Flotation Philly 

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of I visiting

Flotation Philly located in the Fishtown section of Philly. If you know a little about my health history then you know that 3 years ago I suffered a stroke, and that I have declared that this is my year for making huge strides when it comes to my health. I heard about
hTh

is facility from a friend at my yoga studio and it sounded right up my alley. My struggles in my

daily life post stroke are mainly cognitive rather than physical. Which is a blessing and a curse all at the same time! Basically for me too much noise, too many lights, too much chatter, too much of any stimulation going on can trigger me helpless. It’s literally too much for my brain to handle all at once. I think that is one of the reasons I have fallen head over heels in love with meditation. Meditation allows me those quiet, still moments of completely shutting my brain down in order to fully restore myself. 
After navigating my way, by myself ( woo hoo) to Flotation Philly I was greeted by the owner Russ and an incredibly intricate and beautiful mural as you walk in their front doors. From there Russ took me back to my room which contained my evolution float pod, a shower, and a vanity area for me to put myself back together after my experience.  
Russ started this business after first trying out flotation pods for himself and seeing the benefits to him and his body. I admire that. He didn’t start this business because it was the newest fad, or only to make money. You can tell from just one conversation with him just how genuine and caring of a person he is and how much he wants his clients to enjoy and reap the full benefits of flotation therapy. After Russ walked me back to the room he explained everything in a very down to earth, yet professional way- always leaving space for me to answer questions when I had them. He took the time to make sure that I was comfortable with the process and that I understood the reason behind flotation therapy. Sensory deprivation isn’t something only those who have had brain injuries benefit from, it something that many people can benefit from. Russ even made a few suggestions of what to do to get my wiggles out once I was inside of the pod that included stretching, a few yoga poses and then finally finding stillness within my body- this certainly came in handy! 
Once Russ left the room I took a shower- you must shower before entering the pod with shampoo and body wash, which wasn’t difficult because the shower was such a pretty space and all of the toiletries are provided right there for you! Once you shower you are ready to enter the pod.
Upon entering the pod ( which is only 10 inches deep, and filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt) your limbs automatically lift up and stay there on their own. Two words- zero gravity!! I have never felt anything like it. It was completely effortless and completely uplifting! Once you lay back in the pod you have control of the lights and music, as well as shutting the pod completely or leaving it open or any level in between that you are comfortable with ( the top of the pod is on hydraulics). I first started off with both music and lights. After some exploring in different positions and a couple of up dogs ( thanks to Russ’s suggestion) I felt a little calmer and at ease with being in the pod. At that point I turned the music off and shut the lid of the pod- not entirely- but almost completely. The lights in the room are off so there is no outside lights shining into the pod. There’s also a small piece of a pool noodle in each room and for me, with my neck issues, it worked wonders. It is a strange feeling, one that Russ assures me you become more comfortable with the most float sessions you do, to let you neck sink back and support itself. So for me, the pool noodle was very helpful. I even tried it in a couple different positions, the base of my neck, and then rolling it a little higher up to the base of my skull ( this is where I felt most comfortable with the noodle). With the music off I was able to sit in complete silence, and just appreciate and admire the quiet. The calm. The stillness. The nothingness. No to do lists popped in my head, no things I had left undone at home or at work, no thoughts of what I was going to do for dinner, or how much homework my kiddos would be coming home with, not even if I would be able to find my own way home! Seriously- nothing came to mind. I wasn’t even able to string together a single thought. Every time I did my mind would just drop it mid thought. And for me, as a person who generally has a hard time shutting brain off it came very easily.  
Then, I took my float to another level by turning off the lights. So here I was in this pitch black pod in this pitch black room with no light and no noise. Who was I? I was a girl who was living in the moment and taking full advantage of the experience at my fingertips. So there I laid- or floated rather- in complete silence and darkness. My arms and legs extended completely in the pod. For me, this was the most beneficial part of the process. This is where I took the most from my float experience, and I believe this is the fullness that is best experienced from float therapy. My mind took me to some pretty trippy places during this time and this is where my body found complete and true stillness. There was no movement. Not in my fingers, my toes, my arms, or my legs. Complete stillness. Complete weightlessness. Complete calm. I could hear and feel my heartbeat. I’ve felt my heartbeat before, but to be so still that you can hear it at the same time? That’s a whole other level of connection to your mind and body! 
Flotation Philly was an experience unlike any other. I will admit I had my apprehensions and anxieties before heading into my appointment, but Russ made it super easy to leave all of those at the door. For someone who has suffered a brain injury and fights most days keep my sanity in a super busy world this was an extremely beneficial experience, and one that I know I will be back for.  
Interested in trying flotation therapy out for yourself? Use my coupon code LIVELOVEFLOAT for 15% off your next visit by using coupon code Also please note that floats come in 60 and 90 minute sessions, as well as various packages for any number of floats. I experienced the 90 minute session which I felt really allowed time for my body to adjust to the space and be open to all that the float experience had to offer. It really only felt like I was in there for 30 minutes! Happy floating! 

