November 2015 Mental Arts Newsletter
Welcome! In this edition we are looking at what it takes to own and run a successful Float Center. It is much more involved than meets the eye or what many people believe it to be. The fantasy of it’s “all good” can get blown out of the water when someone begins to realize what is required or what it is they are missing within their business. Like many things in life, learning from other’s mistakes, can save years, money and in this particular venture…sanity.
As you read through this edition, we hope you find what we offer to be thought-provoking and even find there was a difference made along the way. As always, sit back, relax and enjoy!
“We never know where the bend in the road will take us. Be willing to go where you haven’t been, you may just discover something amazing is waiting for you…”
Why I’m Opening a Float Center…
by Ken Kaplan – Quantum Floats, Bedminster, NJ/www.quantumfloats.com
Quantum Floats opens in Bedminster NJ this month. Of all the questions people ask me, the one that comes up the most is why I decided to open a float center. Having spent the last 5 years building a corporate law firm from a solo practice to a firm that employs more than 10 attorneys, people are naturally curious why I decided to open a float center. I can certainly understand why they would be since those two endeavors seem unrelated.
Having been asked this question hundreds of times, you would think the question would be easy to answer. Yet, the three years it has taken me to open the float center has been a journey in finding an answer to that question – not for the people who ask, but for myself.
My experiences with floating and the classes offered by the Mental Arts Network has been an exploration of my own thinking and the ways I relate to people. Along the way, I recognized that what I believe to be real affects how I perceive things. For me, this was a very sobering thought and one with vast implications because each instance where something I believe is real (my internal reality) does not line up with what is actually happening in the external reality is a blind spot that prevents me from seeing things as they are. The same of course is true for everyone. We all have thought patterns that affect our personal and professional lives in ways much more profound than any external influence. Unfortunately, the tools people currently have at their disposal to resolve issues – including hiring a coach or seeing a counselor- are lacking.
Opening the float center is a way for me to pay forward what I know and offer people a way to better understand their own thinking so that they can resolve issues for themselves. In the course of this journey, what initially seemed to me to be a disconnected turn in my career path is actually a progression toward filling a role in the community.
Barrier to Entry
by John Worthington – author of “The Office of Shaman”
There is a business concept called Barrier to Entry that seems to have escaped the attention of many in the Float Industry. It is not a common concept but one that should be considered carefully. Investors certainly consider Barrier to Entry when they are considering a start up of any variety. But the Float Industry really has no such Barrier to Entry in place except those who have been trained through the Mental Arts Network.
According to Investopedia the definition of Barrier to Entry is:
“The existence of high start-up costs or other obstacles that prevent new competitors from easily entering an industry or area of business. Barriers to entry benefit existing companies already operating in an industry because they protect an established company’s revenues and profits from being whittled away by new competitors.”
Some might say that opening a Float Facility is so costly that cost alone would constitute a Barrier to Entry. However, in terms of start up costs a run of the mill two, three or four tank office can be built for less than a million dollars. And there are tank offices, which open for less than a hundred thousand dollars.
My question here is what is different about a tank office, which opens for a million or more dollars and a tank office that opens for less than a hundred thousand dollars? The answer is just about nothing. The reality is that both tank offices offer floating. Nothing else. Just floating. No trained staff, no education about floating nor what the staff is being exposed to mentally. Not even an understanding of the programming that everyone in the industry is afraid they will visit upon the client should they have any contact with him or her.
Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to understand programming? I mean, if the Float Facilitators understood that they were more susceptible to being programmed than of programming clients, wouldn’t that be an advantage to the Float Facilitator? I can assure you that it is. It is also an advantage to the float client.
The reality is that today a legitimate businessman can open a lovely tank office only to have his revenues and profits whittled away by a starry eyed Rogan-ite who is only interested in hallucinating while he’s floating. The businessman has no protection from those who will open a tank office on the cheap. Oh, I know there are those who will roll their eyes and go on about how they are never going to program someone getting out of a float session. While that argument does sound righteously sane it does not consider the thing that John C. Lilly actually said about this issue. The following is assumption #13 in Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer.
