SARAH TAUB, Ph.D., is a cultural activist whose passion is creating events where people transform. She teaches the skills of peaceful, sustainable community – self-awareness, honesty, clear boundaries – and facilitates group processes of many sorts, including consensus decision-making, business meetings and retreats, ZEGG Forum (www.zegg-forum.org/), and conflict resolution sessions. Sarah co-founded the first cohousing community in Washington, DC, and for the past 10 years has lived at Chrysalis, a small urban intentional community in Arlington, VA whose mission is to support activists and healers (www.chrysalis-va.org). Since 2004, she has been a major organizer of Network for a New Culture’s East Coast Summer Camp (www.nfnc.org, www.cfnc.us) and other events aimed at creating a culture based on awareness, compassion, and freedom rather than on fear and judgment. In 2006, she left her tenured professorship in Cognitive Linguistics at Gallaudet University to focus full-time on events, community-building, and cultural change. Since 2011, she has been the financial and programs manager for Abrams Creek Center (www.abramscreekcenter.com), a retreat center and community in the mountains of West Virginia. Sarah’s current koan: only when you let go of urgency can you be truly effective.
M ICHAEL RIOS is an entrepreneur and practical visionary with a creative genius for freedom and empowerment; as some have said, “Michael doesn’t have a box to think outside of.” In 1964, he founded a commune based on service, spirituality, and sensuality that lasted 25 years and (among other projects) provided emergency shelter and support services for homeless people and troubled young adults. In addition, he started one of the first domestic violence hotlines in the USA in 1971, and one of the first computer business in the DC area in 1976. Michael co-founded and lives at Chrysalis, a small urban intentional community in Arlington, VA, whose mission is to support activists and healers (www.chrysalis-va.org). Since 2004, he has been a major organizer of Network for a New Culture’s East Coast Summer Camp (www.nfnc.org, www.cfnc.us) and other events aimed at creating a culture based on awareness, compassion, and freedom rather than on fear and judgment. In 2011, Michael became the director of Abrams Creek Center (www.abramscreekcenter.com), a retreat center in the mountains of West Virginia. His current passion is creating an “intentional village” there and in the nearby town - a place where people live consciously with and near one another, building a life based on personal enterprise and freedom, economic independence, and a web of social interconnectedness (www.abramscreekcenter.com/Intentional_Village).
Relationships Without Drama: Why do relationships that begin with such high hopes often lead to ongoing stress and disappointment? Why do we fall in love with this person, but not with that one? How can we deal with the storms of emotion that seem to follow connections of great joy? What does it take to create a relationship that is supportive and appreciative for both partners? The insights and techniques that are shared in this workshop are drawn from many sources, including the facilitators' polyamorous paths, Eastern spirituality, and hard science. They can be applied to all our relationships and interactions with others, sexual or non-sexual, polyamorous or monogamous, casual or intimate. Join us as we discover how we can come to a place of power and choice in how our lives and relationships unfold.
Polyamory as a Spiritual Path: What would relationships with others be like if we really were “our own best friend”? The more we do our own spiritual work, which is really about learning to fall in love with ourselves, the more available and loving we become. We no longer approach our partners from a place of need, but from a place of appreciation. Painful emotions become opportunities instead of threats, and positive feelings can come without fear of loss. We are able to take delight in our connections whatever form they might take. Join us in this part-lecture, part-experiential, part-discussion workshop to explore the possibilities!
Exploring Our Differences: Who are you? Who am I? Who are we? In this high-energy, interactive workshop, we’ll find out more about the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of everyone present. We’ll explore curiosity and transparency as attitudes and practices that support healthy relationships, whether with lovers, friends, co-workers, or community members. We’ll have some short, fun exercises where people can try out sharing about themselves transparently and asking questions based on curiosity. And we’ll also talk about how curiosity and transparency go along with other attitudes such as compassion, non-attachment, being “at choice”, personal power and responsibility to create a way of relating that many of us think is sustainable, healthy, and reasonably drama-free.
Finding the Sweet Spot : Mmm, that glorious moment when we are giving exactly what our partner wants to be receiving! Sometimes we find that “sweet spot” spontaneously—but more often, we find it through clear communication and feedback. Let's practice finding that sweet spot—through a series of juicy experiential exercises we'll offer and/or request touch, negotiate the touch we want, and give verbal and nonverbal feedback on the touch we receive.