Letting Go of the Big Ball of StressBY JACQUELINE EVANS
It’s been five years since I started practicing Orgasmic Meditation, and so much has changed. When I started, I was working two extremely difficult, high-power jobs at the same time, while also being a single mom. My partner didn’t live nearby, and we were doing the whole long-distance thing at the time. So, when I went to bed, I mostly cuddled up to a big ball of stress. One of the first things I got from OM was a little slice of time for me. A container of time, only 15 minutes, but so valuable. That was the first thing, but there was so much more.
I was raised staunchly atheist. My grandfather was a rabbi who was murdered in the former Soviet Union. That was the end of religion in my family. There was a lot of spitting on religion. It was a cult of the intellect, I would say. My dad and his siblings were extremely close-knit, but they sort of stood in judgment of each other’s spouses. My mother got the worst of it. She was only 17 when she and my father got married at the end of a shotgun barrel. To my grandmother, my mother was always the temptress she had caught her little boy (twenty-something at the time) having sex with behind the couch. The harlot who ruined his life.
In reality, my mom was a very smart woman. Husky-voiced, sexy, and smart. Boys would call for me in high school, and when my mom would smilingly pass off the phone, they’d be like, “Who was that?!? Give the phone back to her!” I was the youngest of my siblings. In spite of our atheism, we at one point moved to a spiritual community in New York state. There wasn’t a lot of room there, so my brother, who’s three years older than me, and I ended up sharing a bed. He was post-pubescent, I was pre-pubescent, and he would touch me. It developed into this thing, and even once we’d moved, he would come into my room and touch me. I would wake up, startled and alarmed, but would think to myself, The only way through this is to pretend I’m not conscious. So that’s what I did.
I’ve carried a lot of terror of men throughout my life, starting with those horrible nights hiding from consciousness. At the beginning of my very first class on OM, someone asked a question about feeling safe. I raised my hand and said, “I don’t. I don’t feel safe. I don’t know how I’ll ever do something like OM, how I would get the trust.” The teacher was very kind and sympathetic, and the class went on. The whole time, I had this fantasy going that one of the guys in the class was a serial killer. I ended up getting to know him later on, and it’s such a ridiculous fantasy to me now. He’s just the sweetest guy. At the end of the class, I had somehow built up enough trust to try OM.
Maybe it was the container? Or something else? As a scientist, I like to say “magic” when I can’t quite understand the process by which something works. The experience of OMing has been magic. It feels like I have found this kind of web of connectedness, and what it allows, in terms of safety, is mind-blowing.
Also new to me, and this I can correlate to the specifics of OM more easily, is my ability to remain present when bombarded with high sensation. My default, ever since hiding from my brother’s attacks, has been to shut down when confronted with something emotionally overwhelming. Recently, I’ve found myself in those situations a lot. My son is very high needs. Having a child with a form of anxiety that he’s struggling to manage is so hard. I worry about how I’m going to fix it, or how it’s going to spin out. Sometimes, I don’t know whether or not to call an ambulance and get him hospitalized. There’s all this worry and need to do something, and it’s very hard to be calm enough to do the right thing, or even discern what it is.
Sometimes, in an OM, I force myself to make an adjustment every minute, just to keep myself completely awake within that high sensation. I’ve seen cognitive behavioral therapists for the same thing, but in many ways, it’s been OM that has most helped me stay conscious in experiences that are really high sensation.
My son, he’s a really gentle kid. But recently, he was so frustrated with his mental state, at one point he pulled a towel hook out of the wall. And then he just burst into tears. He felt like he was breaking my house, on top of everything else. In that moment, I could feel how distressed he was, and I didn’t have to take it out on him. I didn’t have to be as distressed as he was. I didn’t have to notch the drama up and make it about me. I could feel. Notice. Ask. Stand within the storm for my son.
My work life has changed a lot, too. I used to take these high-profile jobs and just say yes to things I didn’t want to do at work all day as a way of, I don’t know, people pleasing? Or really just stroking my own ego and image of myself. I wouldn’t want to disappoint the people asking me to help with a project, or whatever, but I clearly didn’t want to do it. So, everyone would end up feeling bad as a result.
I feel like I can respond to the exact same situation in a different way now. I can say yes to things from a place of desire and recognize that I have a choice. What I’ve found is that more of the things I’m asked to do now align with what I actually, in my heart of hearts, want. I can come into these situations and feel the excitement. I don’t have to carry around that big ball of stress anymore.