Trying To Find A Little Zen

I’m bored.

That’s not something I say very often, but I decided this lethargic feeling that settled over me is in fact – boredom.

It’s not that I don’t have a dozen and one things to do … it’s just that I’m lacking a certain spark or motivation to anything other than overdose on Netflix.  Since this winter isn’t about to let up any time soon and a trip to southern climes isn’t in my cards, I decided it was time to do something about this funk.

On my list of 52 New Things to do was something that’s always held some fascination for me – sensory deprivation tanks.  You know what I mean … tanks of highly salinated water where you float in complete darkness and silence.  It sounds like an odd thing for someone with claustrophobia to want to do, but curiosity is like an itch that eventually needs to be scratched.

That day for scratching had arrived.

I was surprised to discover there are numerous ‘float spas’ in the city.  I had no idea they were so popular.  It wasn’t hard to find one reasonably close (by city standards) and I attempted to book an appointment.  “Attempted” is the key word … because they were BUSY and I actually had to wait to scratch my itch.

The day for my float appointment finally arrived and I fought my way into the flesh-freezing winds to a calm, warm oasis where my adventure was about to begin.

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I arrived early – as instructed – to complete the required waiver.  WAIVER?!

I discovered the waiver was really all about liability if you cause the float tank to be ‘fouled’ accidentally or otherwise.  Seriously – the $1,500 price tag, plus taxes, makes one pause. I really want to know how often this happens.

I was escorted into a change room with lockers where I peeled off all the winter layers and put on the fluffy white bathrobe they provided.  I was then taken to my private float room. After being given detailed instructions – including the need to take a mandatory shower before beginning my float – I was left alone with my pod for the next 75 minutes.

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Inside the pod was a little bottle of fresh water to rinse my hands if I needed to touch my face, a dry cloth, and earplugs to protect my ears from the salt water. It included a light with a control switch inside the pod and an intercom switch if assistance was needed.

I showered up, climbed in, closed the lid (gulp), and switched off the light.  The darkness was complete.

At first, I bobbed around like a cork – bouncing off the walls – until I was finally able to settle down and ‘relax’.  I use the word ‘relax’ rather loosely because my head wasn’t having any of it.

With earplugs in, the sound of my own breathing and heart beat was deafening … and then I became aware of a rumble … is that what I thought it was? Are these really vibrations from the subway running below the street?

That rumble at regular intervals became a distraction I simply couldn’t get past and periodically I would obsess about being inside a closed pod.  I would become convinced I was running out of oxygen and needed to crack open the pod for air.

Eventually I gave up trying to relax.  I played around with the lights – there was a setting that changed the colours – and flapped my arms and legs around to create a mini wave pool.  It was an excruciatingly long hour.

When the pod water jets finally turned back on signalling the end of my float, I climbed out relieved it was finally over.

I went into this experience expecting to achieve a zen-like relaxation.  Instead I came out wired for sound.  I’m bursting with energy looking for an outlet.

… and I have the softest skin ever.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in 52 New Things, Adventure, Around Toronto and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Trying To Find A Little Zen

  1. Pingback: Being Judged And Finding A Mermaid | My Life Lived Full

  2. jannatwrites says:

    You crack me up! I don’t like enclosed spaces either, so I don’t think I would’ve been up for even trying it (bravo to you!) I’m not good at getting by brain to give it a rest, so I could relate to your recounting of how that went 🙂

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  3. treerabold says:

    I enjoy the dark and quiet….but I also think my inner child (that jumps out regularly) would be making the wave pool and giggling the whole time!!
    Good for you for trying something different and out of your comfort zone….and for being honest about the opposite outcome!!

