A Missing Ingredient that Makes it SingBY CAROLE VAPOREAN
“Sit down,” my husband said. I knew something bad was coming.
“I’ve found my soulmate,” he said. For a tenth of a second, I thought this was an awkward way of trying to be romantic with me. And then it hit me – he was leaving. We’d been married for 13 years and together for a decade before that. We’d given each other nearly a quarter century of our lives, and wham, he was gone. I wasn’t the right one for him. I was devastated.
It took a while, but I realized that he had been right: I wasn’t his soulmate, and he wasn’t mine. That was as much my responsibility as his. I had always had a very hard time saying what I wanted, or what I thought. That was true at work, where I put in overtime for which I wasn’t paid. And it was true in my marriage.
A typical Sunday evening with my ex-husband would find him watching a Star Wars movie for the 38th time, while I’d be in the kitchen cooking. I worked more hours outside the house than he did, I had the higher paying job, and I did all the work at home too. I’d get really irritated, but I hardly ever asked for help. And when I did ask, he would come in the kitchen, do a mediocre job, then walk out before it was finished. I couldn’t find the words to ask him to stick with the task. I’d resent the hell out of him – and I’d resent myself for not being able to find the words to tell him what I needed.
A few months after my ex left, I found a program that helped divorcing people separate with consciousness and care. It helped a great deal. What I remember best was the “graduation” dinner the leaders threw for those of us who completed it successfully. At that dinner, a new friend I’d met during the program leaned over, and explained in vivid detail this new practice she’d found called Orgasmic Meditation. She told me that as a result of having her clitoris stroked deliberately for 15 minutes, she’d found the strength to go and ask for her boss for a raise – a raise he immediately gave her.
I was slightly scandalized. But I was also curious about OM, and I did some searching online the next day. Soon, I had signed up for my first workshop to learn about the practice. In my very first OM, my issues got thrown right in my face. My OM partner asked me out immediately after we finished. We were both new to the practice but as I understood it, this was poor form for the OM container. I was taken aback, it was such a strange but powerful experience. All my past conditioning had made me want to say, “Okay, sure” or “Maybe sometime,” but I knew I wasn’t interested in going on a date with him. I don’t know where it came from, maybe that first OM loosened something in me, because I was able to say, “No thanks” in a really calm, friendly, but firm voice. I was amazed. Even better, the guy took it in stride. That first OM and the conversation that followed showed me that there was something really important in this practice.
That experience set me up in another way. I got so much value and growth out of OM, but I realized that I expected to have that initial experience of being asked out to be repeated. I was expecting the men in OM to flock to me, and that didn’t happen. For a long time, I was frustrated, because I was looking for a healthy romantic relationship and I figured why not with another person who OMs. What I eventually saw was that I was being passive, waiting to be chosen by the right guy, the way I always had. That dynamic wasn’t going to work anymore. I’d been so used to waiting to be asked out; what OM taught me was that nothing was going to change until I started doing the asking. That was true in my work, too – I’d never stop working overtime if I waited for my boss to realize I was overextended. I had to name that for myself and ask to have assignments taken off my plate.
The way I learned to ask was through making requests or adjustments of my OM partners. I got really good at verbally guiding my partner to exactly where to put his finger, and how to adjust his tempo. Soon, I had no trouble being very direct with my feedback during an OM. After a while, some of my regular OM partners started to thank me – by being explicit about what I wanted. It took pressure off--they no longer needed to read my mind and do it right. They felt so much more effective, as though they knew how to win with me. We both got what we needed most when I was open about precisely what I wanted.
The other thing that’s shifted in my life is that all of my senses are heightened. When I go for a run now, I can smell roses from across the street. If I stop to touch them, I can feel the softness of the petals, and see the brilliance of the colors, in a way I never could before. It’s like the perception dial has been turned up two notches in my brain. I’ve always loved cooking, and OM has taken my cooking to a new level. It’s inspired by something from deep within. My housemates were the first to notice that something had changed; they always ate my food with pleasure, but after I got into OM, their delight intensified. They tell me often, “Carole, this is just wow,” which in their vocabulary really is the highest praise.
I don’t rely on recipes anymore. I tap into my intuition, and I find the missing ingredient that makes the food sing. That happens in my cooking, and it happens at work and in my relationships. It doesn’t always happen easily, but it always comes when I need it most. It’s changed everything for me.