Hi, I’m Emily Rowe and I help people when they’re sad to feel better and begin to feel alive again. I wanted to make this video on the fly, it’s just an off the cuff video about sensory deprivation.
I’ve made an appointment to go into a float tank today and it’s been part of my process in putting together the course that I’m doing, one of the major components that we look at is change. I’ve had a few big light bulb moments about change and the relationship between change and trust, and what happens to trust when you’ve been traumatized or you’re in a state of grief.
So I’ve been toying with this idea of going into a float tank for probably about six weeks but there’s a part of me that’s been secretly terrified of it. I am naturally a little bit fearful of doing new things which is pretty surprising given that I’ve had a life that’s been filled with a lot of varied and different experiences I’ve lived in a lot of different places, and I’ve done a lot of things, new things in my life.
So I think that the fear of something new addressing it and processing it is what enables you to let go of it and try something.
I have just been working out at the gym this morning with my trainer and we’ve got a pretty solid rapport, I’ve been going three times a week for the last eight to 10 months I guess and I said to him because he knows how my mind works I kind of run stream of consciousness with him as I’m lifting.
And I said to him, “Well, I’m either going to split and flip out and end up dribbling in a psych ward, or I’m going to come out of it and I’m going to feel like Buddha’s little sister.”
Maybe I’ve got a really high expectation of everything maybe I’ll just come out and feel fluffy and good, I don’t know.
I’ve been doing a lot of research. So from an intellectual perspective I understand what the pros of it and the potential cons of, well it really has just been my own fear of trying something new being a bit afraid of it, because that idea of not having the data and not having the input and my brain not having control, my body being in a floatation state. And an opportunity to just shut down all the inputs is the closer I am getting to it the more excited I’m getting about it but I have to say up until yesterday that feeling of excitement was definitely fear.
So Ground Control to Major Tom, take your protein pill and put your helmet on I’ve just taken my protein pill, double scoop of protein in my shake before I go in there.
I don’t know what to expect, some people talk about moving into a highly hallucinogenic kind of state where their subconscious access is things that are normally unable to be accessed because it’s just dealing with so much of the white noise of about day to day world. And then other people that have just said, “Oh yeah, it wasn’t for me.” So I’m pretty curious about it, I have had a pretty rough few days.
My neck and my back were out last week and I always know that, that kind of is a full warning that I’m having a massive emotional shift because I do this, I freeze up my shoulders end up around my neck and everything tightens and then I end up crooked and out of whack, and I have to go and get it massaged out. And then when I’ve done that I feel like I’ve done a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson and I’m a little fragile but it’s almost like getting those muscles to a point where they’re relaxed, provides me with an opportunity to release and let whatever needs to come up, to come up.
This somatic experience of grief is something that I don’t think is really addressed a lot. We talk about grief counselling and we talk about going to therapists, and you know working intellectually within and working emotionally with it.
But nobody seems to really talk too much about the somatics of it. There are a lot of practitioners in trauma that deal with what I would classify as is, I guess what’s being considered high in trauma is the Bess van der Kolk and Peter Levine and Stephen Porges, these guys are all working with the relationship between the body and trauma.
And it’s a very, very interesting frontier. It’s a very, very interesting place looking at the relationship between the vagus nerve that runs our whole body and what happens to us in survival mode.
And although it’s applied to veterans and people that have experienced very traumatic things, there seems to be a self-censoring mechanism that kicks in for a lot of people about whether what they’ve experienced in a grief capacity is actually a trauma or whether they’re just missing someone, they’re missing in itself feeling that sensory loss of the person who’s close to you can be a trauma in itself. And it’s physiologically there, and it needs to be worked with physiologically.
I talk about this in my webinar, I talk about this in the emotions YouTube as well.
Just this idea of making sure that you’re getting enough sleep and that you’re eating right, you’re not drinking too much coffee, getting high and just generally trying to get to a state of homeostasis physically.
So you’re more acutely aware of what’s happening with this overlay of amygdala of your primal brain screaming that you’re not safe, and figuring out ways to amend it.
I have a few different strategies myself that I used to weight train, I used to lift weights with my late husband a long time ago and then I stopped doing it when he died seven years ago, but when I did lift weights it was really just a place where I could escape my mind because my mind was always running so fast and I’m a very lateral thinker and I would just be off in a way like firing off in my creative process and totally immersed in that, which is great but it’s not necessarily healthy when it’s ongoing and ongoing and ongoing especially when your mind is not able to slow down.