“13. The human computer, within limits yet to be defined, has “selfprogramming” properties, and other persons programming properties. This assumption follows naturally from the previous one but brings in the systems within the mind, which operate at one level of abstraction above that of programming. As is shown in Fig. 1, one literally has to talk about selfmetaprogramming as well as selfprogramming. This does not imply that the whole computer can be thought of as the self.”
Doesn’t it smack of just a bit of arrogance to assume that the Float Facilitator, who is just as ignorant of how programming functions in the biocomputer as his client, would be the programmer and not the programmee? The client spends perhaps an hour in his week floating. But the Float Facilitator lives in the float space, in his own head. That means in a full week of floating in a two tank office the Float Facilitator will deal with perhaps as many as 28 to 48 self metaprograms or, in common language, belief systems. In other words the Float Facilitator will deal with 28 to 48 people talking about “their truth” whatever that may be. But the Float Facilitator will not have any information with which to protect himself.
Is it any wonder that the average life of a tank office is between three and five years? Investing in a tank office is no more safe than investing in an ice cream stand unless there is a barrier to entrance. For the vast majority of float centers nationwide, a barrier to entrance does not exist.
That’s why we at Mental Arts have designed and implemented a training program for our Float Facilitators. Our training allows people to use the experiences they’ve gained in life to safely run a float center. That safety results in clients driving past other float centers to come to float centers where the staff has completed the Mental Arts training regimen.
If you are contemplating opening a float center or investing in one please take the time to check out our class schedule and visit with a staff which has been trained. You are invited to see the difference for yourself. You’ll come away with the understanding of why Mental Arts training is a barrier to entrance for your business and why staff training through Mental Arts will guarantee a staff, which will stay in place even if you turn over your investment.
Give Unto Caesar’s That Which is Caesar’s
by John Worthington – author of “The Office of Shaman“
I think I’m beginning to tire of the hullabaloo about Kim Davis. I grew up in a fundamental Christian church in North Eastern Pennsylvania and therefore have more than a passing familiarity with the bible. It seems to me that Kim and Co. are forgetting some of the most basic ideas of both the United States and teachings found in the Gospels.
In both Mark and Matthew (Mark 12:17 and Mathew 22:21) Jesus said, “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and give unto God that which is God’s.” Look folks, the idea of the separation of church and state begins with these passages. I would think that any Christian would be familiar with these instructions. This means, to me at least, that if the Supreme Court of the United States says that the government (Caesar) has deemed that same sex couples can marry then I must honor that order and render unto Caesar. I do not understand, therefore, what is the romance surrounding Kim Davis’s outright rebellion against this ruling.
I can understand how Kim’s stance could be used to make political hay. I mean, that is how Christianity came to be the state religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine, who was emperor, decreed Christianity to be the state religion but demanded a peace in the empire as the price. He made political hay, in other words. But in this case the political hay wagon has already lumbered off to the barn. What Kim is accomplishing is merely subversion.
I am aware that there exists a thought in the Bible belts of the United States that the US Government should be overthrown. But that thought flies in the face of Jesus’s command to give unto Caesar. I cannot fathom how such internal inconsistencies can cause anything other than confusion and anarchy. Why would Christians submit themselves to political manipulation rather than standing in who and what they are?
More Than an Internship
by Terri Stangl – Quantum Floats, Bedminster, NJ/www.quantumfloats.com
I recently had a two-week residential internship at Art of Floating (AOF) in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. I ran a small float center in Michigan for several years by myself so I thought I knew how to run a float center. I was curious to see what it was like to be in a large, busy float center where the staff is applying the tools learned through Mental Arts. Was I in for a surprise! The internship has been valuable to me in ways I couldn’t have predicted. It was not just about how to maintain and clean float tanks, or how to promote floating. Not only could I see lots of Differences between what I had done in my float center and how things were done at AOF, but the staff helped me to recognize and adjust many unresolved questions and holes in my thinking that I never saw when I was working by myself. This article highlights a few of the insights I gained during my internship.
The Tank Center Space – Everyone who comes to Art of Floating notices how beautiful the space is and how they feel as soon as they come in the door and spend time there. My clients in Michigan often said they felt “relaxed” in the space, but it was clearly evident I hadn’t thought through all the parts of the client’s experience at the depth the staff at AOF has done. They have thought about what every part of their space does.
