To tell you how OM changed things for me, as a physical therapist living in San Francisco, I would have to go way back to childhood a bit.
I was left alone a lot. My mother kept me at home, and the first time I really socialized with same-age kids was when I started school at age 6. Being alone, the last one born—these things didn’t do much to boost my confidence. I think that formed a big part of who I was throughout my childhood and adolescence.
As I became an adult, I wanted to get out of the house. I wanted to be on my own but I lacked confidence. In some ways, I knew what I wanted, but I couldn't speak it. I couldn't express what my real needs were. So, I just did things on my own. I decided to leave Germany and travel by myself to the U.S. and Central America. In some form, I was confident, but I still didn't know how to express myself.
I went on to get married and have kids. I had that routine. My husband passed away in 2009, and suddenly, that life was gone. I was still pretty young and felt as though I had a lot of energy and desire for intimacy. I knew that I wasn’t done, and that I needed to reestablish myself and my womanhood.
I took classes at a venue, and somebody there told us about OM. That was the first time I experienced it. I thought, this is amazing. I need to know more.
When I started studying OM, I was drawn to it, but I also ran away from it. I feared, going in, that I would not be wanted or accepted--that I would be inferior. I worried that I wouldn’t find somebody to OM with. But I strongly felt like there was something I needed to learn from OM. It really goes deep and gets to the source. It lets you see the real truth. But even though I'm always looking for the truth, I'm also afraid of it.
I’m a kinesthetic learner, so it was about feeling the sensations in my whole body and allowing myself to be there. It a place where I could experience a letting go of fear, and where I didn’t have to think about what was next. I didn’t have to please anybody. It was about just being in the here and now.
Sitting meditation is very different. To me, it's hard work. But with OM, you have all these chemicals being released, and you have that sudden place of relaxation without having to work at it. It’s like floating in the clouds and allowing yourself to let go. It’s also about feeling the connection between me and the person who is stroking. I had always thought I was an introvert. But through OM, I found out that I'm actually an extrovert. I need to have that kinesthetic connection with others.
I always used to feel that I needed to protect myself. I was always on guard. With OM, I was able to peel that off, like an onion. OM heightened all my sensations. The colors were different, the sounds were different. People felt different—I felt more connected to them.
OM also helped me recover from residue from my marriage. My husband had blamed me for all kinds of things. It was a little crazy at times. OM helped me see that it wasn’t me. I was able to make that separation.
It was the purity of the experience of OM that helped me arrive at the true me. It’s about that one sensation, that one stroke at a time, that one slowness. It’s being present, feeling every stroke, and allowing that to become part of me. It allowed me to be who I am—without having to be somebody that I felt like I was supposed to be.
Through OM, I began to create more art. I was always artistic in my life, always dancing, but I would never, ever have called myself an artist or a dancer. OM allowed me to say, I am an artist. I am a dancer. It allowed me to even live it, and I was able to show my art publicly. I don't think I would have done that without OM. I would never have had that power.
A few years ago, with clay and moss and wood, I created this mother that I had never had. I let people show it as an art installation. But the art that I make is transient; it’s not meant to be kept. So later, I put it in the garden and it went back to Earth. That’s how life is. You create, you live, and you let go.
That was super meaningful to me, because I now have this mother in myself. I can be the mother, and I think maybe that is also part of the connection I have now with my daughter. She is starting to accept me and see me in a different way. Maybe she is able to feel that shift in me.
My next plan is to dance around the world, when I am able to travel again. I have the self-esteem and the confidence now to live a life that I really enjoy. Because that’s the essence of it all—to enjoy life—isn’t it?