Feeling Safe Enough to Come Out of HidingBY TERESA DIAZ
At the age of 40, I became a surgeon at a hospital in Oakland, California. I had come from a poor community in the South Bronx, counseled battered women and survivors of sexual abuse for six years, and then put myself through medical school. At the hospital, I was surrounded by immature young doctors who didn't know nearly as much as people think doctors know. Their pretense and bravado shocked me, and their condescending judgments about patients were offensive. My sense was that most of my patients needed help to change the lifestyles that were causing their health problems. But I couldn't get into that discussion because I was allowed only a ten-minute consultation with each patient.
It turned out I needed a change in lifestyle too. In my eight years as a surgeon, I built a life that included a million-dollar house with a pool, a stylish car, a husband and child. My brother and his family moved in, and I found myself supporting seven people. I didn't like the neighbors, conservative white people who called the police to complain that my dog was barking or my car wasn't parked properly. Meanwhile, their kids were throwing firecrackers at my dog. I decided if this was the middle class, I didn't want to be in it. There was nothing authentic about my life.
I waited until my daughter graduated from high school, and then I walked away. My husband had been lying to me about his part-time work as an accountant, and we owed $260,000 because he had committed tax fraud. When I said I wanted to leave, he insisted he deserved alimony. I quit my job so I wouldn't have to pay him. I left the house, which went into foreclosure, so I wouldn't be liable for the taxes he had incurred. And I left the family members who saw me as their gravy train.
At that point, I found OM. I had gone to a medical conference, which was dominated by stiff, white, male doctors. During one session, a female physician, who had been OMing, started talking about the importance of orgasm, especially for women, and my attention was riveted. I wanted to find out more about OM.
Sex had always been problematic for me because men in my family had sexually abused me as a child and as a teenager. My sensations were wrapped up tight into a ball, so I could avoid the feelings of my boundaries being violated. I did not feel it was safe for my body to be turned on. When I had sex as an adult, I never reached climax, except alone with a vibrator. I hoped OMing would help me have better sex, and I received so much more than that.
When I left my house, I moved into a rental. After reading up on how to OM, I asked a male neighbor to try the practice with me. That step was huge, since it meant admitting that I had a desire, which I'd always felt was not allowed. I was supposed to meet obligations, not ask for what I wanted. To my surprise, he said yes.
We set up a nest in my still nearly unfurnished apartment. Five minutes into the stroking, I wanted to crawl out of my skin. The feelings coming up in me were unsettling, as that ball of tension was threatening to unravel. I had spent my whole life hiding my real self, and now all this attention was being zeroed in on me. I really did not know how shut down I was. I didn't know that the ball in my chest was all the stuff I had packed away, needing to come out.
The OM container was what made me feel safe enough to keep going. Each time I OMed, I knew what was going to happen and how long it would last, so I could let my vigilance down. The goallessness allowed me to be right where I was, without pressure from my partner to be somewhere else. Over time, I was able to feel more and to recognize that I needed to drop into the ball of sensation instead of fight to avoid it.
One day, I started scanning all the no's I never got to say. No to sex with my stepfather. No to watching my dad beat up my mother. This examination left me with a feeling of barrenness. I realized I couldn't get to yes until I could grapple with all those no's I had needed to say. OMing helped me continue to process my past and release the bottled-up feelings through my body.
By opening up my body through OM, I was able to access so much more of myself and the blueprint of who I'm meant to be, my purpose in this world. I believed in those things before but I didn’t know how to get to it. If you would have told me that I had to feel everything in my body in order to unlock my full potential in this world, I would have told you “no way” because I didn’t think it was safe.
Let me paint you a picture of how shut down I was. Even though I'm a licensed physician, I never got Board Certified because I couldn't pass the oral exam. That huge ball of sensation would come and then I would stuff it down and totally freeze, unable to answer anything they asked me. So I failed. I had to wait two years to retake the oral exam. I took it three times; a six-year process, and I failed every single time. Even though I had no trouble passing all the written tests, I couldn't express myself well in front of people. It was traumatic. I didn't understand how I got to this point and I couldn't get through that. It wasn’t until I started OMing that I realized all I had to do was drop into that ball of sensation, and I would have access to everything I needed. I was so scared that all I would do is sit there and tremble and sweat, and I couldn't access any answers to anything. This practice was my entryway to spirituality.
OM gave me a crash course in following my desire. I can sense my intuition, and it shows me the direction I need to go. It informs my whole life. Five years after quitting my job as a surgeon, I set up my own medical practice, following my intuition about how patients should be treated. At each initial appointment, I spend up to two hours finding out about the patient's life, learning who they are. Sometimes I surprise them by sensing where in their body they're feeling something. They consider me a person who can actually see and hear them.
I don't pathologize a lot of issues that are normally given clinical diagnoses. Anxiety and depression are just like that ball of tension I've had to become intimate with. I believe these disorders come from avoidance of the feminine, of the emotional, of anything that feels out of control. We need to drop into those feelings, not dismiss them. They have so much to teach us.