My first experience in a sensory deprivation float tank
I have a confession to make…
I take things too seriously. There. I said it. There is this perfectionism inside of me that I keep coming up against in weird areas of my life.
Like when I play a board game, I have to make sure the cards are perfectly straight AND I have to follow the rules to a T. Why? No idea. If you saw my closet, car, or know me at all you’d know that I’m not that orderly and I sure as hell don’t follow rules to a T.
Or, when I want to try / learn something new, I put it off forever. The little voice in my head says, “If I can’t do it perfectly, I’m not going to do it at all. Because I’ll look stupid or embarrass myself or discover that I’m terrible at whatever it is.” This has stopped me from doing a lot of things.
It hasn’t been until recently that I started realizing this so I’ve been really curious about exploring this side of me.
When I went to Weightless Float Center last week I didn’t know I would encounter my relentless perfectionism. Like, how?! I was in the most relaxing setting ever and this damn “make it perfect” thought popped up!!! This makes me laugh because who in their right mind tries to float perfectly?
Let me give you a little play-by-play of what I encountered before, during, and after my experience:
I met the owner of Weightless back in JANUARY and he invited me to come check it out.
I procrastinated (clearly!) for some reason and kept letting other things stop me from going. Like “I’m so busy” “I’ll look to see if they have openings tomorrow” “Maybe I’ll go next week” “Oh I just shaved my legs or colored my hair” and so on and so on. Looking back, the 6 month gap in the invitation to actually going was my first sign that I was trying to make the experience “perfect”. You know, because I just had to go on the “perfect day” to try it out and make sure I read the FAQs 100 times so that I knew every detail of what to expect.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve realized this procrastination-caused-by-perfectionism thing in me and have been working on ways to become aware of it and do something about it that doesn’t keep me stuck. Like my #30DaysPlay challenge back in April or actually trying to dance around the house, for the sake of dancing around the house with no other goal than to let go and experience.
So, I finally made it to Weightless. Last week I looked at their website and booked a same day float mostly because I was tired of putting it off, tired of not knowing what it was like, and I definitely needed 90 minutes to myself to explore all of the above.
I felt prepared and excited to be trying something new.
When I walked in I immediately felt at ease. I thought, “Thank God I’ve finally come here.” I was greeted with a smile and showed to my float room where I was given thorough, yet simple instructions on how to prep, float, and end my experience. FYI - there is nothing complicated about this experience ;)
Once I had the room to myself I showered off and got in. The water was the perfect temperature (not cold and not hot, but just right - like a Goldielocks kinda feel). I reminded myself that I didn’t have to “do anything” and began my float.
Some time in I got a little antsy. Mostly because the voice in my head was saying, “Lay perfectly still and experience every second”. Not rigid at all, huh?
I stayed still for a while and my mind began to drift (thank goodness) and I thought about astronauts. Surely this is how it feels to float in space. Weightless. Limitless.
I was starting to relax and it felt good. I started to wiggle around a bit and feel what it felt like to let go and just let my body be free. It reminded me of being a kid in the bathtub, only better.
I came back to stillness and really felt myself floating. I felt my weight and the “invisible support” below me (the salt water). Then I kind of felt… unsupported. Like I was tensing myself because I couldn’t feel below me. If you’ve ever done yoga and been in savasana there’s a feeling of melting into the floor. The hard floor below you is the support and you can fully release any tension that you’re holding.
I thought of this and wondered if I could still let go and trust that I was supported. It was a little intimidating at first. My body knew I was supported. The water was completely holding me up, but my mind thought, “What if I completely let go and sink?!” FYI - it’s not possible in the float tank - there is so much salt that you float like a little buoy. So why did my mind feel this way? Why couldn’t I let go?
Because I like to be in control. I hold on, and stand up straight, and brace myself constantly. I don’t always trust that I won’t go under, fall, or be supported by my surroundings.
Don't worry, this wasn’t a “weird” realization for me in the moment though because I’ve thought about it a lot in regard to holding my breath under water or going upside down to practice handstand. It wasn’t new, but definitely a reminder that I have a hard time letting go. A hard time at trusting that I’ll be okay in the unknown.
My float continued on - a luscious 90 minutes - and I eventually let myself just float around like a little mermaid (careful to not splash salt water on my face) and it felt soooo good.
Thankfully, after your float you can hang out in the lounge as long as you’d like reflecting, reading, or just drinking tea. It’s seriously the best transition from float back to real world. And, I took some notes that I’d like to share.
Notes from my journal:
“Kind of like a baby in the womb. Like a rebirth. Warm, free and supported.”
“What does support look like?
What does support feel like?
What would happen if I let go?
Can I trust to release?
The complete release of control…
To just float and do nothing else….?”
“What if I don’t take it so seriously? What if I choose fun over perfection? I wonder how much space would open up for me? How much space is perfection taking up?”
“I was very concerned about whether or not I was doing it "right" for a while. Like meditating or savasana in the beginning. Having a f*cking end goal. Expectations of how it should be. How exhausting.”
“I also felt dancy… flowy. Like a mermaid. And it reminded me of The Shape of Water, that movie we watched on the plane. Fluid. Sexy.”
Here and nowhere.
No need or starvation.
What happens if I let go?
What if I lose control?”
I'm grateful for the space Weightless has created and this new adventure of floating that I'll continue to explore. My journey of letting go, trusting, and finding ease in new things. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.
If you’re interested in floating (and you should be) I went to Weightless Float Center in Louisville KY.