Staying Open Through It AllBY FRANCESCA BLAKE
OM was not my first stop. What I mean by that is that I’d spent years studying self-improvement and self-awareness. There are so many different modalities and practices out there, and by the time I was in my 30s, I’d tried more than most people. I’ve just always known that there was more out there for me, and I was both intensely curious and completely committed to doing the work.
Before OM, I had spent several years doing transformational work with another organization. I am so grateful for what I learned there. Yet after a while, I realized that the stories I’d learned to tell about my life were like polished stones: they sounded good, but they were devoid of any real emotion. They weren’t funny or human; they were more like dry mathematical proofs. I had grown both bolder and sharper, but I was still lacking in terms of my capacity to feel. I wasn’t as vulnerable and empathetic as I knew I wanted to be.
I was only just beginning to look for something else when I first heard about OM. I was sitting on a commuter train with a colleague, and we were chatting on the long and crowded ride. This friend had also done personal development work, so we had a similar vocabulary. He told me that he’d just started to practice Orgasmic Meditation, and that it involved a 15-minute practice where he stroked a woman’s clitoris. I looked at him like he was mad, and he smiled and continued to explain the benefits. Part of me was very skeptical, but part of me was very intrigued. I trusted this friend’s judgment, and I saw the way he lit up when he spoke. I knew that there had to be something there.
When I got home that night, I told my boyfriend about OM. “We should try it,” I said. He shook his head, and told me it sounded both weird and uncomfortable. “There’s no way I’m doing that,” he declared. He was so vehement about it there was nothing I could say other than, “Oh.” I didn’t push it, but that was the beginning of the end for us. I put OM on the backburner for a while, but I kept thinking about it – and two months later, that boyfriend and I split up. The first thing I did after the breakup? Make some phone calls to find out when I could try an OM workshop.
My first OM was with a friend. For me, it was instantly exciting. I knew even before we began that I was going to experience something incredible. I felt as if I were plugged into a socket that was delivering more power than I had ever experienced before, but instead of blowing a fuse, I was expanding and expanding. At one point, it almost got too sharp, like I was about to be cut on a shard of glass. Instead of asking to stop, though, I was keenly aware that if I just pushed through this the other side would be a whole different realm. And that's exactly what happened. I remember getting on the bus after the OM, and I was tingling with wonder. Everything was brighter and lighter; I felt more connected. I felt very playful.
That sense of connectedness and playfulness kept growing the more I practiced. OM did for me what other modalities couldn’t: it grounded me in my body. I already had this intellectual understanding of my power and how to use it, but so often, that sense of power never got to put down roots. It couldn’t drop below my neck. OM poured that power back in, starting with my genitals and then my core and then all the way back up to that already quick and inquisitive brain.
It’s not always about light and happiness. I’d been practicing OM for a few years when my sister died. I got support from friends, but it didn’t occur to me that I needed to work through that grief with my OM practice. One day, I was talking with a friend who also practices OM and the subject of my sister came up. I spoke briefly about what I was going through, and then changed the subject. “Hang on,” my friend said – “Go back to that.” She explained that it was like a pane of glass suddenly appeared between us the moment I turned to the topic of grief. “It was so lovely to be with you before; you were so open. I wonder if you can be that open even in your pain.” I looked at my friend and I realized she was, of course, right. I had to do the work to take that grief and transmute it through OM. Not that this practice magically takes pain away, but it gives you a container in which to do real healing, and through it, I was able to process the loss of my sister.
In my professional and personal life, I’ve become a tuning fork for myself and others. I always prided myself on my intuition, but now it’s my body that sends me the most important messages. If I’m with a client, it’s my body that can direct me to help solve the problem. Instead of giving them only a small part of myself, I’m able to give them something holistic and complete. It’s made me much more successful at work, and it’s deepened my friendships. And yes, instead of dating a guy who recoils when he’s confronted with something challenging, I’m with a partner who can meet me in my fullness, because he does this work too. I’m a handful now, more than ever – but I’m with a man who’s a handful too. Together, we’ve built the vessel to hold all of that.