When I was 25 and living in Singapore, I used to go on night walks. Secure in the safety of the city itself, known to be one of the safest in the world, I’d plug myself into playlists and moon around town for two or three hours a night, usually starting around 2am. The city itself grew very quiet at that time, still full of bright lights downtown, but with very few cars other than taxis lapping around the shopping district and the occasional, lone sportscar. The humidity was constant year round and left a thick, fruity smell in the air. Usually, the afternoon rains cleared a view of the moon at night, stuck against a blackish orange sky.
Then there was me. More often than not, I appeared tranquil on these walks, while in reality, I was launching myself into pure escapism, avoiding painful, anxious feelings so I might dream up cures for my lovesickness and hopes for my distant future. Sometimes I’d roam the streets to feel imagined connections to others through whatever music I was listening to, though I was always alone at those late hours.
Why night walks instead of day walks? Admittedly, as much as I craved connection in my life, I felt strange resentment about others knowing my whereabouts. I preferred if not a soul in the world knew that I was walking or where I was going at all.
That girl desperately needed a float. Fortunately, that same year, I joined a close friend to a flotation studio in town, somewhat on a whim. I knew nothing about floating, but I liked the sound of sensory deprivation – a bit like the aim of my night walks, anyway. Yet, for all my high expectations of how this could feel, sensory deprivation wasn’t quite the way I’d describe that experience, or any of my floats since.
For me, the experience of floating was and has been critical voice deprivation, a place where only my purest inner voice speaks. On that first float in Singapore, I entered the tank with a furiously buzzing mind, hardly aware of my surroundings or pausing to appreciate the new experience I was offering myself. Somewhat absent from my body, I was reeling with anxiety about my love life, career decisions to make, upcoming relocation worries, while inconvenient suppressed feelings were erupting into my consciousness, sending me into dull panic – for about twenty long minutes. Then, I fell into a sleep-like state.
When I woke up, I was at the bottom of the tank like a wet baby seal, all the water drained. The music had already stopped. But sitting up, I had a clear thought that felt completely true and real – almost like I hadn’t thought a true thought in my life before then. You need to leave Singapore.
Pure intuition, I knew, and I could hear my inner voice for the first time in a long time. In a year of escaping my feelings, the float opened for me a trustworthy response to all of the worries I had about decisions I was making, love anxieties I had been carrying, and I felt peaceful about my own resolution. Without needing the advice of anyone around me, I felt I could trust in my own decisions.
Confidently, I left Singapore. Not out of pure escapism this time, but from a deep place that knew I could free myself from various patterns I’d developed there, setting my path towards future healing and happiness, and possibly return someday.
If I had to explain how I handle transitions and other critical turning points in my life, for now, that story would start and end with floating. In my life, I meditate, I do tarot, I go to therapy, I run, I journal, I do yoga. I’ve seen clairvoyants and shamans. Psychedelics, weird performance art, and the zodiac all interest me. I spend my free time YouTubing spiritual teachings, and I read greedily about those same topics. Spirituality, consciousness, and healing sit at the crux of my inner drives as a person. Still, something about floating quiets and opens my mind in unique, strange ways I feel blessed to experience.
I float with the hope of developing an easier access to my intuition in general, even in moments when I am not floating. Each time I float, I feel my body creating conditions for my inner voice to speak, learning slowly how to do that again, after many years of being trained not to. I float so I may speak to this experience and encourage anyone who may also be curious to do the same, knowing they will have an experience wildly different than mine. Cheekily, I float, too, to give myself the pleasure of doing nothing, a kind of nothing that feels nourishing and healthy.
It is worth mentioning here that after several years since my first float, I have recently felt ready to return to Singapore for a visit – ready to meet old fears I developed there, fears I’ve since met with love. I’m happy to vouch for the floating experience that gave me peace of mind to take a patient path to my own healing and growth. I float for moments like this, building a humble confidence in myself, trusting that I know my own path in life. Over time, this humble confidence becomes a gift to share with others, a message I feel I can say – simply that, like me, others have all of the freedom and power inside them to create lives they are joyful to be living.