Originally published in Winter + Spring 2018 issue.
Winter is nature’s way of reminding me to slow down and recommit to taking good care of myself. It is easy to get distracted being busy, succumbing to modern convenience over healthy food choices, and forgetting what truly fills me. I believe we must nourish ourselves, so we may nourish others and our world. For me, this nourishment comes from a regular meditation practice. Meditation deepens our connection to that quite place; our intuitive guide, that steers and corrects our path. Rather than the elimination of thought, meditation is the present moment awareness of each thought. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have natural gifts, and areas we would rather avoid. Meditation is a practice from which we begin to see all we’ve neglected and abandoned in favor of self-deprecation.
With dedication to maintaining self-care and inspiration to turn the mundane into magic, I experienced sensory deprivation at The Samana Float Center. Sensory deprivation is a relaxation technique conducive to meditation. At Samana, you float weightlessly in a saline solution consisting of 1100 pounds of Epsom salt. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), not to be confused with table salt (sodium chloride), is a natural treatment for muscle aches, joint inflammation and skin ailments. The float chamber is both sound proof and completely void of any light. The water is heated to mimic that of your natural body temperature. You lose sense of where your body ends and where everything else around you begins. With the removal of all external stimuli, you no longer need to define or defend your reality. You float in your pure state of awareness, nothing to do but listen to your heart and breathe.
Sensory deprivation therapy has helped renew my commitment to a more powerful, healthy and highly tuned existence. Deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic (rest/digest) nervous system, relaxes muscles and internal organs, and allows more oxygen to flow through the body. Additionally, 90-minutes in the float chamber is the equivalent to four hours of REM sleep. Under these conditions your entire being rests, rejuvenates and radically transforms from the inside out. When your float is complete, the self-care continues, as you are invited to stay for tea. A special room is designated for those who want to journal, read, explore color or simply be. A middle space to reflect and slowly integrate back into the external world. This practice of self-care has made all the difference in my energy levels, my attitude and my capacity to give. What will you do to nourish yourself this season?
Photo by Michael Sandoval.