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Polywood 2024

Polywood will be taking place at Friday, August 9th to Sunday August 11th, 2024. 

This page will be updated as the schedule of workshops and events are added and again when registration opens. 

Polywood is pleased to announce the following workshops and events for 2024:

Polyamory 101

What is polyamory? How does it work? How is it not just cheating? Is it the same thing as swinging or polygamy? What's a “Triad”? Don't you ever get jealous? How can you build solid, healthy relationships that work? Join us to explore answers to these questions and more in this introduction for those new to polyamory and those curious and want to deepen their understanding of this lifestyle. Our talk is here to provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to understand and navigate this complex and rewarding way of life. Intended Audience: Anyone new to polyamory who is unfamiliar with commonly used terms and concepts.

Poly ABCs (Agreements, Boundaries, and Contracts)

In polyamorous relationships, clear communication and mutual understanding are essential for maintaining healthy and fulfilling connections. That's why we're excited to offer our talk on agreements, boundaries, and contracts in polyamorous relationships. What are they and how can your relationships benefit from them? In this panel, we will discuss different types of agreements and contracts as well as things to consider when establishing boundaries. You'll learn how to create clear and concise agreements that outline the expectations and responsibilities of all parties, while also allowing for flexibility and growth within your relationships.Whether you're new to polyamory or have been practicing for years, this workshop will provide you with valuable insights and skills that you can apply in your own relationships. Topics will include negotiation, check-ins, defining your terms, and more. Intended Audience: Anyone new to polyamory or to making agreements in intimate relationships.

Owning and Integrating our Jealousies

Experiencing jealousy does not mean you’re doing polyamory wrong, it just means you’re human, and quite normal at that! Join me for an opportunity to reflect on what jealousy is, how it can appear in our lives, tips for navigating themes moments, and some mini exercises to help gel the whole. The information shared will be grounded in somatic teachings, mindfulness and communication. The exercises will be extrapolated from workshops led by “Authentic Relating Ottawa” (no relation to myself or this workshop) and content described in Kathy Labriola’s “The Jealousy Workbook”. This workshop will involve partnered role-playing/sharing exercises. Intended Audience:You may be most interested in this workshop if you are newer to ethical non-monogamy, experiencing jealousy with current partners, about to open up (ie: new partners) or change your relationship agreements. Jealousy is a feeling we (practically) all experience at one time or another but if even if you’re one of those rare few you may appreciate this workshop to help better support your partners (who are probably going to feel jealous at some point).

The Model of Abundance

Polyamory involves multiple partners, but where do we find them and how do we navigate multiple people in a way that isn’t just monogamy with the serial numbers filed off? Monogamy is based on scarcity: we need to fight off competition for the one perfect partner. But polyamory can (and very likely should) be based on the model of abundance: there will always be more people, and relationships should adapt to the differing needs of those partners, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. This can include coexisting nesting partners, triads, friends with benefits and casual hookups, but different relationships can also morph over time. We’ll provide a template for how to maintain these structures simultaneously, how to be gracious with rejection and how to know your own worth as one partner among many. Intended Audience: People already familiar with the basic concepts of polyamory

Coraline James: Behind the Songs

Kitchener based singer-songwriter, Coraline James, shares her songs and their seldom told polyamorous backstories. Coraline’s music combines the melodic sensibilities of Damien Rice, quirky theatricality of Kate Bush, and pensive lyricism of Ben Harper with a little bit of Bach (yes, JS Bach) thrown in. She layers expressive vocal lines to create a striking one-woman choir. Join Coraline for a musical exploration of the joys and sadness that come with living a polyamorous life. Intended Audience: This concert is suitable for all ages, but probably most interesting for people who have started exploring romantic connections

Power Imbalances in Polyamory

Differences between people are a fact of life. Each person has a unique combination of core identities (like sex/gender, orientation/attraction, racial/cultural background, and age) combined with life circumstances (like living/family situation, financial situation, and employment). In polyamory, a person’s ethics, beliefs, wants, and needs in their relationships can be equally unique and varied. These interpersonal differences (and more!) often exist between partners. They can also grant one party more agency to make decisions that benefit them, relative to their partners. In polyamory especially, decisions don’t just affect the two (or more) individuals who have chosen to be in a relationship. Decisions about relationship structure and hierarchy, about the balance between rules and boundaries, and about each person’s social “outness” can have cascading effects to extended polycule members, as well as their families. In cases of large differences in agency between individuals, there may be a power imbalance between partners. These imbalances aren’t inherently unethical, and they can arise by circumstance, against the explicit intentions of both parties. Navigating these power imbalances ethically is much easier when we name them, talk about them, and decide together what (if anything) to do about them in our romantic relationships. Having these talks in calm times is important, since these imbalances tend to rear their head in times of disagreement or conflict. (This talk assumes that all partners in a structure are approaching in good faith, with the genuine desire and intention to strengthen the relationship, and that these conversations are being had outside of a context of intimate partner abuse.) This workshop will involve full group and break-out group discussions. Group discussions may invite you to share thoughts about different levels of experience with non-monogamy, relationship structures, implicit and explicit hierarchy, rules, and boundaries. Intended Audience: This talk is best suited for more seasoned poly folk. It will help the audience to already be familiar with terms like “metamour”, polyamory structures such as solo poly, hierarchical poly or relationship anarchy, and concepts such as jealousy being a normal part of poly relationships for many people. It won’t be totally inaccessible to a wider audience, but without some context newer folk may have trouble following the finer points of discussion.

