In this piece of writing I’m getting political. Or maybe you could say, polytical. 

If that’s not your jam, then you’re welcome to skip this post. 

However, if you enjoy my hot takes on polyamory and non-monogamy, you may want to keep reading, as I’m sharing some values that are very important to me and inform who I am and what I do in the world. 

It was feminist Carol Hanisch, a white woman from Iowa, who coined the phrase, “the personal is political”, and this is a phrase I take to heart in my relationships. 

A confession for you: I grew up with sour feelings about ‘feminism’ and racial justice. I didn’t understand why people made such a big fuss about the ways we were different when we were essentially all the same. What I didn’t understand as a teenager, but I have come to learn so much about as an adult, is that the historic legacies of the ways people have been politically dehumanised — for their gender, orientation, ethnicity, religion, and more — directly impacts each person on a highly personal level. And this can show up in our relationships.

My personal journey has been deeply informed and shaped by my quest to understand how the legacy of political dehumanisation and disenfranchisement has directly impacted my own family, and me as an individual — and subsequently, my relationships too. Today, I’m openly a feminist, and one who engages with feminism from an intersectional lens, and I consider the interconnections between all the ways people are discriminated and disenfranchised for things that are fundamental to who they are.

Maybe ‘politics’ don’t feel very sexy to you… but in the current global political climate — where trans and queer rights are being denied and rolled back, where women are losing their reproductive freedoms, and where far-right extremists and racism are leading to a rise in racially motivated crimes and violence — politics are absolutely having an impact on the ways we intimately relate.

pexels-roman-odintsov-4869139I could tell you about how my passion for supporting the Palestinian cause is informed by my years living in the Middle East, the Palestinian people I have known, my own ancestor’s history as survivors of genocide, and the kinship I feel with the 700 Romani Gazans as someone with Xoraxane Romani ancestry — but you don’t have to have a personal connection to feel devastated by the senseless violence being carried out against innocent Palestinians.

My work as a Trauma Informed Relationship Coach, and as a person who endeavours to engage in the world through an anti-oppression lens, means that I cannot sit in silence while violence unfolds.

My survival as a Relationship Anarchist in this late-stage-capitalist climate-change, genocidal dystopia is woven with networks of secure attachment and the cultivation of spaces of mutual aid, and my liberation as a queer person is also bound to the quest for the liberation of all people to exist, love, and form bonds in the ways that nourish and enrich them. 

My non-conformity against the status quo finds camaraderie in the resistance and resilience of all oppressed peoples, and my own oppressed ancestors — genocide survivors, eugenics survivors, punchers of Nazis, people whose whole families were slaughtered before their eyes — whisper to me to live my life authentically, boldly, and unapologetically in solidarity with their kin.

My background and training in trauma-informed practices, spiritual traditions, and modern day somatics, resource me to be able to confidently say: I will always stand up for leading with empathy, compassion, and recognising the humanity and sentience in all beings. 

So when I, as a polyamorous relationship anarchist, show up as an activist in support of Palestine, I’m doing so because it is the human and compassionate thing to do. And, like many, I experience the movement for Palestine as being woven with the movement for Collective Liberation.

The Personal Is Political

Speaking and sharing about my support for Palestine has lost me a few followers and made me a target for a few troll-bots — and I’m okay with that. That’s a small price to pay.

Let’s be clear: if there’s a political spectrum that spans “I’m okay with the genocide & oppression of others” at one end, and “I am horrified by genocide & oppression” at the other end, I am on the “horrified by genocide and oppression” side of this spectrum. 

I feel like this moment in history is an invitation to expand our experience of community beyond the people within our potential dating pool, and extend our love and care to a wider sphere, through meaningful actions.

pexels-mccutcheon-1146851Many of us who explore non-monogamy have been drawn to do so because we experienced traditional forms of monogamy to be restrictive and limiting. Some may have even found Monogamy to be oppressive. Default monogamy as a cultural institution is rooted in patriarchal, colonial, and capitalist narratives which preach that love and companionship are rare and highly prized: if you have them, you must hold them tightly, and you will be granted higher status in the rungs of social hierarchy.