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A Piece of my Heart.

This week was a struggle. Looking back I was over scheduled, over tired, and over everything by Friday at 4:30.  Although I did have moments of Joy shine through and brighten moments of my week, my week overall wasn’t very joy-filled.  Since making this realization I’m starting to go back and go through my motions, my emotions, my schedule, and my past week to figure out what the  major differences between Week 1 and Week 2 were because I did feel such a huge difference.

In the meantime, while I am trying to figure all of that out, I came across an article in a book I am reading by Brene Brown called I thought It was Just Me (but it isn’t). Making the journey from “What will people think?” to “I am enough.” First of all, WOAH!! This book has been an incredible eye opener, for me. It has allowed me to know that I truly thought I was alone in my struggle and I am not.  I don’t think me reading this book should come to any of you as a shock. This is a year of me working through all.of.my.feelings. Even the not-so-great ones in order to better myself. In order to live more authentically. So, in my latest reading of her book I came across this incredibly powerful passage that related to my current life in almost every way possible. I had one of those, “this is everything I’ve been wanting to say, but don’t know how to say it” moments!!  And it felt so good, even if they aren’t my own words. They are still a stepping stone. A catapult into healing. A friend of Brene’s was working through infertility and decided to write a letter/pamphlet to those in her life who didn’t necessarily know or understand how to help her work through her feelings while on her journey. I am currently in the same position, not with infertility, but with my life post stroke. I am in a place of vulnerability, confusion, shame, discrimination, of being misunderstood, of being unrelatable, of being the minority. So for me, and for the sake of ridding my heart and mind of some of the shame that is associated with a life changing brain injury, along with taking back the power and progress in my life, I have decided to type the letter.  The only difference will be I am changing the word “infertility” with the word “condition.” Here it goes…

“I want to share my feeling of my condition with you, because I want you to understand my struggle.   I know that understanding my condition is difficult; there are times when it seems even I don’t understand.  This struggle has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings in me and I fear that my reactions to these feelings might be misunderstood.  I hope my ability to cope and your ability to understand will improve as I share my feelings with you. I want you to understand.

 

You may describe me this way: obsessed, moody, helpless,envious, too serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic, and cynical. They aren’t very admirable traits; no wonder your understanding of my condition is difficult.  I prefer to describe myself this way: confused, rushed and impatient, afraid, isolated and alone, guilty and ashamed, angry, sad and hopeless, and unsettled.

 

My condition makes me feel confused. I always assumed I was strong. I spent years avoiding being “weak.”

 

My condition makes me feel rushed and impatient.   My condition came on 3 years ago. My life plan is suddenly halted. I worked so hard to be the very best I could be and now I feel I am at the bottom.  

 

My condition makes me feel afraid.  My condition is full of unknowns and I’m frightened because I need some definite answers. How long will this last?

 

My condition makes me feel isolated and alone. Reminders of unaffected people are everywhere.  I must be the only one enduring this invisible curse.  I don’t share with others, because they can’t relate. 

 

My condition makes me feel guilty and ashamed.  Frequently I forget that my condition is a medical problem and should be treated as one.  My condition destroys my self-esteem and I feel like a failure. Why am I being punished?  What did I do to deserve this?  Am I not worthy of a normal life?

 

My condition makes me feel angry.  Everything makes me feel angry, and I know much of my anger is misdirected.  I’m angry at my body because it was betrayed me even though I’ve always taken care of it.  I’m angry at my partner because a part of me feels like he will never understand my feelings of inadequacy.

