From Codependency to Co-Creation

by Jessica

My husband and I tied the knot when we were very young, and we had been married for about 20 years when we discovered OM. It changed everything. 

We pretty much went from living in our parents’ houses to building a life together. Fast forward two decades and we had a daughter, a house, and all the bills and things that come along with that. It felt like every day was about pulling the plow. 

Not that we were unhappy—we had a sweet, traditional marriage. Our aim was to stay kind to each other, and we succeeded at that. But we were lacking in true intimacy, and we didn't even know it. 

After many years living in Seattle, where I had built deep female friendships, we moved back to Austin, Texas. I felt a void without those friends, and I wasn’t getting the same depth from my relationship with my husband. So I started searching and found Hakomi, which is about learning how to deeply connect with other people. I’ve always been a spiritual person and a seeker. 

My husband must have felt a void too, because he was the one who discovered OM. He heard a talk about it at the South by Southwest festival in 2016. After he came home, he showed me a video about OM and was eager to try it with me. 

But I didn’t really get it. I felt confused as I watched him build the nest. The practice itself, that first time, felt super awkward. I hated having the lights on and a timer set. It felt artificial and clinical, which was not what I craved from an intimate experience. Afterward I said, no thanks. This is not for me.

But my husband was still interested, so I encouraged him to explore OM on his own. I had a Hakomi group that I was going deep with, and I wanted my husband to have something too. Of course, it was scary for me to let him OM with other women. But in a way, I was having an emotional affair with my Hakomi group—finding depths of connection in myself and others that I hadn’t found before. 

Almost immediately, my husband’s experiences with OM stirred the pot for both of us. I grew curious about his practice, and soon, what was simmering in the background of our relationship started to become a cauldron. One day I told him, “Okay, I’d like to try it again with you.”

As our practice developed, my husband and I OMed mostly with each other, but we also OMed with a couple of other people. That was kind of thrilling. It had a volcanic effect in our relationship at times. 

Finally, we realized that OMing with multiple partners was creating too much energy. If we were going to do healing work together—for me, that work was around attachment and trauma—then we had to get more specific about it.

We made a commitment to OM together every day for a six-month period, and I cried every single time. The word “healing” doesn’t even describe it. It was transformative in every way to have him there, holding me through my tears. And without trying to fix anything—just holding space, stroking. We would keep the container and allow it to flow out. Something fundamental shifted for us in those six months. To know that it was okay to cry, and that it was okay to not even be turned on, was freeing.

After those six months, OMing became a lot lighter and more playful for a while. We went into it thinking, Let's just see what happens. It felt like driving a Ferrari or riding a wild horse. Every time we got into the nest, there was going to be something that we found fueling or exciting. 

OMing has given us a language of trust, because we can hold each other more authentically in whatever we're feeling. My husband has learned to receive adjustments without taking them personally, which is a big change. Now I can make requests like, “Instead of sweeping that way, can we do it this way?” And he'll say, “Okay, sure.” There's been a maturation in both of us—he has learned to surrender to the divine feminine in me, and I'm learning to surrender to the divine masculine in him. 

A year ago, we birthed a book together. Co-writing the book involved a lot of integration, because we were taking this very left-brain, cerebral world of research, user experience, and science, and melding it with Hakomi, somatic processing, and empathy. I don’t think we would have been able to do it without our OM practice. 

I think every couple should try OMing together. The intimacy that opens up is like nothing else. It’s as if you've been raised on mango candies all your life and you think that's what mango tastes like, and then you try the real fruit. It has transformed our marriage, which went from the codependency of pushing the plow together, to the breakdown of all that, followed by a new kind of interdependency. Our marriage feels like a co-creation and a co-arising. That’s energizing for both of us, and really beautiful. 

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