Staying Conscious In The RushBY LEONARD BAPTISTE
After I graduated college in 2012 I went to work for a Fortune 500 corporation as a software engineer. For as long as I could remember, I had had a vision of what I wanted and always went after it. I had earned straight A’s through high school and college. From the age of thirteen, I was drawn to technology because I wanted to create something that really made a difference, that helped people become more productive and efficient, and that, ultimately, could change the world. My parents had grown up in poverty in the Caribbean Islands, and they wanted my brother and me to have everything we needed to succeed in the US, where we were both born.
While I always excelled academically, I felt behind socially. I couldn’t relate to other kids all in school, and if I was ever interested in a girl, I hid my feelings for fear of being rejected. I felt validated by my academic success and told myself that at least I had something I was good at, something that made me a good person and provided a way for me to belong.
After college I landed the job that I’d always wanted and was doing great with work, but I felt awkward and insecure, and I wondered how I came across. When I went out with colleagues for Happy Hour after work on Thursdays or Fridays, I was usually pretty quiet and withdrawn. Sometimes people might ask me something or get curious for a second, and then their attention shifted. Someone once told me that I pushed people away, that I deflected attention, which was startling to me because I always wanted attention.
I joined communities online, which is where I first learned about OM. Although I was interested, I was living in Florida at the time and didn’t want to fly to New York or California for a class.
Some years later, I moved to San Francisco to take my career in a different direction. I was always thinking ahead to where I wanted my career to go, and so, when the time seemed right, I took a three-month course that trained me to become a data analyst. After completing the course, I took a job as a data scientist with a startup, only to be laid off after six months.
I started going to a variety of events and networking parties, scouting around for a new job and looking into new possibilities and opportunities. At one of those events, someone was speaking to the group about OM. I remembered having learned about it before and I signed up for a class.
I felt a bit nervous and withdrawn going in, but, at the same time, I was really curious and excited. What I remember most vividly is the genuine interest of the people running the class, the quality of their curiosity about and care with the students. I was particularly impressed with the stroker in the demonstration—his comfort with doing this incredibly vulnerable thing in front of a class of people, his mastery and steadiness stroking a woman. I wanted that. A few days after the class, I asked a woman I had met there if she wanted to OM and she said yes.
She was more experienced than I, having already OMed several times. I prepared as much as I possibly could by looking up anatomy pictures online and practicing the motion I had seen the stroker use in the demonstration. My partner walked me through what to do when I wasn’t sure about some of the steps. I remember the first moment I placed my finger on her clitoris, totally flabbergasted by what I was doing. It felt a little leathery or rubbery but also very soft and warm. There was one moment when I felt a jolt, a surge of electricity through my finger, and my whole body awoke.
The OM was in the morning; afterward, when I was walking to the BART station, each time I looked at a woman electricity surged through my body. I felt as if I knew some secret thing about women that most people didn’t know.
At that point in my life I had no sexual experience with women at all. I was so awkward and insecure around people that I’d always assumed no woman would ever be interested in me.
I initially OMed once or twice a week, getting comfortable with the practice and learning to trust my intuition. I learned how to let go of trying to stroke the “right” way and instead stroked the way that felt right in the moment. During one OM, my foot was falling asleep and I was afraid to stop and change my position. Finally, I said, “Hey I need to adjust my foot,” and as soon as we got back to it, we could both feel a lot more sensation. Another time, there was a moment when I was stroking with pretty heavy pressure and felt this dark, gritty energy emanating from me. This was an aggressive rough side of me that I had never felt before.
After a few months I started OMing almost every day. I remember one OM about a year after I learned the practice when I was stroking a woman who was super-sensitive and only wanted the lightest of strokes possible. I was stroking her so lightly I was barely touching her, and I could feel a layer of electricity between my finger and her clitoris. At one point I wasn’t even physically touching her, and that electricity was just buzzing through my finger into my body.
One thing OM really helped me do was to “hold sensation” better. For most of my life, anytime anyone paid me a lot of attention, I would not be able to hold onto the intimacy of the sensation. I would squirm or laugh or avoid eye contact. With OM, I felt huge amounts of sensation and energy rush through me, and I learned to stay conscious in that rush. I learned to maintain eye contact with people and ground myself in my body, staying steady even when I was interacting with a woman to whom I was attracted. I started being able to flirt with and relate to women, which naturally led to a developing sex life.
Over these last several years of OMing, I’ve learned how to ground myself, how to locate and rely on a gravity within me. I have a stability I never had before. Someone can say something mean or judgmental to me and I don’t automatically assume it’s really about me; often, judgment is more about the person doing the judging. I don’t spin out thinking that I suck or am a bad person. OM has given me the confidence to trust that what I’m feeling is right and true.
I am much more outgoing, able to share who I really am with people and not feel so withdrawn and unsure. I project an energy now that’s open, warm, even gregarious. OM has been a big part of that.