How I Got Here
by Keith Paolino Feb 2, 2012
I’m Keith. I’m 37, in a committed relationship of just over two years, and currently working a dream job for a company that I think will change the world. I get up at 7:15 and OM twice (almost) every morning. I have most of what I want in life, including love, connection, purpose and the opportunity to serve well.It wasn’t always this way. A few short years ago, I was a partner in a struggling computer services firm, living alone, with few friends, little emotional connection, and no inspiration. My best friend was a rage-aholic, who cut down my self-confidence every chance he got, and I hadn’t had a quality physical or emotional connection with a woman in years.
I was a victim to my life, not a participant. I started to think that something had to change, that I needed help and I didn’t know where to turn. In May of 2007, a friend gave me a book that changed my life, The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller. After reading it I finally felt like I knew enough about myself to move forward into scary, unknown places. Over the next eight months, I stopped speaking to my best friend (severing ties with him was one of the kindest things I had done for myself in a long, long time), put a lot of attention on myself, and noticed all the little places I was letting my life run me.
I noticed that simply by putting attention on these places, the behavior around them would shift, almost as if by magic. Mind you, I had no previous experience with spiritual practices, no working knowledge of manifestation principles or Buddhist teachings. I was an East Coast transplant, a lapsed Roman Catholic, and had never taken an interest in things “greater than myself”. Yet here I am, a little dumbfounded and a lot amazed that when I put attention on something small (e.g. I ALWAYS let the other person order first in a restaurant), I suddenly became aware of what I really wanted (I know what I want to order already, I want to order now). Once the space had been created for my desire to arise, choosing it became a LOT easier.
Eighteen months after reading Drama, I had stagnated. I was thrilled to have gained all this insight into myself, yet I kept hitting a wall. There was something I needed to see about myself that I couldn’t, and I didn’t know how to proceed. I knew one thing though, and that was that I couldn’t do it by myself. I needed help. It was then that one of the few friends I had left suggested I check out OneTaste.
One Wednesday evening he and I drove into San Francisco and attended our first InGroup, and something strange and new happened. From the moment I arrived, my stomach was doing flip-flops and making these loud, embarrassing noises. I had never experienced this kind of discomfort before. I mean, sure, I’d been nervous plenty, but it had never shown up in quite this way. Despite my flip-floping stomach, InGroup was great, I felt like I was in a room full of people who were on a similar journey, and I thought that maybe there was something there for me. But I wasn’t sure.
We came back the following week, and as we pulled up to find parking, my stomach started doing flip-flops again. That was when I knew that I was in the right place. My body was trying to tell me something, and for the first time, I was really listening to it.
Over the following weeks, I continued to go to InGroup and started to take courses. I learned more about myself in a few months than I had in the previous 15 years. I learned that it was possible to embrace all of the things about myself that I had always tried to hide. I could bring them out into the light of day, and I experienced the exact opposite of what I thought would happen. I found that by showing all of myself to the people I was forming connections with, I was becoming closer to them. I discovered that what I thought were the ugly, unlovable parts of myself, were the very pieces that also made me unique and relatable. By exposing myself, I gave people the truth of who I am, and I found that this truth is the thing that people want to love. Hiding, on the other hand, had people mistrust my motivations and my character. I thought I was good at pretending, but I forgot that we feel each other as human beings; and no matter how good my shtick, the people I came into contact with could sense that there was something else going on back here. Even when they couldn’t tell what it was, they could sense the in-congruence between who I was inside and who I was outside. Bringing all that to the surface was honest and scary, and it removed the layers between me and the people I wanted to connect with.
In January of 2009, I learned to OM. I’ll keep that story for my next blog, but let me say that nothing I learned in those first few courses can compare to the body of knowledge I’ve received through OMing. That body, of course, belongs to me.
Here at OneTaste we all have our own story of how we got here. The obstacles we have each over come, and the ones we continue to face along the journey, come in many different forms. Confronting true vulnerability and intimacy can be quite a challenging experience. And every one of us will say, it's been worth it, to have our sex and desire in it's right place in our lives.