“Slow down,” my mother said. “You're taking the curves too fast.”
She was right. I was driving just a little too fast. She wasn't even being mean. But my reaction was visceral and intense. I had to clench down on the urge to reach out and punch her in the face. Watching my emotions boil out of control, I felt disgusted. She's my mother. Why am I responding this way? I didn't hit her, but later I yelled, or I found some passive-aggressive way to get her back, or I said something snide to shut her down. How can I be so nasty and childish? I'm an adult now.
My life was fine, in general. For years, I'd been active in my spiritual community. I had a strong meditation practice, in addition to yoga and other daily internal practices. My friends were supportive, and I was always growing and learning. But when I started to OM, I discovered many of my philosophical understandings had never become grounded in my body. That's why situations like driving in a car with my mother could send me reeling. OM added perspective to what I had already learned and gave me a way to accept my emotions, not just theoretically but on a body level. Letting go of the need to control my feelings paradoxically helped me embrace them.
Control has always been one of my biggest addictions. OM taught me to relinquish control in several ways, beginning with giving up the sense that I had to give back to the stroker who was touching my clitoris. Not reciprocating that physical experience was a way of going out of control for me. I knew conceptually the importance of being able to receive, that giving and receiving are only authentic when they're done freely and not dependent on exchange. But the patterns in my body were fighting that understanding, and it took the practice of OM to teach me to relax and truly receive.
Another form of letting go of control was to give adjustments. I feared asking for changes in how my partner was stroking because he might take it as criticism. Without control over how the adjustment would be received, I worried I'd come off as a bitch. But in an OM, adjustments are needed to heighten sensation and solidify the connection between the partners. When I learned to ask for what I wanted, it translated into other parts of my life.
One day I went to a chiropractor because I was in pain. I needed physical attention, but he was in a chatty mood, asking about my watch as he dug his elbow into my hip. I wanted to just be present with how the treatment was affecting my body. In the past, I would've gone along with his yammering, or maybe built up tension until I couldn't help blurting out, “Hey dude, shut up.” But because I'd practiced making adjustments in OM, my request came out naturally: “It'd be great if we could just be quiet right now, so I can really receive what you're doing.” Instead of getting offended, he said, “Thank you for saying that. I was actually being unconscious there.” So my adjustment was more of a gift than a criticism, creating connection in that moment.
In the more literal sense of going out of control, OMing took me to places in my orgasm where I'd have a wild, explosive climax. I wasn't battening down the hatches anymore. Other times, emotions would well up, and I'd cry. Or I might have a really quiet OM, where the sensation was subtle, and I'd go deep inside. Letting go of control allowed me to go to all kinds of places, and to feel really deeply.
My spiritual practice is not about eliminating negative emotions. I want to feel all the feelings, without getting taken down by the painful stuff. But before OM, the approval of those experiences was in my mind and not in my body. I was mad at my body for not complying with what my mind knew. It was clear to me that anger or fear is totally fine and acceptable, but my body was still raging against it.
With my mom, I've learned to notice the anger coming up, to feel it in my body, and to sense the perfection of it. Instead of being controlled by it, I can actually see humor in an adult woman reacting to her mother so strongly. I'll make fun of myself by saying, “What's wrong with going 50 miles an hour around this turn?” We'll laugh and have a moment of connection around it. I'm able to perceive the no-problem within the problem.