During my ten-year marriage, my husband and I only had sex once or twice a year. He didn’t seem interested, and when I asked him about it, he would verbally bite my head off. So I lost my voice, and I completely shut down anything below the neck.
My career wasn’t going as I’d hoped either. I was struggling to make ends meet as a freelance writer.
A mentor shared the book Slow Sex with me. When I looked at it, I said, “no way.” I think I was afraid that if I looked too closely at my marriage, it would fall apart. What I didn’t acknowledge was that it already was falling apart. Within a few years, we were divorced.
I signed up for some courses based on the philosophy of OM, but I was still unsure about trying the practice myself. Yet the OM women I was meeting seemed to have access to a level of joy and radiance that I deeply wanted. So I came up with a plan: I’d convince my sister to OM, so she could be that woman for me.
I set up a coffee date with someone I knew who OMed so I could evaluate whether the practice was right for my sister. At some point, the woman asked me, “What do you want?” I said I wanted sisterhood with women who were vibrant and alive. Then, of course, she asked the obvious question: “Why don’t you learn to OM yourself?” She repeated the question: “What do you want?”
“I want to be free from whatever’s stopping me from doing this,” I said. I knew I needed to turn towards my nervousness, not away from it. So, I decided to try the practice.
During my first OM, I was so nervous my hands were sweating, and I couldn’t feel anything in my genitals. At the end, when we had to share frames—a moment we remembered from the experience—I just said, “I’ve got nothing.” And he said, “Thank you.” And that was that. “It wasn’t that bad,” I thought. After that, I made a commitment to OM on a regular basis.
Gradually, I began to feel more, and the sexual desire I’d pushed down started to awaken.
Asking for OMs and learning to treat the response as value-neutral also helped me get comfortable with going up to guys who interested me and saying, “I think you’re really handsome and I’d like to spend time with you.”
Working through my struggle with asking for what I wanted during OMs helped me realize how hard it was for me to say what I wanted in other areas of my life. I had one OM partner who didn’t seem to pay attention when I asked for adjustments during the OM. At first, I figured I wouldn’t OM with him again. But then, I realized I needed to speak up. When I confronted him about it, I learned he was actually hard of hearing. So, it was up to me to either repeat myself or be louder if he didn’t hear. I saw how I’d shortchanged myself in so many places by making myself small and by not asking for what I needed. I also learned a huge lesson about the benefits of connecting with people when I’m in a conflict instead of pushing them away.
Once I started OMing more regularly, an influx of work began to mysteriously flow in. When I thought about it, my newfound success was not actually a mystery. OM had trained me to slow my brain down and just feel, and I was applying that skill to my work. When I’d talk with clients, I’d speak more clearly and confidently about the way I edit. The bosses I freelanced for started noticing that the questions I was asking and the pieces I’d pull from their stories were getting to places in their work that they themselves had not seen before. Within six months of beginning to OM, I got a big promotion to become the editorial director for a book company.
This practice has given me the ability to create a life beyond my wildest dreams. Now, I not only have a sisterhood of vibrant, supportive, expressive women – I’ve become one myself.