The Difference at AOF starts from when the client pulls into the driveway and notices how the property is landscaped. It continues when clients walk in the door; what they see, what they do, and how they move throughout the space. AOF has thought through when and where and how the staff handles business transactions, their pre-float orientations, how they respond to questions and concerns, and what happens after the float session. The entire flow of the space, how clients move through it, and how the staff communicates graciously with everyone, is consistent. Everyone is welcomed as family. Clients often talk about how their experience at AOF is markedly different than what they have had in other float centers. Many drive one or two hours to come to AOF rather than go to a center closer to home because of that difference.
The flow of events – I thought I had created a relaxing space in my own tank office, but it was clear that my mental model of relaxed and professional was very different than at AOF. For example, I thought it was important to keep things on schedule. That it was my job to set a kind of pace. The AOF staff makes sure that no client ever feels rushed or that anyone wants them to move along for any reason. The office has lovely rooms where clients can talk or read or write, for as long as they like after a float. Everything meets clients where they are, and yet there is time for everything. The staff was able to show me where I was unconsciously insisting on my own ideas about time and scheduling and how things should be done. It made a difference for the clients when I slowed down and paid attention to where the clients themselves where. I couldn’t see it without their help. When everyone in the center does this, clients of all ages and backgrounds stay to talk after float sessions, stop by to visit and laugh with the staff throughout the day. They knew they were welcomed and accepted.
Unloading frenzy – When I arrived at AOF I was really concerned about doing things “right”. I had lots of ideas about what that meant, but I hadn’t really talked through my assumptions with anyone but myself. Since I had not resolved questions about what a float center does, my thinking was clogged up with worries and internal debates. That overload showed up in lots of ways. I forgot things. I misplaced things. I was taking too long to make even simple decisions. I second-guessed myself. I didn’t have enough circuitry to pay attention, so it wasn’t surprising that during the first couple of days at AOF there were some cancellations and not a lot of new bookings. The staff asked me lots of questions, and as I started to clear up things in my thinking, we started getting more calls and our schedule began to fill up. The staff said that was how it always worked. As the staff resolves things, they get more business.
I saw how owning or working at a float center is not simply a job; it is really a lifestyle. I couldn’t do the job and have unresolved issues with my ex, my aging father, my coworkers and my clients bouncing around in my thinking. Compartmentalizing might be possible in other kinds of work, but certainly not in a float center. I saw what a huge advantage it is for anyone in the float business to talk regularly with float facilitators who have the training and skills to help me recognize and resolve things that were taking up my circuitry.
Observing and Finding out what clients need – One thing that the AOF staff excels at is paying attention to what the clients are looking for and asking about. I had assumed that when a client came to float they were looking to relax and perhaps for more advantageous ways to think. I had sets of questions I would often ask and ways I would try to steer the conversation or try to explain things. The AOF staff by contrast had the skills to observe how people carried themselves, what they talked about, and what they avoided. Instead of explaining things, the staff offered a different perspective and then to see what the client would do. It was never about what the staff wanted or thought about – it was meeting the clients where they were.
The differences at AOF I observed and experienced are not something that is easily summarized in writing. I think they must be experienced. It was too easy for me to tell myself that I knew what I was doing and what was going on around me until I was around people who could communicate effectively with me about what they did and what I was doing. They showed me what I was unconsciously transmitting through my words and actions, because of what was going on in my own thinking. I would highly recommend a residential internship with AOF for anyone who wants to understand and create the best of what a float center can be.
Reflections on The Intro to the Art of Rewriting Seminar
by Lisa Dove – client of Delta Floats, Lansing, MI/www.deltafloats.com
When the day started, I thought I knew things. I was sure that the class would be full of useful information that I could absorb and immediately understand. There was no doubt in my mind that I understood my beliefs and my purpose in life. All too quickly I discovered that I knew many things, but I did not know the right things.
I knew all the words being used during the class, but the definitions on this day were foreign to me. The word was no longer the thing. The application of the class experience is what mattered and without warning I was enveloped in the most intense personal experience of my life to date. I was there in front of a group of people that I have never met before, unraveling parts of me that I had spent a lifetime hiding behind. It was uncomfortable and the sensation was that of physical pain. It turns out change is hard and if it wasn’t, everyone would be doing it, making this class unnecessary.
