Releasing the TraumaBY HARRIET ARNOLD
I experienced sexual abuse as a child and had sexual trauma in later life. As a little girl, my mom not only didn't protect me, instead she often said, “Go calm the beast,” meaning my dad. He used to touch me on the couch in the living room, and the whole family knew about it. After that I never trusted women much and never opened up to women. As an adult, my first husband turned out to be a pedophile, and I got psychological counseling for that. After that, I experienced two more basically frigid marriages.
After my last divorce, I was very shy, insecure and introverted. I moved to Austin to be with family, and it was a real win-win situation. They had teenagers and I kind of kept an eye on them and helped cook and clean in exchange for room and board. I did that for two years while I dove into my work as a software engineer. I had no desire to do anything but work in my dark, quiet cave. That's where I felt good.
After a couple years, though, I did start feeling alone. I met a guy who invited me to an Introduction to OM class. I had never heard anything about it, and though he described it to me, he also left out a few details. I was kind of shocked. But what was even more shocking was that after the OM demonstration and the class, I said yes to trying OM myself. I thought, “Okay, my toes are already in the water. I've gone this far, why not just go for it?”
I think I did it because I didn't feel anything during the demonstration. Afterwards we were supposed to share how we felt, and as people were talking, I was looking around the room thinking, “Surely you're making that up?” But then I realized maybe it was me and that I was just shut down. I do believe we are given opportunities to grow, and I figured this was my time to grow. After that, I really didn’t think twice about it. Later in the evening as I went into my first OM, the nest looked comfortable. I pulled my pants down and just picked a spot on the wall to focus on.
I thought I'd be uncomfortable, but I was eventually able to relax. I didn’t reach orgasm, but I felt comfortable, which puzzled me. I am usually very logical and assume that things go logically in order. This was one of the few times in my life where that didn't happen. I was out of my head and in my body, and that felt good.
I used to be goal oriented toward a climax. With OMing, I learned to push the sensation down, over and over. And each time I did that, I felt more relaxed and focused. I could follow the stroking finger and relax and have a deeper sensation—the kind of sensation that I could feel vibrate up my spine. I'd never experienced that kind of sensation before.
In the three years I’ve been OMing, I’ve found my voice. I can ask for an adjustment when needed. Maybe two years into the practice, I started feeling actual pain during an OM session—a tightness in my chest where my arms and shoulders would vibrate. I don't like losing control, and the sensations took me into my head because I had had a heart attack years before. I was a little concerned about my health, but for some reason I knew I was going to be okay. So, I stayed in the OM, asking myself, “What is this?” I stayed steady with it.
Occasionally that pain will still come up, and each time it feels like I'm peeling back another layer of the onion. Now, even though it's painful sometimes, I almost seek those experiences out. Afterwards my eyes are tearing and it feels like I've released something—I don't know what I've released, but that’s not important. I know in my heart and in my genitals that something got released. It’s a slow sensation, almost as if a ghost went through me. After that tightness releases I feel an electrical tingling that goes down my body and out my toes. I experience more genital blood flow and feel goosebumps and overall just feel gorgeous and warm.
Because of OM I went from this very repressed, shy, introverted software engineer—this logical cold person, living in the dark—to a woman who enjoys her body and feels at ease in her nakedness. Please excuse the pun but considering the sexual trauma I experienced with my father, OM put the finger right on my stress point and helped me release the trauma. I don’t think I could have done that without the practice.
Business wise, I’m enjoying the expansion. I talk with strangers. I can talk on the phone a little better. I'm a better leader and I'm a better follower. I’ve started connecting with and opening up around women—and it’s women who have helped me do that. In my personal life, I feel more empowered to say no. I'm safe. I have a voice. I feel more empowered to explore income opportunities outside of software engineering. I’m exploring unusual lifestyles. I’m reprogramming 50-something years of training that says little girls are supposed to grow up and dream of being married and having a prince to look after them. I'm throwing that out the window.
Today I’m leaning into all of life’s challenges, getting out of victim mode and opening up my heart to what the universe has probably been slapping me with for a long time, saying “Wake up! Here! I’m handing this to you on a silver platter!”
I still have a long way to go, but I’m on my way.