Deactivating JealousyBY DONNA AINSLEY
Many of us have an Achilles’ heel that will show us where we need to shine a light for healing and personal growth. For me, that vulnerable spot is jealousy. Through practicing Orgasmic Meditation, I have been able to make real progress in exploring and decoding what jealousy means for me—and if not eradicate it, then at least heal and grow from a newfound understanding of it.
When I was growing up, my family’s go-to way of being was to avoid emotion. I have a sister who is two years younger than me, and after she was born, I didn’t want to share the attention with her. I used to think that my jealousy issues began there, but perhaps it was even earlier. I think my mother was experiencing and suppressing a lot of emotions and jealousy when she was pregnant with me. There are things we feel in our body that have been there a long time, and their origin can be deeper than we imagine.
I’ve always had a physical, visceral response to jealousy. When I started dating, it would come up as a very irrational, high sensation. If something happened to trigger it, there was a certain pressure behind my eyes that made me feel like they were turning green. There was a grip in my chest, as if squeezing my heart. I felt kicked in the stomach and nauseous. Once, in college, I experienced this around a boyfriend and actually vomited.
Before I discovered OM, I was doing a lot of dating. But every now and then I’d find myself feeling this dreaded sense of jealousy. It got to the point where I was staying away from any kind of relationship where I might feel that.
It was through a man I’d met online that I first heard about OM. After we had a couple of dates, he told me about the practice and sent me a link to a TED Talk about it. Just hearing those two words, Orgasmic Meditation, really pulled me in. I thought, those are two of my favorite things. Everything about it appealed to me, including its simplicity and the overarching idea that women needed more orgasm. It also seemed like something fun that we could do together.
So, I started OMing with the man that I was dating. What I remember about those OMs was that I felt many things at once—a bit nervous and stimulated, but at the same time, open and relaxed. And I was able to feel all those things without doing anything. My only task was to experience all the sensations that can come up in those 15 minutes of stroking.
Yet, the practice wasn’t passive because I was giving verbal direction to my stroker. That was wonderful, too, because in the process of learning to OM, I would ask myself what I wanted. Sometimes I even asked it out loud, which was very liberating. As I dropped out of my head and into my body, I entered a state of flow where I didn’t have to question myself or analyze things. It felt like I had bypassed some kind of circuitry.
As I kept OMing, I took comfort in the predictable structure of it. You always knew how the practice was going to begin and end. I had experienced something similar with 12-step meetings, and I found familiarity and comfort in knowing that those steps were always going to be the same.
Within the safety of that container, I started to notice very quickly what was going on inside my body. I started to connect emotions to particular physical places—and the more I practiced, the more that ability grew. It got to the point where, during EMDR sessions with my therapist, I could give her very clear descriptions of what was happening for me on a somatic level. I enjoyed working with her more, because I could really zero in on those sensations, and as a result, could heal from them.
This was pivotal to helping me understand and sit with my jealousy. Something that OM does very powerfully is teach you how to stay with the high sensations. You learn to lean into both the good and the bad. If something hurts emotionally, you don’t try to get away from it.
When you get curious about something like jealousy, you see it for what it is—bodily sensation. It’s been in my body for a long time, and it’s not necessarily even personal to me. I began to see that there’s a universality to the somatic nature of our experiences. So, along with body awareness, I also developed more empathy through OM. The more I felt, the more I could feel other people, too. That’s the beauty of spending 15 minutes focusing on what is happening.
As I was practicing OM regularly, I started making myself more vulnerable in my relationships. I even intentionally got involved with a polyamorous person, which is something I never would have done before. In the past, I wouldn’t have put myself in a situation where I might have experienced jealousy. But at that time in my life, I actually wanted to feel it and explore it.
I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for about a year and a half now. I thought I was free of jealousy, but it turns out those feelings can pop up anywhere. Once, I was cat sitting for a friend, and when she came over to pick up her cat, I felt that grip in the chest and kicked-in-the-stomach sensation of jealousy. Over a cat! I realize that those feelings are going to come up sometimes, no matter what scenario I find myself in or what script I’ve mastered.
Yet, thanks to the attunement I developed through OM, I can see it as something that’s happening in my body. I can stay with it and ride it out. When jealousy comes up now, it becomes just a feeling to explore.