How I was almost a Jello wrestler

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When was the last time you freed your mind? I mean really let your thoughts go to the point you didn’t have a care in the world?

For me, it was last week. After procrastinating for a year and a half, I finally made it to the float tank for an hour of rest and relaxation. The things I’m willing to go through to keep you informed. I’m just saying.

If you aren’t familiar, a float tank is a large plastic pod filled with 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt and 93.5 degree water. It’s also known as an isolation tank or sensory deprivation tank, but more on that in a minutes.

Beyond relaxation, the touted benefits of float tanks include relieving pain, improving circulation, and boosting creativity and problem solving.

It also allows you to experience what it must be like to be a Jello wrestler. Not that I ever wrestled in Jello, but I imagine if I ever did wrestle in Jello, that’s what it would feel like. And that is the first sensation I had when I stepped into the pod of salt water. Between that and the trouble I was having grounding myself—my arms and legs were already trying to float—I  wondered what I’d gotten myself into. Nevertheless, I finally got situated and popped to the surface of the water like cork.

A lot of things can race through one’s mind when floating in a tank of salt water. Things like, “I need to scratch my eye brow,” for instance.

Ordinarily, I’d just scratch my eyebrow and be done with it. I didn’t want to get salt water in my eyes, though, so I shook the water off my hands as best I could. And the closer my hand got to my eyebrow, the less balanced I felt, as if I was a Weeble. And while we all know Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down, the sensation of wobbling and ending up face down was all too real.

Once I regained control, I settled in for the duration, hoping the restlessness would be short-lived. I was bored already and wondered how I’d make it through a full hour.

Until I realized I had no idea how long I’d been there. Had five minutes passed or 55? How long had I been thinking those thoughts? Maybe time had flown for real, and I’d missed my golden opportunity for transcendence. Does anybody really know what time it is?

Whatever the time, If I was going to make use of the hour, I needed to get on with it.

I made waves with my hands and pressed my finger tips together. The water felt spongy—almost gooey. I imagined on was floating on the vast ocean under a sea of stars without a care in the world. Then I brushed up against the plastic side—a startling reminder that I wasn’t even in a pool, much less an ocean.

At times, I imagined my future and envisioned bringing various projects to life, noting the great detail with which they were taking shape. Moments of eureka crashed with reality, leaving me to wonder what time it was again—and whether I’d notice when the water jets turned on, signaling the end of my session. And it was this state of suspended reality that I continued to float in and out of, literally and figuratively speaking.

Thankfully, I noticed when the jets came back on. My next problem would be getting myself up and out of the pod. And if I could master that, I’d have no real problems to speak of.

All things considered, it had been one of the most peaceful hours I remember. At least I think it had been an hour. Then again, does anybody really know what time it is?

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