Less Need for External ValidationBY MARTIN
I was nearing the end of a failing relationship. I could see it was going wrong, but my partner and I had no way of communicating about the problems. I was working a lot, pouring attention into my job, to the point where it wasn't a healthy balance at all. In other aspects of my life, I could sense there were certain things that were off, but I couldn't put my finger on how to overcome them. I felt stuck.
Then the relationship ended. As I adjusted to being alone, a moment came when I realized I needed to make a change. I didn't want to repeat the same story in my next relationship. In fact, it came to me that I myself needed to change. But I felt hopeless because I didn't know how to change. Furthermore, I had a story in my head saying this inability to change was part of my nature. I feared I would always remain stuck. But this story was not true.
I met someone who was looking for an OM partner. She sent me a Ted Talk about Orgasmic Meditation, and I watched several videos. I was skeptical but also intrigued and curious. What drew me most was the sense that OM created connection between people. I also liked the idea of a practice, something I could do over and over in order to learn. So I decided to try it.
For me, OMing provided a practice of letting go. There was a voice inside me saying, “I need to master this. I need to be good at this. I need to do it right.” I learned that if I didn’t take the bait on that voice, I could focus on what I was actually trying to do, which was stroking and paying attention to what I felt in my body. It was new for me to take the time to feel the bodily sensations, to appreciate the intense energy moving through my body. I also learned to name the sensations so that when we came to the step at the end where we share frames, I could tell my partner what had happened in my experience. OM offered me new tools for communication, and a safe place to practice them.
We also communicated through the most basic of interactions, like when the strokee asked for an adjustment, or I offered to make an adjustment when I could feel the stroke may want to change a bit. I could have taken her requests as criticism, but I was so eager to learn, I was able to appreciate the feedback and take it as positive. And then when the adjustment produced more connection or sensation, I felt happy.
For a while, I had a steady OM partner. I could feel us riding the same wave. Joy came when I sensed us being in the moment together, and that feeling was confirmed when we were sharing frames, and we realized we'd had similar experiences. That was a new, mind-blowing feeling for me.
I've always been a bit closed off, with a shield up, not letting people too close. OM allowed me to experience other people being vulnerable and open. When I saw how that attitude led to more communication and connection, I was willing to try it too.
I’m able to take more risks now. At one point, I met a woman I really wanted to spend time with, and I reached out and asked if we could get together. In the past, I would have been too fearful to express my desire. My relationships started to expand as I learned to ask for what I want. If I get a “no” from someone, I see it as a “no” to the situation, not to me as a person. I don't hold onto the “no” or let the person's response define me.
When stressful moments come up at work, I'm able to stay calm. I can say what I want by asking the other person if they'd be willing to join me in a particular approach, which de-escalates the situation. In the past, I would have probably just pulled away, and there would have been no communication or hope of finding a solution.
My attitude toward work has also changed. I had been a workaholic, taking a lot of pride in my working role. That's an area where I've been gradually feeling more and more in balance and like a whole person, not needing to put so much weight on my work for validation.
It's been a long process, but I can see improvements. I appreciate the relationships I have, and I'm able to communicate more openly than before. I'm more aware of patterns I've had that don't work so well. If I repeat them, which I still do, I notice it, and just by noticing, I realize I'm growing. I see each experience as “one green leaf,” and I'm collecting them as I go.