I’d always had women friends, and always been bewildered by women at the same time. When I was in college, I had tons of female friends, but those relationships only worked if I made it clear I had no sexual or romantic interest in any of them. As long as I stayed in the “friend zone,” I was fine. It wasn’t just that I lacked the confidence to try for anything more; I was more or less certain that I didn’t have anything that women would want.
I got very, very good at hiding my attractions and my crushes.
By the time I was 25, I was living the American dream. I was making great money, working in Silicon Valley for a famous tech company. The work was interesting, and I loved the work culture and my coworkers. I couldn’t figure out why I was unhappy. Professional accolades rolled in but they didn’t fix what was inside.
The few relationships I had never worked for long. It always seemed to be my fault. I always said the wrong thing – or didn’t know the right things to say. I could relate so easily to women as colleagues and buddies, but the moment we went beyond that, I froze. Finally, after yet another breakup, the woman I had been dating told me I needed to find a therapist – or better yet, a dating and relationship coach.
I found a coach, and he told me that before I focused on relationships with women, I needed to spend some time working with other men. He sent me on retreats and workshops – including, eventually, an all-male, three-day seminar run by guys who were all teachers of OM. This was my favorite experience I’d had with a men’s group. One night, we were given the homework to call up a woman from our lives and tell her we wanted to be closer to her. It could be a family member, friend, an ex, anyone – and I chose my mother. I was too scared to call anyone else, but as it turned out, that call transformed my relationship with my mom. This was almost ten years ago, and by telling her that I wanted to grow closer to her, I created something that has lasted to this day. I’m so incredibly grateful for that suggestion in the workshop. If they had started with encouraging me to OM, I’d have run away; building this connection with my mother--it won me over.
In time, I did decide to OM. From my first OM, I realized that this was about so much more than it appeared.
I work in technology, and I have a very strong sense of sequences. What I loved from the beginning with OM was each of the steps, starting with creating the nest together. Each subsequent stage built on the next in a way that made intuitive sense to me. I’d always thought women were this complete mystery that I could never understand, and here was something that was both incredibly powerful and yet totally comprehensible. That’s not to say I understand everything about women and women's bodies even now! It’s just that I wasn’t intimidated or confused in a way I’d expected.
The most valuable things I’ve gotten from OM are empathy and competence. Before I came to OM, I spent a lot of time worrying about why women didn’t want me, but not a lot of time trying to connect with what women were thinking and feeling in general. I filtered everything through my anxieties, and OM helped me stop doing that. It is meditative – you literally stroke away your own fears. At the same time, I’ve learned to feel more competent, not just as a stroker, but in so many other areas of my life. It’s as if something gets refilled every time I OM.