Life still has its ups and downs, but the difference is, I’m enjoying the elevator ride.
To say life has tested me would be an understatement. I survived child abuse, was right next to the Twin Towers when they went down, and lost a son. I ended up in many psychologists’ offices throughout the years, and each time, they seemed to have a different diagnosis: depression, bipolar, you name it. Whatever the label, the message was clear, I was broken.
I was put on so much medication I couldn’t cry anymore. But neither therapy nor meds addressed the roots of my problems. It always felt like we were circling around without actually getting there. Since I didn’t know how to deal with my trauma, I either dated men who abused me or closed myself off to love entirely.
A few years ago, after ten years without any sort of romantic or sexual connection, I bought 40 acres of land in the middle of Georgia, just to isolate myself. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. Part of me didn’t even want to live. When my sister invited me to an Orgasmic Meditation event, I thought the whole thing sounded wacko. But I figured anything that might help me was worth a try. I saw how lit up people were and I got curious. I could feel their joy. After a few of these events, I agreed to learn to OM.
During my first OM, I couldn’t feel the other person’s finger. My genitals were numb from so many years of neglect. But somehow, I could still feel the emotions that the stroking seemed to unleash. I relived a traumatic event from my youth. I wanted to get up, but I stayed there and breathed through it because I knew deep down that I was healing by feeling this pain. I returned home full of rage. Yet, the next day, I found myself humming a happy tune. I felt more energetic than I had in a long time.
That experience taught me why I hadn’t been able to deal with my trauma. I’d been approaching it with my mind, but it was living in my body. That’s why I was able to accomplish in one OM what I couldn’t in years of therapy. I was touching the trauma directly. I was feeling the pain rather than just thinking about it.
During my first year of OMing, I traveled through hell as I worked through all this pain. Memories I’d repressed came up as different parts of my body were touched. But the OM community was there to support me. I feared the hellish moments less and less. Rather than push them away, I learned to feel the sensations in my body and began to view them as part of life’s ups and downs. I learned that if I just took the elevator down, it would come back up again. The depression only came when I tried to resist it.
My perseverance paid off. After about a year, I could reach a place inside my mind during OMs where my to-do list went out the window and my brain went quiet. As OMs like these continued, I began to feel joy in my daily life. For the first time since I was seven years old, I didn’t feel depressed. I liked myself.
For so many years, I’d let my trauma define me. I’d come to believe I wasn’t lovable. Working through this trauma let me see who I am behind it. As I unpeeled the layers, I began to appreciate the gifts I had as well as the mistakes I’d made, and I acknowledged the mistakes without beating myself up. Instead of seeing myself as broken, I now view myself as a normal human being who’s been through a lot and learned to grow from it.
Now that I can see myself clearly, I can see others more clearly as well. I used to blow up at people left and right, but now, I can understand their perspectives and forgive them. Probably because of all the oxytocin released during OMs, I’ve connected with OM partners on a level I hadn’t before. With all this love pouring out of me, I’ve also deepened my relationships with my family. My son and I used to fight all the time, but now, we stay respectful even when we’re mad.
I’ve even started dating again, as I’ve regained confidence in my ability to choose partners who treat me right. Before OM, I didn’t have any boundaries, since I wasn’t afforded any as a child. Focusing on the sensations in my body during OMs taught me how to direct my attention and become more mindful. In this way, I have begun to learn how to set boundaries by communicating with my attention.
The mindfulness I’ve gained through OM also helps me stay present with my emotions. It used to feel like all these overwhelming feelings were randomly coming at me from every direction. Now, I can identify the sources of the painful emotions so that I can feel and address them instead of carrying them around. The other day, for example, when I became sad for seemingly no reason, I was able to realize it was the anniversary of my son’s death. Then, I was able to feel that grief and move through it.
This heightened awareness has made it harder to lie to myself. I can see which thoughts of mine are truly me and which are my social conditioning. My awareness of the sensations in my body has also increased. I no longer want to eat food that’s bad for me because I can feel how it affects me. I swear, my eyesight’s sharper and I can smell things from further away.
At age 58, I have more energy than I did 20 years ago. Just being around other OMers gives me an energy boost because I can feel all the energy in their bodies. And I feel much lighter now that the weight of the trauma has lifted. Sometimes, when I come home, I’ll mow the lawn just to expend the excess energy in my body.
I’ve begun to see the positives in everything. Even all the traumas in my life have made me all the more determined to help others recover from their own traumatic pasts. The strength they’ve given me is a superpower. Now that I see how powerful a healing practice OM can be, I’m training to become an OM coach, so I can teach other people how to benefit from it.
Every day, I’m thankful that something in me made me follow my sister to that crazy event. Life still has its ups and downs, but the difference is, I’m enjoying the elevator ride, not frantically pressing buttons to get out. I’m saying yes to every moment—the good and the bad. Because really, all of it is good. I never thought I’d look in the mirror every day and see a smile on my face, but that’s exactly what’s happening.
Iris Freeman is a 58-year-old woman who lives in Florida.