The Tools to Be in a Relationship
by Melvin

I was born and raised in Guatemala. I’m a product of that culture, and I miss it – but I’m a proud New Yorker now.  I’ve been here since I was 19 years old.  When I got here, I barely spoke English and had no formal education. I’ve built a life for myself here, and it’s taken a lot of hard work.

A friend mentioned OM to me, and he was laughing at the idea.  What seemed weird to him sounded amazing to me, though, and I loved the concept from the first time I heard about it.  I went to my first workshop, and I was totally committed to signing up.  I had no hesitation; I was as excited as a teenage boy. When I saw my first demonstration of OM, I said to myself, “My God, that’s the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen.”  I felt like I’d been in a closed room all my life, and a window had been suddenly thrown open. 

That was June 2012.  OM has been part of my life ever since.

I was very uncomfortable during my first OM.  I was worried I would break something, or somehow hurt or upset my partner. I felt like a nervous teenager, scared but very excited.  Once the OM started, though, I was surprised, because my body felt numb.  I realized later that my body shut down to protect itself from so much new energy.  I just couldn’t handle all of that intensity all at once.  Over time, that numbness wore off.  The first thing I noticed was a gradual warming all over.  With time and practice, that warmth became this incredible heat.

OM gave me the tools to be in a relationship. I want to be honest: it took a long time.  I had built up so many fears and blockages. I was afraid of commitment, and I was afraid of taking responsibility for my desires.  I didn’t want to ask for what I wanted. I wanted the right woman to show up and be in my life without me having to work for it. 

To be honest, I had a hard time listening to women. I come from a very macho culture, but I can’t blame this solely on being Guatemalan. I know men from my country who are very good at connecting with women and hearing what they have to say. That was never me.  I don’t know where that reluctance came from. I just know that I had this very strong resistance to taking women seriously, and that women could tell how I felt. This was at the root of my problem, but until OM, I wasn’t sure how to change that. 

I changed myself by learning from other men who OMed. I saw how open and nurturing they were, how unafraid they were of their own feelings, and how unafraid they were of women.  They could connect and not lose themselves.  They could deal with jealousy and anger when they came up. I let those men teach me, and I modeled myself on what I saw them do.  It took time, but I became so much better at communicating with women – and I learned that I couldn’t communicate until I first knew how to listen with my heart and my body.

I’ve grown to take responsibility for whatever is going on with me. No one, man or woman, is responsible for reading my mind. It’s my job to communicate.  Learning to respond to her adjustments during an OM really helped shift this for me.  I learned to understand what was going on in any specific moment and respond as needed.  The more I could act on the adjustments without my pride getting in the way, the better I could connect and the happier I’d feel.  It’s taken years, but I’m not stuck in my head anymore.

II’ve learned to let go of my anger, which had destroyed a lot of past relationships.  OM has taught me what it takes to keep a relationship growing.  Relationships are a lot like plants: they need sunlight and water. They need care. If you give them those things, they will grow.  OM has made me into a gardener, I guess – it’s taught me how to nurture something so that it doesn’t only live but thrives and changes.