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  4. February is nearly behind us so maybe the blues will leave with the freezing month! I’m very glad to have experienced this through you – just reading your account (boredom aside) freaked me out…

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  5. terryb says:

    What an interesting experience! I have heard of this, but have never indulged. I would probably find it extremely relaxing judging by the way I respond to a long soak in a hot bath of Epsom salts.
    Good thing you hadn’t seen the old movie “Altered States” before your plunge into the pod! http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/altered_states/

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    • joannesisco says:

      YIKES! Hallucinagenics would scare me half to death without the sensory deprivation tank!!

      btw – I LOVE epsom salt baths. That was one of the reasons I thought I might enjoy this experience. I’m still considering whether I should try it again under different circumstances.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay, this put me through the following:
    1. Annoyance. Automatic mother reaction to “I’m bored.”
    2. Jealousy. As an introvert, being holed up in darkness and silence sounds very appealing.
    3. Hysteria. I started giggling as soon as you got into the thing but by the time you were making the mini wave pool, I was in hysterics. And I’m still laughing as I write this. Reckon I’ll be giggling about you fiddling with the lights all day.
    😀

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    • joannesisco says:

      I’m so proud of having triggered so many reactions 🙂
      I’ve long had a reputation for getting ‘bored’ which is usually a signal that I need to shake things up. Until I do, I’m at loose ends.
      t was mission accomplished 🙂 so glad it made you giggle!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mrs. P says:

    Good for you! I was okay with everything except closing the pod. I need to know that at any time I could change my mind and walk away. A closed pod psychologically says that won’t happen…even if it would. I love floating in salt water. I love turning of the noises in my head. I would be afraid of being so relaxed that I would fall asleep and then wake up with a start.

    I think I’ll go for the hour massage and the 15 minute float in an open pod. :D…and then maybe some Hersheys kisses.

    So…did that cure the boredom blues, meaning were you no longer bored after you were done?

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    • joannesisco says:

      It actually did do the trick. I certainly felt a lot more invigorated … but I think a swim at the gym and a stint in the sauna would have accomplished the same thing.

      There was another option to the pod and that is the open concept pool. It too is a private room but the float pool is open. You can still experience total darkness if you like, or the pool light if preferred.

      Apparently it is very common for people to fall asleep 🙂

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  8. I’ve always wondered what that would be like!! At least it has a positive effect on you even if you couldn’t quite relax xx

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    • joannesisco says:

      At least now I know I’m not creeped out by the darkness or the silence … not counting my own internal noise 🙂
      Obviously learning to relax and ‘let-go’ is something I need to work on … like almost everyone 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hmmm… I think I may start a business of letting people pee into bath tubs for a veritable steal of a $1,000 bucks a squirt…

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  10. LB says:

    The visual of bobbing around like a cork made me chuckle.
    I continue to be impressed with your 52 new things! I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this even though I am a total water baby. I don’t really enjoy massages either so that might explain it.

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  11. Oh wow, good for you for trying it! I know I would be terrible too…

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  12. As ever, a thoroughly entertaining read. With a lot of toe curling on my part! Well done for trying something new and incredibly brave. I think I’ll stick with dry skin though… Lol.

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  13. NancyTex says:

    I am so glad I read this! A friend recently posted on Facebook that she had done this in Vancouver, and it piqued my curiosity. Your review makes me think I’d go mental if I was in there for more than 10 minutes. 🙂

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  14. I still thought I’d give it try until I got to your comment about the second hand water. Ick. Somebody else’s bath water? I’m going to buy some bath salts and candles and just close my eyes in the bath!

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  15. Gosh, sounds interesting. I haven’t heard of these. I hope it was nice and warm! I think an hour would take an eternity to pass but good to try something new. Relaxing is hard work!!!

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    • joannesisco says:

      The water is actually kept at body temperature so you feel neither warm nor cool, but you’re so right about an hour feeling like FOREVER!!
      Isn’t it funny how we have so much difficulty knowing how to relax?!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. bulldog says:

    That would bore the hell out of me…. loved your experience though

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  17. C.E.Robinson says:

    Joanne, now that you’ve tried it once, the second time (in a different location) will be different! Never heard of this, and probably would never try it, but your write-up about it was great! Christine

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  18. Um. No thanks. I can’t relax. I couldn’t even relax for T’ai Chi. Then there’s the fear of small places, the dark and whether the lid would open when it was supposed to. Eek. I give you 10 starts for sticking it our for the hours. So…your skin WAS that soft? Hmm… ❤ ❤ 😀

