Learning To Slow Down

BY MARCIE

Before I discovered OM, I was at a place in my life where self-care wasn’t high on the agenda. I had a massage practice with plenty of clients, and I was also in a business training program. So, I had a pretty full schedule professionally.

I also wasn’t feeling fulfilled socially. I had good connections with women that supported each other, but my connections revolved around my business pursuits. I lived across the street from my best friend, who had teenage kids. Though I would periodically stop by, it wasn't quality time. I had difficulty planning ahead for healthy connection in my relationships. 

My through-line was that I didn’t feel a sense of belonging. I’m not sure I realized it at the time, but it was how I walked in the world—with a sense of not belonging. I had a chronic feeling of separation.

I had a difficult time sharing vulnerably where I was at, and I had a lot of fear. I would go to workshops—I was a kind of workshop junkie. I threw money at them because I was interested in the content, but also because I was seeking belonging, connection, and a way to be of service. I would show up, contribute, and feel turned on and excited about ideas that would pop up, either for my own or other people's pursuits. But then the workshops would end and I would isolate. 

I was developing a new business and preparing for that, but I had a fear of implementation. I had a panic of being judged and rejected, and I felt overwhelmed and scared of doing something wrong. It wasn’t exactly imposter syndrome. I think I was just afraid of being as powerful and awesome as I actually am. 

It was a good friend who told me about OM. She and her partner came to a birthday party that I had at my house, and they stayed afterwards and asked if I wanted to try OMing. 

The whole thing felt so bizarre. But I was genuinely curious and kind of fascinated. You take your pants off and somebody strokes you—and in this case, my friend’s partner? You're not romantically involved; you're not even romantically pursuing that person. It was a paradigm shift for sure. It went beyond some part of my sense of what was normal. Yet, my friend reassured me that it was okay, and I went ahead with it. 

That first OM wasn’t stars and fireworks for me. I didn’t think, “Oh my God, this is the best thing ever.” I didn't run to ask for a bunch more OMs. But I was curious enough to do it again.  

Not long before my first OM, I’d had an epiphany about needing to practice more self-care. I made the mistake one day of booking five clients for massages, and I was exhausted and depleted afterwards. I hadn't thought ahead to make an appointment to get massage for myself or do something that would replenish me. I was in this reeling, lost place afterwards. I had over-given. I needed to make sure that I took better care of myself, especially if I was going to keep giving that much. 

So, I explored OM. In my early days with it, sometimes being stroked would feel painful. I was told to just stay with the sensation so I could get to the other side. I'm a very willing, open, and curious person—so I did. But man, it was intense. There were other times OMing when I felt a lot of anger come up. 

One of the most nourishing things about OM is that I can be in a container where the fullness of me—even the part that’s angry and irritated—is welcome. Almost everywhere else, I'm trying to be politically correct or make sure my relationships are taken care of. There are so few spaces where it's acceptable and safe to feel that kind of fullness. 

OM has taught me how to slow down in a profound way. The stroking—light and slow—is so nourishing. Sometimes, the stroker holds a finger completely still over my clitoris, and I feel a sense of utter relaxation. That’s the part that is so difficult to convey to people who don't OM—the nourishing part. It’s not about being a sexual practice. 

I definitely go slower now, in the rest of my life. I don’t rush as much, and I can feel the pleasure of the moment more. OM gets me out of my head, where I tend to overthink, and it connects me to my body and a sense of flow.

I can also remember, Okay, this is just sensation. If I'm feeling depressed, there might be a way to parse that out. What actually is this sensation? I'm naming it depression, but maybe my energy is just low. There might be a way to parse things out so I can take better care of myself. I can take a nap, which is critical for my well-being. I can just be here now.

My sense of belonging has changed too. It’s like night and day. Around the same time that I progressed in OM, I developed a blossoming faith in a higher power, which I call God. I’m a little self-conscious about it, because it almost feels taboo, in some circles, to say you believe in God. But I’ve experienced firsthand the warmth of prayer, the miracles, and the whispers or guidance that I get—the reassurance that I hear when I'm in conversation with what I call God. I can lean into that connection, which helps all my relationships.

It's easier to contact God when I'm quiet, still, and body-focused. OM teaches that kind of body awareness. I've also learned to treat myself in a way that's kind and compassionate, and that acknowledges my basic human needs. I can balance being energized and in-the-flow with being at rest and grounded.

There's a moment during an OM where you feel, “Okay, here I am. Right now, nothing is wrong.” What a great place to be. And what a great place to live from.