I find room to breathe in floating, away from the external voices, logical narratives, and societal pressures in my daily consciousness, and find some space for grounding and exploring within.
When I first heard about floating, I was curious about the darkness. I had heard it could be a strange secular initiation of sorts. My first float was actually quite uncomfortable, with my neck hurting, hair feeling heavy, and my body reluctant to give itself to the unknown water. As with any practice, I decided to try it for a bit, at least more than once. Upon entering, the tank is very dark and moist every time. After a few more floats, accustomed to the walls and space in between, my breaths started to melt me into the warm darkness, the green screen for an alternate existence.
The reflections that follow come from my journal. These experiences have each only happened once.
“I can’t tell whether my eyes are open or not. It’s darker than the night. I feel nothing. I am nothing. I lie between subconscious and conscious levels. I wonder if this is what it feels like to be dead. I wonder where I would be in death. Something transitions. I get the sense of being truly here in this space, beyond any land I can travel to. In this plane of existence, I feel an amorphous love for humanity. I remember where I happen to be in all this - isolated in the deep, dark tanks of the Marina, and laugh.”
“I enter and feel nothing. I sway from side to side to feel the water, then start breathing and waiting. The sadness I’ve been neglecting for a while comes back. I continue to feel anxious and sad. I start crying and decide to give myself permission to cry more. It feels heavy for a while. I then remember where I am, in a box that resembles a safe, away from my mom. I make the choice to be brave and let myself go deeper. In traveling toward the dark knot of my emotions, sadness and sympathy opens into love, a bright unraveling of my fear. I wonder if my brain is trying to relax me as I start to see my mom, actually happy, a sight I’m sure I have yet to see in real life. I suddenly feel nauseous and sit up for a while.”
“This time, I fell back and felt immediate release. I was excited to see where I would end up. I fell… deep into the dark blue end of an ocean, as I used to imagine beyond the cliffs of Guam, where I grew up. One by one, my tense body was washed away of layers of armors I didn’t know I had been wearing. Why had I been wearing so many? I wondered if I would like dying in the ocean and whether death excited me and whether that’s why I loved the ocean. Like the ocean, I remembered how vast I loved being yet how I wasn’t allowed to be. I had such few places where I could be, even in my own home. My memories cradled me to the surprise of feeling truly loved and seen for the first time and the space for release I felt. My body melted. I felt my brain lighting up. I FELT JOY! I wished for everyone, this sense of release and safety even for one sweet moment in their lives. I felt tears, warm on my face. I remembered when I couldn’t find trust; I couldn’t allow myself to love. I remembered I can be here now with the gift of this memory that’s lasted beyond our relationship.”