From Burned Out to Loving My LifeBY GEORGIA NOWAK
Professionally, I work with people who've had abortions. For some, it’s been a really positive experience. For others, it’s been really negative and traumatizing. Many in the latter group are survivors of other traumas as well, and that trauma lives in their bodies. For years, what I did was take on some of the trauma that people shared with me. I had my own pain to deal with and my own trauma, but I couldn’t seem to help taking on other people’s as well.
At the heart of my work is holding people’s stories. I help them make sense of their pasts, and I work with them to amplify their own narratives. I collect those stories, and I hold them. Every day, I hear people say, “I’ve never told anyone this,” before they pour out something extraordinarily difficult and meaningful. It’s a lot of work to carry all that, and for a long time I kept that collected trauma tucked away inside. It was in my cells, my muscles, my marrow, my stomach. Because I knew this work was so important, I pushed myself hard, often working seven days a week. I loved what I did, but it was taking a toll.
I found Orgasmic Meditation on Instagram, of all places. I was just coming to the end of six consecutive weeks of work without a single day off. Forty-two days in a row without even an afternoon to myself, and I was just completely exhausted. I had this day to myself coming up at last, and I was thinking about what I could do to make it meaningful and restful – and that’s when this story popped up in my Instagram feed. A friend of a friend mentioned a one-day Intro to OM class that was coming up, and it happened to be on this one free afternoon I had. A saner person would have taken the day off to sleep, but something about the way the Insta story was worded intrigued me. I signed up.
My first impression of OM was a mistaken one. I had already been doing a great deal of sexual healing work through my spirituality practice. Because sexual trauma was so much a part of both my story and the stories of my clients, I had devoted myself to tapping into sexuality as a source not only of pleasure, but of power and strength. I had a sacred masturbation practice that had meant a great deal to me. I figured OM would be a deepening of this kind of sexual healing work. It turned out to be so much more.
My very first day, I had three OMs back-to-back with three different people. That’s a lot for your first time, but I was determined. During the first OM, I was distracted. My programming kicked in, and I wondered if I should be making vocalizations. Am I doing this right? Am I following the script? Through no fault of the stroker, I had a hard time getting out of my head.
It was in the second OM that day that I began to understand what it might look like to fully surrender. I could start to tune out everything else. I felt the urge to reciprocate the pleasure I was feeling. When it was time to sit up, I noticed that my first impulse was to ask the stroker what I could do for him. It wasn’t that I wanted it to be sexual, it was that I was so trained to believe that I could not receive without giving at least as much in return! It was with the third OM that it hit me that what was happening in OM was less about sex and more about alchemy – the stroker is getting everything he needs because the practice feeds us both. We each receive what we need most. This isn’t about getting off or climaxing together. It’s about transforming something in two people through a very specific process.
I had not expected OM to release so much of the trauma I held inside. It is not a stretch to say that without OM, I would not have been able to go on doing my professional work. I was at the breaking point. OM alchemized that pain and trauma. It didn’t just release it; it transformed it. Before I came to the practice, I felt like there was a rock sitting in my center. I mean that literally – I had constant stomach aches and other gastrointestinal issues. I’d been practicing OM for about three months when I woke up one morning, and I couldn’t remember the last time my stomach had hurt. I hadn’t changed my diet. OM transformed what was inside of me.
I let myself receive much more than I did before. As in OM, so in the rest of my life. I let other people in my life pick up some of the slack – and as a result, I’m a better advocate and colleague than I was when I was trying to do everything myself. I don’t work 42 days straight anymore, either! I can relax and rest and make allowances for myself without being overwhelmed by guilt or restlessness.
The best way I can describe OM is that I feel as if I’ve discovered a secret about the world. It’s a little like falling in love, except I’m not falling in love with another person. OM opened a door to a hidden garden where I could fall in love with myself and with life. I could look at all the deep places inside that I had denied or ignored, and I could love them. I love having other people in my life, but I don’t need them to love me in order for me to know my purpose. I can determine my own life’s path now. It’s so unbelievably cool.