This isn’t the only way in which colonial and other dominance-culture narratives uphold scarcity and lack: natural resource management and extraction, and segregation and apartheid policies are some other methods they might use. 

The upholding of Monogamy — and especially of the Nuclear Family through the 20th century thru to today — alongside heteronormative gender roles and a lack of mental health support, creates a fragile relationship ecology, leaving us feeling more reliant on colonial systems for survival. 

In many non-colonial and pre-colonial cultures (including those that practised forms of exclusive partner bonding), having a wider network of relationships is an essential way of living and loving. These are ways of relating that Colonialism has shamed, controlled, and in some cases, outlawed. Colonialism has sought to break the communal bonds in order to create dependence on the colonial State. I live my life in opposition to the ‘nuclear family’ model created by compulsory monogamy because I recognise it as one of many ways that colonial, capitalist, resource-hoarding powers have attempted to control and isolate us.

The impositions of compulsory, patriarchal monogamy and the nuclear family are bound with colonialism, inhibiting kinship bonds. Just as colonial powers Britain and France carved apart the Levant and Arabia — sewing hatred and division where once there was kinship — to prevent a rebellion that could rise against them, so too the nuclear family and its compulsory monogamy carves apart our kinship bonds. It disrupts our ability to rise up against the power-hoarders that oppress us: economically, ecologically, politically, socially, spiritually.

This isn’t the only way that we are drawn into experiences of relational separation, but it is one of them.

The constrictive experience of monogamy that non-monogamists stand in opposition to is only one tip of a very, very big iceberg. 

Whether it is the constraints of Monogamy, or the restrictions of Patriarchy, or the pressures of Capitalism: oppression leads to trauma, and trauma impacts our relationships. Our struggles are not unrelated: challenging intimate oppression asks us to also challenge all oppression.

11120092_985344038142913_1400173525_nExisting as a non-monogamous person and showing up for activism is an invitation to reorient our ways of love and relating to include not just multiple partners, but also fostering a deep love of humanity, liberation, and community.

As non-monogamous people, we like to build community through our relationships, but often that’s limited to the people in our potential dating pool, partners, metamors, and possibly hanging out in non-monogamous gathering spaces. In Relationship Anarchy, we grow our anarcules beyond our dating scene: nourishing networks of mutual aid and secure attachment experiences that go beyond dyadic connections is an essential aspect of applying anarchism to relationships.

And, whatever someone’s initial motivations for exploring non-monogamy may be, many may have the revelation that treating relationships as experiences to be shared — rather than resources to hoard — is expansive, radical, and offers a pathway for countering the individualism that leaves us dependent on a system leading our world (and all who we share this planet with) into crisis after crisis.

To seek liberation in our intimacy is to also seek liberation in all the ways that we relate and engage with the world around us, and all the beings within it.

An Invitation To Stay Present

While peace is always possible, it is also possible that what we are witnessing unfold is only the beginning of something prolonged and much more dreadful. The ways that our nervous systems have been impacted by recent world events may be just a taster of what is yet to come. Because Palestine isn’t the only political issue at hand. Trans rights. Queer rights. Women’s rights. The rights of racialized people and the people of the global majority. All of these exist under threat right now, and this is in the midst of climate change, economic collapse, and the global rise of more right-wing and fascist-leaning policies being enacted. It’s a chaotic soup to be swimming in. 

During times of such extremes our nervous systems may be easily overwhelmed: by direct trauma, vicarious trauma, spiritual grief, and confusion, especially when faced with things we have no context to fully understand. My invitation is for us all to practise care for our nervous systems so that we can continue to engage with resilience: being present to what is happening from spaces of empathy, and refusing to capitulate to apathy.

Glimmers of positive, good experiences amidst the darker ones may also sometimes feel overwhelming: we might even struggle to feel okay with feeling joy, excitement, or love. It can be challenging to ever feel settled or safe.

