Tuesday, October 10, 2017

FLOATing Into Fifty

Over the past couple of years, I've made it a tradition to do something special for myself for my birthday. I love going out of my way on birthdays for the people I love, and I realized I needed to include myself as well. This year is a big one for me, so I wanted to do something really different.

This year I decided to try floating! FLOAT offers pods that are essentially sensory deprivation chambers. I have heard of these for awhile, and when I found there was a place to go to in San Antonio, I knew I wanted to try it to celebrate my half century. Before I went, I meditated, prayed and chose an oracle card from Sonia Choquette's Ask Your Guides Deck. Before I choose a card. I usually ask for my spirit guides to show me what it is they want me to know for the day. This day I asked for a message about my upcoming FLOAT experience. I wanted to know who I might connect with during that experience. When I pick a card, the deck is face down and after shuffling I hear a number so that I know which one to pick. If I hear 5 for example, then it is the 5th card from the top to pull. Everyone uses these decks different ways, but this is how it works for me. The card I picked was "Solitude," so appropriate for this experience. The spirit guide connecting with me was my owner Higher Spirit. 

I said a prayer in the car for a good experience and headed on my way. The pods are filled with ten inches of water and up to 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt. I love me an Epsom salt bath, but I've never used enough to make me float, maybe only a cup or two! But even that small amount of salt relaxes and recharges me, and releases the negative junk in my auric field. I was a little concerned about the salt level. One time I tried a five pound bag of Himalayan sea salt in my bath and I felt so yucky after it. It was serious detox and dehydration. I didn't know what to expect with this, but I took a giant bottle of water with me just in case.

I had a choice between an i-sopod or a Zero Gravity Suite, which is less claustrophobic. I really wanted the full experience, so I opted for the i-sopod. I arrived at FLOAT and was soon greeted by Meredith, who was so kind and informative. She showed me to the dressing room and bathroom. It had lockers, two mirrors, chairs, and tables filled with lotion, combs, hair dryers, curling irons, hairspray, and more for after floating. I took everything off, and put on one of their soft, comfy robes. They had flip flops too, but I usually trip over myself, so I walked barefoot to the next room.

Meredith led me to a small room with three massage chairs. The room was dark and peaceful. I chose my chair, sat down and Meredith started the chair in motion. I relaxed for fifteen minutes while gentle waves were projected on the walls, "stars" and "moon" were overhead on the dark ceiling, while sounds of nature chirped throughout. I felt like I was on a camping adventure, well maybe more glamping since I was in such a high tech massage chair! But it was very relaxing. This was not your regular nail salon chair. It had rollers at my feet, kneading my heels, all the way up through the balls of my feet. The leg rests periodically squeezed my legs and ankles, as did the arm rests atop my hands. Every once in awhile, after the rollers went down and up my spine to my neck, the sides would squeeze my shoulders together. It was awesome!

After the massage, Meredith brought me to my room (pod #5). The sound-proof room was small, and the pod was big! There was room to hang my robe, a small table with ear plugs and vaseline (to keep out the sting of the salt if I had any open cuts). In the corner was a shower with shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. Everything was provided for, which made it convenient not to have to pack a bag for this, other than some makeup. Meredith told me to shower first (they don't want oils or anything in the pod). She showed me where the latch was inside the lid of the pod for when I needed to open it. She said to keep it closed as much as possible to keep the temperature as it should be. It is supposed to be the same temperature as our skin.

Meredith opened the pod and it was lit in blue. The water was clear. I don't know why, but I expected it to be thick and salty looking, but it wasn't at all. Inside on the left was a button to push to turn the blue light off when I was ready for darkness. She said for awhile I would see light from the room peeking through the seams of the pod lid until the room light went off. The floating experience also starts with calming music, but that fades away too. On the right inside the pod, was a button to push if I needed any help (a panic button I thought, that I hoped I wouldn't need!).

She talked about ways to relax, breathing, how to rest my arms - she suggested placing them over my head to open up and relax more. She showed me a flotation ring for my head, hung on the wall, that I could use if needed. She said the head seems to be the last thing to relax. I can understand that, since tension always seems to show itself in my head and neck.

