Connection and Solitude

BY FELIX

My last name falls near the end of the alphabet, so I spent many years of my childhood sitting in the back of the classroom, because our classrooms were arranged alphabetically. The teacher was far away, and the kids around me wouldn't pay attention in class, so we played games all day. If the teacher happened to call on me, I was in shock. One time a teacher asked me a question, and I sat there without saying anything. In the silence, I wanted to hide.

The feeling of trying to hide from attention occurred a lot throughout my childhood and into college. Wherever I went, I tried to blend in. But sometimes my quietness ended up making me stand out. In college, I'd go to a restaurant with a circle of people, and I'd listen to the conversation, waiting for my turn to talk. I didn't want to make a splash. I wanted to insert one or two words, here and there, so I could feel like I was part of the conversation. But when I came out with my two words, the conversation would stop. Then someone would change the topic, and I'd feel like I didn't belong. People didn't exclude me intentionally. My personality just didn't let me flow with a group. I wished I could figure out how to change.

After college, I was trying to start my own business, and I had a contract job. Sitting in a cubicle, coding software, I was mostly by myself. I talked enough with people to learn their names and get the work done, but there weren't personal interactions, especially since I wasn't a regular employee of the company. When my contract ended, I spent over a year trying to make my own web application, a frustrating experience. There was nobody to talk to. I was lonely, with no coworkers and no friends.

I found out about a meetup of people who practiced OM, and I decided to attend. It was a social environment, where everyone was casually dressed, but it wasn't like at a bar where people are getting drinks and trying to hit on each other. They were just talking about themselves. Around these people I'd never met, I felt free of expectations, as if I could say whatever I wanted. I found I was able to express myself, and when they described the OM practice, it sounded intriguing. 

In my first OM, I was nervous, trying to follow the steps and stay in line. I didn't feel free. I was too busy worrying to feel anything in my body. But I wanted to keep practicing because I thought I would get better at it, and then I'd have more to talk about in the gatherings. I was also curious where this rabbit hole would take me, because I had heard about the changes other people had experienced. 

I started OMing twice a week, and over time, I could feel sensations in my body. In one session, I felt like something was crawling up my spine, all the way from the base to my neck, and my body was tingling. I was finding a place with a bit of magic that's not available elsewhere. I started looking into other spiritual practices and meditations that can be transformational. 

After a while, I learned to not be sidetracked by passing emotions, like frustration, but to keep returning to a focus on the stroking. I could sense the changes in the energy. I believe there's some kind of information being passed from the clitoris to the fingertip. From that little bit of sensation, I could make interpretations and adjust the stroking accordingly. If some slight adjustment didn't work, I could make other adjustments until I reached the place where the connection felt right. Often I knew what to do without asking. Other times, my partner would guide me a little to the left or right, and that adjustment would make everything flow. 

I was surprised by how a tiny adjustment, even just a millimeter, could make a huge difference in the flow and the connection. It turns out little differences can affect any kind of environment. If I place my body just slightly differently in a room, if I sit instead of standing, or I change my position in a chair, I can get a better outcome in whatever I'm doing.

I'm a better observer now. In conversation, I can interpret body postures and subtle facial expressions. A couple years ago, I was dating a woman, and we would spend hours together. As the mood changed throughout the evening, I found I could read her and figure out how she was feeling. I would make adjustments in the conversation to keep the flow going and not let the date fizzle out.

The OM practice made me feel less lonely because I was interacting intimately with another person. It meant a lot to me that a woman would trust me to be an OM partner. But now I also know how to be with myself. I meditate regularly, sitting quietly on cushions, and I pay close attention to the sensations in my body, as I learned to do in OM. I notice any tingling, any energy shooting up my spine. After focusing there for a moment, I pass on to other parts of my body. I don't feel lonely anymore because I can just sit and breathe and let things go and feel my own sensations. It's not necessary to have another person in the room. After all, I chose to live alone. I'm comfortable with myself.