I was outside on a walk today. Since the start of the pandemic, the frequency of these walks have decreased. All those walks I took last year while participating in the 75 hard challenge seem like they happened at the turn of the century. Back then, I used walking as a form of exercise and meditation. I used it as my time away from the hectic schedule of work, gym, writing, get togethers, church and endless errands.
I don’t need the time in the same way anymore. I find myself getting too comfortable sitting inside, weighed down by blankets, napping, thinking, daydreaming about the ocean or deep tubs to soak in, reading, scrolling or watching TV.
I mistook all this newfound down time to provide the same thing. But it isn’t. I forgot the power of forward motion in sunlight can change perspective, take away some of the blues and the tendency to self-sabotage.
I can’t sabotage or hide. Movement awakens energy, gives the static a place to go. I become electric in the forward movement. Pounding pavement and weaving through children playing in the streets today reminded me where I am supposed to devote more time.
That is all it took. Throwing on sneakers, a jacket and stepping outside by myself to drown a little of me out and let the quiet in.
I am up at 5:00am for Miracle Morning. This morning is my power hour which means it’s my time to work on whatever I choose. Through heavy eyes, all I can think is another group of ladies: See Jane Write Collective.
I rejoined the See Jane Write Collective last weekend after being away for a couple of years. In an effort to be stricter with the household budget, I left it with the intention of coming back once I got my house in better order. I have and even though it’s only been a week, I already noticed a difference.
Here’s where leaving me up to my own devices to just sit down and dedicate time to my writing projects fails me: I never follow a specific writing schedule!
I have had designated days where I posted here over the years and moments where inspiration hit but never a specific hour where I said here is the time. Here is the quiet space. Plant thy buttocks in a chair and don’t get up! I also have been part of groups where we made spotty efforts to convene but inevitably, life gets in the way one too many times and the world shuts down because of a public health nightmare.
So what does See Jane Write Collective have to do with any of this? Knowing I was going to be part of a group of women led by freelance writer Javacia Harris-Bowser with access to online courses, webinars, coaching, virtual write-in and critique sessions was incentive enough to believe I can create the writing schedule I have long aspired to.
Last night was our first write-in session. It was comforting to speak openly about what I planned to work on, hear the other women share their plans and get to work! The hour I spent profoundly changed a few pieces I have been working on and I actually loved the quiet. My habit is to embrace the chaos of sound while writing but last night I opened myself up to the community of women, silently pursuing our writing goals.
As Miracle Morning came to an end, I thought about how much writing I will get to do if I stop getting in my own way.
Writing is not only a part of my work but it is sacred time for me to commune with creativity. I look forward to more of that with the women of the See Jane Write Collective.
Earlier this week, I started researching float therapy. I heard about it earlier this year and a woman in one of my writing classes recommended it. Since hubby has been experiencing some nerve pain recently, we decided to try it together. I read about many benefits including stress and chronic pain relief, relaxation and even bursts of creativity!
The ambiance in The Float Zone was spa-like. Comfortable chairs, soothing music and a basket was provided immediately for our shoes. There was also an Ipad and headphones provided to view a video for first-time floaters. After the viewing and signing a waiver, we went on a tour of the center. The tour completely calmed me down. I am not claustrophobic however, if you agree to climb into a pod I believe that is something you should examine. Because you have your own float room that locks and you can keep the door to your pod as open as you’d like, I don’t think it is a big concern.
Every time you float, you must shower and shampoo before and after and they had everything ready in the room beforehand. You must wear earplugs, too. They also provided a neck pillow for comfort while in the pod. I noticed the pod seemed massive compared to what I saw online. I think it was just seeing it in person for the first time. I also love they had Vaseline with the toiletries provided to protect your self from the Epsom salts if you had cuts and bruises. Because of my psoriasis, it was immensely helpful.
As I stepped into a pod, I couldn’t help but feel like I was some kind of alien. Climbing into a pod and shutting it over yourself is definitely a singular sensation. I tried not to have any expectations except to float. I heard a range of testimonials from deep relaxation to nausea to psychedelic visions.
I decided to forgo the light and let their meditation music play in the background at first. The music wasn’t distracting but it added to the chatter going on in my mind. Once I found the button to shut it off, my relaxation went to a deeper level. For some reason, I focused a lot on my maternal grandmother, Yvelle. We called her Veve. She passed away in 2003. She was beautiful with an appetite for life. I saw her face and couldn’t stop picturing the couches and curtains in her house on 109th in Queens. I even saw myself as a little girl sitting in a backseat of a car in New York, driving to or talking about going to a McDonald’s.
At one point, my body felt baked into the salt solution. My body was there but I was very aware that my brain was someplace else. I might have been dreaming. Even when I wasn’t sleeping or drifting off, I could clearly hear my breathing and heartbeat. I knew this could happen after watching part of the “Float Nation” documentary on YouTube.
Before I knew it, I simultaneously heard a soft, female voice telling me it was time to exit the pod and sensed the light come on in the pod. I came out of sleep (or whatever state I was in) and found I couldn’t just stand up or find the bottom which was crazy because I was only in 12 inches of water. I had to roll over to my side and grab the short bar to get my bearings and in a matter of seconds, I was able to stand up and lift the top of the pod.
When I walked out, I felt some cool air but it did not disturb me. I showered and left the float room and settled into the post-float room. It was complete with water, herbal teas, magazines, books, adult coloring books, a fireplace and more comfy seating. Hubby liked floating but kept the light on and told me he started exercising in the pod. The darkness freaked him out but it was one of the things that I liked best about it.
The fireplace in the post-float space. It was beautiful!
Hubby and I smiling from ear to ear after our floats!
The question is: Would I do it again?
Yes, because now that I know what to expect I think I will have a real idea if incorporating into my life will have real benefits on my journey of healing.
Your turn: Would you try floating? And if you have, what was your experience like?