The community will agree to these agreements, and when confronting challenges in the community environment let’s agree to go back to the agreements, and work towards living them. The agreements are from adrienne maree brown’s Liberated Relationships, Expanded: Liberated relationships are one of the ways we actually create abundant justice, the understanding that there is enough attention, care, resource, and connection for all of us to access belonging, to be in our dignity, and to be safe in community.
1. Radical honesty. No omissions, no white lies, no projections. Ask the questions you really want answered, speak your truth, and let the relationship build inside all that reality….the more you practice this, the more you will find yourself spending your waking hours in the ways you want to, the ways that honor the miracle of your existence, which was not given to you to waste in polite avoidance of hurting people’s feelings. You will find that you can be honest and kind; you can be honest and compassionate.
2. Acknowledge the dynamics, then keep growing. Have an understanding of the front end of the race, class, gender, ability, geographic, and other power dynamics that exist between you. And also remember that these are mostly constructs. Be in the complexity of living inside those constructs while evolving beyond them through relationship.
3. Relinquish Frankenstein. You are not creating people to be with or work with, some idealized individuals made of perfect parts of personality that you discovered on your life journey. You are meeting individuals with their own full lives behind and ahead of them. Stop trying to make and fix others and instead be curious about what they have made of themselves.
4. Stay curious. So much of what we really long for can get buried under socialization. As you generate trust with each other, between each other, hopefully both/all partners will be able to be more of themselves, bring more of themselves into the relationship space. Stay curious about each other’s longings, desires. When you hear something that may be new, surprising, even a bit scary, see if you can center curiosity.
5. Line up longings. Chemistry is a special thing, beautifully mysterious. What is less mysterious as we get older are the things that we enjoy doing with our bodies and our lives. Learn how to name your longings and assess if your longings are aligned with a potential lover, partner, friend, or group.
a. ….don’t start with compromise and cunning, start with alignment and grow from there.
b. Pleasure shapes our lives through and around the challenges we face. The relationships (personal and political) that last the longest have a solid foundation of aligned longings that can handle the tensions of difference and change.
6. Change and be changed. You can do the same all by yourself. One of the exciting things about being in any relationship is the opportunity to be seen, to be known, to let the cauldron of love and honesty and intimacy become a container for transformation.
a. Shift away from any mentality that you are there to fix each other, and shift into an understanding that change is constant, and you get the gift of witnessing and supporting each other in transformation.
b. Pay attention to feedback that is repeated. When it is repeated from multiple people, it is more likely to be true.
c. Change if you want to for yourself, not to keep someone or stay in a place/organization. Change because it is your path, not to contort into spaces you have outgrown.
7. Set generative boundaries. Create mutual abundance. I envision generative boundaries as organic fences made of stacked rocks or thick bushes that become home to millions of small creature families. Porous, breathing boundaries that are clear, that mark the space between partners in ways that make them both feel abundant. If you are in a relationship where you can’t honestly and easily set boundaries, then there is reason for concern about the health and longevity of your connection; whatever yes exists between you is not trustworthy. Learn how to feel your own edges, limits, and needs—the places where you need to be selfish, the places where you need to preserve yourself.