I had no clue what to do with my life. I couldn’t make decisions. Shopping took hours, then I would be sorry I bought something, or sorry I didn’t. I didn't know where to go to school, where to live, or what career to choose, so I just went with what seemed easiest. It didn’t usually end up being what I wanted.
I felt lost, and would drink, smoke, or take psychedelics to ignore that aching fact. I was really into self-help, always searching for some unknown thing. I would tell myself, 'One day I will find the life I want.' I didn’t know what that was. Just that I didn’t have it yet.
I knew about OM long before I ever tried it. However, the first time I asked a boyfriend to OM with me, he refused. I thought, ‘Okay, I'll just explore this later.’ Then we broke up.
This was in 2007. Then I remember reading an article about OM that struck me like lightning. The internal voice, the one I was usually unaware of, said, ‘That's it. That’s for you.’ The voice was super quiet then. It's pretty loud now. Or maybe my hearing improved. But again, I dismissed it. I thought, ‘My parents are born-again Christian missionaries, I could never tell them I do that.’
But still I thought about it. I didn’t quite realize it then, but there’s a holistic nature to OM that attracted me immediately, a mixture of sexuality and consciousness. In OM, all of my parts would be okay. My sex, my body, and my human experience didn't have to be separate from consciousness or enlightenment, fulfillment or purpose. They’re all part of the same greater whole. The parts of me that weren't okay in my other spiritual realms would become key parts of my development. I would feel complete.
Like I said, I didn’t understand any of this. Yet. But what I did understand was that OM was drawing me towards it. At one point, I finally said to myself, ‘I am going to OM with the next guy I date.’ I didn't realize you could OM with anybody. I thought you had to have a partner and I was single.
I finally started OMing in February of 2013. This guy Matt and I had been dating for about a week. I emailed him a link about learning to OM and wrote, "Hey, do you want to try this?" He replied, "Definitely." I thought, ‘He might be a keeper.’
I don't remember our first OM, but I do remember wanting to OM way more often than we actually did. But Matt fell ill, and we stopped OMing or having sex. Instead, I became his caregiver for a couple of months, and soon needed a break. We split up.
Not long after, I met this super confident, super sexy woman who OMed. She wasn't a thin person, and neither was I. I had a lot of body issues. To me, she was mind-blowing. I thought, ‘If she can listen to her inner voice, her inner desires, then so can I.’ And that’s what I began to do.
Our desires don't have to make sense. That’s one of the things OM taught me early on. They are what they are, and you can act on them or not. Even though we had our differences, I knew I desired Matt. I went back to see him, and said, "You want to stay in Vermont. I want to travel. But I want to be in a relationship with you, and making sense is overrated. Let's try it." And so we did.
After reconnecting with each other, we reconnected to OM. We finally got real training, on Skype, and it helped immensely. I remember that time period well. It taught me that I'm supposed to relinquish control.
I'd never trusted Matt to truly handle me. Never. So when I gave him that opportunity and he did step up, it was amazing. It was a relief and a release to not have to constantly be in the director’s chair. I could lay back and feel, and that’s when I became part of something bigger. The location of my life stopped bouncing indefinitely around and moved inside my body. For the first time in my life, my body became my home.
As I OMed more and more, I began to trust my body’s inner voice. For example, I had decided marriage just wasn’t for me when mine ended after ten years. Yet somehow, the desire to marry Matt hit me so hard one time when we were making out that I cried. To be driven by something alive, yet completely different from my own thoughts, was beyond powerful. There exists a deeper self, beyond the mind, I started to learn. One that has input worth considering.
My mind would generally tell me, ‘Shut up, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Meanwhile, as I began to listen to my body and intuition, my life felt like an exciting mystery. My mind had always planned every detail to the point of boredom. This other thing with its own agenda was leading me to the adventurous life my brain would never allow.
Six months of daily OM revealed all these new ways of recognizing desire. I discovered that the voice that said, "Get divorced," earlier in life was the same one that said, "Go a little higher," during an OM. It was the same one that brought me to tears while making out with Matt. I began, consciously, to practice listening to it in the nest so that I could better hear it amid all the chatter outside of OM.
Even with rigorous practice, it still took about three years for me to start properly making adjustments in OM. My conditioning and beliefs made it difficult to request what I truly desired. I was afraid I might seem ungrateful if I requested something different. ‘Will I ruin what I have now?’ I wondered.
Part of me still resists stating desires truthfully and accurately. It’s an incredibly vulnerable thing to do. But so is OM. And now that I hear that vital, intuitive voice over the background noise, it talks constantly. Not just once a year, or every few months. My hunger can feel shameful, or high maintenance, or downright inconvenient.
But through OM, I have come to the knowledge that I need to say what I want. Things are worse if I don’t. The silence of unexpressed desire causes less connection, less sensation. It leads to less satisfaction and less fulfillment—to less everything. In OM, life, and sex.
I moved to Los Angeles five years after hearing the voice tell me to move. That’s how slowly things moved, how much I pushed back. A big part was Matt. Matt was an absolute no at first and for good reason. He'd lived in Vermont for decades, his job was secure, he was content.
I spent four years trying to persuade him to join me before accepting a new job offer and leaving for the West Coast myself. Two months later, he finally joined me and was ecstatic. He absolutely loved L.A. So when I said I wanted to move to a retreat center north of San Francisco, we went through the same process. It was a bit quicker, but had the same result—he loved it there. And now I follow the voice because I know it will take me where I need to be.
OM keeps me inside my body and in touch with that voice. OM is like a flow space that yields insights and breakthroughs. It keeps me grounded. If I don’t OM regularly, I feel a little uncentered. I feel cut off from my body. OM nourishes me in ways nothing else can.
And there is this thing that can happen in OM, where all that gets stuck in a day—the anger, the resentment, the masks, the trying to look good, to be that which I am not—all of those layers simply melt away. And what remains is me. Grounded. Centered. Sane.
I want to live in a world where everyone hears and listens to that inner voice. I believe we each have a role to play, that we each have something inside that should see daylight, that will fulfill us and leave the world a better place. I know because I've experienced this. I know because I’ve experienced OM.
See Cara Joy tell her story here!
Cara Joy Brand is a 41-year-old wellness coach living in San Francisco.