50 Ways to Leave Your 40s Experience #33: The Floatation Tank
I really had no idea what to expect with this floatation tank experience. I couldn’t visualise it at all. Would it be dark? Would it be a big space to float around in or the size of a coffin? Would I feel relaxed or claustrophobic? Either way, I knew it was going to do my busy, and slightly confused, mind some good.
Once I found the place, in the back end of Wolverhampton and having driven past it twice, I entered a large cabin shaped building that oozed calm and tranquility (I’m sure the fact it was located behind a funeral director was pure coincidence). I was greeted by a friendly lady; handed a clipboard and asked to complete the usual questions about pregnancy, blood pressure and whether I had diabetes. I quickly completed it, eager to see my tank and begin relaxing.
I was led to a large walk-in wet room/changing area and the lady pointed out the pre-float rules: remove all jewelry; have a shower and place the rubber earplugs firmly inside your ears before entering the tank. She then opened a door on the wall — it reminded me of one of those fairy / pixie doors you can get for the garden — and there it was; the flotation tank.
It was bigger than I thought; thank heavens. She explained what would happen. Water would fill up the tank (about 12 inches), the lights would slowly dim and after 5 minutes the music will stop, then you will be plunged into complete and utter darkness. I swallowed hard. I’m not a fan of the dark in any shape or form. It’s been a fear of mine since childhood when I saw shapes, imagined faces and heard noises all while trying to get to sleep. At 49, my heart still beats a little too fast if I can’t see a shaft of light from somewhere….
Anyway, the lady left, I locked the door and began my preparation. I eased myself into the tank and with some trepidation closed the door behind me. The plinky-plonky music was soothing, the lights dim and the water warm — ahhh, wonderful. I slowly lay back and let the water, and the Epsom salts, work their magic. The tank was about the size of a very large bath — enough for me to stretch either side and have room for slowly maneuvering around — and the ceiling was high. I certainly didn’t feel like I was in an enclosed space.
And then my worst nightmare, it went dark. Not just dark. Seriously pitch black, cannot see a bloody thing dark. The lady had explained that floating in complete darkness would be more beneficial for the mind, but if you freak out there is a white button on the wall and low lighting would come back on. I breathed in heavily and tried to quell the panic…. but no more than 5 seconds later I was grappling around for the white button. Sod that! I needed to feel safe in my little warm haven, not like I was in a watery coffin.
For the next 50 minutes or so I relaxed, drifted in and out of some kind of sleep and tried to meditate. The shallow water very gently slushed around me; holding my body afloat yet making me feel very weighed down. I tried, and failed, to lift my arms, but I felt like I was being pinned into the tank – randomly it was a nice feeling. Eventually, the warmth of the tank became too much, and I found myself needing air – cool, fresh air, not salty induced floatation tank air.
As I clambered out and showered, I had the most wonderful feeling of lightness — my body, my mind, my spirit all felt light, airy and calm. Very very calm. I felt like the toxic corporate world had been cleansed from every inch of me and my head was clear of the worry of redundancy and unemployment.
It was an unusual experience that’s for sure, but one I needed to do. I needed to cleanse my soul and start again – even if that meant leaving the lights on!
Would I do it again? Absolutely!