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Exploring Jealousy

by Donna Ainsley

Many of us have an Achilles’ heel that will show us where to shine a light for healing and personal growth. For me, that vulnerable spot is jealousy. Through practicing Orgasmic Meditation, I have made real progress in exploring and decoding what jealousy means for me—and if not eradicate it, then at least heal and grow from a newfound understanding of it. 

Learned Emotional Avoidance

When I was growing up, my family’s go-to way of being was to avoid emotion. I have a sister who is two years younger than me, and after she was born, I didn’t want to share my parent's attention with her. My jealousy issues likely began there, if not in the womb.

I’ve always had a physical, visceral response to jealousy. When I started dating, it would come up as a very high sensation. If something happened to trigger it, a certain pressure behind my eyes made me feel like they were literally turning green. There was a gripping in my chest as if squeezing my heart. I felt kicked in the stomach and nauseous. Once, in college, I experienced this around a boyfriend and actually vomited.

Before I discovered OM, I had been dating a lot. But every now and then, I’d find myself feeling this dreaded sense of jealousy. It got to the point where I was staying away from any kind of relationship where I might feel that. 

Discovering OM

I first heard about OM through a man I’d met online. After a couple of dates, he told me about the practice and sent me a link to a TED Talk about it. Just hearing those two words, Orgasmic Meditation, really pulled me in. I thought, "those are two of my favorite things." Everything about it appealed to me, including its simplicity and the overarching idea that women needed more orgasm. It also seemed like something fun that we could do together.

First OM Experiences

So, I started OMing with the man who I was dating. What I remember about those OMs was that I felt many things at once—a bit nervous and stimulated, but at the same time, open and relaxed. And I was able to feel all those things without doing anything. My only task was to experience all the sensations that can come up in those 15 minutes of stroking.

Yet, the practice wasn’t passive because I gave my stroker verbal directions. That was wonderful, too, because in the process of learning to OM, I would ask myself what I wanted. Sometimes, I even asked it out loud, which was very liberating. As I dropped out of my head and into my body, I entered a state of flow where I didn’t have to question myself or analyze things. It felt like I had bypassed some kind of circuitry. 

Safety of the Container

As I kept OMing, I took comfort in the predictable structure of it. You always knew how the practice was going to begin and end. I had experienced something similar with 12-step meetings, and I found familiarity and comfort in knowing that those steps would always be the same. 

Within the safety of that container, I started to notice very quickly what was going on inside my body. I started to connect emotions to particular spots in my body—and the more I practiced, the more that ability grew. It got to the point where, during sessions with my therapist, I could give her very clear descriptions of what was happening for me on a somatic level. I enjoyed working with her more because I could really zero in on those sensations and, as a result, could heal from them.

Understanding Jealousy

This was pivotal in helping me understand and sit with my jealousy. Something that OM does very powerfully is teach you how to stay with the high sensations. You learn to lean into both the good and the bad. If something hurts emotionally, you don’t try to escape it. 

When you get curious about something like jealousy, you see it for what it is—a bodily sensation. It’s been in my body for a long time and is not necessarily personal to me. I began to see that there’s a universality to the somatic nature of our experiences. So, along with body awareness, I also developed more empathy through OM. The more I felt, the more I could feel other people, too. That’s the beauty of spending 15 minutes focusing on what is happening.

Vulnerability in Relationships

As I practiced OM regularly, I started making myself more vulnerable in my relationships. I even intentionally got involved with a polyamorous person, which is something I never would have done before. In the past, I wouldn’t have put myself in a situation where I might have experienced jealousy. But at that time in my life, I actually wanted to feel it and explore it.

I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for about a year and a half now. I thought I was free of jealousy, but it turns out those feelings can pop up anywhere. Once, I was cat-sitting for a friend, and when she came over to pick up her cat, I felt that grip in the chest and kicked-in-the-stomach sensation of jealousy. Over a cat! I realize that those feelings will come up sometimes, no matter what scenario I find myself in or what script I’ve mastered.

Yet, thanks to the attunement I developed through OM, I can see it as something that’s happening in my body. I can stay with it and ride it out. When jealousy comes up now, it becomes just another feeling to explore. 

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