Living in Full ColorBY CATHERINE
The old me was all about “production over feeling.” I got a real hit on achieving and accomplishing things and putting the latest notch in my belt. But on my journey with Orgasmic Meditation, and especially as a cancer survivor, those priorities have flipped. Now, it’s “What did I notice?” instead of “What did I do?” Awareness and perception are the new highs for me.
I was raised in a violent home, a one-bedroom apartment. My stepfather used to beat up my brother, who is six years younger than me. One day, when my stepfather was kicking and punching him, I grabbed my brother, who was only about 6, and pulled him into the bathroom. When my stepfather begged me to open the door, I refused. And I remember thinking that I never wanted to be in a circumstance like that again. I never wanted to be financially or emotionally dependent on anyone—except myself. I was 12 years old.
That meant studying hard and doing whatever it took to succeed. My mom died of cancer when I was in high school, after three sad years of struggle. After she passed, I went to live with a girlfriend and her mom in a studio apartment. There was no place to study, so I laid out my books on the bathroom floor—because I was going to make it. I went to college and juggled a full-time job to pay for it. That’s what production looked like for me.
In my dating life, I had a competition mindset. I thought there could only be one winner and I wanted to dominate. I didn’t want to experience heartbreak because that would mean he won and I lost. Whether he was in pain or not didn’t matter—I still felt like a loser. So, I protected my shell and became very guarded.
Once, I received a text from a boyfriend as our relationship was dissolving. I don’t remember what he wrote but I do remember that his words made me seize up. I was at a restaurant with a friend, and she could sense the pain that I was hiding. She asked to see the text and then said, “Wow, he really loves you.” I was stunned. Because in my mind, I had lost. She read his words to me, and I could hear the love only when she spoke them in her voice. Otherwise, I couldn’t get past my competition mindset.
Fast forward a few years—I was working 70 hours a week in corporate America. I was in my mid-20s, had a different boyfriend, was working out every day, and ate an extremely healthy diet. But my body was failing and I was in pain. I took a lot of Advil to keep from buckling over at my desk. Stoically, I went on this way for a couple of weeks before I saw a doctor. I thought it was PMS.
It turns out that I had a huge mass in my uterus, about 25 centimeters. My physician was shocked. Asked if I ever complained, my partner said no. “How could she not feel that?” the doctor asked.
After the first operation, I did everything my doctor said, and more. I reduced my stress level, ate vegan, saw an acupuncturist. I got a health coach and guzzled vitamins. My approach to getting well was production over feeling. And it wasn’t sustainable.
Over the next five years, I had four surgeries as they found new growths. After each surgery, it would take me 6 to 12 months just to be able to stand up straight from all the scar tissue. After the fourth round I thought, I cannot do this anymore. And I was no longer afraid of dying.
My brother and I got into a heated argument about it. He said, “What are you going to do, Catherine?” And I said, “I'm not going to do anything. I'm not seeing more doctors. I’m not cutting myself open again. I cannot live like this anymore. I can't live to prevent myself from dying. I need to live.”
Then my health coach told me that I didn’t have enough womb energy. I thought, what’s that supposed to mean? She said I needed to cultivate my feminine side. And I do spend a lot of time asking what the masculine and the feminine look like for me. I decided to learn Orgasmic Meditation to help me balance those aspects of myself—and find a union of the masculine and the feminine. It accomplished that and also helped me place feeling over producing.
Back at the beginning of my healing journey, I tried to find solace in nature. But my production mindset was always asking, “Where’s the next tree?” I couldn’t be still enough to truly see one. It wasn’t until later—after developing an OM practice, living through illness, and experiencing a pandemic—that I could be in nature in a meaningful way. This spring, I saw a beautiful tree in blossom and I felt what it was. It took this long for me to slow down and really see a tree. I’ve honed my ability of perception. I’ve prioritized feeling over producing. I don’t work 70 hours a week anymore. I’m not concerned about the size of my bank account.
Production used to make me feel alive. It was “I did this, I did that.” Now it’s about, “I noticed this, I noticed that.” It's a completely different tracker. And it allows me to live in a different way. It allows me to live in full color.