Back To My Roots

BY HANA SIM

I grew up hating being an Asian woman. I carried a lot of shame and had a very disconnected relationship with my culture and my family—especially my mother. She had and has lots of addictions and has always dealt with depression. After I grew up, I didn’t want to be around her or my father. And I didn't want to stay in South Korea. As soon as possible I got married to a French man and moved away to France.

I felt so good leaving my parents and that part of the world, disconnecting from my roots. I had been feeling really stuck. I had no concept of what my body needed or how to manage my energy. I got a scholarship and continued my education in France. My husband and I were devoted to each other. We did our best to relate. But we couldn't; something basic just didn't work between us. So there I was in France with a deteriorating marriage, dealing with a huge chunk of my life that I was trying to heal. Because, happy as I was to be as far away from my culture and my family as I could get, leaving family and culture is not something that is integrated easily.

It was my husband who found OM online. My first impression when he suggested it was, “That's really sweet.” My first OM session I remember saying to my husband, “That’s it?” I could not yet feel much in my body. It was like I was disconnected from my body and what was happening, but I remember my emotions being rather vivid.  Even so, I didn't talk much when it came time to share frames with one another. I remember that I just sat there and cried. 

After that I didn't want to do the practice. And yet I also felt how powerful it is and so I kept going. After three times, I could feel something was opening, something was awakening in me, and I felt a little high during the week of those first three OMs. But then I didn't do the practice for about eight months afterwards. 

Meanwhile I tried doing other kinds of meditation, something that looked a bit more “normal” than OM. But eventually I was pulled to try it again. This time I surrendered to my desire and I felt intense sensations. To my amazement, my hunger started opening up. Something I had really tried hard to keep tamped down for a very long time just started coming out—which is not surprising considering the modesty of Asian culture. I felt my sexual appetite increase—but more than that I felt my soul wanting to meet other people and have fun with them and connect. 

I remember during one OM there was the sound of rain outside of the window. And I realized that I could feel the rain, could feel what seemed like rainwater—water drops—hitting my body.

“Oh, my God,” I thought. “Wow!” It's such a simple thing. To be able to feel, feel who you really are and what is around you; be connected to it. All the sensations that you were not aware of before.

I started to learn where to put my attention. I learned that I could slow down my thinking processes and notice my emotions. I could direct energy in a constructive way towards the things and situations I wanted to change. I also started getting really honest with my husband. We talked a lot about OMing and at one point I remember him looking at me differently. It was like he was asking himself, “Who is this woman? Where is my Hana?” And I couldn’t blame him. I could scarcely recognize myself. I had the same face I used to have but there was a different me coming out. He is now my ex-husband.

One really good lesson I learned from OM is to always look at what is there, not things that are not there. For the longest time I thought my parents were not good enough because my mom has addictions, and my father is always watching television and smoking. I wanted them to be different. But after I’d been OMing for a while, I could see that they really love me. I finally developed the sensitivity and awareness to see what’s been there all along. I saw how much I was continuously judging my parents, especially my mother. I really couldn't see them as they are. No wonder I was running away! I couldn't really meet them till I’d cleared out all the illusions and the guilt and feelings of obligation. I also saw that all my interactions with other Asian women had been equally biased.

Sometime in the near future, when it feels right, I want to go back to South Korea. In the meantime, I am giving myself permission to read Korean books and eat Korean food and do whatever other Korean things I want to do. I'm quite a unique mixture of things but basically, I'm made in Korea. It's taken me a very long time to come home, and because of OM I’m on my way.