Why Re-Define?

"To go against the dominant thinking of most of the people you see every day,
is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform."
~Theodore H. White

Re-Defining is radical, heroic – and entirely necessary.

I am being a bit cheeky, it's true; I am entirely aware that Monogamy already has a definition. So how – and why – re-define something that already has a definition?  Simply put, for most of us, Monogamy as we know it and practice it, isn't working all that well.

I use the word Monogamy because it stands for a lot: Sexual intimacy with one person exclusively; only one mate for your lifetime; a sense of safety and commitment; and the gold standard for all relationships.   Monogamy is often a synonym for "it's what everyone should aspire to, we are deviant if we don't, but it's probably going to get dull and boring and snuff the life out of everyone involved.  Or someone's going to cheat and then we'll have to end it."

It is these definitions, dictionary or culturally-based, that need some re-defining.  Now.

Here's what I see:

The relationship models we have inherited – the ones that require us to fit ourselves into them at any cost, even if we metaphorically lose an appendage doing so – are outdated. And if we know we want something different than the options we see around us, how do we go about creating it?

Relationships are one of the most juicy, vital things in life, but mostly we struggle with them, become confused, avoid them, wring our hands, or simple settle. Relationships as we know and experience them are in urgent need of re-definition.

You know the statistics: over 50% of marriages end in divorce, partners who love each other cheat (between 50-80% !), we fight more than we have fun, we often find ourselves in bed with a person we are afraid of or despise, we try to communicate but end up digging ourselves deeper into our painful emotional patterns, we’re smothered with inaccurate portrayals of love, intimacy, sexiness and attractiveness from our beloved media and we swim in a major overuse and over-saturation of porn – all bringing with it confusion, self-loathing, desensitization, desperation and lack of intimacy.

Relationships are one of the most important things in life, but most of us are grandly unsatisfied and without means to do much about it.

Here's what else:

Life as we know it has changed and is changing dramatically, but we’ve inherited static, status-quo – even broken and irrelevant -models of relationship. You are constantly re-defining who you are and what you want.  Your relationships, too, demand re-definition.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
~ Albert Einstein

What exactly do I mean by "re-define?"

Re-defining is to first respectfully know the definition as it stands in the dictionary, our culture, our family and our society. But then to re-claim and make it our own so we know in our hearts what it means to US. You know what you mean by "commitment," "trust," "love," and even "monogamy," but does your partner?  Does your community know, so they can support you in it?

For any important thing in our life, like "relationships" or "commitment" or "love" or "trust," etc, re-defining is the process of turning a noun (like "relationships") into a verb.  What does it mean for you to be loving?  How do you know when your partner is trustworthy?  What things would let you know that your relationship is committed, and what things would let you know it is not?

Re-defining any word for ourselves turns it from something static, to something moving, personal, vibrant and alive.

Re-defining is the process by which we take a concept dear to us and make it sing with new life – we examine it, unpack it, take a look at its innards and components. We take what we value most and leave the rest.  What was generic becomes personal. We re-interpret, describe and clarify for ourselves; we give crisp meaning to, and put into words anew.   We "unpack" these important, tightly-packed terms, so we can go into our relating with eyes wide open, as much on the same page as possible, all the while updating and staying fresh.

There are usually one of two reactions people have when they come across Re-Defining Monogamy. They say, "Re-Defining Monogamy? I'm so glad I found you.  Now I  have a blueprint for creating a monogamous relationship that stays fun, juicy, alive and intimate, that gets better and better rather than fizzling and fading, and that lasts as long as I'd like it to."  And they are right. Or they say, "Re-Defining Monogamy?  I'm so glad I found you.  Now I have a blueprint for creating a non-monogamous relationship that is based in honesty, integrity and trust and allows everyone involved to not have to choose between freedom and commitment."  And they are right, as well.

I'm all for monogamy.  And I'm all for non-monogamy.   Truly, I'm all for YOUR re-definition of monogamy, of relationship, commitment, marriage, love, family, trust, safety, ecstasy, etc. I don't have a stake in the ground how you put together your ideal relationship life, but I do care that it is is a unique, honest expression of those in it. I care than you have a passionate partnership that is authentic, satisfying, rich, delightful and sustainable.

I do a lot of things in my work and in this website. But one I DON'T do if offer you a set of rules, or means to squeeze yourself into one particular version of relationship, nor is it ways to buck up and make the ill-fitting thing a bit more bearable.

I do offer you means to re-define what a successful, fulfilling relationship looks like for YOU, one that is as close or as far from traditional monogamy as suits you, one in which you get to draw your boundaries as well as color outside the lines!

I do offer you an integration of ancient, traditional and modern philosophies of relationships, to redefine monogamy for the 21st century.

