I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive and thoughtful husband who gifted me two sessions at Motor City Float for my birthday. That was in July, and since the time I received them I hesitated experimenting with it. I really wanted my experience to be meaningful and transcendent and I wanted to research how to do that. But like everything else I want to do but don’t really have to do, I never did it. Finally, the second week of November, I felt like I was in a rut and the year was going to end sooner than I realized and I’ve done nothing to work on my goal of being more mindful and living my word for 2019 - connection. So at 11pm on a Friday, I made a last minute appointment for a float the next morning and spent ten minutes reading the shortest article I could find on making the best of your first float. And I am so grateful I did.
Motor City Float is an awesome facility and from the moment you enter you feel supported and encouraged to enjoy your experience. I got a quick tour of the facility, a quick lesson on how to use the shower and get in and out of the tank and then I was left in the beautiful purple light of the room to do it. I quickly showered and before stepping in, I reminded myself that no matter what happens in the tank, I’m glad I made this time for myself.
As I got into the tank I was struck by how much I could hear my own breath and the drum of my heart beat. Constant beats like the tick tock of a clock give me anxiety so I made myself hear my breath more than my heart. And I tried to focus on that sound. But my mind raced - is this water clean? I kind of lied about 2 questions in the form. I had high blood pressure once. But I was 70 pounds heavier and in labor so that doesn’t count. Right?! And I didn’t consult a medical professional about the safety of this in my pregnancy. Unless Google counts? Right - Dr. Google is a thing. All these thoughts made me so conscious of my brain actively thinking and my head felt very disconnected from my body. It was such a weird realization and quickly pulled my attention from my anxieties to a quote I had heard the day before:
You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.
But that gave me pause because I often feel like I am my body; and I love my body. It allows me to connect with the people I love physically and verbally. It allowed me to carry and birth Charlie. It’s allowing me to carry Romeo now. How does your soul connect with the people you love if it can’t touch them or speak to them? I was wrought with not knowing the answer but committed to not overthink the whole time I was in the tank, I asked myself to reserve that question for another time and I filed it away for the day I meet a Buddhist monk. And I brought my attention back to my breath. And from somewhere inside me I heard a voice say, “Give yourself this space to relax.” And I did. I allowed the subtle drifting of my body to lull me as I focused on the natural rhythm of my breath. And every so often I’d hear the voice tell me again, “Give yourself this space to relax.” And I stayed that way until I noticed a soft light indicating my hour was over. And I was jubilant - I made it the whole time! I didn’t realize I doubted myself before the session but that joy I felt in having achieved a full 60 minute float was astounding. And beyond just staying in there, I actually got myself out of my head and I was able to relax. As I got out of the tank and showered and got myself ready, I felt like my whole body was smiling.
I felt truly balanced. After the craziness of this year - a miscarriage, the company I worked at for 9 years which was more a family than just a job was bought, my mentor and friend who I grew so accustomed to seeing everyday retired, I got a new job and started reporting to a whole different team, my baby turned two, and while it’s incredible it’s also challenging with the random tantrums and her want for control, having a job I am not fulfilled or engaged in, and the worst thing in the word happening to my best friend, leaving me and everyone else feeling helpless to ease her pain. While I could at times choose to be positive and see the value each of these things offered me in terms of growth, and reminded me to cherish the good things, as a whole, the added weight of each one got to me and broke me down. I forgot myself and what I did to get through times like these. But taking the time to make this space to relax gave me the opportunity to reflect and acknowledge the work I did that week after I realized I was in a rut and needed to get me back to feeling centered and whole.
I connected with my sister and shared my troubles with her. And though we are at very different points in our lives experiencing very different things, we had similar anxieties and a similar want to change. We jointly committed to focusing on being present and not allowing our anxieties to get the better of us. And now we support each other through every day and hold each other accountable to find space for mindfulness every day. I showed myself compassion and told myself it’s ok to feel the way I was feeling. And I connected with my feelings, remembered my truth and I spoke it out loud. To my husband and partner through everything. And he encouraged me and supported me to take control. I asked to do something new at work. I practiced gratitude for all the incredible people I have in my life and for the things we are all grateful for, like our bodies and our minds.
After the float, I took my time getting ready to emerge back into the world. I took advantage of the relaxation space outside of the tanks and reflected on all of this. And I realized: while I am grateful for the space I gave myself to relax in the tank, I know that what is better and more meaningful to me is to make small spaces for mindfulness and relaxation through my daily routine. To keep the stillness and silence with me and access it regularly and especially when I need it most. And I was recommitted to my goal to practice mindfulness every day.
Want to share a similar experience? Please do and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.