I look back now and I know that I would have been perfectly happy to hide behind my fears during this class. My wish was not an option as the class was on to me from the start, and the real me was revealed in mere minutes. I was devastated that this is what people saw in me and I was forced into a place where I had to deal with myself. There was nowhere to run and I felt so helpless in that moment. Today I look at that moment and I know that it was actually the first time in my life that I wasn’t helpless.
The experience I went through in that class is a part of me. The emotions of it are linked to my memory, but the belief I started with on that day has been changed. I am the same person today that as I was then; there was no miracle cure, but it is accurate to say that so much has changed. My eyes see the world differently and I see parts of myself with more clarity and I know this work is far from over. It was my first experience into rewrite and it was only the beginning.
Reality of Working at a Float Center: Lessons of An Internship at Art of Floating…
by Colby Bostian – iFloat, Westport, CT/www.ifloatct.com
I remember the first time I floated, I had heard about it thru a friend who had listened to a podcast by Joe Rogan. I told myself I have to try this and went to task looking up float centers on the Internet in my area. That was 5 years ago, back then tank centers were few and far between. So, when my brother approached me with an impromptu road trip to the west coast I knew that tank centers were scattered up and down the coast. I told myself, this is my chance!
I found myself in Portland, Oregon, knowing that floating was popular there. I had many float centers to choose from and ended up floating in a tank that was in a chiropractic office. The owners had the idea that floating helps people in a sense that they get physical relief from floating and it could help his patients loosen up before he worked on them. And I’m sure that there were a few younger people that came in, such as myself, looking for “that experience”. After I floated, I was on a mission. I had to do that again. But there were no float centers near me back in Pennsylvania. What to do? I thought… Why not start my own? I could float myself whenever and give other people the experience as well. How hard could it be?
A year or so passed in time. I never forgot about my float and talked with several people that would be interested in starting up this float project with me. Needless to say it never happened. I have to say tho that until recently I never knew how much of a blessing that was.
Art of Floating opened 2 ½ years ago in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, two towns away from me, right in my back yard. I jumped at the opportunity after they opened and went to try floating again, but when I got there something was different about this place. As soon as I pulled in the driveway I could tell there was a level of professionalism that just was not present at the tank office in Portland. It was obvious just looking at the landscape and how perfectly the building sat it was almost as if it was always there, always a part of the community of Bloomsburg. I became a regular and began floating every week. It was so easy to talk with the staff that worked there and they treated me as family, or an old friend, even the first time I came in and I started to notice how they gave me different points of view of how I approached my life. It turns out that in doing that they were being friends to me in a way no one ever had.
I expressed to them that I wanted to open my own float center and they simply said “why don’t you work here?” They told me about the classes they offer through the Mental Arts Network and how they would give me the tools that I needed to work in a float office. I would be lying if I said that I knew what I was in for with those classes. With the experience I had, just taking the first class, “The Intro to the Art of Rewriting”, I started to see how big of an abstraction tank offices really were. The place I was at in Portland treated the tank as if it was a spa…come in, float, feel all warm and fuzzy, give me some cash and see ya later. Art of Floating had a totally different flow. I began to see that floating opened people up to parts of their thinking and beliefs that maybe they weren’t ready to look at, but had to look at, to move on with their lives. The staff at AOF had the training and experience to walk the people coming out of the tank, through these thought processes and actually give the people what they came in for…freedom, freedom from themselves, freedom from what they think their lives HAVE to be like.
After I took the Intro Class I was helping out at AOF and I started to see the gravity of what running a tank office really was. Decisions and simple conversations would weigh on you and eat up circuitry in your brain, putting you in a fog or frenzy. I would find myself going from exhausted to full blown energy bursts, wanting to run around the office, forgetting what I was talking about, losing things, wanting to take the longest nap of my life, but not getting any rest from it. This was overload, overload of other people’s beliefs that did not fit in with mine. What I began to experience was that as the clients came in and you talked with them they transmitted to you a particular belief of what their world is like. In a simple 3 second exchange with a client, they either pulled me into their world or I pulled them into mine, we call this interlock. Say you float 12 clients in one day. Everyone of those clients comes in with their own belief of what their world is like, and after a simple “how are you?” their sales pitch begins. Are you going to buy it? Should you feel sorry for them? If you do then you just stepped into their thought structure of what they believe the world is and 11 other new thought structures that aren’t yours are buzzing around in your head from the other clients that came to float that day as well.
