Last weekend was the Poly Living Conference
outside of Philadelphia. It was a lot of fun, with wonderful people to hang out with, as well as being edifying. As advertised, I led a Kabbalat Shabbat service and veggie pot luck on Friday before the official opening program. Also as usual, a lot more people would have attended if they had realized it was happening (They told me so). I'm not sure what else I can do to solve this problem. Robyn put it not only in the printed program but in the schedule available on the website a month before the conference. We had a few people when we started. A few more came in during the service, and a few more came by in time to eat something. Nevertheless it met my needs and those of some other people.
My workshop on Sunday morning was also small, but with enthusiastic participants. It was on religious and spiritual issues with polyamory. It would have benefitted from a co-participant who came from the Christian tradition, though a lot of that came from the participants.
The opening session was highlighted by a short but enthusiastic keynote by Cunning Minx from the Polyamory Weekly
podcast. She has made it available here
for those who were not able to attend. If you browse back you will see she was also blogging from the conference.
I seem to have attended the more intellectual workshops, rather than the experiential ones. Just where I was at at the time. The whole schedule can be seen here
. Saturday morning I began with Ageless SexTM: Secrets of Great Sex at Any Age
. It had a lot of good information for those of us who are no longer spring chickens, though she could have been more organized - partly a reflection of having a good time the night before. Then I went to a workshop about people doing scholarship on polyamory.
After lunch my first workshop was Poly 101 for Counselors, Therapists and Life Coaches.
Though I'm not generally doing this work actively at this time, and I found the exploration interesting. This workshop and the previous one prompted my desire to do some research on how people with more than one partner are treated in health care facilities. I'm not sure when I will have an opportunity to actually do the work.
My second afternoon workshop was Poly weddings? The Legal Impact of Same Sex Marriage Decisions on your Poly Family.
This was also a wider exploration of legal issues affecting polys, but one particular interesting discussion was whether the push for same sex marriage was good or bad for polys. In some ways it is good because it broadens the definition of legal relationships, but it also tends to define normative as the monogamous pair bond. It seems to have become the only issue for the LGBT movement. One problem, which the presenter and I agree, is the use of the word "marriage" in both a civil and a religious context so conservative religious people see a change in civil marriage as forcing a change in the religious institution. They are not nearly so intertwined in many other countries. I am a big fan of Diana
, the presenter. In fact I have a big crush on her (I have this thing for really sharp and intelligent women) but she sees me as her sweet uncle, so I am stuck with that level of connection.
Sunday morning after my workshop I went to Poly Survival Kit.
It was a second presentation I attended by Robert McGarey. He is very thoughtful on how poly relationships can work and not work.
There were also various social activities on Friday and Saturday nights. Though there was a real sense of relaxed interaction, it was more a sensual connection than overly sexual, at least where I was. I can't vouch for the experience of anyone else. :-)
I had a great time, met old and new friends, and was able to be part of the movement to make polyamory a legitimate alternative in our world.