Cuddle Party

Event organizers will be hosting an adults only cuddle party. This will be a consent mandatory, alcohol-free place to engage in PG-rated cuddles and puppy piles. Wear your pajamas (think comfy, not sexy), bring any pillows or stuffies you desire, and relax, chat, share a back rub or other welcome touch, cuddle, or just hang out. This will be an opportunity to enjoy amazing conversations, to touch, to be touched, to have fun, to practice asking for what you want, to practice saying “no” to what you don’t want — all in a setting structured to be a safe place for exploration and enjoyment.

Safety, Connection and Satisfaction, the "Wheel of Consent®️" for Polyamorous Folk

Come to an introductory workshop on how to incorporate the quadrants, dynamics and qualities of the “Wheel of Consent®'' into your Polyamourous relationships, so that you can experience even more relationship safety, connection and satisfaction. Join Somatic Sex Educator Sarah Anne on this 90 minute experiential practice. Dive into the four quadrants of the Wheel to unravel the nuances of giving, receiving, taking and allowing to further understand how they shape our interactions. Unlock balance and joy through authentic Giving and Receiving, experience the 3 Minute Game and enhance your applications of Boundaries, Limits and Domain which comprise the fundamental concepts necessary to bring enthusiastic consent to all for your romantic, loving, workplace and familial relationships.

Meet and Greet Potluck

A Polywood tradition! We kick off the weekend with an informal meet and greet where you will meet the Polywood organizers and staff and get to know your fellow attendees. And what better way to begin the sharing and community building than with a potluck! Feel free to bring a dish, snacks, or drinks to share.

A Clean Break

This is a talk about how monogamous society frames breakups, and how we can change that framing to improve our relationships. There will be some guided discussion of how we should think about breakups as not a failure but rather just a shift, as well as relationship neutrality. The workshop will include an activity where participants will practice breaking up with other participants to get used to using the words and thinking of breakups as a decision, rather than a request. Intended audience: Open to anyone. Beginners to polycurious to poly lifers all.

Why Yes - Ice breaker game

From the book “F*ck No!: How to Stop Saying Yes When You Can't, You Shouldn't, or You Just Don't Want To” by Sarah Knight, this ice-breaker game invites you to look at the reasons why you say yes when you really mean no. How does it work? You'll be invited to answer some scenario-type questions, which will then be tallied and scored, followed by a discussion around the results. Why does this matter even more in polyamory? We often say "yes" when we mean "no" because of fear of disappointing others, or a desire to avoid conflict. While it might seem like the easier path, this habit can lead to resentment and stress.

Open Your Hearts to Intimacy

This workshop will explore ways of increasing intimacy in our lives. Participants will have the opportunity to practice different ways of communicating, through words, eye contact and touch (all with consent!) We will look at how we create safety for ourselves and for others, and how we make choices in our everyday lives. This workshop aims to provide a safe space to explore love and intimacy, to learn ways of speaking and sharing from the heart, and how to bring more love and connectedness into all of our relationships. This workshop will involve some movement, including standing. However, mobility issues can be accommodated. The nature of the workshop makes the arrival of latecomers rather disruptive, so please be on time as late entry may not be allowed. Intended audience: This workshop is open to anyone over 18. We encourage folks to attend, even if they have attended previous offerings of this workshop, as it’s a different experience every time

Truth or Drink - Ice breaker game

Join us around a fire for Truth or Drink: Polywood Edition! This game is great for getting to know people in a casual atmosphere, and no alcohol is required. It involves asking a question off a card to one person, two people, or the whole group, and picking the most interesting answer. Questions range from mild to wild with 4 different levels to choose from! If you are asked something you don't want to answer, take a drink. This can be any beverage you choose. Due to the nature of some of the questions, this game is best for participants aged 18+

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