About Me: I discovered Cuddle Party in 2008. I drove 2 hours to go to my first one and then went right back to the next one. I was so amazed at how relaxed I felt. I had never heard of oxytocin then, but boy did I feel it! I was also really intrigued by how vulnerable I felt and how much I was learning about myself by being in that situation. I wanted to keep exploring. I asked the facilitator to come to Chicago and I would host. We did that every month for a year. About a year after my first Cuddle Party I went to Oakland to train with Marcia and Reid and have been learning more about creating inner safe space and strong intimate connection through this event ever since. I’m dedicated to making it available to whoever wants to come.Facilitating Cuddle Parties is my way of being the change I’d like to see in the world. I am committed to creating a culture of honesty in which the courage to say no is valued. Currently I am on the Board of Directors for Cuddle Party as well as a trainer for certifying facilitators. I am the Co-Founder of Cuddlist.com and the Director of Training for that organization which aims to set the standard in the emerging field of therapeutic professional cuddling based on the Cuddle Party teachings of consent. I am also in training to be a Wheel of Consent facilitator. I have a degree in Communication Studies from Northwestern University, I have spend over 10 years coaching medical students in examination techniques, patient communication and consent, and I am the mother of two grown sons.
Favorite Cuddle Party Rule: No one has to cuddle anyone at a Cuddle Party My favorite line in the welcome circle is, “The ability to say no is the key to being able to be close to anyone”. Not having to do anything is the prerequisite for knowing that we are only doing the things we genuinely want to do! This has made a huge difference in my life. Through this path, I have reclaimed my sovereignty when I didn’t even notice that most of the time I was giving it away with “should”s, “have-to”s and “need”s. I no longer feel like a victim even when I have difficult choices to make. Another thing I’m learning through my experiences with Cuddle Parties is that I can be a genuine yes in one moment and then a genuine no in the next new moment and there is no right or wrong in this, no need to justify or explain. I can honestly let people know where I’m at moment to moment and it feels so good to be accepted for my truth! Another favorite rule (cuz who says you can only have one?) is, “If you’re a yes, say yes, if you’re a no, say no.” Getting in touch with my own Yes or No in the moment is a deepening practice of falling in love with Truth. It brings me close to my own sense of purity and unconditional self love. I have been practicing The Work of Byron Katie for many years and Cuddle Party is a perfect extension of this spiritual practice in action. If this interests you, learn more at www.thework.com.
What I got out of Cuddle Party personally: Where to start? Cuddle Party has been the vehicle through which I am realizing my personal dreams to both make a living doing what I would do for no money and to be the change I want to see in the world at the same time. Little did I know when I went to Oakland in Feb 2009 to begin my training with Marcia Baczynski and Reid Mihalko, I was finding a life path. I became a pioneer for professional cuddling in 2014 when I met Adam Lippin at a facilitator training and we started Cuddlist the company in which I created a certification training, an online platform and a community based on the teachings of boundaries and consent I learned with Cuddle Party. In 2017 I began traveling the country (and to Europe) facilitating Foundations of Facilitation and creating more certified Cuddle Party facilitators and more thereby more Cuddle Parties around the world. I’ve received an amazing community of open hearted, generous, nurturing, and honest individuals that just keeps growing and growing. Every event there are new people and as they introduce themselves I think, “Wow, a friend I’ve never met before!” Like attracts like and I love the people Cuddle Party attracts. If you’ve read this far, that probably mean you! Internally, I’ve gotten to deepen my relationship with myself. I have a healthier intimacy with myself that is the basis for all the relationships in my life. I listen to myself better. I’m less critical and pushy with myself. It’s easier to hear what I want and ask for it. It’s okay if I discover I didn’t really want it – I still learned a lot. It’s okay if I don’t get it, I might have been spared! I tell people now that the most difficult thing about my life is that I have to say no to better and better things because I have great self care and limited time and attention. I keep learning and growing at a greater pace because I am greater able to self manage and soothe the discomfort that comes with the new and unfamiliar.
Who I am as a Cuddle Party Facilitator / What you'll find at my Cuddle Parties: I am a natural holder of safe space. I have unconditionally accepting mother energy and I am also quite playful. You will find many open minded expansive individuals here who are sincerely doing their work to hear their own truth, honor each others and share in a loving, potentially healing, process. I really appreciate people’s honesty now and the courage it takes for them to say no. I tell them that and thank them for not saying yes when they didn’t truly mean it. It’s a great way to be with people! In the past I have had more men than women attending. Many of the men who come regularly have been working with releasing their cultural conditioning around touching other men and have expressed a sense of liberation about being open to non-sexual touch with other men. They tell me it improves their relationships with all the women in their lives. This has also made it an increasingly inviting space for women to come and explore their relationship to their own yes or no, what they think men want from them and the ways the give their power away. They are learning to reclaim it in a very loving way! We always have a mix of returning and first timers at our events. I love making space for this and being the change I want to see in the world!!!
Facilitator Name: Madelon Guinazzo
Country: United States
State: Illinois, Oregon
City: Ashland, Chicago