I Tried Floating And I Hated It.

Michael Davis

Float therapy is (a lot) harder than you think.

I once found my toothbrush in the dishwasher. I am so absent-minded I started walking around while brushing my teeth, apparently did some dishes, then I inadvertently left my toothbrush where a dirty spoon would go. This is just to give you an idea of what kind of mindset I was facing walking into my first float experience.

For the uninitiated, let me first tell you what floating is.

Float Tank
Simply put, flotation therapy, or floating, is the practice of lying semi-submerged in salt water (for buoyancy) inside an isolation tank for an extended period of time - I planned to do one HOUR (LOL). The intent is to remove all sensory inputs, and relax your corporeal body entirely, allowing the salt water to hold your weight thereby allowing uninhibited breathing. Once you are settled in it's time for the fun part - being alone with your thoughts. Absolutely nowhere to go, nothing to do, nobody to talk to, it's just you and YOU now, baby!
My past attempts at capturing the elusive state of “mindfulness” have included meditating, breath work, Reiki, and they have all ended with me wondering why Saturday Night Live isn’t funny anymore. So I had my doubts walking into my local deprivation tank proprietor. The venue was exactly what you would expect - soft lighting, wafting pockets of incense, and an unbelievably accommodating and reassuring staff - “oh you’re gonna love it” they all cooed. Narrator: “he did not love it”.
I was planning on taking a cornucopia of relaxing cannabis products prior, arriving early, and preparing myself with silence and calm leading into my appointment. That did not work out. As I hurriedly got into the tank 7 minutes late I was already spiralling -
“Shit! I didn’t pay for parking”
“What time is it? You get towed after 3:30 downtown”
“Why do you always glance at the fucking parking sign and then just move on?”
“You’re so fucking stupid wake up!”
This went on, and on, and on, and on.
Eventually, the static noise got so loud I broke and sloshed out, sopping and nude in the huge tank’s antechamber. 8 fucking minutes. Not even pruny yet…

I tried a couple more times to really engage with the experience but I just couldn’t find my way through the maze of intrusive thoughts.

I lasted 4, 9, and 2 minutes respectively. Failing at lying in a warm bath was actually more confusing to me than anything - what if I just grit and bear it? What if you just don’t think about it at all? Nothing worked. I resolved right there to keep coming back (an AA slogan no less), and just keep trying, at least until I can be alone with my own mind and achieve some semblance of zen.

I will keep documenting my journey towards that floaty white mental space, we might use some cannabis products as aids in our journey, who knows?
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