I have a brain that, in the words of my favourite stand-up, won’t shut the fuck up. Teachers, bosses and friends have called me absent-minded, but it’s almost the opposite of that. It’s absent-bodied. I’m often unaware of my surroundings because I frequent my head, which can often be a negative place. The added stress of running a business compounds that tenfold. Sometime last summer during a breakdown, I began meditating. By picturing myself as a mountain and my thoughts as passing clouds, I developed an ability to better control my brain. For many months, I was able to set aside some time each day to focus on my breathing and control the negative thoughts attacking my brain like so many lipases attacking my fat cells (sorry – I’m eating Domino’s cheesy bread). Once construction began and the brewery opened, it became near-impossible to find a time or place to meditate.
Last week, I saw one of my favourite stand-up comics, Tig Notaro. I did not enjoy myself. Tig was on point, but I wasn’t. With opening week and Nova Scotia Craft Beer Week insanity, my mind was overloaded. I could not focus. I barely even laughed. Given my passion for stand-up, I knew something was wrong. Enter The Floatation Centre.
I first met Lindsay through Ladies Beer League. So, yes, this is a shameful plug. But it’s an earnest, shameful plug. Lindsay’s mantra – Attack with Love – fits her personality like tangy marinara fits a hot, toasty piece of Domino’s cheesy bread (again, sorry). She has a heart of gold and only wishes the best for everyone. Meditative floating is a natural extension for her.
During floating, you rest inside an insulated tank filled with a heavy saline solution. You float, so your sense of touch is suspended, and the insulated chamber prevents much sound or light from entering. Since you shower beforehand, smell plays little role, and your only taste may be a bit of that salty brine if some should touch your lips, a lovely precursor to the Domino’s cheesy bread you will no doubt enjoy afterwards for only $5.99. In other words, your brain has no distractions. Some people hallucinate. Others experience nothing but a calming silence. My journey wasn’t mystical, and I’m hesitant to call it enjoyable, but it was necessary.
During the first few moments of floating, my mind was, in Angus’ words, a Rolodex of superficial problems. Did I mention to that customer that our gose is gluten-free? Was I nice enough to that bar manager? Did I wipe front to back? After these initial problems, problems that often seem urgent yet are not all-that important, my mind drifted to deeper problems. When did I last chat with my mother? Is a craft beer ambassador a glorified drug dealer? Will I ever be honest with myself? As the questions became increasingly heavier, my heart raced faster and breathing intensified. Eventually, the truly deep-seated problems, the ones we put on the back-burner and cover up with busy work, floated to the surface, problems I’d rather not discuss in a brewery blog post. Overwhelming waves of sadness and aggression eroded my senses until suddenly, BAM! A strange and sudden stillness. That eery calm after a huge storm. The closest thing I could describe it as is indifference, maybe even acceptance. It is what it is. Or better yet, as worded by my favourite TV drama…
Business and busyness are rarely, if ever, separate. Entrepreneurs often possess a dissatisfaction with the status quo, and in some cases, this dissatisfaction stems from something deeper. A broken heart. A painful childhood. A lack of cheesy bread. We often cover our problems with day to day tasks that keep the forefront of our minds occupied while purposely neglecting the painful undertones. I’ve been so busy for so long that I’ve been neglecting many of these undertones, which can erupt in toxic ways if not addressed. Lindsay tearfully told me of an older gentleman who was recently in a car accident which dramatically affected his nervous system. He was constantly fearful and the promise of a meditative, relaxing journey sounded promising. He tried floating today for the first time and said it was the first serenity he’s experienced since the accident.
As I left my session, Tycho was playing through the lobby, which was funny in a sad way. I used to listen to Tycho on my morning bus routes through the grey, rainy Seattle fog on my way to a job I didn’t like. The surreal, melancholic, almost dream-like quality of the music fit my mood perfectly. I would think to myself, I finished engineering school. I got the engineering job. I’m making money. Domino’s is open 24/7. Why am I unhappy? The brewery seemed like the ticket, an external patsy to an internal conspiracy. Don’t get me wrong – I’m much better suited and happier in my current life, but the same feelings of emptiness that haunted me on those lonely bus rides came pouring over me again tonight during my float session. I made a promise to myself to make floating a regular part of my life. Self-improvement may be a bit strong of a goal, but self-acceptance is as important and difficult.
Meditation and floating pack amazing benefits, both physical and mental. Do yourself a favour. Visit Lindsay and float on. Grab a session with Dr. Tara while you’re there. And afterwards, be sure to try Domino’s new Mix & Match Cheesy Bread deal for only $7.99.