“I never feel so much myself as when I'm in a hot bath.I lay in that tub on the seventeenth floor of this hotel for-women-only, high up over the jazz and push of New York, for near onto an hour, and I felt myself growing pure again. I don't believe in baptism or the waters of Jordan or anything like that, but I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those religious people feel about holy water.” ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Substitute hot bath with float tank, the sounds of New York for the sound of silence and maybe you can understand why the first time I read this quote I connected so deeply.
WhenI was a massage therapist, I always used to wonder why, for my clients and for myself, it was so hard to schedule time for a massage.
As I write this, I have a float tank in my home. Before it was here I would dream of waking up in the middle of the night, slipping into the tank and experiencing the sweet relief of the water. Lately I've been avoiding it and trying to find excuses to get out of my floating commitment.
Why do we often wait until we are broken and unable to function before we take time for ourselves?
I go through phases where I can't get enough of the tank but it wasn't until I read this that I felt I understood a little better why I avoid self-care the rest of the time.
The time in a tank is the time I feel most like myself. The outside is stripped away. I'm left with just me.
If I don't havea specific need to be there -an ache, a pain - there is nothing to cover up or avoid the experience of being alone with myself. To just be.
I believe denying myself the tank on a regular basis, to some degree is an avoidance mechanism. We spend most of our time finding ways to distract ourself from the truth. Whatever our truth may be.
Maybe an unhappy relationship with someone- or our self. Fear of failure, success, our own power or the unknown. That's all very uncomfortable stuff.
But facing it- and let's be honest, often the tank is the most luxurious way of facing the uncomfortable stuff - is empowering.
Try it. Get a float when you find yourself putting it off. Just do it.
Afterwards, write down how it made you feel, your thoughts, how satisfied you feel and your experience. Compare it to the experiences you've had when you waited until you were almost broken.
Don't be afraid to be yourself completely, fully and powerfully.