A New Level of Self-PossessionBY AMY
Growing up, I was a chameleon. I wanted to fit in so much that I would try to be whatever other people wanted me to be. Even as I got older, I didn't speak my mind a lot. Sometimes I ended relationships because I couldn't deal with how the other person talked or behaved. I didn't know it was possible to tell them what I wanted them to say or do. At the same time, I was afraid to talk to people who were more experienced, because I was worried they'd see me as naïve or ignorant.
I wasn't adventurous sexually. Despite working as a producer in the entertainment industry, where people get promoted by looking a certain way, I didn't play into the sexy role. I didn’t wear heels and push-up bras. I just wanted to get my work done and do it well. Organization was important to me and gave me a sense of being in control.
Pleasing people gave me a sense of control too, however illusory. It ruled my interactions with men. I had a pattern of finding guys who were good-looking but selfish, especially in sex. I was not quickly aroused, and these men didn't have the patience to wait for me. I'd take care of their needs, even though I wasn't turned on. I would rush through sex so the man would have a great experience, and then I was always left unfulfilled. I didn't know what fulfillment felt like and didn't expect I would ever have an orgasm.
In 2014, I had sex once. The previous time was an uneventful encounter in 2012, and there was another one the year before. I did not have real relationships with these men. They came to see me, we had sex, maybe they'd stay the night. I'd be lying there thinking, But what about me? I didn't know how to ask for what I needed, partly because I had no idea what I needed. Finally, I got tired of picking the wrong guys. I decided something had to change.
Over the last five years, I've done a lot of work around personal development. OM was a big part of teaching me that it's not up to someone else to make me happy. I have to take responsibility for my own happiness.
With its focus on the intense sensations in the clitoris, OM taught me to be aware of feelings in the moment. I stopped worrying about the other person. By asking for adjustments in how the stroker was touching me, I learned to figure out what I needed at any given moment, and to ask for that need to be met. I let go of the inner dialogue making judgments about myself or the other person. Anything I really needed to say was immediately expressed.
My first OM was especially challenging because I'm a germaphobe, and my partner was sweating like crazy. His sweat dripped on me while he spent several minutes fumbling with the gloves, trying to get them on. Ordinarily, I would've freaked out and left a situation like that, but the fact that I stayed made me realize I could be more adventurous than I thought.
The OM container gave me enough confidence to give up the need to be in control. The container consists of rules and steps that enable us to know what's going to happen in the OM. It sets a time limit of fifteen minutes, so we know when it's going to end. Within those boundaries, I felt free to surrender to the sensations and stay with them.
Once I had practiced surrendering within the container, the ability to stay in the moment began to manifest in my life outside of OM. I've learned to have satisfying conversations with all kinds of people. I can talk about anything with anyone, whether I like them or not. Instead of making assumptions about them or going off into thoughts about what they think of me, I ask questions. Being in the moment means paying attention to them and to my curiosity about them. I find out how they feel, what they want. By getting into the essentials of who they are, I can really make a connection.
My sex life is still developing. I've dated a few people who are willing to explore with me. It's not about climax and orgasm anymore. It's about staying present, being able to say what I want and use my voice. Can I really just be in the moment of it, not in my head. I go to my head a lot; I analyze. One of the things that I created through my OM practice is if an internal thought recurs, I have to speak it. In an OM, if I think to myself, I want my partner to move his finger to the left, two different times, I have to make the request out loud. And after practicing it in OM for a while, I was able to apply this in other areas of my life, at work or with my friends. I have a new level of self-possession; I’m the driver of my life; I’m responsible for my own happiness. Others can do things that make me happy, but my happiness is not anyone else's responsibility. Fully giving myself over to that truth has been a great source of relief.