Walking Through a Magic DoorBY GRAHAM
I was an anxious, lonely kid. I start with that because that anxious, lonely kid is still part of me, and probably always will be. That little adopted boy, a son of the Bible Belt, growing up in ultra-conservative East Texas. OM helped me learn how to take care of him, and to remind him that he’s not as isolated as he fears.
I was adopted as an infant. When I was 18, I searched for and found my biological family, and through them, met my three half-sisters and a half-brother. Until very recently, I hadn’t developed as rich of a relationship with them as I would have liked to. It’s a classic adopted child thing: the fear of being rejected again. I wanted so badly to find my biological family, but when I did finally track them down, I struggled to believe that they’d want to know me. I know being put up for adoption isn’t abandonment, but it sure can feel like that in a child’s brain.
That fear of rejection, and that sense of a loss at the very beginning of my life, made me a people pleaser from my earliest memories. I always wanted to make sure everyone was happy. My happiness was dependent on other people’s happiness, and that was particularly true with my parents. Parents always have this huge power over their kids, but I went way beyond that – for as long as I can remember, I wanted to make sure my parents were happy. That was especially true with my mother.
Starting when I was a teen, I found passive-aggressive ways of rebelling against that great dependence I had on making her happy. I’d say I was listening when I wasn’t; I’d “forget” to do something she asked me to do. That cycle escalated into adulthood, and it led directly to my first marriage. I married a woman who wasn’t right for me, but at the time, she seemed right because my parents made it so clear they didn’t approve of her. It’s amazing the extremes we’ll go to in order to establish some independence. It was the only way I could think of to put some emotional distance between me and them.
That marriage didn’t last long. It ended badly, in fact, which seemed to vindicate my mother’s view that she knew what was better for me than I did myself. (My father had died while I was married.) I could feel myself falling back into the old pattern of dependency on her. I was scared to date again, as I was still dealing with the trauma from a bitter divorce. I felt stuck – and that’s when I started looking for something that could center me and give me tools to start to connect with other people. I wasn’t ready to go out with women, but I downloaded a few dating apps, and liked to browse through my “options,” just to work my courage up.
One day, I saw this woman’s profile on which she declared that she did something called Orgasmic Meditation. I was fascinated just at the conjunction of those words; it reminded me of those old ads about how amazing it was when someone first put peanut butter and chocolate together. Orgasms and meditation? I was gripped. I didn’t “swipe right “on that woman, but I did look up OM online. I found a talk on the practice, and I watched that video over and over again. I found a local workshop in Austin, and signed up for it. I remember thinking how much my mother would disapprove, and that gave me an extra push.
My first OM left me feeling like a virgin all over again. I felt like I was seeing a woman’s genitals for the first time. The whole situation was so unlike anything I’d ever done before that I found myself sweating like a nervous teenager. What I remember, though, was how quickly all that changed. You know Harry Potter? There’s that scene in the pub, when they tap on the bricks, and everything moves to the side, and a whole new world is revealed on the other side? That’s what it was like, honestly. I remember that image from the movie coming into my mind while I was stroking. Afterwards, I walked out in a bit of shock – it was as if I’d been starting at this blank wall all my life, and all of a sudden this magic door had appeared, and I had turned the handle and walked through into something new.
The thing about growing up adopted is that you always wonder what other truths are being kept from you. You find out your parents aren’t the people who made you and it fills you with all this doubt. As a result, I have always been impatient with small talk. I’ve learned to do it well – like everyone from East Texas, I’m good at talking about the weather – but I’ve always been so eager to get beneath that surface as quickly as possible. And what I loved so much about OM was that it doesn’t have the small talk; you just go straight to the deep, dark, vulnerable stuff.
I don’t just feel the benefits of this new world when I’m with people who OM. The practice has changed my relationship with my family, particularly my biological siblings. I have MS – and I use some controversial methods to manage the symptoms. But I’ve been able to come out to them about what I’m dealing with, and they’ve heard me and accepted me. Perhaps because I’ve come out of my shell, I’m invited this year to my first family Thanksgiving. This will be the first holiday I spend with all my brothers and sisters. That’s something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid, and it’s finally happening. I don’t think I’d be the kind of brother to get invited to these things if it weren’t for the growth I’ve done in OM.
I mentioned that in my first OM, it felt like walking through a magic door. That’s true, but I want to clarify you need to walk through that door over and over again. It’s not like you OM once and then you’re done. This is a practice, and the more consistent you are with it, the more you’ll get out of it. I hope I never stop being eager and willing to knock on that magic door, and walk through.