when I want a vacation.
when my brain won't shut off.
when I say "I just don't have time to do nothing."
when I really want to look at myself in a mirror.
when silence is better than bull shit.
when I wanna be a starfish.
Recently, we launched a new industry-wide campaign, #WhyWeFloat, to help you share personal and powerful stories to help promote floating to the world, so more people can benefit from this practice and improve their lives. Tell your story using #WhyWeFloat and you will be entered to win a trip for 2 to Kauai, Hawaii! Click through to find out more.
If there was to be a major theme taken from all of my floats, it would be time. Time is always on my mind, whether I'm in or outside the tank, so it makes sense that my thinking would be focused on it throughout my floats. All of these thoughts and more flow throughout my mind, but what the sensory-deprived environment of the floatation tank allows me is a space where I can start to examine these thoughts and where they may stem from. Why am I so focused on and anxious about time?
You may have heard of floating and floatation tanks (also known as sensory deprivation or isolation tanks) and if you have, you may also have heard fascinating stories of what can occur in the tank. I happened to have one of my most powerful experiences in the early stages of my first float and it helped me restore a healthy relationship to water.
“After about 10-15 minutes, I decided to fully close the door to the tank. A few minutes later I was seeing rainbows of colour swirl and stream past my body. I felt like I was slowly flying upward through the solar system. It was so real. I saw stars and planets, each direction I turned. I wasn’t sure where I ended and the rest began, but it made me realize that I am not my possessions, or my thoughts… I realized that I’ve gone my entire life without really letting go… I never let go… I’m always trying to hold on…”
This is the account, admittedly a rare one, of someone’s first session in a float tank. Responses to an hour and half in sensory restriction range from psychedelic, mystical and out-of-body experiences, such as the one described above, to the arousal of primal fear and general discomfort.
For the past three months, I have been dreaming about booking my first float session. I have intentionally kept my eyes from wandering through “what to expect when floating” type articles because I knew that I would be writing about my first time floating for this blog. I wanted my experience to be authentic; I didn’t want other people’s experiences to become my preconception about what floating would mean for me. I only kinda succeeded in that effort because…well…I was terribly interested to know what it would be like to float for the first time! Most of what I read said that it would be relaxing and meditative.
Yesterday, the day arrived when I realized - hey! - I am going to have some time, tomorrow mid-day, to FLOAT!
One of the most important realizations I’ve had in a float tank is, that floating is ALL about the individual! We’ve all heard the phrase,“Only boring people get bored,” this is most definitely true about our time spent in the void. The float tank is an inanimate object; the pitch-black environment doesn’t care how hard my workweek was. The 900 lbs. of Epsom salts is completely indifferent to what my significant other/boss/friend/co-worker said or didn’t say. And when I close the hatch, the tank isn’t smirking about how it’s captured another self-proclaimed claustrophobic person. After facilitating over 26,000 floats, I can safely say most people who thought they would be claustrophobic, actually have no problem being inside a float tank.
I've been an advocate for being presently aware and in the moment for many years now. This practice, I am learning, is never ending and should be the only thing to practice for life. There is no limit to being consciously aware or present. It doesn't matter what your background, religion, race or gender is, it is something we humans all share and possess. Once one has an experience whilst being consciously present, it is amazing. Food becomes sensational, nothingness is entertaining and glorious, silence is a deep sense of peace, colours and lights glow and any touch is smooth, soft, warm and magnificent. The present moment. Not yesterday or tomorrow. Being consciously present, when focusing on something simple and letting go of thoughts and attachments, becomes the experience.
The main thing I noticed after floating the first few times was my deeper connection to self and how it related to other people.
Floating has been a pinnacle turning point for me and multiple friends of mine. It has been a part of my life for approximately a year and learning about myself and the way I can incorporate my body and mind into what I do creatively, has been such a rewarding experience. Being creative is in my nature, and not producing something new simply makes me itch. Over the course of the past year I have been able to find better and more effective ways of deliberately opening up, accessing, and emphasizing that creative part of my brain. For those creative types out there, the hope of this piece is to inspire you to utilize floating as an amazing tool to access your creative endeavours. This is opposite to the relaxation concept of an isolation tank. Instead of winding down and relaxing, we are in fact winding up!
Here are five steps that have helped me access the most colourful parts of my brain, whilst in the isolation tank.
I’m Jacqueline and I have four daughters—the oldest one is six, and the youngest is a ten-month-old. Needless to say, I don’t get a lot of time to myself. In addition to being a mother, I’m a writer, but this solitary activity does not get a lot of focus these days. I write while I watch Bubble Guppies and when I should be in bed, and I write when I should be cleaning, or exercising, or pre-cooking meals for the week. It’s one of the toughest things about parenting for me, that everything I want to do for myself takes time away from something more important. I am surrounded by squirming little people all day long.