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The Great Reawakening

by Ishkana Glider

My wedding took place in a hollowed-out mini-amphitheater in the woods. I wore a dress of all the colors of the rainbows so no color would be left out. We didn’t let any relatives come because we were seeking a pure, essential experience. It was the 1960s in California, and I was in college. After the wedding, we shared water and dates, food of the desert, because it was right in the middle of the Vietnam War, and the world was like a cruel desert. But our life together would be an oasis amid all this pain. 

After college, I wanted to buy four acres in Pleasanton and return to the land. We’d raise sheep and shear them to make our own sweaters, and I'd grow vegetables and can tomatoes. But my husband had landed a job designing a hand calculator just as Silicon Valley was starting up. I became a secretary at a computer research group that was building the early bones of the Internet.

Sacrifices and Abuse

I was always willing to sacrifice my desires and dreams for the sake of a relationship. Anyway, I wouldn’t dare oppose my husband, who was verbally abusive and controlling to the max. The abuse got worse and worse, yet we stayed together for 22 years.

At the age of 40, I had to face my two biggest fears: living in a tract home in San Jose and being divorced in California. I was able to buy a tiny cottage where I could walk downtown. I dove into women’s empowerment weekends, inner child workshops, and Earth wisdom teachings of the Native Americans. I started a business teaching people to paint on silk, a skill I taught myself when working in the textile arts field. Even when my only companionship was the sound of a dried weed blowing in the wind outside my open window, I was perfectly content. 

Then, I decided I was ready to have a man in my life again. I met my second husband, Brent, when we were working to save 40 acres of wild land from a developer. That project was our passion. Brent was nerdy and serious, pretty high on the Asperger’s scale, but we wrote poetry to each other and had a lovely romance. He was inexperienced with women and never got any better at it. Seven years into our marriage, he said he needed more physical distance. Too much intimacy was too challenging for him. I said, “That’s okay. I’ll be fine.”

Discovering OM

One day, I met people from the Bay Area who invited me to dance parties that revolved around Prince's music. I started going to parties and having a blast. This invigorating party scene reawakened me. I yearned tremendously, but love and loyalty made me want to stay with Brent. I told a friend about my predicament, and she suggested I look into OM. 

My first OM experience was delectable. The stroker was calming and nice, and the OM container, with its clearly defined steps, helped me know what to expect. It felt safe to open myself to this extraordinary pleasure completely. I was also happy to find a way to be sensual without destroying my marriage.

Body Acceptance

It was liberating to open my naked genitals to a partner. I had always worried that my body was ugly. But in the noticing step near the beginning of the OM, men would describe my genitals in a precise, matter-of-fact way that honored them and gave me validation.

Over time, I became ultra-sensitive. One millimeter of my clitoris felt different from another millimeter. A downstroke had a completely different sensation from an upstroke. In an OM, I could ask for exactly what I wanted from the stroker, which was another new experience. If I asked my first husband to touch me differently, he would say, “Don’t tell me what to do.” It’s incredibly satisfying to say, “Please move your finger a little further up. Please, even further up. Even a little further,” until it’s just right. 

Empowerment through OM

I received so much affirmation from every step of OMing that it became easier to ask for what I wanted for the rest of my life and to feel I had a right to receive it. When I met James, he was a novice stroker. By our third session, he had become adept, and I became so receptive to him that I didn’t even have to ask for adjustments. The stroking was seamless and effortless. The only thing happening was the sensation of movement against my clitoris. I was totally there with the stroking, and nothing else existed. That’s an amazing place to be.

I'm able to assert myself on other levels, too. I wanted a dog for years, and people always argued against it. When I finally insisted, we got a dog from the Humane Society, and he has been the love of my life. We took great comfort from all the affection he gave us through life’s ups and downs. 

On the other hand, there's one big desire I hold myself back from, which is to spend more time in my art studio creating. I still tell myself I'm not good enough at art or that I should be doing the dishes instead. I’m working on giving myself permission to follow through with my art. Maybe OM can help me get through this block. That’s my next challenge.

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