My financial resources may determine the amount of answers I have surrounding my condition, and the amount of rehabilitation I am able to achieve.  I can’t miss any more work, or I’ll lose my job. I can’t go to a specialist because it means more travel time, more missed work, and greater expenses.  Finally, I’m angry at everyone else.  Everyone has opinions on my inability to overcome my condition.  Everyone has easy solutions.  Everyone seems to know too little and say too much.

 

My condition makes me feel sad and hopeless.  My condition feels like I’ve lost my future, and no one knows of my sadness.  I feel hopeless; my condition robs me of my energy.  I’ve never cried so much or so easily.  

 

My condition makes me feel unsettled.  My life is on hold. Making decision abut my immediate and long-term future seems impossible.  I can’t decide about education, career, purchasing a home, pursuing a hobby, getting a pet, vacations, business trips, and house guests.  The more I struggle with my condition, the less control I have.  

 

Occasionally I feel my panic subside. I’m learning some helpful ways to cope; I’m now convinced that I’m not crazy, and I believe I’ll survive.  I’m learning to listen to my body and to be assertive, not aggressive, about my needs. I’m realizing that good medical care and good emotional care are not necessarily found in the same place.  I’m trying to be more than my condition while gaining enthusiasm, joyfulness, and zest for life.

 

You can help me. I know you care about me and I know my condition affects our relationship. My sadness causes you sadness; what hurts me, hurts you, too.  I believe we can help each other through this sadness.  Individually we both seem quite powerless but together we can be stronger.  Maybe some of these hints will help us to better understand my condition.  

 

I need you to be a listener.  Talking about my struggle helps me to make decisions.  Let me know you are available for me.  It’s difficult for me to expose my private thoughts if you are rushed or have a deadline for the end of our conversation.   Please don’t tell me all of the worse things that have happened to others or how easily someone else’s condition was solved.

 

I need you to be supportive. Understand that may decisions aren’t made casually.  I’ve agonized over them. Remind me that you respect these decisions even if you disagree with them, because you know they are made carefully.

 

I need you to be comfortable with me, and then I also will feel more comfortable.  Talking about my condition sometimes feels awkward.  Are you worried you might say the wrong thing? Share those feelings with me.   Ask me if I want tot talk. Sometimes I will want to, and sometimes I wont, but it will remind me that you care.

 

I need you to be sensitive.  Although I may joke about my condition to help myself cope, it doesn’t seem as funny when others joke about it.  Please don’t tease me with remarks like “they were in such an uproar, I thought they were going to have a stroke” It’s no comfort to hear empty jokes.

 

I need you to be honest with me. Let me know that you may need time to adjust to some of my decisions. I also need adjustment time. If there are things you don’t understand, say so.  I need you to be informed.  Your advice and suggestions are only frustrating to me if they aren’t based on fact.  Be well informed so you can educate others when they make remarks based on myths.  Please don’t think that my condition will be cured if I relax more and stress less.  Don’t tell me this is God’s will.  Don’t ask me my need to justify my need to live life as I once did prior to my condition. 

 

I need you to be patient.  Remember that working through my condition is a process. It takes time. There are no guarantee’s, no package deals, no complete kits, no one right answer, and no “quickie choices.”

 

I need you to be strengthening and boosting my self-esteem.  My sense of worthlessness hampers my ability to take charge.

 

Encourage me to maintain my sense of humor; guide me to find joys.  Celebrate with me my successes, even ones as small as making it through a medical appointment without crying.  Remind me that I am more than a person with a condition.  Help me by sharing your strength.

 

Eventually I will be beyond my struggle with my condition.  I know my condition will never completely go away because it will change my life.  I won’t be able to return to the person I was before my condition, but I also will no longer by controlled by this struggle.  I will leave the struggle behind me, and from that I will have improved my skills for empathy, patience, resilience, forgiveness, decision making, and self-assessment.  I feel grateful that you are trying to ease my journey through this condition struggle by giving me your understanding.”    ~Jody Earle

 

My sincerest and most authentic hope in posting these words is that you can see that people who are suffering out loud, or in silence, are trying their very best every single day to overcome their obstacles.  We are people too. We just happen to be on this journey that has changed our lives. And we hope that you continue to support and understand us.