Float Day 1 of 7: The Hummingbird
Hi Everyone! I started my 7-day float and am excited to share a bit about it. Before I begin, I would like to share a few things about why I float and Why I float at FLOAT SNJ, Marlton.
As I said in my introduction, I have only been floating since April 2nd 2018. Very quickly I realized the benefits floating was offering me. There is a calmness that comes on as soon as you enter the float spa. Crystals are elegantly displayed, guitars on the walls, a welcoming living room style lobby complete with a library on mindfulness. The owner (Tom) makes you at ease immediately. He is very open and answers your questions. HIs employees are just as open and also make you feel at home.
Since I started floating, I have found it easier to be alone with my thoughts. Thoughts that would cause anxiety are more easily dismissed. Having full control in the float tank makes it easy to relax and meditate. Lights on or off? Music on or off? Tank door slightly open, more open, closed? Everything is my decision. Even ending a session earlier because you completed your task for the day is fine.
My skin is ever so soft! My muscles are feeling good – even after an afternoon of bowling for the first time in over 20 years! Worried about your hair? I was! My hair is soft, my hair color is not effected. My skin tone is healthy. My sleep is deeper with less interruptions. Could this be the fountain of youth we all search for? Ok, that may be a bit over the top. But I feel great since I started floating. Why did I not find this earlier?
Now let us talk about Day 1 of 7 – The Hummingbird.
A little over a week ago in a float session, meditation done, I decided to try visualization. I am not good at closing my eyes and seeing images. I was in the Galaxy, so I turned the lights (or should I say, stars) and music on and imagined floating in a small pond in Hawaii, complete with waterfall. Three images came to me (in order): A water lily, a butterfly and a hummingbird. Since, I have discovered all three deal with happiness, opening up, being more introverted.
Hummingbird Animal Totem Meanings And Symbolism
A hummingbird animal totem can offer you endless insight and effervescent wisdom.
This totem is vastly unique, as such, as unique offerings in the realm of totem guidance.
It is not commonly known that the fluttering wings of the hummingbird move in the pattern of an infinity symbol – further solidifying their symbolism of eternity, continuity, and infinity.
By observing the hummingbird, we see they are seemingly tireless. Always actively seeking the sweetest nectar, they remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day.
The prime message of the hummingbird animal totem is:
“The sweetest nectar is within!”
Questions the Hummingbird Asks Us
The hummingbird as an animal totem asks us profound questions. Take the time to listen, then contemplate what kind of response you would have for the hummingbird (and your inner self)…
· “Where is your joy?”
· “Is your happiness found within, or do you seek it externally?”
· “What is the source of your joy?”
· “What must you do to increase your joy?”
Symbolic meaning – Key Words – Include: Affection, Loyalty; Playfulness; Agility; Infinity; Peace, Persistence; Healing; Sincerity; Renewal; Joy; Vitality; Energy.
Source/ Quote: Hummingbird Link
Hmmm. Those words describe me very well, and also describe what I am seeking at this point in my life. The questions are now. I actually visualized my animal-spirit!
Fast forward to today. I went into my session – in the Grotto – with an intention. Yet when I started meditating on my intention, I could not relax, could not focus. I finally released my intention and asked what should I focus on today. The hummingbird came back – not visually, but rather, in the form of an intention. I need to focus on the joy in my life right now. The happiness, and finding my happiness from within. This is something I struggle with – I tend to find my happiness externally, which is not lasting and can easily let you down by expecting too much. This session was to be about fun, and non-serious thoughts.
I even decided to try floating on my stomach for a few minutes just to see what it was like. It made me laugh a bit, first turning over because the buoyancy of the water does not want you to roll over. Then, trying to figure out where your head should rest – I finally figured out how to put my head to its side and rest slightly against my forearm. I giggled at it, and then went back to the normal float position.
What did this session teach me?
If you go in with an intention, be prepared to release it and focus on something else, especially if your brain telling you it is the wrong intention for today. Have fun. Not every session has to be serious. If you are open, every float session will bring a lesson, or a thought that stays with you.
Until Next Time, enjoy your float!
Day 2 of 7: Outside the Tank
“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in silence, you hear the truth and know the solutions.” ~~ Deepak Chopra
HI everyone. I hope you are enjoying my blog. Floating 7 days is going to be a great experience, but it is outside my comfort zone to share so much to people I do not know. But then, floating is about opening yourself up, to releasing your tension and discovering yourself.
