November 2014 Mental Arts Newsletter
Welcome to our 2nd Edition
First a huge thank you to all of you who contributed to making our first edition such a success. We put in lots of hours to make it happen and were rewarded by your gracious support.
This second edition came together much easier and as we sort through our contributors we hope to expand the print edition to eight pages. That will also be reflected in our e-editions. We also hope to soon be able to offer local advertising for tank offices who have suppliers and companion businesses who they want to promote.
If you’re a budding or accomplished writer we’d love to hear from you. Especially if you can find a home for your work in our endeavors. We don’t have a lot of room so most pieces should be rather short. 300 to 500 words. We’d like to stay on the topics we’re currently addressing of course, but will be happy to entertain other issues and ideas.
Thanks again for your support.
Intro to the Rewrite for People Dealing with PTSD
We all know veterans, police officers, firefighters, etc. who suffer from PTSD. Mental Arts has developed a class aimed specifically at the problems associated with this disorder. We at Mental Arts are confident that anyone who has served has the capability of sorting through the problems that PTSD brings with it. Therefore, we have developed a class to give them the tools needed to significantly reduce the multiple stresses in their memories, current lives, and future interactions with society. We offer both introductory and advanced courses. When the course work is coupled with floating in isolation the brain not only has the tools to reduce the stress but the circuitry to examine the problems that bring on the stress. The classes that we hold are based on the work and research of John C. Lilly. Through his research he found out how we actually think and how we are able to rewrite any of our thinking so that it works better for us. For those who have PTSD, being able to rewrite the nightmares of everyday life can be a turning point in how they view the world and move on with their lives.
In The News
by Wendy Johnson, Delta Floats, Lansing, MI/www.deltafloats.com
At Costco, hourly workers make an average of more than $20 an hour; well above the national average of $11.39 for a retail sales worker. ~2013 Businessweek. For employees who put in 40 hrs/week, that works out to about $43,000 a year. In addition, 88% of Costco’s 185,000 employees have company-sponsored healthcare. “I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits,” CEO Craig Jelinek tells Businessweek. “It also puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It’s really that simple.” To that end, the company’s turnover rate is a measly 5% for employees who have been there more than a year.
The Belief that if wages rise, the cost of products/services has to rise, is only one possible reality. Costco and other retailers have chosen a different belief structure, one that creates an entirely different reality. They believe that everyone can benefit, them with more profits, the employees with a better standard of living, and the economy as a whole with more disposable income available. Reality is not some static thing, and can be changed simply because there is a more beneficial way to do business. Why wouldn’t everyone want to Agree to a reality that already exists?
The American Spirit
By John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”
Emma Lazarus wrote, “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
She wrote these words as part of a poem to raise money for the base of the Statue of Liberty. After the statue was erected the poem fell from popularity. But in the early 1900’s some of Lazarus’ friends started a drive to have the sonnet placed on the base of the Statue of Liberty. This took place after the poet had passed away.
It was these words that many of our forefathers remembered as they passed over Ellis Island on their way to a new life here in America. It seems to this writer that Emma and her friends would be shocked and confused at the fervor to now keep immigrants out of America. After all it has been precisely those waves upon wave of immigrants which have driven American economic power and growth not only at home but throughout the world. Have we as Americans come so far that we now turn away the tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to breath free?
What have we to fear from further economic power and growth? Is that the reason we turn children escaping Central American gang violence away? To prevent our own economic power and growth? Must we really fear children who turn themselves in at the border? Must we really blame an American President for an act of self-preservation on the part of children and young adults? Can we not imagine how desperate those children must be to cross the length of Mexico on a freight train, facing persecution, extortion and the very real possibility of death on the journey to come to a land that offers the tired, poor and huddled masses a haven on a storm tossed sea? Have we truly lost our ability for compassion?
How can we support the cruelty of turning away over 50,000 children from our borders because we have developed immigrant-phobia? How can we, a country formed entirely of immigrants, be that inhumane to anyone, much less an immigrant child seeking asylum from a violent death in his very home? Have we become that blind? That violent? I doubt that. I think that the American Spirit lives and breaths and will not stand idly by and watch anyone be turned away from our borders to face a violent death in their homes. I think that the American Spirit will find a way to support those children and nurture their desire to join us as proud Americans in their own right.
You Are Not Alone When You Float
David Conneely, iFloat, Westport, CT/www.ifloatct.com
When I was in Portland, Oregon this past summer for the Float Conference, I sat at the bar of a restaurant the night before the conference began. While at the bar, I had a wonderful conversation with a couple visiting from Vancouver. When they asked what I did for a living, I explained how I run a float center. They were fascinated and interested but the man said, “It sounds great but don’t think I could do that. I would be nervous to be alone with my thoughts.” I explained how at my float center, iFloat, people are given an orientation by the staff, and the staff check in on people after their float session – usually over a cup of tea. I said, “If you have thoughts that are uncomfortable, the staff are there for you to talk about it. In fact, it is a good thing if someone taps into uncomfortable thoughts because it gives them a chance to examine it in a conversation after the float, and to even change the thoughts.” The look on his face changed and he looked relieved. “So I’m not alone then? I’m not alone in the experience?” He smiled and said, “I would float at your float center.”
