The Sound of Silence-W.I.S.E Project 2016

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We are almost at the end of March and it hasn’t all been perfect but I have embraced every bit of it and to be honest most of it was damn good. I hope yours was too.

Through the W.I.S.E. Project I am continuing to learn a great deal about myself. I worked on my well-being this month,  not just physically but mentally. I have been learning to recognize the things that make me feel “well” and happy. I gratefully embrace the moments that I feel pure joy.  I have learned to focus more on the here and now, being mindful and grateful for the blessings I have in my life right now. I am still learning to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the present moment without out stressing  about the past or the future. It is a task that needs daily of practice but it really does put things into perspective.

I have continued Floating or “therapy” as I like to call it. Each time I float I try to go in with an open mind, hoping to achieve an inner peace that I know is possible when your mind, body and soul are in sync. I recommend Floating to anyone who is interested in mindfulness and wants to free their mind and enjoy the pure bliss of feeling whole. It really is a challenge to shut down the thousands of browser tabs your mind keeps open and buffering at any given time and welcome the freedom of just being, instead of doing, but it is really worth it.

I am striving to learn more ways to practice being content in the moment without constantly having to do. I still struggle to enjoy quiet moments without feeling like I have to be “doing” The bigger challenge is to spend more quiet time, without the distraction of TV and electronics to fill in the blanks. It is hard to sit still or even read a book without playing with my phone every two minutes. (A work in progress)

I know that with work and a busy family that it will be up to me to commit to creating quiet moments for myself and continue to make my well-being a priority.

As I mentioned at the end of February sometimes things look differently at the end of them month then you had planned and that is OK. To be happy and mindful we have to learn to eliminate the unreal expectations that we often have. People who are able to live free of expectations are happier because they are not constantly disappointed when situations don’t turn up the way they presumed they would.

This month my husband came home after working away for 10 weeks. My focus shifted and for the last week everything has changed including my eating habits. I have had more wine but less water, less sleep but more laughs, less focus but more fun. I am grateful for my family and sometimes we eat cheeseburgers and stay up way to late…that is just the way it is.

My April W.I.S.E. Principles are:

Wisdom-At age 42 I feel I have gained lot of wisdom, I want to reflect on the things that I have learned over the years and I what I once believed to be true as opposed to what I now believe to be true. I want to continue to gain knowledge that will help me to lead a better life and understand how the wisdom has helped me evolve and be happier.

Integrity– I think being an honest person,  having good morals, and being considered someone of good character is an admirable thing and I want to continue to live my live with intention while trying to be sincere and truthful.

Sincerity-Being virtuous and speaking and acting truly about your feelings, thoughts and desires, acting and communicating earnestly is a wonderful character trait but I know that a lot of people struggle to live and speak their truth. This month I will get very real about my thoughts, feelings, struggles and triumphs.

Education– The capacity to learn is a true gift. As humans we have very few true instincts. Most of what we know has been learned. Willingness to continue to learn is a powerful choice, a choice that I intend to continue to make every single day. There is a world of knowledge out there and I want lots of it. I have never been numbers smart but I have a fair bit of wisdom and  knowledge. Learning promotes understanding and I seek to bring more satisfaction and joy to my life by actively seeking opportunities to learn and understand.

I am still so excited about Robert Waldingers Ted Talk about Living a Good Life. Robert is a Harvard psychiatrist, Zen priest, and psychoanalyst. He directs the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which is possibly the longest study of adult life ever done. About 60 of the original 724 men are still alive, still participating in the study, most of them in their 90s. They are now beginning to study the more than 2,000 Baby Boomer sons and daughters of these men. I am currently reading George E. Vaillant’s book Triumphs of Experience. George was a director of the study as well.

From this study, one important lesson about what makes for the good life  kept emerging time and time again.

“Simply put, good relationships keep us happy and healthy.”  

Robert Waldinger 

 

You can listen to Dr. Waldinger’s facinating talk HERE.

It was enlightening to me. I have always told my kids that you don’t need a bunch of friends, just a couple of good ones. It validates for me how important it is to focus on making our important relationships good one’s. People will come and go from our life, the people that are meant to be there always will be. It makes sence to focus our energy and time on those relationships, and making sure that they are good for us.

He also made me pause and think about the things that that really matter to me and how important it is to prioritize living a life that is rich and fulfilling instead of a life that is frantic and busy. It strikes me how we flock to cities with bright lights, traffic and noice, we fill our lives with electronics and the next best thing, we fill our calendars up with borrowed time and what we long for more than anything else is to get away from it all, to be free of it. To go to a quiet place and be still.

I have been so inspired in fact that I am committing to go on a silent retreat for three days in September. I will be going by myself and unplugging from the world for three days. No phone, internet, cable or radio. I am already scared but equally excited!!

On my walk tonight I was thinking that maybe I would text or call Kirk and the kids once a day but I know that defeats the whole purpose and it is only three days out of my life. I also decided that taking the dogs would be cheating too.

I will be taking wine and chocolate, to do otherwise would be irresponsible.

Could you totally unplug from the world for three days? Can I ?

“Silence is sometimes the best answer”

-Dalai Lama

 

 

 

 

 

“The Perfect Art of Doing Nothing” -W.I.S.E. Project 2016

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Our minds are similar to our google search history. They carry our past, our present and our future. It’s a stuggle to be mindful and learn to live in the present with 3000 browsers open at once. In learning to be more mindful I need to take myself out of my comfort zone and this past weekend I had an experience that was very unique to me and I believe I used all of my January W.I.S.E. principles; Wonder, Imagination, Smile and Energize.

When I first booked my appointment at Floatique I was looking to energize and I thought it would also be a great tool to help in my quest to be more mindful. 90 minutes in a Float Pod doesn’t allow you the opportunity to do much else so I thought it would be an amazing way to live in the moment.