I always arrive a little early to my sessions. I like to relax in the “living room” lobby. Talk a little (ok, a lot) to everyone. Get myself in the zone for my float. Today was no different. I saw someone I had met the night before that was floating again this evening. I have met many different people while waiting in the lobby, all friendly and wishing everyone a good float. It is a welcoming environment and anyone considering floating should consider this place first – a safe, friendly place.
Tonight’s float was in the Water Room, my first time there. It feels like the beach when you walk in – blue light, blue walls, flowers painted in the corner. It is your own little suite – a dressing area complete with a place to hang your clothes, a bench to put your belongings on. A little shelf with earplugs (optional – I used them in the beginning but not any more), Vaseline for any small cuts you may have. If you wear contacts, there are supplies for them as well. Then you enter the shower area, and take a quick shower to clean off any lotion, makeup. Next you open the tank door to a beautiful environment. Blue light again, a floor that sparkles like sand in the ocean. For some who has the ocean as their happy place, I was right at home.
Lights off. Music Off. Eyes closed. I begin with a few yoga type stretches. I practice my breathing as I count back from 100. 99 (breath in through my nose), 98 (breath out through my mouth), 97 (deep breath in), 96 (slow exhale), 95 (deep breath in), 94 (slow exhale) …. I make it to 90 and I am fully relaxed. Arms outstretched, slightly over my head.
Reflection. Good thoughts. Blogs to write – what should I share? Comfort zones. But I am afraid to share too much. Leave your comfort zone. My blog comes to me. Speeches. I have a speech in a month. More stretches. More breathing exercises. Ideas come for my speech. I have heard that writers float when they have writers block – the creativity begins to flow again. That part of the brain re-awakens. Is that what I am experiencing now? I have been fortunate in my life to have both sides of my brain equally strong. Quantitative – I work with numbers. I am great at my job. Creativity. I am a member of a professional organization where I write the newsletter and have to be creative in designing educational events. Floating helps both sides of my brain work even better than they already did! Stretch. Breath. Stretch…. The gong. My float is over as quickly as it began.
Outside the tank. The ideas that came to life inside the tank stay with me as I leave the tank. I shower and wash my hair. Slip on a wrap as I am not yet done for the night. I walk down the hall to the quiet area. Get a glass of water and sit on a comfortable chair. I admit, I check my cell phone (set on Do Not Disturb mode – remember, you want to silence it not just for yourself, but for the other floaters as well). Becca walks back and I am told the infrared sauna will be ready in a few minutes! Part 2 of my evening.
I enter the infrared sauna room. Lavender has been put on the towel in the sauna. I turn on Netflix. Last time, Bobby Kennedy. This time, the new season of 13 Reasons Why (someone else had started watching as episode 3 was keyed up – no, I need episode 1).
It is hot. I feel my body sweating. I feel the toxins leaving my body. After 12 minutes – you do know what time it is in the sauna – I exit to the shower area. It is time for the cold-water plunge. I stand there and pull the chain. Ice cold water falls down over me. I want to scream but I also love the feeling, the rejuvenating of my body. Go back in the sauna for another 20 minutes. Think about my float, watch my show, and think about how lucky I am to have this experience.
I shower under the cold water even though there is a regular shower as well. I prefer to end my sauna sessions washing my hair in the ice-cold water. It makes me feel more refreshed, exhilarated. I dress and walk back to the 2nd quiet area where I can blow dry my hair, make a cup of hot tea or fill a glass with cold water. There are journals you can read – journals where other floaters open up, write their thoughts, draw pictures. You can add your thoughts as well. I think I need to start doing that.
I then venture to the front living area. Two people, including the person I met the night before, are sitting there talking. It is a full house as the next group of floaters are gathering, waiting for their tour (first timers) or waiting for their room to finish being cleaned. Yes, all rooms are thoroughly cleaned between sessions and the cleanliness is one of the first things you notice as you walk throughout the building.
As the floaters go to their sessions, three of us remain. The owner joins us, as does one of the employees. We talk about different things. The delivery drivers from the pizza place next door – one plays the same song every time he leaves. What kind of thoughts we all have while floating. Some conversation is serious, some is just fun. Before we know it, an hour and half has gone by and one by one, we start to leave for the night. Back to the real world. But the real world has changed a bit, as it does after every float session. It is a beautiful night, and I stop to look for some stars. Life is good.
Until next time, enjoy your float!
Day 3 of 7: Vulnerability and Trusting Yourself
“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us there is something valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – E. E. Cummings
Day 3 started in the Zen Temple. This is a beautiful soothing room, from the colors in the changing/shower area to the trees on the tank door and the lights in the tank. It is the largest of the tanks (can someone share their couple float experience?), and in my opinion, it is the one that leaves you most vulnerable.