When our nervous system needs more time to process, or becomes stuck in self-protective ways of being, we may struggle with engaging with others: there is a real life impact to our relationships. We may feel shut down or avoidant around our feelings, the condition of our body, our cognitive processes, our sexuality and/or creativity, and more. We might also find that it’s only possible to access one part of ourselves: intense emotions, a drive for physical activity, racing thoughts, hyper-arousal, or a rush of creativity.

It is hard for our psyches to experience these moments of disconnect. It takes a lot of energy for the nervous system to endure and push through when self-protection is all it can orient towards. But remember: the colonial, exploitative, patriarchal systems win when we are disoriented, overwhelmed, and too exhausted to resist. 

Whilst slowing down our experience may not be the most effective thing to do during a crisis when we need our survival instincts, there is huge value in giving ourselves the gift of slowness, mindfulness, and loving time for our nervous systems in any moment when we are safe enough to do so. This helps us build resilience, and we need that resilience in our lives so that we can continue to resist the dehumanisation of our fellow human beings. 

pexels-pixabay-158465Some simple things you can do daily and/or weekly to support your nervous system:

  • Shake out pent up energy: dance, run, roll around, thump a pillow, scream.
  • Give yourself time to be still, to digest, to process. If you have an opportunity to eat alone, practise eating slowly, and/or in silence, allowing your senses to attune to the full sensory experience of the moment.
  • When you can, titrate how you engage with news or other current events: don’t shut down from it completely, but be selective with when & how you catch up with it, including through social media. When you notice yourself struggling with any part of it, take a break, move &/or feed &/or hydrate yourself.
  • Devote time to playing, either with others or with yourself. Board games, puzzles, sports, improv: prioritise things that don’t involve screens and that invite movement and/or the possibility of laughter. This helps your nervous system to move out of tension and stress and supports the integration of more challenging experiences.
  • Explore how to incorporate reminders of connection and joy throughout your day: colors that you love, textures that bring you pleasure, flavors and smells that comfort you, images or sounds of people with whom you feel cared for, music that affirms you.
  • Ask yourself: What helps you be in your heart, body, mind, and spirit? What allows you to have more access to your emotions, the sensations in your body, your thoughts, and your creativity? These questions can inform you about other ways your nervous system could be cared for.

It’s isn’t just personal: Community Care is Self Care.

When we are able to engage in actions that support those beyond ourselves, we also nourish ourselves. Collective Action, participating in Mutual Aid Networks, contacting government/ parliamentary representatives, volunteerism, fundraising, sharing education, donating money, preparing food to share, helping others with getting their ID documents in order: these are all ways to engage in Community Care.

A Prayer

Allow yourself to embrace resilient empathy over the shut down of apathy.
Allow your profound sensitivity to suffering in the world to become your superpower.
Allow your desire for a better world to guide you to a deeper relationship to the ways you relate with others.
Allow your growing awareness of your nervous system to support you in being able to show up in care & support

May our desires to expand our experiences of intimacy draw us into greater awareness of all the obstacles to intimacy people around the world face.
May we all stand together in the quest for healing from traumas that constrict our relating.
May we be more open to seeing the ways in which our hearts longings are connected.
May our search for liberated love include liberation for all.

Let honoring the humanity of others become a core value in the way you practice your relationships.
Let the quest for oppression-free relationships that led you to eschew traditional monogamy lead you to a passion for anti-oppression to be part of all the ways in which you relate.
Let your desires for love that is expansive include growing empathy that is inclusive of people you may never meet.

May we dissolve the disrupting differences that collapse our ability to meaningfully resist oppression.
May we see clearly how all our fates are interwoven on this precious planet we call home.
May we be supported in the journey of healing and completing the cycles of Trauma.
May we come back from each moment of sorrow into a relationship with Love.
May all the parts that have been starving be nourished, and the pieces of ourselves that have felt lost be found in the warm embrace of community.
May we all experience Love in abundance.
May we cultivate spaces where our hearts can stay tender as we fight the good fight.
May we see Palestine, and all other oppressed and dehumanised peoples, be Free.


