On Thursday it was our work Christmas celebration, and to treat ourselves, we decided to have an afternoon of pampering at Waitomo Day Spa.
I was first up for the float.
I’m not going to lie; I was nervous.
I have an active mind, a busy life, and a pretty epic ‘to do’ list, so the thought of lying still in a confined space for an entire hour was pretty confronting. And it also felt like a pretty big waste of time.
But, despite my hesitations, I was game to give it a go. I’ve always been someone who is committed to creating a “life resume” defined by experiences rather than a “work resume” defined by expertise, so I was putting this float down as just another one of my crazy endeavours.
We arrived and completed the obligatory paperwork, and then I was shown to the room. And there it was. The spaceship-like floatation pod.
I was given a lot of instructions about clothes off, shower on, bath mat down, ear plugs in…. something about music, something about lights. And all the time I was just staring at the pod that was about to consume me for an hour. An entire hour.
And then suddenly I was left alone to get sorted.
I followed the instructions I could remember and prepped for entry.
I opened the lid, climbed in and onto my knees facing out, and reached up to pull the lid down over me.
As soon as the lid closed I went to swivel onto my bum to slowly get positioned, and BOOM -my legs were up. I was floating. I literally could not have sat on the bottom of the pod even if I’d wanted to.
The high density salt solution makes it impossible not to float. So I lay my head back and tried to relax….until I felt water in my ears.
False start. I’d forgotten the ear plugs.
I hopped out, put the ear plugs in, and I was back into the pod for take 2.
I played around with trying to touch the bottom with my heels, and pointing and flexing my toes to actually figure out what part of my body was in the water and what was above the water line. It’s impossible to tell. I watched the colours of the lights dance on the ceiling of the pod. I mentally checked through the Christmas presents I had bought, and those I still needed to buy. I wondered about what Scott and the boys would be doing right now. I thought about work.
And all the meanwhile I was trying to find my comfy position. Arms by my side made my head feel too heavy, and arms under my head made my shoulders feel odd. Eventually I settled for cactus arms.
I turned the lights off.
And then I started counting. Literally counting.
The music stopped and I started relaxing into the float. From what I had remembered from the instructions, that meant 10 minutes had passed and there were 45 more minutes of complete silence before a final 5 minutes of music to indicate that time was almost up.
I was up to 97 with my counting.
My next conscious thought was “this is totally weird. I have stuff to do. I wonder if I should just get out. Would she even know?”
And then the music came back on.
The cue that there was only 5 minutes left!
Somehow, the 45 minutes had passed me by.
I don’t know if I fell asleep (which apparently is safe to do and there’s no way you can drown), or if I was awake but in a meditative state. I have no idea.
But what I do know is that somehow, the floatation pod made me stop.
The multiple demands, and priorities, and busyness of life brings me incredible joy, but it is also very overwhelming at times.
We live so much of our life in the exhale – the doing – and I think we forget to grab the moments of inhale – the being. And it’s really only in the moments of still, the moments of quiet, that we truly have the opportunity to stop.