I used to be a kind of introverted geek, not in touch with my feelings, unaware of my body, very cerebral and in my head. And yet I really was not even aware of my own state of mind. I was also shy and didn't much like talking to strangers. Once I got to know someone, I would be a little more open, but still very guarded, giving out very small bits of myself. It wasn't uncommon to hear people say, “Oh, I've been working with Franck for six years. But I don't really know him.”
I had a very fixed view of seeing things and was a heavy planner. If things were not planned, then it was an annoyance. Not surprisingly, relationships got boring rather quickly, and if a relationship wasn’t working, I’d get out and start a new one. I had this pattern of going into short to medium long relationships. I was like a fortress. I didn't want anyone to come near me unless I had enough insurance.
I met Erika when I was in Paris and she was in London. We planned all of our visits, of course. But she is experimental and wanted to try new things. Before OM we had done other personal development courses. And then one time she suggested, “Let's go to an intro event about OM.”
The intro event was a series of communication games, and while I wasn't really convinced it was a good idea, I agreed to go. There was a lot of electricity in the room, and people were warm and willing to share vulnerable things about themselves during the games. There was a lot of intimacy created from just talking, and as someone who is incredibly private and keeps to himself, I was uncomfortable. All I could think was, “I don't want to know them like that and I’m definitely not letting them in here!” But when Erika explained OM itself to me, I agreed to learn it.
We went back home after the class and we didn’t OM straightaway, but we bought the supplies for the nest. Finally, I figured we should get started and I know that at first we weren’t doing it right. I quickly realized that we were missing several key elements of the practice, including the fact that I didn't even know where Erika’s clitoris was. I was also expecting more reaction from her and she was just quiet, so of course I assumed she didn’t like it and all of that stuff. But after a few OMs when I started having sensations of heat and electricity, it was quite surprising for me.
I learned the power of connection by beginning to read the very subtle cues that I could feel in an OM—feedback on whether I was getting colder or hotter in terms of the point of connection. I began to feel where the electricity is. I learned that the practice is about paying attention to just one thing at a time and learning how to take the feedback from the body while also listening for her adjustments. I started applying the attention element of the practice to reading people’s faces at work and out in public a bit more. I stopped avoiding eye contact. And as I did all this, the desire to read people and understand what they were feeling grew.
These days I’m learning to stay in the moment when I OM, rather than reaching for a goal or trying to get somewhere. I’ll catch where my mind will want to stroke faster that what the OM is calling for, thinking it will help my partner climax, and then remembering this is a goalless practice and I only need to be in tune with the stroke wanted in this moment. Every OM feels a little bit different, and there's always something new. There's always a new sensation available that I haven't felt before.
Before OM I would do things like a typical methodical IT guy. Now I’m learning to be flexible and even improvise—something I used to dislike doing because improvisation means you'll be at your weakest and you'll make mistakes. Today, if I’m leading a professional workshop I can clue into what people are feeling and sometimes change the direction of the workshop if necessary. I’m totally prepared and have my plan, but I can go with the flow more easily. And I’m much more emotionally accessible.
I used to run away when people expressed their emotions and never explained myself. But the other day I found myself explaining to a client why I needed to cut things short, and it was because I wasn’t genuinely available and there for the client. I explained why I was distracted and the client was very understanding. I even sometimes find myself asking people things like, “Are you okay? Is there something I can do? Do you want to talk about it?”
And that’s a whole new world for me.