About Mel

Relationship Coach and Facilitator, Queer, Kink, and Polyamory Friendly

I just wanted you to know that our call helped me strengthen my relationships by thinking about and communicating my boundaries. So now I’m relieved AND more in alignment with my authentic self.
Nanaimo, Canada
Our session three weeks ago was absolutely amazing. You had so many helpful insights and really saw and understood what I am going through. It helped me so much!!
New York, USA
Our session was a game changer. It was like I found a rope in the dark to hold onto and slowly I will climb out of the deep well I've been in.
Pennsylvania, USA
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you SO MUCH for the absolutely illuminating, grounding and mind blowing session last night. I can't wait to integrate the awareness that emerged yesterday.
Your work is profound! Thank you so much! 
Vancouver, Canada
I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated our session - it was deeply helpful, validating and liberating!!! 
Costa Rica
"This was one of the best workshops I have taken regarding polyamory and trauma informed agreements in twenty-five plus years of seeking to develop skills within myself and relationships."
Anon Workshop Participant
Seattle, Washington
Thank you for the space in which you held during the workshop, the skills that were taught, the emotions opened and above all the clarity it allowed in how I present myself to the world and areas in which I was holding back. Thank you! So much thank you and gratitude for this. This workshop was the beginning of a month of so much opening and healing and realizing potential, I am beyond grateful.
Victoria, Canada
Thank you so much for yesterday's session. I think it was probably pretty obvious that it was a powerful and meaningful session for both of us. We feel very lucky to have found you, and we're very grateful for your support, acknowledgement and care of us.
California, USA

"You’re a gem of a coach... There are so few as well-researched, as curious, as principled, and as grounded as you. Your resources are pure gold."

Nanaimo, BC

The Monogamy Detox course has been such a landmark in my life. You rock!
I've been able to articulate and communicate much better within my relationships and to create safe spaces.
Course Participant

"I felt completely isolated and confused when it came to relationships when I first found Mel for coaching. After only one session, I knew she was a relationship mentor I could trust and wanted to learn more from."

Atlanta, Georgia

Mel is an incredible listener and her attention to detail was crucial. I walked away with much more than I had anticipated: I came away with a lot of tools to work with, and also a comfortable understanding of who I am and how I present myself to others. Mel is nothing short of awesome at what she does, and I will continue to use her as a resource and recommend her.

Thank you so much Mel, you rock!!!
Colorado, USA
"Thank you so much for a wonderful workshop! Thank you for the space you held and your guidance. So enriching to spend time with good people on a path of evolution."
Victoria, BC, Canada
"My session with Mel went beyond value for money. She created an immediate sense of being seen and heard in non-judgmental space. Mel reflected accurate insights to me, and held space for me to explore things that were beneath the surface. I was moved by the integrity she worked from in our sharing. I felt great compassion and wisdom with her, and my thoughts and emotions  shifted to we worked. Mel is sharing a gift with her energy. "
Edmonton, AB, Canada

Thank you Mel for such an enlightening and helpful workshop! I thoroughly enjoyed all of it and look forward to continued learning from you. So grateful for all these extra resources. 
The work you are doing is changing the world in such positive ways, and helping people change their own worlds, both inner and outer. 

Anon Workshop Participant
BC, Canada

"It was so good for me to open up and a relief to see that things don't have to be so black and white but within this there is still the possibility of clarity and a more personal, creative and radical approach to relationships... Love what you are offering Mel. You are awesome at what you are doing! It was great for me to be out of my comfort zone and to hear from folks who appeared to be very much in theirs. Thank you!"