After re-defining Monogamy, I go on to re-defining and fine-tuning the concept of relationships in general:

  • Relationships not as a thing of duty, a culturally sanctioned prison or as a confounding maze, but as an outlet, and a source, for creativity.
  • Relationships as adventure and a really cool way to play the game of life
  • Relationships as a vehicle for personal understanding, growth, and transformation
  • Relationships as spiritual practice
  • Relationships as a means to have two people become more than the sum of their parts

    Relationships can be rare, stunning and rewarding when they are consciously created as a dynamic expression of the people in them.

    The Age of Integration

    We are living in what I call the Age of Integration.

    We have a growing fascination of other cultures – their customs, fashion, spirituality, ancient traditions – and we wonder if there just might be something in all of it that might help make our own lives more satisfying.  The internet, relatively inexpensive global travel, the technology explosion, etc allows us to get anywhere, see anything, know about anything, communicate about anything, and check out what our "neighbors" across the globe are doing.

    So we mix and match. We wear cowboy boots and bindis. We practice Christianity with a Buddhist twist.  We do yoga to Janis Joplin. We eat lasagne at Thanksgiving. We might try a sweat lodge and Karaoke in the same weekend.  We integrate, to create a spicy cocktail that thrills us, interests us and represents the multi-faceted beings we are.

    Rather than vapid, hyperactive trend-following, I see it as our way of picking out the gems that we connect with, and out of them creating a custom-designed crown. We can pick and choose and custom design our relationship life, rather than getting one pre-fab from the factory.  Yet with it all, we must maintain an impeccable sense of personal integrity, honor and knowing.

    I have harvested, sorted through, made sense of, and integrated many – often conflicting – "schools" of thought on relationships and monogamy, to present you with information, tools and exercises so you can get started, creating your custom-designed relationship, your perfect love.

    I offer you an integration of ancient, traditional and modern philosophies of relationships, to redefine monogamy for the 21st century.

    I invite you to check it out, chew on it, examine it, try it on, and experiment with it.  You can choose which bits to discard and which you'd like to keep.  Ultimately, you will naturally integrate only the elements that resonate deeply with the person you are.

    This process of integration helps you to become more than the sum of your parts – more than anything you have inherited or could have invented on your own.

    This whole website – and everything I offer – is an invitation to apply this process of integration to your relationships.

    Re-Defining Monogamy: The Power to Choose

    Re-Defining Monogamy is an invitation to step out of whatever box you currently find yourself in.

    Most likely that is a box that says relationships should be monogamous, between two people – preferably a man and a woman – sexually exclusive, for a lifetime.

    There's much about monogamy that works, which can be the basis of a great relationship model. Love one person thoroughly and with all of yourself. Stick it out. Be honest, be true. And there's much about it that doesn't work so well.

    I invite you ask big, real questions, to develop discernment, to get to know yourself and what you want, thoroughly, so that you can freely, truly choose to create your (fun, sustainable and satisfying!) model relationship. It is my hope to restore your power to choose.

    The power to choose is our unique human ability. And very few of us harness the power of choice, especially in relationships.

    You might choose to create a traditional monogamous relationship that is lasting, juicy and successful, and it is equally possible that you might choose to create a relationship that doesn't quite conform to monogamy in the traditional sense, but is some tailor-made cocktail of sensual freedom and emotional commitment.  Or some version I could never think up.

    But regardless of the type of relationship, I invite you to CHOOSE it because it is the expression of who you are and it is conducive to the life you want to be living and to the values you want to embody, rather than because it is what you are told you are supposed to want.

    Choose it, create it, and cultivate it as the extraordinary vehicle it can be: a vehicle for your personal growth, profound partnerships and real-life spiritual practice.

    Creating an extraordinary relationship life is not for the faint of heart or mind. A re-definition of what you want in relationships is admittedly not the easiest thing to do in a climate that pushes one specific version of relationship, with pretty hard consequences if you choose outside the norm.  But it is way less hard and way less scary to do with tools and practical applications, with an intrepid guide (ME!), and a community of like-minded people having the same conversation as you.

    Regardless of what form your relationships take, they will be an intensive journey both of sweet, calm water and formidable waves.

    Regardless of what model of relationship you create, the basic tools are the same.  And it is herein that I offer you these tools – a customizable blueprint so you can build a seaworthy boat.

    If you find yourself among the Curious, the Serious, the Clueless and the Courageous, Re-Defining Monogamy has been waiting for you. 

    Jump in; check out the blueprint and see which is the best fit for you and what you most want: Products & Services.

    "Let me be aware of the treasure you are.
    Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
    Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
    Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so."

    ~ Mary Jean Iron, from her poem "Normal Day"

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