From Worry to JoyBY JACOB SILVER
When I was in high school, I lived in a fantasy world that revolved around film. My dad was a screenwriter. I watched him at work and then saw movies that resulted, and I decided it was cool. By focusing my life around film, I didn't have to deal with how hard it was for me to make friends. I had no self-confidence. My parents' divorce, when I was four, had left me feeling traumatized, angry, and afraid of rejection.
Smoking lots of weed became a way of self-medicating and acting out. Eventually I quit smoking because it created more problems than it solved. When I went to college, I decided to major in film. But what I really wanted was love. I longed for a relationship that would make me feel whole. Meanwhile, my depression sucked up all the energy around me and made me feel unworthy of approaching women. The romantic relationships I managed to have did not last very long.
When a friend told me about OM, I immediately wanted to try it. I was so lonely, and I hoped I would get to know more women and have some of my physical and emotional needs met. What happened was so different from my expectations, and in a way, much more profound.
My first OM was awkward because I was pretty unfamiliar with the female anatomy. I could barely even follow the instructions. My OM partner guided me through the different steps and explained how to find the clitoris. Stroking took me out of my head and into my body, and I experienced a powerful exchange of energy between us. Afterwards, I was euphoric, almost like I was on a drug trip.
As I went on OMing, changes happened gradually. Different partners made different kinds of connections, and some partners I felt more comfortable with than others. For a while, I had a regular OM partner, which helped me be less nervous and feel more and more sensation throughout my body. Instead of being dissociated, which is what I normally felt, I would have all these new sensations. In one OM, I experienced an explosion of love that transformed my usual state of pain and anger into passion and joy, just wanting to share myself instead of hiding.
I had at least a hundred OMs. It was like I began to inhabit the earth more, became more solid, more rooted. I wanted to connect with everything. I felt like I had been lit up, and there was this fire coursing through me. I began to feel really, really alive.
My self-image changed when I discovered I was capable of feeling such positive sensations and emotions. And they didn't come from drugs or movies but from making an intimate connection with another human being. I don't feel alone anymore, and I no longer feel there's something wrong with me.
With self-respect has come less worry about what other people think. I'm comfortable in my own skin and less preoccupied with my own story. Yet there's an appreciation for how hard I have tried to find love in another person. The desire for love has been a thread, pulling me forward into connection, but I had been too focused on getting reciprocation from others. Now I'm more accepting of myself and know that no matter what happens, I'll still be grateful for what I have and who I am.
I also understand care and respect as forms of love, making so many of my relationships feel rich and warm. Lately when I think of old friends, I often give them a call. In the past I would have been way too shy, but now I believe connection and love are more important than anything. Those calls have gone pretty well.
I'm learning how to be close to a woman. It used to seem foreign to me, to have such an intimate experience with someone. Now it feels not only possible but essential. I lost relationships with women when I was in a hurry to become a couple, to fill this great void inside me. Now I'm much more in the moment, taking it as it comes.
OM gets you connected to your heart. They say you should follow your heart and find what is going to bring you joy. That's what I want, to have more joy, but I look at it in a different way than I did before. I used to hope for this radical shift. Like a week from now, I'll be so happy, and I'll have a woman I want to be with, and life will be great. But now I see how change is incremental. Things go at their own pace, which is fine. In a way, OM has been a lesson in being patient.