Float

22 03 2017

I was offered to try out an isolation/deprivation/float tank recently. I’m not going to lie, my inner claustrophobic panicky self instantly created a horrific situation where I felt trapped and out of breath and completely closed in.

My friend gave me a tour of what I’d be experiencing. My heart pounded when I saw the coffin tank, but in keeping with my current mantra of trying new things undaunted, I agreed to his generous offer and booked a time for my float.

I readied myself, I showered and then opened the tank door and stepped inside.  The water itself felt silky and soft (likely from the large amounts of salts they put in) as I stepped in. I gently eased my body down and laid back, delighted to feel myself float instantly. I closed my eyes and started to breathe. I had given myself a 45 minute session and was wondering if I would have to leave the tank before my time was up, considering my impatience and difficulty in learning to just BE. After a couple minutes, the dim coloured lights went off and my float began.

I concentrated on some deep breathing at first, and tried a bit too hard to get into it. I recognized that I was waiting for some amazing experience to hit me, that I would soon be trippin’ balls and discovering some sort of transcendental enlightenment or figuring out the meaning of life, perhaps.

So instead, I just let myself go. I listened to a few thoughts rushing around in my head, not giving them too much energy. I ignored an itchy spot on my nose, I reminded myself that I needn’t write my grocery list right then and there. Instead, I breathed. I moved my arms so that they lay up around my head instead of alongside my body. And I breathed some more.

And I found myself so thoroughly and utterly relaxed. Completely supported but in a way that nothing is touching you. The temperature was perfect, there was no sound, and it was fully dark. I had some persnickety pains come up here and there, my throat felt constricted and my neck spasmed and my left temple had a few sharp jabs of pain. These are all areas of my body that I have issues with: physically, emotionally and mentally. Instead of getting involved in the pain, I found myself watching this from outside myself and slowly the different pains ebbed until there was nothing but my breath.

Amidst all this I vaguely wondered how much longer I had left, because it honestly felt like I had been in the tank for only a few minutes. But rather then fretting about the time left, I just kept on breathing (Ujjayi for my yogi friends).

I morphed into that state of somewhere between awareness and sleep, conscious and not. I could feel my heart beat and nothing else. I just was. That’s it. When the soft lights came on to bring me from my reverie, I was pleasantly surprised and maybe a little disappointed that it was already over.

Now, a few hours after my float, I feel deeply relaxed and sleepy. But also kind of extra aware of how I am feeling. I also feel like I’ve done yoga or had a nice relaxing massage. I was incredibly impressed and feeling slightly sheepish at my reticence and fear of this experience. It afforded me a much-needed insight to some inner dialogue I have been struggling with.

And I will definitely do it again.

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Soon.

12 03 2017

I woke this morning to the dripping rhythm of the melting snow, running down the gutters to the downspouts. A myriad of birds excitedly chattered with one another, chickadees announcing spring to anyone who would listen. I stretched in the early dawn, a smile finding its way to my face.

We have suffered through a long arduous winter, haven’t we?  Apart from several cold snaps (that at least offered us brilliant blue skies and sun, coupled with breathtaking cold), it snowed a lot. Like a LOT. It seems as though every snowstorm that rudely hit us after the middle of February slowly whittled away at everyone’s resolve to bear through this. Half-hearted smiles with idle small talk about yet another snowy day here in the Koots. Will it ever end, we ponder? Yes yes, the skiing has indeed been amazing. But the grey dirty banks of snow and the muted browns and greens of winter have worn thin. Its ugliness grinds down on moods, making normally cheerful folks a bit churlish. It offers up tired jokes, repeated daily of how we’d like to punch snowmen in the face.

But today, that sun shone down, it gifted the air with a tinge of warmth. The gardens reveal brave nubs of green, those hardy daffodils and snowdrops willing to risk it all as if to remind us that spring will indeed come back to us. The sun will rise higher every day, casting a different angle of light into our homes. The snow will recede, offering patches of grass to thatch and rake.

It’s on its way, my friends. Those long walks after dinner with the sunlight guiding our way, hearing robins bossing each other around, racing to build nests in the apple tree. Windows flung wide open, airing out the stale sadness of such a seemingly endless winter. That snap and pop of bits of gravel under bike tires, the first haze of brilliant green sprinkled about on bare branches.

The awakening of what feels like an endless slumber. We shake out the cobwebs and stop making soup. Instead we crave salads and fruit and clean light dinners. Boots can be packed away and those toes that have hidden from us can make an appearance, bravely put in sandals and light shoes, regardless if it’s still a wee bit chilly outside.

Rebirth. Yawning and stretching, we stumble bleary-eyed into the sun, welcoming its warmth of return.

Soon. So very soon, spring will come back to us.