquisite fulfillment….satisfaction….delight….
You can use to open the world.

Here’s an article a friend just sent me that plays through this inquiry
starting with the emotion of jealousy,
and through the process
reveals Source and Freedom:

For you – replace every occurrence of the word ‘jealousy’
with the word ‘sadness’
and then see where the process begins to feel true for YOU.

With reverence, love, and blessings,

Jealousy and Polyamory

A friend sent me this link which I think is a SENSATIONAL treatment of the subject, and the opportunity, of jealousy.

Thank you Tom Goddard!!!


PS: what is polyamory? click here.

Polyamory and Powerfully Processing Pain

I met someone recently who’s totally new to Polyamory, and asking me questions about it.

One of his comments was, “I just don’t know how I’d feel about it.”

Anyway, this conversation got me thinking about so many people I’ve met over the years – how so many of us tragically choose to shut down our heart and love out of a desire to protect ourselves from possible pains.

The conversation also got me thinking about so people I know who have suffered huge losses out of a lack of skills in how to easily metabolize pain. Lost relationships, divorces, anger, accusations, belittling – it splits my heart open in heartbreak.

Egads how I love the inspiration life brings.

It occurred to me that the phenomena of dealing with pain powerfully isn’t just for polyamorous folks – relationship pain happens even if you’re monogamous. Monogamous people suffer jealousy. Monogamous people deal with spouses having attraction to others. Monogamous people get frustrated at their partner’s actions sometimes. Monogamous people worry about the longevity and stability of their relationships.

Pain, worry and discomfort can emerge in our experience no matter what our circumstances. How do we live with it in a way that is most likely to open us and the world around us into greater ease and fulfillment?

Our culture doesn’t teach this core skill, the skill of how to powerfully deal with pain.

So I got mad inspired and wrote this post:
Powerfully Processing Pain

I didn’t write it poly-specific – but it applies to the subjects of monogamy and polyamory too.

Tell me what you think of it.

Dear Maya….

Thought you’d enjoy this mini-conversation I shared with a friend about polyamory.


Dear Maya,

How do you do it? How do you manage a poly relationship? I am watching friends fall apart because they tried it and its just hard…even for me because I am friends on both ends.


Dear Heartbroken,

How is this different than a mono-relationship; isn’t it the same pain?

It’s true that polyamory has its own challenges and learning opportunities. But in my opinion, leading a healthy, successful poly relationship takes many of the same basic skill sets that you need in order to lead a healthy, successful monogamous relationship. In my 20 years of coaching, I have seen many people who just flat don’t have the basic skills to live a successful, thriving relationship.

Here’s one example. When the sh** hits the fan, I often see people make one of 3 basic communication mistakes:
1. confuse stories for observations (ex: she’s mad at me vs/ she hasn’t made eye contact with me today) – we can avoid misunderstandings if we – as Krishnamurthi suggests – seek the intelligence of observing without judging.
2. confuse feelings and needs for thoughts and judgements (ex: i feel like he should spend more time with me if he loved me) – when we separate our feelings (sad, disappointed, unhappy) and needs (because I want companionship) from our thoughts, we have a better chance of asking for what we want in a way others can hear (ex: i’ve been sad wanting more companionship, would you spend 2 hours with me tonight?)
3. not make clear doable requests to meet their needs

These simple, common habits can make or break a conversation.

Now take folks without basic relationship and healing skills, throw them into a poly scenario where emotions are even MORE likely to be stimulated, and where transparent, generative, needs-based conversation is even more vital, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster alright! This is why they pay me the big-bucks to do relationship coaching. *wink*

With a few fundamental skills and practices, I believe many more polyamorous and monogamous relationships would thrive.

If you’d like more information about polyamory, or if you’d like a free consultation toward an ongoing coaching relationship, call Gail toll-free 1.877.535.5438.

Thank you Love!

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