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Avalanche of Change
As an avalanche of change is sweeping me away, I wanted to embrace these changes. I wanted to be present. I wanted to set intentions instead of just letting the changes sweep me completely away. I wanted to put my stamp on the avalanche. As my birthday approached I realized it was the first in many months of changes that I am sure will affect who I am forever.
At this moment, I live next to my parents, who are in the same house I grew up in. We are “the Raymonds” from the tv show Everybody Loves Raymond, except with triplets, and going through residency. I have traveled, seen some of the world, lived in other states and abroad. However I have always known I was going to return to my bedrock,, my home town. This time is different. This time there is a chance I might not return.
My husband just got his first job in another state. We are moving to a little town. Everything about this town could not be more different from where we live now. We had bought a house, and had planned on living there for the rest of our lives. So now I mourn these changes, these dreams and visions of the future. I am trying to embrace the adventure, and the wonder of going it alone. No more support net as we walk the tightrope on our way through raising triplets. All my emotions are mix of excitement and fear.
As my birthday approached my husband started asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday. Since I have given him a pass on all that is family life for this year, so he could finish residency and get a job, he wanted to give me a day to relax. At first this sounded amazing. I could not remember the last time that happened. Then I realized I had nowhere to go. I could not rest in our house. I have tried that before. I’m sure you have too! You know how that goes. With all these changes I did not want to do something as luxurious as going to a hotel, since money may be at a premium soon. All my friends were busy with their families or lives. So I started to rack my brain. What could I do alone? I wanted to feel relaxed and refreshed. I wanted to get in the right mindset as I began the preparations to uproot and change our lives. I also did not want to do something that would take all day so I could spend the afternoon and evening with friends and family. On top of this, I wanted to find something that I had never done before, and that I would not be able to do once we moved. Certainly not a tall order or anything.
Finally after much thought I came up with a sensory deprivation tank. Ok. Waiting.. Waiting... There is the reaction! I mentioned it to one of my mom’s groups and I got all of the reactions. Most of them thought this was a CRAZY idea for a birthday gift for myself. The gift of being in a watery coffin - THAT sounds relaxing and fun!?
This was something I had always wanted to do. I could never justify doing it before. But it was something I could not do where we are moving. Certainly it was something I had never done, and may never get the chance to do again. Although I don’t have a problem taking time to evaluate and face death, I don’t usually do it on my birthday. However it is eventually hard to avoid and I thought this is one way to face it head on, even if only a bit.
Believe it or not I had an amazing experience! That day my morning had started off rough. I thought I had a dance lesson, and there had been a scheduling mixup. I decided to practice because I did not want to go all the way home. I spent the time waiting for the studio to open for practice by relaxing in my car and catching up on facebook. I was glad when I finally got started on my adventure. Since the morning had been tough I wasn’t convinced that the rest would go well. The drive itself from my house was daunting, but I did get there in one piece. It was heavy northern NJ driving at points but not as bad as I’d imagined. I am not much of a city driver.
When I finally got to the location, I was still not sure what it would be like. Upon entering, there was a nice but very cramped sitting area. I had to wait as they got the tub all set up.
So when it was finally my turn they brought me into this room that looked like a bathroom, a really nice bathroom. It had a sink and a modern fancy shower with all the settings and the rest of the room was filled with this big “pod” like tank. It looked right out of a Sci-Fi movie. It was kind of weird - the juxtaposition of the tank in this normal bathroom. Was I really ready to get in?
Then I was told to rinse off in the shower, and I could get in. The receptionist showed me how everything worked. At one point she asked are you ok? I am guessing I looked like a deer in headlights. I was trying to take it all in. But later I realized I must of not taken it all in.
They had suggested I turn off all the lights in the room but when I first got in I was not so sure about doing that. I wanted to see what I was doing when I got out. The cool thing is once you get in you can control the lights in the tank. You can also open and close the tank. They play relaxing new agey music. I finally got in. It was nice and warm, and felt like the perfect bath temperature. The water has salts in it, which make you float. I started to relax and enjoy the music.
Of course I feel strongly about things getting in my eyes. So I moved my hair out of my eyes, and then I felt like I got a bit of water got in. The keep a little spray bottle handy to rinse your eyes if this should happen. Of course I had to use it. I am always washing my eyes. I knew this would happen no matter how careful I was. But it was no biggie. I washed my eyes, and again tried to enjoy the music.
The big moment had come and I got brave enough to turn off the lights. I realized the receptionist had been right about turning out the lights and there was a tiny line of light still. Not exactly what I was going for. So I decided to get out of the tank and turn the outside lights off, and I was able to turn most of them off (with the exception of one).
I had also been told that if you open the tank it will get cold. And did it get cold, fast. I was not even out of it for a half a minute and it got cooler. It was not the end of the world but I preferred the warmer water. At first being in the tank felt like a sauna and it was almost too much, but now it was much cooler. I looked and looked but I just could not find the switch to that last light. Annoying. I decided I would just close my eyes and enjoy. So I got back in and settled into the water and music. They play the music about 10 minutes in the beginning and 10 minutes at the end, to help you transition in and out of the tank experience. I really wished the music had been a bit longer.
The experience of floating brought me right back to my experience of being at the Dead Sea. I had really enjoyed floating in the Dead Sea, but ohh did it burn. I had no idea how many little cuts you can get without realizing it. This time I listened to all the advice they gave me about this. They said not to shave a day or two before. I totally did this. They also gave you Vaseline to put on your cuts. My toe had a little cut on it and I slathered on the Vaseline. I had none of the burning of the dead sea. I still am not sure why that happened at the Dead Sea because I’m sure I did not shave right before going. This was one of my major concerns going in, and was happy to find out it was not an issue.
They also give you earplugs to protect your ears from the water and to help create a completely silent experience. I thought these would bother me like my eyes but it was not a problem.
As I floated I felt like I was floating in a velvet blanket. As my body moved slightly here and there the water would also move so it was like riding small waves. Every once in awhile I would connect with the “pod” and I would push off the side and begin floating again. I felt like it was at the end of the world, floating on the warmest flat sea, floating off into the unknown, which is sort of what is happening in my life. I felt totally relaxed, and I truly did get time to think about all the changes to come.
No, I did not have an incredible vision or super-deep thoughts. As I waited in the waiting room I had seen a huge poster with an extensive list of health benefits. I could fully believe that some of these benefits are true or are true for certain people. Some of them seemed like a stretch. They did say it can help back/hip pain and I was looking forward to this benefit. In my case it did not help the pain but I did not have the pain in the tub and it was relaxing. It was refreshing and rejuvenating. I had signed up for the shortest time not knowing what to expect, but after this experience I would certainly go again for longer. They do say it takes a few floats to have the full experience. The receptionist told me I certainly did not have the full experience because of the little sliver of light in the tank, so I guess I will have to go back some day!
This blog had been a long time coming. And this first post has taken way longer to get written than I imagined, but I thought it was fitting to be my first one. I welcome everyone to join me on my new adventures. This will be one of many, I’m sure, as I investigate and adjust to my new home to come, and as my brand new business continues to take off.