This idea of how another person’s thoughts can clog the flow of your thoughts, might be a little bit of a shock to you, actually, I hope that it is. I assure you it is real and something to be considered, especially while working in a float center. How would one go about understanding this concept? The Mental Arts Network provides the training a float facilitator needs to understand the exchange of thought processes through a series of experiential classes. It is this training that divides their float centers from other float centers. It not only gives the Float Facilitators working at a Mental Arts float center tools needed to protect themselves, but it also gives the floaters coming in a safe place to float. You see, the exchange works both ways, floaters that go and float at your average float center that isn’t affiliated with The Mental Arts Network, have an experience were if they talk with the staff there they can walk out with a new thought structure that grinds up against what their beliefs in real are, how is that fair to the client coming in? They are coming in to relax or sort through some of their thinking of what stresses them out in their day to day life and maybe get a new view on things even if they aren’t aware of why they are there in the first place. If the staff at a center won’t even talk with a client then how are they able to work through that stuff on their own? If they do talk with a client and the staff member is not aware of how it is that they are loading their own thought structures of what they believe to be real into the client with things such as how stressed out the staff member believes they should be with their own life’s experiences with their mom, dad, significant other, boss, or even a New York Times article they read, whatever it may be. The client walking out of the float center is now having to sort through the staff members thoughts on top of their own day to day life stresses of work, family, interactions with friends that the client came to float to process and work through in the first place. Personally, I think that is cheating the client out of the experience and throwing them under the bus. How are they gaining anything of value with that transaction?
Maybe you are reading this article because you are considering opening a float center, maybe it’s just out of curiosity. Maybe you already work in a float center or own one and have experienced the fog of overload. Whatever it is for you, I say come and experience how The Mental Arts float centers differ from other float centers across the country. If you are interested in applying this training for yourself, contact them for classes. We’ll leave the door open for you, but it’s up to you to walk through it.
Where is the Relationship in Customer Service?
by Wendy Johnson – Delta Floats, Lansing, MI/www.deltafloats.com
Last week I was trying to fix a problem for a customer. Their insurance policy had cancelled even though they still had equity sitting in their account. I spent an hour on the phone with the customer service representative at the insurance company. The conversation went something like this… “I am trying to find out why this policy cancelled when the insured paid for two months of insurance last month’“. The rep replied “But he didn’t make his payment this month so it canceled.” “Yes that is true, because he paid it last month, so he is paid up until his next payment, your system even shows the credit on it.” The rep replied “Yes but we sent out the bill for this month and it wasn’t paid so we cancelled it, and we will send the money in his account back to him”. This conversation went on, with me pleading for the lady to stop looking at her computer and actually listen to what I was saying, to see that it made no sense at all. To no avail, she got very frustrated and said she would have her manager call me to explain to me what I was not understanding.
Now, this would almost be a humorous conversation if it wasn’t so incredibly sad and damaging to businesses. Employees it seems are not allowed to think for themselves at all, or they refuse to. There are rules and guidelines, and whatever their computer says must be correct. They are not trained nor is it a requirement of their job to listen and actually communicate with their customers.
The problem is that people do not actually fit into these boxes that rules insist, exist. From that assumption, the business has set itself up for failure. How can it build a relationship when it is starting with something that just cannot be true?
And before some of you managers or business owners start whining, “but there are limits to what we can do, or rules that we do have to follow”… why, yes there are, however how about actually listening and forming a relationship with the customer to find out what it is they want or need? What would it hurt to treat every customer like they are a person and not just the data you see on your computer screen? As a customer, it isn’t much fun to have to call up a company’s customer service department, wait to be helped, and then have a conversation with what could be a computer. Why not train your employees to enjoy their job, and enjoy meeting each person? If people on both sides of the equation are happy, that can only be good for business.