My partner Chris gave me a Birthday card, an invite to ‘Float-in-the-Forest’, I was intrigued!
Was I going to be immersing myself into the icy stillness of our local stream and trying to enjoy myself or worse, hiking up on the common and joining the frogspawn in our secret pool?
No, it was a real voucher to start my birth-day literally floating in a warm, soothing womb shaped pod. I have worked as a midwife for 25 years and have often dreamt what it must feel like to float weightless in warm fluid with the sound of your mother’s heartbeat. ‘Float-in-the-Forest’ felt like it could be the nearest experience and a perfect antidote, for a jaded midwife with a creaking back, high blood pressure and screen induced stress! (too many forms and reports always to be completed).
Before our trip I had loads of questions …..how deep is the water, how salty, will it sting, will I get bored, 45 minutes in the pitch black in my own company could be weird, would I feel any benefits???? I had a long list of queries which were answered by the video link that Shari sent a few days before our trip. I felt welcomed, prepared and excited to FLOAT…..
I was sooo lucky that my Birth-day was bright and sunny. We had a magical journey to Will and Shari’s centre through the Forest of Dean. I felt like we were bathed in the Autumnal shimmering light even before we arrived. Shari welcomed us in and checked we felt at ease with everything. I was excited just to get going.
I went into my own Pod room called Serenity, hoping that the name would rub off on me by the end of my float. Everything was warm, welcoming and spotlessly clean and I loved the deliciously hot shower (my teen always uses all our hot water at home!) with aromatic shampoo and body wash. The pod sat like a sleeping hippo in the centre of my room waiting patiently…….
Finally the moment of truth, I undressed and opened her (or was it him) up and stepped gingerly into the welcoming orange light. The water felt silky and comforting, I presume the amount of salt in the water gives it a slight viscosity. I reached up and closed the Mouth, cocooned by the gentle warmth I immediately felt very peaceful.
Enclosed in the pod I felt safe enough to relax back and FLOAT …….. Initially this was a new sensation for me, as I’ve never been able to float effectively anywhere else. I used a small rubber halo to rest my head back freely and the rest of my body just bounced gently on the surface of the salt water. It was a wonderful feeling of self-comfort and freedom to just ‘be’ …..Shari and Will have lovely music to start your float. I love this sound, it is light, shimmering and eases my breathing (I recommend Float–in–the-Forest YouTube playlist to all my Birthing mothers!)
At first I was breathing rapidly and my body wanted to float around in circles. But, as my muscles relaxed, my system calmed, my nervous energy dissipated I noticed that I settled in the pod. I reached out to my left and tapped off the warm light, the music quietened and then it really was just me and my senses in the darkness.
I could not tell which part of me was in and which part of me was out of the water. The air and the salted water are blood temperature which is soothing and means you are not subconsciously adjusting your internal heating system. It is a very liberating feeling. I was able to bring my awareness to sensations in my system and listen to my own heartbeat. I could hear the Lub-Dub beat slowly and rhythmically throughout my whole float. I found myself visualising how I would have felt as a baby in my Mum’s womb, warm and protected. I must have slipped into a deep relaxation (I don’t think I was asleep because I felt very aware of my heart) and the shimmering music gently awoke my senses after 45 minutes. The orange light came on and I lay for a minute wonderfully dopey and still.
I felt lighter and SERENE!! As I took another lovely hot shower and dried myself off with a big soft fluffy towel. Chris was outside lolling on the sofa, smirking and sipping herbal tea. He was virtually horizontal and had obviously had, had a great Float in his ‘Tranquillity’ Pod too.
We both left the centre wonderfully chilled and I felt the effects rippling through my system for a week or so later. I honestly felt less tension and pain in my body and felt I slept deeper. We were lucky enough to utilise the offer of 3 consecutive Floats and each time I have felt more energised and inspired to follow my creative ideas at home and in my work. Each time I float,I sense a rising optimism and positivity towards my life and friends and that can only be a good thing!!