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Taking The Time to Ask Myself What I Want

by Carla

My husband, Richard, had moved out of the house, and I was still doing his laundry. I had just carried a box of clean clothes down the street to him and walked home in the rain. My housemate greeted me at the door as I stood in the hallway, dripping with rain, “How dare you have any contact with that man!” she raged. I completely lost it and ended up on the kitchen floor in the fetal position. I realized that even though I was a capable woman with a good job, friends, and a house of my own, my life was a wreck. I was caring for my mother, who had Alzheimer's, and I was living with an unbalanced woman while I went through a painful separation from my husband. I was exhausted. 

Moment of Clarity

In a moment of clarity, I saw that my pattern of caretaking, along with not paying attention to my own needs, would not serve me any longer. I also saw that because I had created the situation, I had the power to untangle the mess and create something different in the future. I just had to figure out how.

I started actively looking for ways to understand myself better, including therapy, but nothing clicked. Richard urged me to try OM. “It seems to me you don't have confidence in yourself,” he said. “I think this will help you develop confidence.” At first, I was resistant because I had just read a negative article about the practice, which said the opposite of what I soon discovered. But I trusted Richard, so I agreed to try it. 

I met several women who had a regular OM practice and understood what he was talking about. I could feel their confidence because I sensed them as fully grounded in their bodies. There was a gravity to the way they walked, the way they held themselves. I had spent most of my life ignoring my body, and the confidence of these women, so solidly in their bodies, attracted me. I sensed they had something I'd been trying to touch within myself. It was a never-look-back kind of moment.

First OM Experience

My first OM was with Richard. I was very much in my head, and the process felt awkward. I didn't feel a lot of sensation. For my next OM, I met a man who had been OMing for four years. We spoke beforehand over the phone. I could feel his dedication to the OM container as he told me about himself and his practice. I asked him to OM, and he said yes, and then we scheduled the time and place. 

When that day arrived, I took off my pants, got in the nest, we had an OM, and then we said goodbye. It was a mind-blowing experience. It was very different from my first OM. During the OM, I dropped into my body. At times I felt buzzing throughout my pelvic region. I felt comfortable and didn't go into my head wondering what might happen. Because of the container, I felt a sense of safety.  There was no requirement for me to give to him or take care of him. 

Over the next few years, I went through periods where I was OMing daily, sometimes a few times a day. In the process of slowing down and connecting with my body, I came to notice that most of my life revolved around rushing. I continually put myself in situations where I had to go fast or where I was subjected to intense sensations as a way to avoid my feelings. This realization revealed itself over time and culminated in an accident I had one day when, on a 45-minute lunch break, I rushed to buy a new car. That was the moment I recognized that I was afraid if I slowed down, I would fall into the heavy depressive state that I sometimes fell into. I realized that my depression came from hitting a wall of exhaustion that forced me to stop. After that, I learned to move at a slower pace, which gave me time to contemplate and reflect.

Speaking My Truth

Through my practice of OM, I developed more confidence in speaking my truth and saying what I see. For instance, I worked as a literacy specialist in a public school system. I have also been a longtime mindfulness practitioner, certified to teach mindfulness. Whenever I tried to get the school district to offer mindfulness training to the staff and students, my boss would put me off. One day, I finally made an appointment with the superintendent to discuss my proposal. A year before I retired, the entire school district adopted mindfulness training. It brought me so much joy to create this change instead of resigning myself to stay in my lane and just do my thing.

Through OM, I really have acquired more courage and confidence to be myself.

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