This blog post by our very own slice of heaven, Palmer, is one that many of you will likely resonate with. Many folks come into floating with expectations of how they would like their experience to go. Whether it be listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast or hearing about a friend’s experience, it is easy to come in with conceived notions.
But what if all you get is nothing? I’ll let Palmer take it from here… [Sidenote: I am SO honoured to have Palmer share his experience with us. Thank you, buddy!]
Keeping a regular practice not easy for me. I’m a procrastinator and an excuse maker, I’m aware of this. It used to be much worse and spill into all areas of life with more frequently, now it mostly happens when my anxiety kicks in.
A few months ago, a stressful week turned into a stressful month and I could feel myself veering into burn-out territory. Floating was an easy step in the right direction to correct this, or at least relax for a little bit. It had been months since I last floated. No exaggeration – 5 months. I had a string of tough floats – those self reflective floats that unearth some shit you’ve been hiding from for a while, but since times were stressful it felt like time to get back into the groove.
My first float back felt foreign, like the first time all over again. My breathing pattern was sporadic and my heart raced – tell tale signs of a panic attack. I hopped out of the tank and into the shower for a few minutes to collect my breath then headed back into the tank. I lasted about 45 minutes, all of which were busy both mentally and physically. Although I didn’t have a “great” float, I had a sound sleep that night and was determined to continue with my weekly float plan.
Float 2 was a little different. The tank felt safe and cozy this time around, and my breathing stayed in rhythm just right the whole time. Thoughts passed, my brain presented flashes of colour in the tank and vivid imagery from a few childhood memories. I felt as if my body didn’t exist – this is exactly what I want my float to be each and every time.
When I entered the tank for float 3 I was excited. Float 2 was so perfect – it’s only going to get better from here. This time there was nothing. No colour, no thoughts, no memories. Just me. That’s not to say I didn’t feel calm and relaxed after this float, I actually felt amazing. My thoughts were clear, my pace was slower than usual. I could breathe deep and stand tall, which wasn’t the case just 3 weeks prior.
I eagerly waited for float 4 – it was going to be deeper than the last one. BIG things were going to happen in there, you know? NOPE – much of the same. Just me laying silently in a tank of water.
Nearing the end of this float, something clicked. This was the whole point of floating – to find the silence. I had a moment of realization and acceptance that I am all I need to find the answer to any of my questions. I had been so out of practice that I had forgotten why I floated in the first place.
Though there have been still and silent floats since that one, they tend to vary as no two experiences are ever the same. The silence will never bring disappointment again, as it’s been a reminder that floating will always present you with what you need in that moment.