Anon Course Student
"Mel has been an incredibly valuable asset to me in helping to evolve my relationship skills and helping me to empathize with my partners. Her workshops and her coaching have drastically improved the communication level and quality of my relationships."
BC, Canada
"This was my first polyam-related workshop, and I really loved it. Mel was an excellent facilitator: welcoming, knowledgeable, professional, well defined boundaries at beginning, knew when to stay on a subject and when to move on, etc. I was incredibly impressed and would love to attend more!"
Non Monogamy 101 Workshop Participant

"I first took the class in spring 2020. The experience was like a seed planted in the garden that sprouted and continues to sink deeper roots and grow taller, reaching for the sun and remaining an important part of my relationship garden"

~ Paul, Monogamy Detox Course Student

"I desperately knew in my bones there was another script out there for me but when I struggled to find a healthy version of one, I haphazardly began writing it myself. And now?! To come into an entire community of people actively peeling back the veil to reveal their own trauma and vulnerability?? I am over the moon and feel so enthusiastic all the time. It's the first time in the last several years where I have had such sustained joy and direction."

~ Anon Course Student

"I receive so much incredible value from your work — I LOVE how you organize your rich information. You also have a knack for setting up a really safe, thoughtful, reflective container for learning. I really appreciate and admire your brain! Hoorah! In addition, your teaching brings together an amazing community of courageous humans that gather to learn and practice trauma-informed relating with ourselves and others!

Sunday's class was a deeply nourishing in ways I didn't know I missed / needed. THANK YOU!
I look forward to your next session!"
Joan Trinh Pham
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Mel is an exceptional communicator and listener. Having known her personally and attended several of her workshops I can attest that she has the rare combination of perspective and presentation that many more experienced facilitators lack. I highly recommend her offerings.
BC, Canada
Mel has been a tremendous source of inspiration for my relationships and my community at large. She presents with a combination of professionalism, knowledge and open-minded curiosity that makes her safe and approachable. My profound journey through love and relationships has definitely been helped through the time I have spent with Mel.
Rotterdam, Netherlands

"Your work has reminded me that perhaps there isn’t anything wrong with me at all. I am amazed at the deep levels of shame we carry as human beings because we don’t fit into the construct that is given to us as a model for our life. It feels exciting because I can now explore what I want for my life rather than be gifted something that just doesn’t feel right for me." 

Craig P

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for your coaching yesterday. It really helped me to focus in on what mattered and what I want and to know where I stand in my relationship and with these shiny new polyboots!
The conversation with my partner went amazingly well. Like really really well. We found much common ground and even discovered our common kinks. I am feeling so loved and supported and ready for this next adventure. Thank you for being a part of that!
Vancouver, Canada
Mel maintains a calm demeanor with low pressure conversation. She's approachable and accessible. She cares. It shows. Her passion for intimacy and relationship actualization shines through. Sex positive, poly aware, and kink aware, Mel is a very versatile specialist and adviser - the perfect counselling choice no matter how simple or complicated your concern or situation is.
BC, Canada
"You've already made a VERY positive impact on me. It feels so much better to feel you in my corner. Thank you again and again and again..."
Alberta, Canada
Mel's skill and comfort with questioning and reformulating beliefs regarding relationships is contagious. If you want to open up to new possibilities, she can be a resource for you.
BC, Canada
"Thank you for your kind help and wisdom at such a fragile time - I appreciate it so much and it helped a lot."
"Your workshop was SO helpful and amazing. THANK YOU! Magnificent and earth-moving! Like moving things that have felt stuuuuuck!"
Anon Workshop Participant
Portland, Oregon
Just wanted to send my deep gratitude and appreciation for your workshop. I let go of some self-indictments around believing something "different" about love, and was able to move towards being more in integrity with myself (and those with whom I relate). I was also able to become really clear about my core "essentials" in relationships (whether monogamous or non-monogamous; romantic/sexual, emotional, social/community or other), and am certain these breakthroughs will only serve my own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those I have relationships with now and in the future more than I can even comprehend.
Victoria, BC, Canada
I’m so very appreciative for you, your humanness and your work.
Massachusetts, USA

"After the workshop I felt like I could breathe again. I felt like my version of non-monogamy wasn't "wrong" and, even more helpful, my former partners wasn't either. I connected with people thinking of the same things as I was, struggling with the same things, and asking questions like me. I cried. I breathed. And for the first time in my life I didn't feel like a love alien dropped onto this planet."

~ Anon,
BC Canada