Updated: Apr 13, 2019
Each member of Team AHLOT received a $100 Visa card as our holiday gift from the company. Here's how we spent it.
It’s hard to write about nothing.
But that’s exactly what I’m about to do.
I am a restless soul and sitting stagnant is of no interest to me. I like walking streets I’ve never walked before, I don’t often eat at the same restaurant, I find routine difficult, and I love an adventure.
For Christmas, AHLOT gave me $100 to spend on a new experience or developing a new skill. A task after my own heart. I considered a number of options: acupuncture, seeing a psychic, forging knives, archery lessons, an infused dinner, a concert or two. Instead, I did nothing at all and it felt like something I had never done before. I tried a sensory deprivation tank.
The intent of a sensory deprivation tank is to provide restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST, an acronym almost as good as AHLOT). Picture an 8 x 4 x 8’ tank in a private room, with soft ultra-violet lighting, gentle instrumental music, and about a foot of densely saturated salt water. The water is heated to skin temperature so when laying flat in the tub, you don’t touch the bottom. The only items in the tank are a halo to rest your head on, ear plugs and a spray bottle (in case you get salt in your eyes). Once inside the tank you have the option to remove all sound and light. There is no smell or real feel to the experience. It is even suggested to brush your teeth prior to entering the tub so you don’t lay there thinking about the burrito you had for lunch.
Curious, I checked out the validity of the practice and found scientific evidence backing it up with claims that it can provide a range of benefits including muscle relaxation, improved sleep, pain relief, decreased stress and anxiety, increased creativity, concentration and focus, and even improvements to symptoms like depression and irritability for people suffering from generalized anxiety disorders. Insert hand up emoji here, I’m in.
Our Marketing Associate Kaitlyn and I booked ourselves in for hour-long sessions at Float Toronto. We had to plan it out almost 3 weeks in advance, demonstrating the popularity of the practice. We seshed a little Saturday CBD MediHaze before the floating, which is not at all recommended by the establishment, but to each their own and I was looking forward to an elevated trip.
Upon entering the tank, I immediately felt like I was in a Wes Anderson movie with a pastel pink bathing suit, purple backlight, a turquoise halo, a turquoise spray bottle and small turquoise ear plugs.
I was nervous, and excited – I wanted to give it an honest try. I thought I could do it. I used Headspace religiously last year, so I thought I had techniques in my back pocket. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Meditating is hard af.
I had a seemingly never-ending run on conversation with myself (with my subconscious? Who was I talking to?) the entire time I was in there. I tried to implement some of the meditation techniques I had learned, to no avail. I thought about conversations I had 5 years ago, my family, time, space, nature, the planet, my place in it, the circle of life, my body, ever conscious of this other voice that was in there with me. I thought about being a kid, what I wanted for dinner, where I wanted to fly to next, my friends, my home, work I had to do and what my future would look like. It was endless. I didn’t stop thinking. I did not meditate.
The music started again slowly and the lights came on. Oh thank god. Time to get out. I showered off thoroughly, used the vanity in the back, checked out the products they had in the front, inclusive of a CBD bath bomb that I purchased.
Kaitlyn and I went for dinner at Hello123 after, to exchange notes on our experiences, which turned out to be quite similar. The conversation we had over dinner was lovely. Despite probably ‘doing nothing’ wrong, I felt very tuned in and present in good company. The persistent concept of time was consistent and ever-present. Our anxious desire to get out of the tub was prevalent. Our inability to relax and meditate was real. The next day I was jacked. I had a very hard time calming down after this experience.
I’d love to give it another shot, though. Meditation has started gaining traction as of late especially in our fast-paced, fast delivery, fast action world. It seems we are finally starting to acknowledge that we need to slow down again. Perhaps we’ve hit peak consumption levels and intuitively feel the need to balance it out whether it’s using mindfulness apps, unplugging entirely, or engaging in practices like forest bathing or yoga. We work hard to relieve ourselves from working so hard. I believe we should all slow down in this busy life. It takes practice, however, and being great at something on your first try is boring. I respect those who can quiet their brain or whoever’s in there and truly enter a meditative state. I'd like to get there one day.
(Bonus: If you'd like to keep reading, here's a rundown of my thoughts in the tank. Welcome to my brain.)
The run on
The internal dialogue that wouldn’t silence.
The constant consideration of the circle of life.
How Lion King is the greatest movie of all time.
The way my mother always says, “Remember who you are.”
So did Mufasa.
Are there two of me?
Is my conscience the one that is driving this chat?
Who am I talking to?
I sat up
I rolled onto my belly. Rolled back.
I put my legs up against the wall.
I flexed my abs.
Took the earplugs out.
Personified the halo immediately.
*Halo gently touches the wall*
“Is that you making all that noise back there?”
Thought about being in the womb
Thought about bringing a child into this world
Made a deal that if this is what heaven was like I would spend the rest of my life making money to pay for research and development to cure “heaven” so I didn’t have to experience this for the rest of my death.
Is there really a heaven?
I’d be bad at jail.
I’d be worse in solitary.
That should be illegal.
The person who isn’t making that illegal should be behind bars.
This should be illegal.
What illegal things do I do? I should stop. If this is what jail is like, I should stop immediately.
Is this what it feels like to be in space?
Does a moon have a moon?
Why is everything circular?
Oh yea, Fibonacci’s spiral.
I need to look that up again when I get home, know more about it.
Don’t forget Fibonacci’s spiral, Fibonacci’s spiral, Fibonacci’s spiral.
Fuck that’s a mind fuck.
There is so much I don’t even know I don’t know.
I want to be all the way under or all the way out of the water.
Not floating on top like this.
How do I get under?
I feel like I am in my own secret in here.
It would be hard to find me right now.
No one is looking.
It feels like I’m falling but not down.
Be quiet mind. Let’s give this a shot. Try all the meditation techniques you’ve got.
Turned the music off.
Turned the soft purple lights off.
Warm light entering your toes, moving slowly up through your legs, to your knees, relax, focus, now let the light continue up your legs, through your hips, I’m so glad I went to the bathroom.
I haven’t been in water in a long time.
I want to go under.
It will burn my eyes.
Does anyone go underwater in the dead sea or can you just not?
Do the pigs in Aruba float or swim?
Do the swimming pigs shit in the water?
Who am I talking to?
Are we going to be the species that makes it past that moment when we get so smart we end up killing each other in war? I want to hold on to the time I have now. But not right now. Just like, most other days. When I’m not in this tank.
When did I stop being as smart as I was when I was a kid?
Kids aren’t smart.
Wait, but aren’t they? We do everything for them and they don’t have to work.
They get to play. They use their imagination. They aren’t afraid of truth. They don’t know how many things can hurt them in this world. That pure honest innocence is dope. Kids are smart.
This fast paced, quick turn over, constant full court press is a trip. Twenty tabs open at once, so many balls in the air. It shortens how long you consider things. Quick decisions are made. We have to curb our curiosity because we don’t make enough time for it.
I definitely have cuts on my feet. Don’t touch your eyes.
Price Break Down
- 1 hour float: $77.97
- Shared tapas: $22.40/each