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As engaged and ‘busy’ people living in a dynamic world there seldom seems time to simply pause and Be. We’re so adept at Doing that the art of Being seems an impossible concept to grasp. Have you ever sat down with a cup of tea and then jumped back up again because the washing was ready to go out? Have you ever escaped the confines of the office at lunch time and found yourself responding to emails while you eat? We have conditioned ourselves to be so outcome oriented, so driven to achieve and tick things off our to do lists, that simply sitting in a relaxed state of ease and watching the word go by has become a forgotten art.
“We have trained ourselves in the Art of Busyness instead. And we’re paying the price.”
We have trained ourselves in the Art of Busyness instead. And we’re paying the price. I’d wager that main reason you make time to float, attend a yoga class or book a massage at Liquid Room is because you’re aware of the need to support your system in winding down. I have met very few people in the western world who are not living in some degree of normalised state of flight or fight, which is your body’s stress response. This may be a vague feeling of overwhelm that there’s never enough time to get everything done. Or misplaced agitation when the barista takes longer than usual to make your coffee. It could be panic that the day will be out of control if your kids aren’t dressed by 7.30am or intense anxiety about your workload. Or simple resignation that life is one of constant low grade suffering.
“…your natural state is one of infinite peace and calm, joy and bliss, love and curiosity and excitement…”
I’ve got news for you… Whilst the above has become normalised in our society it is not your natural state. Actually your natural state is one of infinite peace and calm, joy and bliss, love and curiosity and excitement about the world. Sounds like a fantasy huh? It’s certainly easy for most of us to dismiss it as one. But it actually exists within you. The million dollar question of course is how do we return to it?
If you want to be a lawyer you study for years. If you want to be a triathlete you train. If you want to master a yoga posture you accept a certain amount of devotion to the practise is required. Why do we feel that establishing calm, happiness and wellbeing is any different?
If you are used to spending 97% of your time Doing; being busy, getting things done, then it is going to take some practise for you to get used to Being; settling into a simple form of awareness, which will allow our bodies to de-excite and relax, achieve deep rest and release stress for lasting wellbeing.
If you were training for a marathon would you expect to be able to run 42.2 km right away, or would you build up to it? If you are used to being constantly on the go do you expect to be able to optimise your time floating and truly surrender to deep relaxation and healing after only one float? No. Of course not. When we put it like that we realise how ridiculous that idea it is.
So we give ourselves time. We are kind and gentle with ourselves. We understand that this experience of Being is actually the opposite of what we are used to. And we understand that we need to practise it a little.
“…the more you practise the more quickly you will be able to settle into a deeply relaxed state. This is why one float is never enough.”
Many people find that when in the float tank it takes them almost the full hour to really relax, and then the music comes back on. Wonderful. It’s so great that you’ve been able to experience the contrast in such a way. The more often you float the more you are practising what it means to actually relax. And the more you practise the more quickly you will be able to settle into a deeply relaxed state. This is why one float is never enough. This is also why we want to aim to float weekly in the beginning; so that the body can remember what true relation feels like and get us there more quickly next time.
A great way to support your body in building this habit of relaxation is to ask yourself: where am I holding onto the most tension? And then softly and gently let it release with your breath. Do this over and over again and you’ll find that you can train your body to become more adept at letting go. Try the next time you’re floating and let me know how you go.