So my late husband really encouraged me to train and get my body tired to physically exhaust myself so I could rest. And that was a great gift and a great lesson that I learnt from him.
And it’s only years later now that I’ve gone back to it and I’ve figured out that training putting my body under stress in a controlled situation has actually increased my capacity for stress when it arises out of uncontrollable situations. So it’s kind of like a homeopathic way of managing stress that when your body is trained to deal with heavy loads or high reps to the point of exhaustion.
You’re not only setting off this beautiful orchestra of hormones and chemicals in your body that give you this insane sense of well-being, and help you rest really well but you’re also training yourself to manage stress, controlled stress and focusing just specifically on that, focusing on what it is that you’re doing in the moment. So it’s super powerful.
So I feel like stepping into the float tank is the next step on this journey.
I meditate every day, I do the Joe Dispenza meditations that energy center meditations, and I don’t do long ones. I don’t have enough time in the day to do as much as I would like.
So I have to figure out very streamlined and efficient ways that I can keep myself in an optimum state of well-being and one of those is before I go to the gym I sit and I do that meditation and it’s just 10 breaths in and out on each of those, I guess what in yogic practices is called the kundalini centers. Joe Dispenza calls it the energy centers just working through 10 slow breaths on each of those and then 10 surrounding myself where I am pulling my life force up and into myself.
And then I go and weight train and then I’m ready for my day.
So after I have done my no brain practice and then my focused physical practice I’m ready for my mental and emotional practice.
I’m wondering whether floating is going to become another component, I’m excited about it, I’m excited at the opportunity of being sensorially deprived.
It’s weird when I lived in New York when I first moved there I was 25 and it just blew my mind.
There was so much going on, there was just traffic and people and wildness in the sound, I lived down on 5th, straight between 1st and 2nd Avenue and it was the same street that the police precinct was on, where they do the outside shots of NYPD Blue the 9th precinct, which is just a few doors up from my house.
So it was 24/7 running with the perps being you know led in the front and all the cops would be parking their cars at the car park across the road, and they would be coming on and off roster. And just getting used to that white noise and getting some sleep.
It took me almost a year to be okay with that level of stimulus.
It was just bang, bang, bang color lights sound, people, amazing different ideas and bands and art exhibitions and it was just fully immersive and exciting as a 25-year old.
And this was pre-social media and pre-internet really taking off. So it was entirely experiential, I wasn’t passively consuming anything through a screen, I was as at that living it and feel very blessed that I was living at that point in time and I was that age.
But by the time I left New York it was a really different story. I had to become very disciplined at screening the stimuli out, working creatively, I would find myself very frayed around the edges because there would be so much that I would just be, be trying to block out so I could get some peace and quiet, just some quiet.
And then when I left and I moved to this tiny little island of Southern Tasmania I just slept so much it was like my senses needed to catch up. So I’ll be curious to see how I am on the other side.
I’m going do another video when I come back from my float and fill you in on what it was like for me. I would encourage anybody that is still really struggling with a lot of trauma spikes and distress to start adopting a systematic program of exercise that pushes your body a bit.
I remember when I first back went back into the gym after Matt died. First of all I had this thing called, I think it’s called Takotsubo syndrome, I don’t think I’ve got that right. Anyway, broken heart syndrome where I was having these heart palpitations and has shortness of breath and feeling like I was gonna have a heart attack.
Pretty well every night as I went to sleep and it was very terrifying and it was stress, I was in a highly distressed like a panic state. The only thing that got me through it was the breathing.
And I experienced the same thing when I went back to the gym and I started putting my body under a little bit of pressure and I was panicking as I could feel my heart rate going up thinking, “Oh no I’m gonna have a heart attack,” which I didn’t.
It was just this protective mechanism that I’d put in place to withdraw and to retreat.
So I would encourage anyone who’s curled up in their cave mourning their loss to start sweating it out a bit, turn the movie of the past and the pain of the loss of and get out into the world, into nature, or down to the beach or the pool and just thrash your body a bit, get it tired, feel like you’re in it, yeah, claim your body, live in your body.
So that’s it for now. I’m gonna say goodbye. Wish me luck.
Of course you can’t wish me luck, it’s already been and gone.
But I look forward to the next part of this is to tell you what my experience was.
Thanks for your time and your attention and I’ll see you soon. Bye.