We all need a moment to take that weight of the world off our shoulders and be alone with ourselves. Unfortunately, that can sometimes be difficult to find in the whirlwind that is our lives. Bills to pay, work meetings, children’s after school activities, computer problems, dropped cell phone signals, flossing—it all adds up and occasionally, we may want to scream, “Just give me a minute!” Well, recently, I had the amazing chance to take that minute and enjoy it to the fullest.
Like many of you, I heard about Honestly Floating from the owner and lovely human, Jackie Fetter. I was also one of those people that was caught between curiosity and procrastination when it came to giving it a try… Finally, however, I “took the plunge,” as some might say, and set up my appointment. As it so happened, I was the first client at the float tank’s new location at Hands and Harmony Health Spa in northeast Cedar Rapids.
When I arrived at Hands and Harmony, they welcomed me and showed me everything I needed to get started. The tank itself was built into the wall, with a place to set your clothing, lots of towels, and a private, attached bathroom. They also gave me a set of earplugs for my float that I was informed to keep and bring back for my next visit.
Before you get into the tank, you take a shower so you can get all the products and excess oils off of your skin and out of your hair. The tank is filled with water that has a high salt content, which makes the water feel “thick,” but also makes your body naturally float. When I first got in, the water felt cold, but because it is maintained at the same temperature as one’s skin, within minutes it felt normal and I was enjoying the novelty of really being aware of my movements.
At the beginning, there was a small blue light which I left on, but after about fifteen minutes into the float, I turned it off. Once it did, I found myself opening my eyes into complete darkness. It was strange, to say the least. We take light for granted in our daily lives: moonlight, city lights in the distance, streetlights, the slow flash of a laptop in sleep mode. In the float tank, there was not even a blip of light from a cell phone charger.
Like many individuals, I was at first unsettled by that level of opacity. Even at the beginning, with the light still on, it felt so…well, dark. However, unlike any other situation in which I might find myself floating in a body of water in the pitch black, here I was under no threat of any kind. I was wrapped in a perfect, liquid cocoon, protected from eyes, abrasions, and even the stressors of everyday life. I was in a truly “safe” place. This is a rare gift.
It was also so quiet—like what I imagine it would be like in the womb…or when you let yourself luxuriate in the enveloping warmth and security of a really good dream. If having a moment alone in the quiet, sounds like something you have been hungering for, you will love this experience. If, however, being in a quiet space produces discomfort, I wouldn’t immediately give up on the idea of the float. Instead, I would suggest preparing yourself by thinking about what you would like to do with all that time with yourself. Get to know yourself and your thoughts, free of guilt. Enjoy being alone with the person you will be with for the rest of your life.
As I adjusted to the silence, I became more aware of the sound of my own breath, which naturally began to slow and relax. The tank felt big. However, I didn’t feel like I was floating out in space or at all vulnerable to the parts of the tank that I couldn’t see. Instead, the water cradled my body, so that no matter how I positioned myself, it would hold me there.
You can think about anything there in the dark; I used the time to reflect on life. Pondering life is a source of joy for me. This experience gave me the space, and permission to do that. Also, near the end of my float, after I had let my mind relax into just being, I began to feel more playful. All those safe and warm feelings unlocked the inner child in me. I let myself bounce from one end of the tank to another like I was in a huge bathtub. The water is so much denser that you move slower and each movement becomes even more cushioned. It was a wonderful sensation.
I’m so happy that I finally experienced “the float.” It’s rare to find a place in life that gives you complete silence and holds the weight of your body, so you don’t have to—after my float, I noticed that my shoulder, which had been hurting, had stopped bothering me and felt better for the rest of the day.
I would definitely float again. It’s a fantastic and much-needed escape from a sometimes too-busy world. Furthermore, my experience is going to be as unique to me as I am as a person…and someone else’s experience will be unique to them. That is one of the things that makes the float so special.
You can find more information about floating at www.honestfloating.com