Brené Brown describes vulnerability as "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure." She goes on to say that “it's that unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone or do something that forces us to loosen control.”
It is said we are on worse critic, second guessing decisions, comparing ourselves to others,
Why does this room make me feel most vulnerable? It is the deepest of the pools, the biggest of the pools. Most people can make a 360 degree turn without touching the sides. I lose myself in this tank, and in not knowing exactly where I am, I do not know where the button for the light is. I was not ready for that the first time in this room, and it scared me a bit.
This time, knowing what to expect, I let myself go. I did my breathing exercises and relaxed. I realized there was a bit of “current” in the water, and floating did mean in once place. My mind turned to vulnerability and trusting myself. Why am I afraid to trust? Next thing I know, I am floating somewhere else, away from this room. There are other people around. Probably the most vulnerable one can get! Slowly, I became ok with the idea. I started seeing where some of my trust issues lie.
I slowly turned over and floated on my stomach for what I estimated was 20 minutes. I am begging to enjoy this type of float, and have learned how to hold my head comfortably.
After 3 straight days of floating, I am sleeping better. I am thinking more about what I need to work on, fix. It takes less time to relax in the pool and get to the “lesson” of the day. I am learning more about mindfulness – being in the moment not in the past. Still looking a bit to the future but I think that is ok.
My skin is glowing, soft. I am more open. I am happy and calm. Life is good.
Day 4 of 7. High Tide
When you are heading down the shore do you wonder what the tide will be upon your arrival? I love low tide. Getting to the beach and seeing how far out you can wonder from the shoreline. The calm of the waves. The bright sunshine warming your shoulders as you walk out into the water. Spending hours in the water at a time. My safe and happy place.
Floating for me has been like low tide at the shore. Calm and happy without the sunshine and sound of the waves. A safe and happy spot.
Today was different. As I entered the pool in the Grotto, , I felt a shift this time. I laid down in the pool, turned the lights and music off. Started my breathing exercises counting backwards from 100, eyes closed. Thinking about peacefulness and calmness. Yet when I got to 90, the water turned to high tide. There was a roughness. I kept saying “Stop”, wishing for the calmness of low tide. I felt myself being tossed around as though a wave had broken over me, tossing me as I’m carried to shore.
I’m not sure if this went on for one or ten minutes or somewhere in between. At some point the tide went out and it was low tide again. I opened my eyes to darkness, breathing returned to normal and a calmness overcame me.
My brain said: Did you feel that? That is what happens when you go to your annual conference. It’s coming up soon and you need to fix this.
For the rest of the session I focused on happiness and calmness. How great this conference is going to be. Getting an award and speaking before many people - it will be good. I imagined being on stage. I remained calm. I do not want experience that high tide again.
After four days of floating my sleep is deeper, my skin feels ever so soft. I am happy and calm. I’m handling stressful situations better. I am falling asleep much faster.
High tides can solve problems.
Day 5 if 7. Flying
I am really enjoying this float experience. The last five days has been great and I am glad I made the time for me.
I did have trouble finding 7 days with few commitments - work, the professional organization I belong to, friends, my dog, and all those responsibilities that come with them. I finally said this is about me. I need to make the time for me. And for once I did.
Today I was in Water World. The blue colors, light and flowers are welcoming. As I entered the pool I again noticed how the bottom glistens in the light like sand under the ocean. I began my float and relaxed. Happy thoughts. No anxiety.
Have you ever floated on your stomach? I’m beginning to enjoy it. Sometimes my face is straight ahead with the water level just below my lips. Sometimes I lay my head to the side - if you do this keep your lips tightly sealed!
At first I would only do this for a minute or so. I loved the way my body felt. Now though I do it for what seems like 10 minutes at a time. I imagine flying. Today I did more than just imagine.
I visualized myself flying high above the ocean. Swooping down upon the white water caps of the waves. I was a seagull with the sunshine on my wings able to fly anywhere. Free to go anywhere and do anything. Free to be by myself with my own thoughts. My brain was allowing me to be in my own world with the outside world anxiety creeping in. Learning visualization. Working on my happiness coming from within. Flying, my spirit leaving the pool.
I felt like Katie Chandler, played by Jodi Foster in the movie Stealing Home when she talked about how free she wanted to be:
“See that's all I want to do Billy-Boy. I want to leap off this pier and fly high in the air, hang with the wind and drift through the clouds, and at night, with the Moon full and the sea wild, I meet my lover high on a cliff and we'd swoop down into the ocean and swim all the way down, touch the bottom, back up through the dark water and break the surface. Then we'd fly to Jamaica for Pina Coladas... God, I wish I could do that.”
Until next time.