When I was very young, I wanted to save the world. I was also interested in how the body works, so I decided to become a doctor. My first year of medical school was designed to apply pressure that would weed out the less serious students. Only ten percent made it to the second year, including me, but I had a difficult time.
As I proceeded through medical school, I saw many unhappy people who built their personality and identity around being a doctor. I was able to study the books and learn the skills, but I didn't like playing games around social status. Watching people take on the doctor role made me laugh. It felt like bad theater. By the time I had completed my training, I was hungry for direct, real connection to people who speak their minds.
After jumping through all the hoops to become a doctor, I had the tools in my hand, and I was ready to design my life. I wasn't going to make my life fit around my job. I wanted to find a life that suited me and then see how my job could fit into it. So I took time off to travel and explore yoga, meditation, intentional communities. I went from studying in a French medical school to hanging out in San Francisco and Oakland. I experienced an expansive sense of community, with the freedom to make radical explorations in consciousness. I truly felt I could be anyone I want to be. It was a transformational time.
After I returned to France, I arranged my schedule so I could go back to that event each summer. That's where I fell in love with Emily, who had been practicing OM intensively for years. She was radiating feminine energy, lighting up the place. I had a sense that everything she said and did, even her way of walking, was absolutely real.
When I learned about OM, the response of my whole body was “Yes!” My first OM was like being electrocuted. Incredible amounts of sensation surged through my body, as if I had direct access to what was moving through her body and emotions. It was so intense, I had difficulty staying present. Finally I just had to surrender and follow along. It felt like an experience of pure truth in connection, something I had never felt before. At the end, she said, “Oh, you're a natural.”
We had a couple more OMs that week, and then we started a long-distance relationship. Whenever we were able to get together, we practiced a lot, and Emily put me in touch with the only French woman she knew who was OMing. I was eager to practice more and feel more and get all the adjustments I could get. Emily was good at asking for adjustments to how I was stroking, which helped me get better at it and tune in more to her. Sometimes there's one little thing that needs to change in the stroke, whether it's speed or pressure or position, and as soon as I change it, my body sinks back into the connection, with a feeling of “Ah, yes. Right there.”
Her energy is driving the practice, so I would never question any change she requested. In our relationship, I might not always agree to every adjustment. We both have our own truth, so I have to fully listen and take in her opinions, while fully acknowledging mine as well. There's the idea of the relationship as the third entity, which I had encountered before, but OM brought my experience of it to the next level. I could see how it's not about you or about me, it's about the energy between us, the point of contact and where it wants to take us.
My practice evolved even more when I started OMing with the French woman and discovered that the connection works outside of a love relationship as well. The following year, I went to visit New York, where there were many people OMing. There my practice went on to the next stage through OMing with many different strokees, widening the range of possibilities of what I can experience during fifteen minutes of stroking.
I was learning to follow my intuition, even when I don't know exactly what the next stroke should be. If I feel the connection has been lost, I have the choice to offer a change or to make one on my own, based on the focused attention of the practice. That focus enables me to be completely absorbed in every movement, every breath, losing sense of time and sense of self. Every decision is already in the finger, bypassing the thinking mind.
The effects of OMing are felt outside the nest as well. The more time I spent with people who OM, the more I noticed that my relationships with some of my other friends had much less juice to them. The bar was raised higher on the level of friendship and connection. I also felt relieved that I no longer had to waste energy playing games of status or trying to figure out what a woman actually means when she says something. Access to my truth and someone else's truth was much clearer.
Once OM had changed me as a human being, I couldn't go back to being a physician in the traditional way. Instead, I turned to palliative care, easing the passage of people at the end of life, during their last days at home. In end-of-life care, the diagnoses and MRIs and brilliant insights are not so relevant. I'm showing up for people who are in a vulnerable state, holding their hands and being human. With the proximity of death, the masks fall away, and we live in the radical truth of those moments. There's no need to hide behind the doctor's white coat. It's all about what's going on in the human connection.