The dance party was over, and my college classmates were hanging around outside on a warm spring night. I was sitting next to a friend, thinking I should talk to her and tell her how much pain I was in. But I was so shut down, I couldn't say a word.
I was a psychological trainwreck -- too much in my head. My only stability came from having classes and a schedule. I would do them, going through the motions, just to get through the day. I'd lose myself in fantasies about a girl I was obsessed with, but actual intimate relationships seemed impossible. There were moments of psychosis, when I'd cut myself to feel the pain or imagine committing suicide.
I’d tried to address my problem: men's groups, therapy, dance classes. Nothing could break through my fog – until I came across OM. It sounded weird, but I thought maybe something really out of the ordinary would help me.
I’d been involved in the pickup artists movement, where I was coached on how to skillfully pick up women. OM was totally different. It's not sex, it's not a date, it's a practice. You're not doing it to get a girlfriend. Both people are just volunteering for a practice, and that clarity raised the comfort level for me.
Out of college, I was living in Santa Cruz, where there were about four people who openly practiced OM. I kept calling them to ask for OMs, driving around town to sessions a few times a week. It was so exciting to have a direction and positive momentum.
About six months into my practice, I started seeing a girl who didn't OM. The relationship wasn't working out. In the past, when I'd been in that situation, I'd be gripped by longing and despair. I would crash emotionally, then I would shut down, and then I'd medicate myself with either food or porn. Eventually, I'd recover and repeat the cycle. But this time, something new happened. Shortly after we broke up, I felt that flash in the middle of an OM. It was like a lightning bolt that goes through me when I make a solid connection with the strokee. At that moment, I started crying. The pain that had been bottled up for so long was finally pushing itself out, bursting through.
I realized that I had gotten used to the intensity of sensations in my body while OMing, so I had less of a need to escape the pain that came over me. I stayed in it, and then it resolved itself. Something moved inside me. I discovered I had the resources and tools to unlock that particular location within my psychology, to stay with myself during the pain of a breakup.