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  19. Norm 2.0 says:

    We have a few of these places here as well.
    Honey and I used to go once or twice a year but I haven’t been in about four years now.
    It is soooo relaxing once you turn your brain off. I always come out energized, but at the same time really calm, as in look around and wonder why the heck everyone seems to be in such a hurry!
    I think I need to go back again soon 🙂

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  20. I don’t care for enclosed tiny places so that probably wouldn’t be a good thing. I do agree that it’s hard to silence the inner noise. I do find it relaxing to have a bubble bath. There is something so serene about being surrounded by water. I laughed at your Lady MacBeth remark. 😉 Soft skin is a total plus.

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    • joannesisco says:

      I was worried about the size until I got in it. It’s actually a LOT larger than it looks. I could stretch out completely with my arms above my head and not touch the top or bottom. There was a lot space to bounce around in there. Even with the lid down, it was more like a tent inside rather than a box.

      I didn’t really expect to silence the inner voice, but I hoped she would come up with something a little more profound than I-wonder-how-much-longer-I’ve-got-in-here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Joe says:

    Hershey’s Kisses also helps with this problem also Joanne 🙂

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  22. I’d be willing to give it a try for sure! Nothing ventured…… It must be so difficult to zone out when you know you’re supposed to. I bet if you did it again and weren’t completely overwhelmed by all the new sensations, it would come easier to you. You are so cool!!!

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  23. Helen C says:

    I never heard of it either. And you are braver than I! I am so glad that you decided to give it a try and share your experience with us. It’s a treat! They do change the water after each person, right? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      No the water isn’t changed. Think of it like a swimming pool or hot tub with a jet filtering system. The jets get turned off while you are inside the pod. When they turn back on, it’s the signal that your session is over.
      That’s why there is such a heavy penalty for ‘fouling’ the water. They would have to shut down the pod, drain, clean, and refill it.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Sammy D. says:

    Oosh; my heart was pounding the minute you said you were climbing in. That will never be on my list!! As for silence – do we ever get it? Outside noise, white noise, tinnitus – i never have found complete silence. But I’m happy not to rush the ultimate silence of no longer living !!

    Good post, Joanne. Well-written 😋

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  25. Sue Slaght says:

    I’m afraid either I would have been like you all fidgety or fallen asleep. I’m working on mindfulness and meditation (pre-breginner at best) but this multi tasker has a hard time settling down. Thanks for sharing this Joanne. I had heard the term but did not know what it really was.

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  26. Lynn says:

    Good for you for giving it a try! I think I would be bored for that length of time as well. I would much prefer an hour massage, followed by a 15 minute float!

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    • joannesisco says:

      I would have to agree with you Lynn. My curiosity has been satisfied on this one and I’m unlikely to go for a second try.

      On the other hand, my skin is soooo soft. Is it weird that I keep stroking my own hands? 🙂

      Like

  27. I have heard about these float tanks and have this to say: you are a much braver gal than I. The claustrophobia and tinnitus would drive me squirrely. The closest to this sort of experience that I have had was drumming meditation. When the horrible banging noise finally stopped I was about ready to murder someone. Interesting to note, that I tried it again, and the second and subsequent times were actually very successful. Whaddya think, is a second float in the cards for you?

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    • joannesisco says:

      I would have said no … until I read your experience with drumming meditation. Maybe it needs another attempt … this time at a different spa where I’m unlikely to get rumbling & vibrations.

      … and you’re brave for doing the drums!! I find nothing meditative about drums. I would be bouncing off the walls.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Well at least there was one up side to it. I never heard of such a thing. All in the name of new experiences I suppose.

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  29. Heyjude says:

    Yikes! I think I’ll remain being bored.

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  30. Wow! Now that’s one I’ve never heard of. I can’t believe you could do that with your phobia! Sounds like quite a surreal experience for sure…..don’t know that I could stand my own company that long even to get the softest skin ever! 🙂 Very impressed!

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