This is not unlike the tank I floated in at Portland's Float On (though mine did not resemble a giant white clog) photo credit: True Rest in Tempe, Arizona
Last fall, after a conference at which I darted from session to session, networking with colleagues and tweeting obsessively, I returned to work feeling uncharacteristically scattered. I was supposed to be finishing a book proposal, but try as I might, I couldn't focus on anything longer than 140 characters. Multiple windows on my laptop vied for my attention, as did e-mails from editors, texts from friends, and a never-ending stream of provocative Facebook updates. This in addition to the pressures of being a soon-to-be stepmom. I'm usually pretty good at keeping my multiple balls in the air, but on this particular morning I felt as though my Mach-speed lifestyle had finally gotten the better of me.
Wishing I had a meditation practice to fall back on—like many people, I’ve tried and failed at mindfulness—I left the house and went for a walk in my southeast Portland neighborhood. Soon, I was strolling up Hawthorne, a lively boulevard of cafes, boutiques, and theatres. I paused outside the steamed-up windows of a storefront emblazoned with the words “Float On.” Scanning the shop’s brochure, which described a relaxing-sounding therapy of floating in a tank of 93.5-degree water spiked with Epsom salts, I chuckled. “Being in a float tank is like relaxing in outer space,” the copy read. Only in Portland, I muttered to myself, thinking of my city’s other quirky practices of yarn bombing and naked bike-riding.
But I pocketed the brochure anyway. A few days later, still feeling overstimulated, I read through it. “Floating is about everything you won’t be doing,” it said. “For an hour and a half, the outside world is gone, and amazing things happen.” It promised stress relief, a decrease in cortisol levels, and a chance to experience the “theta” state of consciousness—the slowed-down brain waves that happen right before you fall asleep (and that expert meditators often experience). The idea of taking a 90 minute, gravity-free respite from all media—indeed from the responsibilities of daily life—suddenly appealed to me. I decided to give "floating" a shot.
Continue reading about my floating adventure in the December 2012 issue of Whole Living (on newstands now). [Or