The Useful Lessons of DarknessBY KASHANI
In the early 2000’s, I was working in the Middle East and living the high life. It was all Porsches and polo matches, glamorous apartments and flying to Hong Kong on the weekends for shopping trips. I was working hard and playing hard. It was a vibrant life and I loved it.
Then, my fianceé wanted to move to Australia. He was a very high-powered corporate type. Looking back, that was when I started giving up on things that were important to me without questioning why. It was the start of giving up on myself. I’d decided I wanted to get married, have children, and raise a family so I put away many of my misgivings about just following my fianceé. After Australia, he said we needed to move to London. I really didn’t want to do that, but I agreed. I hated it. The minute I arrived I felt a huge culture of fear, like a terrible energy rising up from the ground. I discovered I was pregnant, and one month later, I married my fianceé.
Over the next six years, I had no friends and a husband who was never home. He didn’t want me to work so I turned myself into the perfect housewife. The more I tried to be perfect, the more he resented me, and the more he stayed away. I'm not sure how I didn’t have a total breakdown.
Six years after that move to London, I was dealing with huge, costly divorce proceedings, looking after a young child, and trying to get my career back on track in a foreign country. I spent most days feeling numb. I had a weight in my chest I couldn’t lift and a constant fog in my head. Finally, I saw a story about Orgasmic Meditation in a newspaper, and I signed up for it. I remember it was the same day I got a court order for my husband to move out of the house.
When I arrived at the Introduction to OM course, I loved feeling part of a group. It was the first time I’d felt a community spirit for eight years. The stuff they talked about was a bit of shock to the system, but I was keen to learn. Intimacy with my husband had been the same bloody routine for years and I was so ready for something new. The day of the actual OM, even though I was numb, I could feel the electricity. The nest holds you safe, and there’s no eye-to-eye contact. It’s about focusing on the self and connecting. There was nothing creepy about it.
The people I met who practiced OM provided so much nourishment to get me through that nightmare time of my life. But I didn’t just use OM to clear myself. I learned about tuning in to people with real, fine attention. I wanted to learn how to apply these techniques in my work in terms of holding space and feeling people. I’d just started an MBA program which also talked about things like personal development and global leadership. It really energized me too.
As an Asian woman, it was pre-conditioned in my DNA for me to be all about being selfless and giving and never looking after myself. As I OMed, I began to remember how fearless I used to be. All of the numbing in my marriage had made me forget who I was.
After OMing for a few months, I felt like a newborn baby. My attention became so finely tuned, I could see and feel people deeply. I felt so strong. I remember walking down Oxford Street, and everything slowed down and became a bit fuzzy. This man walked past me on his phone, and I heard him say without words, ‘You are a really strong woman.’ This is what OM does. It makes you open to the messages of the universe. I began to understand that what I saw out there in the world was a reflection of what was going on inside of me. It’s pure magic, it really is.
I’ve learned the useful lesson of darkness, too. In some of my OMs, I realized I was tired and that was OK. I allowed myself to go down into the darkness and get the richness from it, and then I just rose up again. After all, we sleep during the night, and that’s what we get our nourishment from. People try to avoid feeling, but it’s good to cry. I cried a lot during the difficult days of my divorce. You get a lot more back from that. For me, the feeling in my body is like a parabolic wave: to go up, you have to go down.
Three months ago, I resigned from my job in a private equity fund without another role to go into. But I know the wave will rise again. The female dean of my MBA program had given a speech about emotional intelligence and how getting to know yourself is the foundation for success. That really resonated with me. The people at the private fund had no emotional intelligence, and that’s why I left. I want more for myself. Now that I have clarity, I know that it’s right to leave something that doesn’t serve me. It’s like that wave in OM. You have to trust and know that growth comes from discomfort.
I’m much more exacting about the men in my life these days. I see alpha men as being of two varieties: the ones who feel uncomfortable because a woman knows what she’s talking about and the ones who are confident enough to say, “Great, this is something new. I can learn. I didn’t know you could feel so much sensation.” I feel that OM introduces fun to intimacy and relating.
When I came out of my marriage, I didn’t want to be in a relationship until I finished my MBA. I just wanted a number of friends with benefits. Because I knew what I wanted, I could set up a container for it; the same way the OM container allows for a kind of experience. It’s about seeing what feels good, and what doesn’t, and communicating. Through OM, I have found out just how patient men are. It’s opened my eyes and heart about what amazing creatures men are. I’m no longer living in a world of fear and scarcity.