I was ready to roll, so Meredith left the room and I was on my way to my sixty minute adventure (they have 90 minute sessions too)! I took a quick shower and hopped in the pod. I closed the lid over me, layed down in the water and was floating instantly! The music was peaceful, as was the blue light. It was ethereal. I looked around briefly and noticed a decent amount of room in the pod to feel comfortable. It was warm. I really prefer to feel cool and breathe in cool air. That wasn't happening here, and I started worrying myself that I'd overheat or panic. It wasn't that hot, I was just overthinking. I turned the light off. Breathe, breathe, breathe. 

It was really fascinating to be floating in this unique experience. When the room light went out, it was so dark I couldn't see any difference with my eyes opened or closed.   My neck hurt. I had been to the gym in the morning and it was already sore, but I must not have been relaxing it completely. I had to pop the lid to get the neck support. Dang. I wish I had brought it in with me. I opened the lid and grabbed the ring and got back in. It was nice to get a little bit of cool air.

I settled back down, turned the light off again, and not too long after, the room light went out again. I prayed. I asked to connect to God, my spirit guides, my higher self. Everything started to look red. I don't know if it was from my blood pumping harder. At times I could feel my pulse beating in my ears. I didn't use the earplugs, I really wanted to feel everything. But the beat was really loud at times. I know how hokey this sounds, but you know I'm going to say it anyway...I saw the face of Jesus. I often see flashes of people, places and objects when I meditate. I have not been able to slow down the images enough to put together the meaning. This time I saw his face, large, just for a brief moment. After that I saw this jumbled mass of red and dark. It was kind of like a lava lamp, but more in the shape of a cloud.  In the mass, small faces appeared and receded. It was creepy and a little scary. It didn't feel like good energy. I prayed to Archangel Michael to clear it. Breathe, relax, breathe.

Off and on I could hear my heartbeat loudly in my head and at one point I heard a really loud sound that made me jump.  It's a sound-proof room, so I don't know what it was, but it jarred me for a second. It could have been from my own body, as my ears were under the water and the sound is amplified. They recommend eating an hour or so before the float so stomach sounds aren't distracting, so it could have been digestion in progress!

I struggled with the heat in the beginning, but I really wanted to stay in the pod for the full hour, so I just did it. I knew it really wasn't anything that would hurt me, I just needed to get used to it. I had a conversation with a friend of mine the night before the float, and she said she wouldn't be able to do it because she had an unexpected panic attack just getting an MRI. That vision popped in my head, and my heart beat faster. I let it go quickly. Breathe, breathe, breathe. 

I relaxed as I would when I meditate. The head rest was a huge help. Every once in awhile it felt like my shoulders were scrunching up, so I put my arms over my head as Meredith suggested. It felt much better. When my eyes were closed, and I relaxed more, I felt myself  moving. It felt like I was floating on a calm sea..at night...with no sharks. The music came back on when my time was up, it seemed like it all went by so fast. 

I popped the pod back open and showered again, dried off and put on my robe. After I opened the door and walked down the hallway, Meredith was there to bring me back to the changing room. I felt peaceful as I got dressed and dried my hair. Meredith had mentioned that I could go to a sitting area to relax as long as I wanted to after, so I did. It was a room with couches, coloring books, water, kombucha to purchase (which I did!), and tea. As I grabbed some water, Meredith and I chatted about my experience. I told her I didn't get to the spiritual place I wanted to, but I felt good and know that if I tried it a few more times, I would be able to relax as I do when I meditate. She said it usually takes a few sessions to relax as well. She also suggested maybe a 90 minute session might be better for me and I agreed. It really does go fast, and I think more time would be ideal. I also think I might try the Zero Gravity Suite and see if I feel better about the warmth in that environment.

I grabbed some locally made kombucha and walked to the entrance to pay for my float. Meredith had stepped out, so I was able to meet one of the owners Jeremy Jacob. He was just as kind and helpful, and rounded out a great new experience. Aside my quest to transcend my body and connect with spirit, this experience was relaxing, good for my joints and muscles, peaceful, and a welcome break from social media, news, and sensory overload.  I will definitely float again and continue to let go, relax, and breathe. 

For more information and a virtual tour:
FLOAT: http://www.floatsa.com/

In Gratitude & Love,

Kerri Mulhern

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