As the appointment drew closer I found all sorts of ways to stress myself out. Would I be bored for 90 minutes? Would I be claustrophobic? Would I be able to shut my mind off and relax?

The morning of I felt quite excited and the quiet, calming atmosphere of Floatique helped me to clear my mind. The wait area is neat, tidy and uncluttered. I had a few quiet moments with my thoughts and I picked up John C. Lilly’s book The Deep Self-Consciousness Exploration in the isolation tank. The book was written over 20 years ago by Lilly, a great scientist, possibly a generation ahead of his time.  Drawing on the personal testimony of many who tried floating the evidence shows how, by eliminating the presence of shifting physical input patterns, the tank allows participants to dive deep into their subconscious and focus immediately on their inner perceptions.
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The young man that greeted me was very friendly and he quickly went over everything that I needed to know before he left me to my own defenses. The room was equip with a rainfall shower and organic bath products to shower before and after. I had already showered that morning but showered again and I honestly had a hard time pulling myself out of the luxurious rain shower. The room is completely private, it comes equipped with a towel and face cloth, ear plugs, Vaseline, a vinegar wash to clean your ears (salt in your ears) and a spray bottle with fresh water in case you get salt water in your eyes, because it can sting (I did get the water in my eyes and it does sting but I learned my lesson and moved on. I might bring swim goggles next time)
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There is a help button inside the pod and a button to control the lights, you can float in complete darkness or in ambient light. Immediately upon entering the pod I was impressed by it’s spaciousness and after getting a feel for it I turned off the light to get the full experience. The weightlessness, silence and the darkness made me feel like I was in the middle of the ocean instead of in a tank. Floatation Tanks (or sensory deprivation tanks) contain over a 1000 pounds of Epsom salts dissolved in ten inches of water. Needless to say, you are extremely buoyant.

My mind played ping pong for a bit. I was torn between being extremely relaxed to making a grocery list and recounting the fight I had earlier that morning with my 16 year old daughter. I scolded myself because what I really wanted to experience was a “mind~body~soul” connection, not a repeat of everyday only in a float tank. It’s a hard task to shut your mind off and live in the moment. I am sure with enough training you can treat it like a switch but I am definitely not there yet!

I started repeating “mind~body~soul” over and over, quietly in my head. In doing so I was able to focus on just that and my body began to move to the invisible rhythm. I was able to stretch out completely in the float tank with my arms above my head and just lay there weightlessly and move fluidly. My friend had mentioned wishing that they had had a pillow as it was hard on her neck. Floatique does provide a small noodle for this reason but it is one hundred percent unnecessary. The strain you put on your neck is self induced. You are completely buoyant, all you need to do is trust and relax. If you are unable to do that immediately I would fold your arms behind your head to give you a sense of security.

My first advice is to come with an open mind. This was a fabulous experience for me and I am going to have a hard time putting it into words without sounding like a raving lunatic. You must understand that that we are all unique and therefore our experiences will be as well. Water is a mystical element that can revamp our lives if we are willing to open our hearts and mind to its gifts.

Being alone with my thoughts and feelings was really freeing and eventually my awareness of my senses was altered as well. As with any environment, my senses began to adjust; I was able to focus on the sounds and feelings my body makes, including the soft swoosh of the water as I moved. After a couple minutes the silent “mind~body~soul” became automatic as did the way my body moved to the rhythm.

My movements evolved from small and languidly to larger but effortless flow. It sounds almost silly to say but I became one with the water, or the water became one with me. Because of the buoyancy of the water it was hard to determine what was water and what was air. I imagined myself in the middle of the ocean without a care in the world.

The pod was silent, yet there seemed to be very faint music, I think it was only the rhythm I created with “mind~body~soul” and it led my body in what seemed to be a water dance, a soft, fluent sway.

I can recall my movements becoming more energetic and I was smiling from ear to ear. I felt euphoric and I had no sense of time. I wanted to flip over and swim further into the abyss. I am pretty sure I thought I was a mermaid. I felt like a mermaid. The Epsom salt leaves your body feeling silky smooth. It can actually be quite a sensual experience, with nothing between your satiny skin and the luxurious water.

Because the water is the same temperature as your body after awhile you don’t feel it.  It’s like peeling away the layers of your mind. The first time you may only peel away the first layer but I think if you free yourself you can get to the centre and experience complete and total relaxation. Letting go is a hard thing, but so worth it. What are we saying goodbye to but exhausting stress, anxiety and fear?

My experience was fantastic. I left feeling truly excited and rejuvenated. I went to a place that was void of all stress and fear. It felt euphoric. I felt vibrant and whole. I cannot wait to go back and peel away another layer and go deeper into the ocean. I really think I am a mermaid 😉

I have purchased the monthly float package which gives you a float a month for $59, additional 90 minute floats are $55. You can share the package with another person as well.

If you’re ready to go on a meaningful journey to relaxation and wellness I would recommend giving Floating a try!

In Edmonton you can contact Floatique Rest Centre HERE  or check listings in your city for Floatation Therapy.

Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean

 

Other Floating references

The Book of Floating -Exploring the private sea by Michael Hutchinson

Tanks for the memories- Floatation Tank Talks by John C. Lilly and E.J. Gold

Float Benefits.

Heightens the senses

Reduces chronic pain

Fosters healing

Maximizes training

Accelerates recovery

Reduces jet lag symptoms

Reduces stress/tension on the body during pregnancy

Lowers blood pressure

Subdues inflammation

Increases immune function

Increases magnesium levels

Provides relief during pregnancy

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Be W.I.S.E. Energize and free your mind. Chat soon. xo Michelle