The Importance of the Community
Art of Floating, Bloomsburg, PA/www.artoffloating.com
In the early hours of a brisk October morning, Ryan Leckey of WNEP-16 (a television station based out of Scranton, Pennsylvania) drove sixty miles to the small town of Bloomsburg to do a story on Art of Floating and floatation therapy. Having the business and services highlighted on a popular news broadcasting station was a major accomplishment for Art of Floating. An even greater achievement was the community of individuals Art of Floating managed to bring together to show their support for the small business. A tank office is doing more than just offering relaxation. A tank office is bringing like-minded individuals together to share ideas and add to the collective wisdom of the community. It is a reminder that teamwork is greater than any one person working alone. At three in the morning, when most people are still in their beds, seventeen individuals gathered to form a coalition and spread the word on the benefits one can achieve by floating in an isolation tank. All before sunrise, the staff and supporters at Art of Floating displayed to thousands of viewers what the power of a community can accomplish.
A Guide to Others
by John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”
It’s clear that to make a tank office function, tank operators have to cater to the desires of the public. We have to provide them with tanks large enough to float two people, play music for them, have pretty lights in the tanks, and even put up with yet another person saying they’re claustrophobic. But as we sift through all of the new age debris every now and again we encounter a person who is going to make a difference in their life. A person who isn’t going to talk about making a difference, but will actually make a difference. I think that what Pat Allen said in “Art is a Way of Knowing” applies to this person, and certainly to the people he or she is looking up to for a bit of guidance.
“Knowing what our beliefs are requires confronting ourselves, our fears, and our resistance to change. Once we know what our real beliefs are, we can allow them to evolve and change if they do not serve us.
~ Pat Allen, Art is a Way of Knowing
I think all too often we as Float Facilitators miss the opportunity to be that guide because we fear confronting our fears and our resistance to change. We are really the vanguard. The guides. If we have done our work and have proved to ourselves that our beliefs in real can evolve and serve us then we owe it to those who come behind us to leave a legacy of understanding.
But to arrive at such compassion requires that we discover what Lilly refers to as the Metabelief Operator. That part of ourselves that is not limited to the brain. If we as Float Facilitators miss this ever so important aspect of our job, then are we not failing those clients who do not float merely to relax but to discover how their own thinking machinery operates?
Is What One Perceives as Real, Actually Real?
by Terri Stangl, Great Lakes Flotation, Swartz Creek, MI/www.greatlakesflotation.com
Flight attendants routinely warn passengers to be careful when opening the overhead bin after their plane lands. Even on a “smooth” flight, the contents may have shifted. Without paying attention, luggage may fall on someone’s head. During a float session, too, whatever is stored in our brains, and how it is stored, can shift. Dr. John Lilly, who invented the tank, said that when people float, they examine and rearrange their internal models of their “coalitions”. This shift happens below the threshold of conscious awareness. In the tank, freed from any concerns about external reality, there are no limits as to what one can imagine or believe as one makes such shifts. After floating people may say things such as “I heard my mother’s voice” or “I saw faces” or “I was spinning ” or even “you have to stop that pounding!” (It was the client’s own heartbeat.) All of these perceptions felt real to the clients. And as Lilly observes in his books: whatever one believes to be real or true becomes true, within limits to be found in the external reality.
This feature of human thought is why it’s important that float clients talk with a trained Float Facilitator after their float. The facilitator can help point to where a client’s thinking may have shifted and check such shifts against the limits of external reality. It’s easy for a client to acknowledge that her mother was in fact not in the tank. It may be less obvious to a client that what he ”feels” he experienced – whether anxiety or bliss – is always self-generated based on what one believes to be real, rather than by the tank itself or something outside it.
It’s relatively harmless to blame something outside of oneself (e.g. “pounding”) for what one perceives and for how one responds to it. But such blaming thoughts, when ignored or affirmed, have significant consequences for a community. They are at the root of why women are blamed when they are assaulted, or spouses blame each other for their anger, and children blame their parents for feeling that everything they do isn’t ‘good enough’.
Floating is a wonderful tool for observing and modifying what is self-generated within one’s own thinking. But sorting that out is something that cannot be done either by merely talking to oneself or talking with someone who simply agrees with your feelings. It’s too easy to believe that whatever one perceives as real, actually is real. And when left unchecked, that can lead to repeated and frustrating bumps in life’s road, instead of a single small bump on the head.
by Elise Lenhart, Massage Therapist/Float Facilitator
Recalling memories from the shadows of my past. That past where I was looking for that meaning to my life…Where I’ve been… Where I was going… That life that I live now. That life that has always been there. That truth of my life that I could not see long ago. That life that was fogged with black and white memories of the past. That life that was teaching me to live in color all along. The things that I didn’t know then, that I know now. The lessons learned from the experiences in that white room of my very far past. The origins of where I took my first breath. The silence of the mourning. All to find my way here, right now. This right now. The reality of who I am. Why be scared of your shadow? That shadow is you. What was written in the depths of your shadow is where you see who you have always been. It is there, in that very place where you can create the life you have always imagined living. Why wait? The time is now.