Finding Rightness with Myself

by Shara

I grew up with brutally low self-esteem. I started to hate my body as soon as I went into puberty. By the time I was in my late teens, I had a serious eating disorder. I hated what I looked like naked, and I hated how clumsy and awkward I felt when I was around other people.  I never felt part of anything. 

It almost goes without saying that I felt shut down when it came to intimacy with men. I never felt worthy to really have a man's attention on me. I wanted romance, and I wanted to be touched, but I felt uncomfortable with intimate situations. I would rather not get what I wanted than risk being seen. I got used to living with that tradeoff.

Pleasing Others

Whenever I was with a man, I was trying to please him or trying to be the person I thought he wanted me to be. I didn’t know just me being me was enough. Friends tried to tell me how great I was, but I couldn’t hear or believe them. In relationships,  I blocked out any possibility of real enjoyment. I always had this sense of going outside my body, watching myself perform. I never asked myself what I was feeling. Instead, I asked myself, “How is a woman supposed to act in a situation like this?” It was just a constant cycle of shame and embarrassment and knowing deep down I wasn’t good enough.

Discovering OM

I first heard about OM nearly 20 years ago. I had gone to Burning Man, which was a wonderful escape for me. On the playa, I could feel like myself. Or maybe it was the opposite – I could feel unlike myself! Either way, I met some people who were involved with OM, and they told me I might enjoy it. In another context, I might have been more suspicious, but I was open from the Burning Man experience and agreed to check it out. I didn’t take it that seriously. You don’t know what you’re missing if you’ve never realized you’re missing it.

The first time I walked into an OM seminar, a light bulb went off. It was as if I had been in a dark room for ages, and suddenly, I could see. I was lucky that I was so ready for it by the time OM came into my life. I was completely certain that this was what I had been looking for because I’d felt so deprived for so long. I had all this pent-up energy and need to explore myself without shame, and all of the energy surrounding OM made it clear to me that this would be the safe place to do that.

First OM Session

When I lay in the nest for the first time, I didn’t have to worry about what I needed to do. All I needed to do was lie back. The first time, I felt myself start to stiffen as soon as I was touched, as my body’s programming tried to tell me it was time to perform. But perform what, I wondered? So, I tried to relax and pay attention to what was happening inside me rather than what the person touching me needed or wanted. I realized how much I wanted to check out and noticed where I shut down. I realized that even if I wasn’t trying to perform for the other person, I was still making up stories about them, going to almost any lengths to avoid receiving freely. But the stroking continued, like a gentle knocking at the door, and I began to run out of distractions to ignore it. I started to let the sensation in.

Other people in my life noticed the changes in me before I did. A few months after I’d started OMing regularly, a client of mine pointed out that my posture was different. My shoulders weren’t as rounded as before, and I didn’t slouch anymore. I was smiling more freely, standing taller. I hadn’t realized it, but OM was starting to shift everything about how I moved in the world. It started with a change in how I walked and stood, and then, slowly, it began to show in greater intimacy with other people.

Enhanced Perception

I was in my 30s when I came to OM. As a somatic healer, I thought I was very observant. OM took those powers of observation to the next level. Now, I could see what people needed. I could see and feel when they had a story they desperately needed to tell. I was born with a gift, but OM has honed and expanded that ability by expanding my ability to connect with another person. I use it in my work and my relationships every day.

I am married now and have the kind of relationship I’d always assumed was impossible for me. Somewhat to my amazement, I’m a woman who can express herself and name what she wants. I’ve learned how to ask for what I need, and I’m partnered with a man who isn’t threatened by that wanting. Those communication skills enhance every aspect of our life together. And yes, there are times I don’t know what I want! We can’t all be certain all the time. I can name that uncertainty, though, and be okay with being unsure. I can be okay without total clarity all the time, and trust that my husband will be okay too. That’s a special, hidden gift of this work.

Empowerment and Coaching

I now work as a coach and am passionate about helping women succeed. In the past, I would always be jealous of women who were comfortable with their bodies, confident, and popular. Yet OM is one of the many things that has actually helped me to overcome that. Just as I broke through the walls of inadequacy, shame, and discomfort with almost every aspect of who I was, I am driven to help others do the same. I wish I had known back then that there really wasn’t anything “wrong” with me. It was my beliefs and conditioning. OM helped me to break through that.

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