When I was growing up, it was hard to build friendships with other kids because my father was in the Army, and we were always moving around the country. At the age of fifteen, I met a girl I really liked, and I impulsively spent a whole day with her, not reporting back to my parents. When I went home, my father beat the living daylights out of me, in front of my mother and my siblings. I was instantly imprinted with the idea that if I had feelings for someone, they were going to get hurt, I was going to get hurt, and everybody around us was going to get hurt. Close relationships became something to avoid.
I joined the Navy at eighteen and made a decision not to marry while I was in the service. I didn't want my family to go through the experience I had as a kid. It was still hard for me to form friendships. At one point, I was working on an admiral staff with twelve enlisted men. The guys I worked with didn't like me. I had a talent for negotiating purchases in foreign ports, so when we docked, they'd all just ask me to pick up something for them. I wanted to be friends, but I wasn't good at it, and they were only interested in what they could get from me.
The same pattern continued when I left the Navy. Because of my loneliness, I became an alcoholic and a drug addict. I kept losing jobs and was homeless for a while. I mostly used people to get drugs, or they used me. There were no real relationships going on.
When I finally got sober, I learned from AA to open up somewhat to people, and I made a few friends. I'd been sober for five years when I met my wife. Our marriage involved more friendship than intimacy. She was a therapist, and when we had problems, she treated me almost like a client, in professional mode. There's no give and take of emotions when one person is shut down like that. Still, I thought I had made a lot of progress emotionally, so when the marriage fell apart, after fifteen years, it ripped me to pieces. I lost my relationship with my wife, her kids, and my grandkids.
For two years, I was barely functioning. I worked enough to put food on the table. Then I had a spiritual experience that helped me break out the cycle of suicidal ideation, but I was still depressed. I would spend weeks in my apartment, going out only to buy food. Desperate to change the way I was living, I started taking various classes. Through those classes, I learned about OM and decided to try it.
My first OM was stunning. I didn't know exactly what was going on, just that I'd been hit by an energy that cracked me open. At the same time, I was frustrated because I couldn't find the woman's clitoris very well. It took me a few sessions to figure out the female anatomy.
I went on OMing, and eventually I had a session where I was flooded with intense sensation, and it turned out the strokee had the same experience. It showed me that having a profound connection with a woman was not only possible but was also important for me. I wanted to learn more about women and how to interact more deeply with them.
With the help of OM, I started working through the ugliness of my childhood experiences. One fear after another fell away, as I discovered they weren't based in reality. I began to develop real friendships. I met a woman I really connected with, and we started to become intimate, but I found out after three weeks that I didn't want that kind of relationship. And that's okay. The obsession that I have to be with a person is not there anymore. There are other kinds of relationships I can have with women.
Now that the fear is gone, what's left is love. The Bible says to love your neighbor as you love yourself, and I believe that if you're not loving your neighbor, you're not loving yourself. When I truly see my brothers and sisters, I see them as love. I don't see the fears or the games we tend to play with each other. I love people as they are, not as what my fears project onto them. OM helped me recognize those projections, step out of my comfort zone, and find better relationships.
I enjoy being around people. I like the teacher-student interaction that develops, while not knowing who's the teacher and who's the student. Even in the short period of time that we're together, I know something will take place between us, although I don't know what it's going to be. I look forward to the process of discovery with every person I meet.